Sunday, December 30, 2012

Fox Sparrow

Before the snow's arrival yesterday, I walked through Rutgers Gardens. I started out by walking through the ornamental conifers to see if anything unusual was hanging around them. There was very little activity, so I moved on. My impression is that there are not a lot of seed cones on them, so winter finches there are probably unlikely.

From there I walked through Helyar Woods. There were quite a lot of trees down in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. A lot of trails were blocked by fallen trees, especially the trails close to the lake, which are blocked in multiple places.

There was some bird activity in the woods, but the best birding was in the meadow that is across Route 1 from Sears. One of the first birds I heard there was a Winter Wren; I would see another one further out in the meadow. There were a lot of White-throated Sparrows around, and then a Fox Sparrow popped up and perched on top of a multiflora rose tangle. That made it my 221st bird species in Middlesex County and my 195th in the county for the year. I saw three Fox Sparrows in all, one of which was singing, including the one in the photograph above. Other birds in the meadow included Golden-crowned Kinglets, Yellow-rumped Warblers, and a Hermit Thrush (also a county year bird).

On a sad note, there was a dead Cooper's Hawk near the bamboo forest. From the plumage and size, I would say that it was an adult female. The cause of death was not visibly obvious, but the location suggests an auto collision.