Saturday, October 30, 2010

Rough-legged Hawk at Griggstown

As part of my Failure to Find Photogenic Fall Foliage loop trip up the D&R canal on Oct 30th I stopped in at Griggstown Preserve and birded from the parking lot - because I was unwilling to strap on orange to avoid some hunter shooting me. The terrestrial birds around the parking lot were: Eastern Bluebird, Palm Warbler, Song Sparrow. The fly-bys were far more interesting:

  • Multiple flocks of American Pipits, of which the first one was 60++ birds
  • Palm Warblers, seen apparently moving as diurnal migrants
  • Yellow-rumped Warblers, probably just local boys flying around
  • The expected local raptors/vultures: Red-tailed, Black V and Turkey V
  • Rough-legged Hawk, pale morph
I was more than a little surprised at the latter. Although they sometimes do winter at Pole Farm (Lawrenceville) which is probably no more than 20 miles to the south-west, I don't encounter many uncommon raptors away from the hawk watches. The D&R canal is a modest raptor corridor as they follow the river for a little while on their way south, but the terrain is flat and not given to generating uplift like the hillier environment of (say) the Delaware River to the west. There was also a small falcon with it, even further west of me, so small that although I thought it was Kestrel I couldn't rule out Merlin.

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