Friday, March 05, 2010

More Roadside Birding

Yesterday was another glorious early spring day here and so I drove to work via some of the backroads on the Katy Prairie.

As usual, many of the utility poles along the way were serving as perches for Red-tailed Hawks, one of which was a very striking Krider's variant. Unfortunately, the Krider's was perched right on a sharp bend and so I couldn't stop to get a photo.

There were also several Crested Caraca
ras by the roadside and one of them was in a place where it was safe to stop.

A few minutes later I pulled off onto the verge when I spotted a Bald Eagle flying over a field - only to find that the eagle was actually another Caracara.

In many places along my route the verges were busy with flocks of Brewer's Blackbirds and also small groups of Eastern Meadowlarks. However, all these birds flew off as soon as I slowed down to watch them. I finally got lucky when one Meadowlark decided that I wasn't a threat and continued foraging.

While I was watching the Meadowlark, a movement in a nearby hedge caught my eye. It was a House Wren, a bird that I have seen much more often this year than in previous years.

More Hawks
Later in the day I drove a few hundre
d yards from our house to a place where Dee had seen a pair of Cooper's Hawks when she was out walking on Wednesday. The birds were exactly where she had described but they turned out to be Red-shouldered Hawks.

The hawks sat side by side for several minutes while I photographed them.

Then one of them seemed to nudge the other into action.

The nudged bird circled overhead, a magnificent sight against the blue sky ...

while the other stayed and posed for more photos.

This appears to be a good year for Red-shouldered Hawks in our area. We saw a pair at Little Cypress Creek Preserve on Saturday and another pair at El Franco Lee Park on Sunday.


T Shaughnessy said...

Great shots Jeff. Especially Mr & Mrs. R.S. Hawk

Sharon said...

Lovely photos Jeff - you're so lucky to see magnificent birds of prey like that - we've had another Golden Eagle poisoned over here in Ireland :-(

Jeff said...

Thanks, TS. I'm hoping I can get better shots when I visit them in different lighting conditions.

Jeff said...

That's very sad to hear, Sharon. The same sort of thing seems to happen everywhere, either deliberately or by accident.

Birdwoman said...

There's always a lot to see on the prairie, isn't there? The Red-shouldered Hawk pair that claims my neighborhood as home territory has been very vociferous and visibile in recent weeks. It's definitely mating season. And this morning when I went out to pick up my newspaper, I saw a Broad-winged Hawk circling just above my trees. It's been a good season for raptors here.

Jeff said...

I haven't seen a Broad-winged for a while, Birdwoman, but there have been plenty of other raptors around this winter. It'll be a shame when some of them start heading north.