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Braddock Bay Day

Published April 02, 2014
Tags: General Observations, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Lapland Longspurs, American Kestrel, Red-tailed Hawk

An awful lot of thought and planning went into a trip up to Braddock Bay last week. I wanted to get up to the Hawk Watch on a good flight day and was all set on going on Monday.  Different people and plans entered the picture and things changed up a bit. When all was said and done, Celeste, Betsy, Willie, and I headed up to the Hawk Watch, hoping for some great raptor movements.

Alas, other than a couple of FOY birds (Eastern Phoebe and Tree Swallow), we didn't see much in the way of hawks. A couple of American Kestrels, a Merlin, and a large flock of Snow Geese kept things interesting, but our timing for a good flight was off.  Naturally, the day before and the day after were much better!  Aarrgghh!

As the morning progressed , a frigid wind began to build off the lake so, leaving Luke Tiller and a few others to the Hawk Watch, we left, decided to reward ourselves with a walk through Owl Woods. A Northern Saw-whet Owl had been seen there that morning and we were eager to see the little guy. And what nice views the doll-like owl gave!

After Owl Woods and heading southward, Celeste and Willie both spotted a Krider's Red-tailed Hawk off the Lake Ontario Parkway. We stopped to get photos but unfortunately, they weren't too great and I'm not even posting them.  They were usable for identification, though, and we sent them around to some other experienced birders. The consensus was that the hawk was, indeed, a Krider's (light form of a Red-tailed Hawk), but a hybrid of a Krider's with one of our eastern Red-taileds. Very cool.

On the way home, it was very easy to talk Willie into taking us by the farm field that he had found some Lapland Longspurs in the day before. Happily, they were still around and we found 14 of them! The males were in various stages of changing into their alternate (breeding) plumage and I got my first views of these gorgeous, little arctic field birds all decked out in their spring finest. One little guy even took a long bath in a puddle next to the field and we all enjoyed getting some photos him!

A quick pass down a couple of farm roads on my way towards home yielded a FOY Eastern Meadowlark and an American Kestrel perched on a wire - both making the perfect end to a great day in spite of the poor hawk flight!
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Northern Saw-whet Owl
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Northern Saw-whet Owl
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Killdeer at the Hawk Watch
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Turkey Vulture - one of several that were picking at some carion along the highway with the Krider's Red-tailed Hawk
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Lapland Longspur
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Lapland Longspur taking a bath
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Lapland Longspur
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Lapland Longspur
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Lapland Longspur
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American Kestrel
Reply from: Andrea Burke on 4/10/2014 12:38 AM
 Love the little owl and the Lapland longspurs. I have never seen either of those before. Well, really there are lots of birds that I haven't seen before. Great shots and story of your day.