Saturday, February 6, 2010


Today I went to the Teatown Lake Reservation Eaglefest, held at Croton Point Park on the Hudson River. As you can tell from the presence of the ice and the penguins in the photo above, it was cold. That seems to be sort of a theme lately.

Almost as soon as we got to the river, an adult eagle flew directly overhead. A good start. After about 10 or fifteen minutes more of scanning, we had added Common Goldeneye and Bufflehead, and went inside to warm up and see some captive/rehab raptors and owls. The presentation was interesting, and the birds obviously more cooperative for photos than their wild counterparts
We went back outside, where I photographed goldeneye and bufflehead. 

We had heard that there was another spot nearby that was good for eagles, so we headed over. We arrived, and I saw a trio of Redheads (the ducks, not the humans) diving at little ways out in the inlet. Life bird! A Ruddy Duck, which I could not find for all of 2009, was also there. And sure enough, there were a couple of eagles, first a distant one and then a young bird flying near around the treeline.    

Just after leaving the spot, an adult eagle flew right over our car. 

The next stop was the Yellow-headed Blackbird, normally a bird of the western and central U.S., that had been hanging around the Pruyn Sanctuary, the headquarters of Saw Mill River Audubon, for a few weeks. The bird hadn't been seen for 6 days until it was relocated yesterday afternoon. 

We got lost getting there, but eventually found the place. There were 5 people already watching. The bird had been in a large flock of primarily Red-winged Blackbirds with scattered cowbirds since 2:30, but it was not in view now. After ten minutes or so of scanning the flock, I spotted the bird in a tree overlooking the center/office. Yes!!! Lifer #2 for the day.

Can you tell which one it is?

Over the next 15-30 minutes the bird stayed still for a while, then moved to a couple of different spots, including on the ground near to us once very briefly. I got great looks and pathetically bad photos. 
More photos and info about this bird are here:

You can tell what it is from the photos, at least:

Digiscoping is not fun. Even with someone else's really nice scope:

Still, National Geographic-worthy shots or not, it was a great bird and a fun trip. 

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