Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years Eve is for the Birds!

Some folks go out to party...I prefer to go birding!
Sandy Ridge has a fantastic wetland and meadow to meander in.

New Years Eve and it's over 50 degrees! AND sunny out! If you're not from northern Ohio you might not understand how odd this is. I'm not complaining though! I went out and spent the late morning and afternoon at Sandy Ridge Reservation, part of the Lorain County Metropark system. If you've never been out there, give it a try. Every season has something special to see.

There were quite a few people out on the trails, and a very friendly group too! A nice fellow birder asked if I had spotted the Great Horned Owls that are nesting here. I hadn't and he was kind enough to lead me over the icy paths to both of the owls. Birders are great folks!

I spent some time along that area showing a few other people the Owls as well. On my way back I met Vic, a great photographer and offered to show him the Owls. Go figure, I couldn't find them again. It's rough getting old...

Where's Waldo?
That lump in the middle is the first Great Horned Owl.

I STILL didn't get that 800mm lens(Santa, are you listening?!)
Here's Great Horned Owl number two.

Oh look! An American Tree Sparrow in an American tree...

Trees in marshes don't fair too well.
The Red-headed Woodpeckers love to nest in these dead trees.

The only ducks about were these Mallards and a dozen of their relatives.
I don't understand why they were flying around so much...

Oh, here's the reason!
This is a female Northern Harrier, she was being chased by...

...this male Northern Harrier. He, like most men, gave up and went wandering away.

They were closely followed by this Bald Eagle.
Amazingly, they have a nest close by, right over a large housing development.
It was a good day for raptors!

I watched a pair of Red-tailed Hawks circling high above.
I had hoped they would come lower...and closer.
At least one came lower!

Not all of the ice has melted.

The Song Sparrows were enjoying the warmth.
I could hear them singing in the cattails!

Near the feeders at the nature center I found this Tufted Titmouse chowing down
along with Black-capped Chickadees and a White-breasted Nuthatch.

This grumpy little White-crowned Sparrow wants to say "Happy New Year", but he's a bird and birds can't speak. Duh!