Monday, November 21, 2011

Birding 11-19- 2011 : Willow Creek: Pahrump: (Nye County)

November 19, 2011, five us met at the Willow Creek Parking lot and birded together. It was a active day for hawks.
I would like to thank Richard and Carol Cantino, Kristie Abromowitz and Debby Woodland for birding with me. It was a great day to bird!

We had some identification issues which I am listing here as they were different in so many ways. The Red-shouldered Hawk was not vocal at all today and we had trouble locating him.

The Prairie Falcon was sitting in a Cottonwood tree and was all puffed up because of the cold. He was watching the Rock Pigeons and did not make any attempt to go after them for about ten minutes. At first I thought he might be an immature Peregrine Falcon, but then he flew  out of the tree and sailed out to travel out the course before us, I could see the dark armpits.

The American Kestrel flew quickly across the field and landed in a Cottonwood tree, he was mostly covered by tree leaves which is not usual for the Kestrel's I see at Willow Creek as I usually see them sitting out in the open on telephone wires or branches of trees.  I was on the right side of the Cottonwood tree and could only see the breast and one part of the wing. The breast was rufous with blue gray in the wing. I could not see the face or the tail.  I also did not see him clearly when he flew into the tree so I did not get an idea of his size. Debby said he looked small to her when he flew so I was beginning to think this might be a falcon.When I went on the side of the tree, that Carol was on, I could see  the face and see that it was an American Kestrel. Carol, already knew it was an American Kestrel, but she had not said anything to me yet as I thought it might be a Cooper's Hawk.

We learned why the American Kestrel, was so hidden, he came out of the tree, into a hovering position and then down to pick up a mouse and landed on another Cottonwood tree and started eating his breakfast.

The Northern Harrier, was flying very high and I am use to Harrier's in this area  flying lower.  I thought he was a  Red-tailed Hawk at first as he was so high we could not identify him at all. There was no side to side teetering to identify him as a Harrier. His wings were slightly drooped. Then he dropped down suddenly with his wings swept back and I could see that he was a Northern Harrier by his rump and gray back and the motion of his wings.

As we turned around a Red-tailed Hawk was trying to get away from a Common Raven that was chasing it

I was not sure we were going to see any hawks because of the coolness of the start of the morning, but when it warmed up the hawks all seemed to be active in the one area we were birding in. This is unusual in itself as it usually takes at least 3-4 hours to see this many hawks at one time.

Birds species seen today (32)

Pied-billed Grebe (eating a fish)
Great-Blue Heron
American Wigeon
Northern Shoveler
Ring-necked Duck
Ruddy Duck
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Prairie Falcon
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Greater Roadrunner
Hummingbird (was not identified)
Red-naped Sapsucker
Ladder-backed Woodpecker
Say's Phoebe
Common Raven
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
American Pipit
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon's and Myrtle's)
White-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored (2) Oregon (3)
Western Meadowlark
Red-winged Blackbird
Great-tailed Grackle
Brewer's Blackbird
House Finch
House Sparrow

Submitted by

Darlene Feener