I left home a little earlier than usual yesterday and so had time to drive to work via Longenbaugh Road, where I was hoping to add a Crested Caracara to my year list. There are almost always Caracaras along Longenbaugh although Dee and I didn't see any when we birded there last week.
This visit was more typical and I saw a Caracara within two minutes of turning onto Longenbaugh. So that was year bird #61. It let me take a couple of photos ...
before flying off.
I stopped along Porter Road End to photograph a Red-tailed Hawk. When she flew off, she was accompanied by another Red-tailed, presumably her partner. Their flight path cut across that of another raptor, a Northern Harrier.
Later in the morning I spent my coffee break doing a brief birding walk. The soccer fields had their usual complement of Mourning Doves, European Starlings, Common Grackles, Savannah Sparrows, Killdeer and Eastern Meadowlarks, while our resident Northern Mockingbirds were everywhere.
I reached the nature trail to find it was totally silent. I soon realized why it was so quiet when I came across a Cooper's Hawk in one of the trees. (Year bird #62.) Once the Cooper's had flown, Northern Cardinals and Yellow-rumped Warblers appeared. Then I was serenaded by a Carolina Wren, a common bird but one that I hadn't seen or heard on the campus since last spring.
I really like it when birds tell you their names. It makes IDing them so much easier!
A flyover by two Double-crested Cormorants added #63 to my year list.