Friday, September 30, 2011

Birds 9/30 - Avocets, White Red-tail, more

Early this morning, I set off with Jimmy in search of the American Avocets in Newport, which we were possibly the last people in RI to go see. We generally fail miserably when searching for reported birds; therefore, we very rarely do. However, the prospect of seeing such a beautiful bird (and 5 of them!) on such a nice day was too much, so we bit the bullet and went.

And we were not disappointed! The five birds put on a phenomenal show for the half hour we were there. We also met a couple other birders - nice guys, as usual - which is always a good thing.

Because Jimmy has a real job, I dropped him off in Providence and hit a few spots in northern RI by myself. The unquestionable highlight was the white Red-tailed Hawk in Lincoln (at Chase/Great/Butterfly Farm) who has been around longer than I have been birding - but I have seen him for the past 4 years. He was a bit distant, so I couldn't manage a better photo than this, but despite having seen him a few times, I have never gotten a picture of him before.

It seems that every year he has a different arrangement of colored feathers, I seem to remember seeing  only a couple red tail feathers last time.

This guy is always worth waiting around for - though the park is a hellhole of dogs off leashes, poop, and owners who don't give a hoot that their dogs are disturbing you (and are not afraid to tell you off for yelling at their dogs...). It is hard to birdwatch here, but a great place for raptors, as well as sparrows on the border of the farm nearby - where I found this puzzling bird:

I knew immediately what it was - a Brown-headed Cowbird - but a few things were odd about this one. It was incredibly dark and the white throat was much better defined than I have seen on other individuals.

I then hit Lonsdale Marsh, where the only birds of note were the first two Yellow-rumped Warblers (aka "butterbutts"). While they will be very common in another month, these were the first of the year for me.

The Cumberland Monastery had a Black-throated Green Warbler and a Swamp Sparrow, and the reservoir complex was empty short of a few geese and gulls.

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