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Flock of Redpolls

Published January 10, 2013
Tags: General Observations, Common Redpoll, Red-shouldered Hawk, American Tree Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco

I ran out for a couple of hours today to see if I could find the often reported White-winged Crossbills in Elma - plus I had hopes to find the elusive Snow Bunting.  The Snow Bunting is quickly becoming my nemesis bird!

The day was gorgeous: lots of sun and a mild temp - perfect for a quick adventure!

I started in Elma, scanning the spruce trees for the crossbills, but no luck there.  Eventually, I gave up and headed East towards Cowlesville.  I saw so many farm fields where Snow Buntings "should be" but no luck with the buntings either. 

Along one farm road, I stopped to take a closer look at a bird perched in a short tree near the road.  There were so few birds, spotting one in a tree was worth stopping for!  It turned out it was an American Tree Sparrow.  Another joined it and then, yet another. Hmmm....  I got out of the car with my binoculars and scanned the farm fields in front of me.  All of a sudden, a large flock of birds flew up, swirled around, and landed in a spot a little further in. Snow Buntings?

I was quite sure I had found Snow Buntings, so: boots on, camera in hand, tripod, binoculars - I trudged through the field to get a closer look.   I quickly grabbed a few photos - but all of a sudden, the flock scattered to the wind - what?!  Ohhhhhh, it was a hawk!  It dove into the middle of the flock and left without its dinner.  I THINK it was a Red-shouldered!  This would be a life-lister for me, but neither the look I got nor the photo I took just weren't good enough to claim it for sure.

The photos later revealed the flock was NOT of Snow Buntings but of Common Redpolls.  Ah well, the Snow Buntings still elude me - maybe tomorrow...
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Common Redpoll
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Dark-eyed Junco? It just doesn't look like a regular junco to me...
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American Tree Sparrows
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American Tree Sparrow
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Red-shouldered Hawk?
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Redpolls
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Redpolls
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Redpolls
Reply from: Mike on 1/11/2013 10:54 AM
 Sue- I think you are right on the hawk. It could def be a Red-shouldered.