Saturday, September 5, 2009

Backyard birding (NH continues) plus reptiles

I saw these birds in the backyard or overhead while in New Hampshire: red-shouldered hawk, turkey vulture, mallard duck, mourning dove, black-capped chickadee, house wren, chimney swift, ruby-throated hummingbird, northern mockingbird, tufted titmouse, white-breasted nuthatch, northern cardinal, blue jay, American robin, gray catbird, common yellow-throated warbler, chipping sparrow, song sparrow, American goldfinch, house finch. There were a pair of vireos I could not make. The hummingbirds, first of the year for me (I'm counting this year, so this was species #169), were seen buzzing by the flowers and trees every day except for the day of the deluge. Two of them came straight towards our midrifts before veering off from about two feet away. The red-shouldered hawks (#170) flew by our last mourning. I kept hearing one in the distance, then saw two circling each other in the sky. They eventually flew right overhead, fairly low, with nice views of their legs dangling (a mating and or territorial move). I had not seen this species before in the East. Raptors can be challenges to identify; the only available guide had some not very helpful photographs, so it wasn't until I got home that I could confirm the ID. Listening to my bird song CD clinched it: the call is distinct.

In addition to the family of ten garter snakes, there are three green frogs that lived in the ornamental pool. We also saw a small toad. Two turtles on the pond, too far away to get a good ID: probably painted. OHS’s aunt and uncle saw three river otters this summer in the pond. They had marked one of the snapping turtle nests, and usually see them emerge in early September

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