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American Woodcocks and Eastern Towhee at Tifft

Published March 27, 2014
Tags: Parks and Preserves, American Woodcock, Eastern Towhee, Song Sparrow, American Tree Sparrow, Red-tailed Hawk, Great Blue Heron, Hooded Merganser, Red-breasted Merganser, Killdeer, Red-winged Blackbird

A late afternoon walk through Tifft Nature Preserve today brought a real surprise bird for me: an American Woodcock. TWO, actually!  At first I thought I startled a grouse when I flushed the bird. Its coloration made me think Ruffed Grouse (would-be life bird!) but some texting back and forth to Willie D'Anna revealed American Woodcock by the description of the bird's whistling departure.  Apparently, only two birds, the Mourning Dove and the American Woodcock, "whistle" as they fly. It was most definitely not a Mourning Dove, so we decided American Woodcock. 

A little later, I laid eyes on it again - and then a third time - and then, awhile later, I saw another woodcock foraging in a field at the other end of the preserve.  I was really glad I was able to capture a few photos of this one - poor photos, but identifiable photos nonetheless.

As I was watching the area the first flushed woodcock disappeared into, I heard a scratching noise behind me.  Turning, I found a male Eastern Towhee scratching around in the underbrush across the path.  For the life of me, I couldn't get a clear shot of him, but one partial photo is attached.

Song Sparrows were everywhere.  It's wonderful to have them back!  I found several American Tree Sparrows, Northern Cardinals, one Killdeer, a Red-tailed Hawk, and of course, the ubiquitous, cute, little Black-capped Chickadees looking for hand outs.

I didn't see one Blue Jay, which I thought odd - and the Osprey have not returned yet and no phoebes either...
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American Woodcock
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American Woodcock
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American Woodcock
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Eastern Towhee scratching in the underbrush
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Song Sparrow
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American Tree Sparrow
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Black-capped Chickadee
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Male and female Downy Woodpeckers
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Hooded Merganser
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Great Blue Heron
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Pileated Woodpecker - a couple of days earlier
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White-tailed deer - a couple of days earlier