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A Southerntier Birding Drive

Published January 17, 2015
Tags: General Observations, Wild Turkey, Cooper's Hawk, Northern Harrier, Ring-necked Pheasant, Short-eared Owl

Longing for spring, I decided to go for a drive yesterday afternoon just to see what bird species I could find down in the southerntier. It wasn't a terribly productive day, but I did see some nice sights.

Near Spraguebrook, a group of about 30 Tundra Swans flew overhead, followed by a stream of American Crows. Both groups must have had an agenda but the swans were in a tight V-formation with an obvious leader. The crows were loosely flowing, all in the same direction.

A little later, I stopped to watch a group of 10 Wild Turkeys foraging in a snow-covered corn field. I spotted an adult Cooper's Hawk perched in a tree and stopped to get a few photos. I left it to its pursuits and soon found a beautiful male, Northern Harrier hunting out near Letchworth behind a pitstop I made in Wyoming County. A little later, I had a nice roadside view of a Ring-necked Pheasant, his colors glowing in the setting sun.

I swung by to see if any Short-eareds were out, and sure enough, I saw five Short-eared Owls on the hunt. By then, it was getting pretty dark, so photos were mediocre, at best, but it was still fun to watch them interact and listen to their "barks".
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Northern Harrier hunting near a pitstop in Wyoming County
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Northern Harrier
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Ring-necked Pheasant
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Ring-necked Pheasant
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Short-eared Owl
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Short-eared Owl
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Wild Turkeys
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Cooper's Hawk