Sunday, November 13, 2011

Winding Down

Yesterday I walked through Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary to see what sort of birds were moving through. I followed the field loop trail and part of the dogwood trail, for those familiar with the preserve. Most of the trees were already bare, with most of the exceptions being beeches or oaks. The preserve looked so different from the last time I was there in late summer.

The trails were fairly quiet with only a few small flocks of birds being active. Most of them were common resident species, but Dark-eyed Juncos and Hermit Thrushes marked the onset of winter birding. A couple hawks passed overhead: a Red-tailed Hawk and a Cooper's Hawk. The constantly agitated behavior of the American Crow flocks suggested that there might be more raptors around than those two.

The exception to the small flocks rule were large roaming flocks of blackbirds. The biggest one I saw mostly consisted of Red-winged Blackbirds, maybe about 100 in all. Among them were a small number of Brown-headed Cowbirds and two Rusty Blackbirds. There were also Common Grackles in another flock.

Most of the plants in the meadows were dying back, with only the dried stalks still standing.