Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Van Courtlandt Bird Walk Report 12-17-2011...

Our Saturday morning walk began with our now regular practice of scanning the fields. Canada Geese were gathering on the parade grounds, so I held the group back and watched the Geese arrive. The numbers seemed more than what we had seen in the past few weeks, so I was optimistic of finding something new...perhaps a Cackling Goose. As we moved onto the field to get a better look, I spotted a Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons) flying in with the flock. I was elated! The GWFG was still here after all. We had missed this bird the last few weeks and our thoughts were it had moved on since no one had posted about the bird, but here it was. We had a great opportunity to observe the Greater White-fronted Goose feed as there was very little activity on the field and that allowed the Geese to roam without any concern. After spending some time observing the flock and scanning for Cackling Goose, which we did not find we began our hike around the VC lake. Here and there we picked up a few passerines, but nothing unusual. Waterfowl numbers were very low and only a few Hooded Mergansers (Lophodytes cucullatus) were of note on the lake. Bird seed near the bridge by the golf course brought in a few of the usual suspects and the group enjoyed close up views of Red-bellied Woodpeckers and White-breasted Nuthatches. We completed our loop of the lake and headed towards the restoration area where a female Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) provided us with great looks. Passerine movement like last week was slow and so we ended our walk soon after with 26 species. See below for a complete list.

Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons)
Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus)
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)
Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii)
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)
Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)
Rock Pigeon (Columba livia)
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)
Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)
Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)
Fish Crow (Corvus ossifragus)
Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor)
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)
Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)
Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana)
White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

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