Sunday, February 22, 2009

Owl Prowl with the Urban Park Rangers at Pelham Bay...

Today, I headed out to Pelham Bay Park for a scheduled Owl walk with the Urban Park Rangers. Arriving around 10:00 a.m. I birded Twin Island for a bit and picked up several of the usual species including, European Starling, Blue Jay, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Carolina Wren, Song Sparrow, Mallard, Brandt, Ring-billed Gull, Red-breasted Merganser, American Wigeon, American Black Duck, Killdeer, Bufflehead and Mute Swan. Around 1:00 p.m. I joined a hardy group of 9 additional birders at the Nature Center and met our guides, rangers, Carrero and Melvin. Our first stop was to scope some rocks out in the Long Island sound where we picked up around 10-12 Harbor seals. Once we all had good looks, we headed to Hunter's Island in search of Owls. Our first Owl stop and search was in the stand of majestic Norway Spruces. Our group was pretty alert and it was not long before a Great Horned Owl was spotted. We all gathered at the site and got our bins and scopes on the subject. Owls are very special and I cherish every sighting that I get and this was no exception. I was very impressed at how cooperative this Great Horned was with the group as we were able to spend a few minutes observing and taking photographs. The Owl was pretty high up in the tree, which was expected and getting clear looks were not easy, but I think overall, the group was very satisfied with what they were able to see. Our next Owl stop and search was in the stand of Eastern White Pines, and while we saw several pellets, we could not locate either the Saw-whet or Long-eared Owls that are known to roost in that location. We wrapped up our walk around 2:30 p.m.; despite the steady drizzle and missing on a few species, I thought the day was well spent. The Urban Park Rangers, were excellent hosts and did a very good job of managing the group and everyone's expectations. Lastly, I especially enjoyed the story shared by one of the other birders in the group who recently saw White-winged Crossbills. If you have been following my Crossbills escapades, then you would know that I am still in search of this elusive bird and so listening to the story, I vicariously shared their moment. Share with Bookmark and Share

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