One place I do enjoy visiting when I'm in Mansfield is the Kingwood Center. It's a former estate garden that is free and open to the public. There are fun plants and landscaping as well as black swans, peacocks and guinea fowl running about. There are little dispensers that you can get duck chow and feed that, but there are signs all over requesting that you must not feed the Canada geese.
One strange thing that happened with Non Birding Bill on our trip--he started pointing out birds. Some relatives told us about a nearby bald eagle nest. We drove around with NBB's mom trying to find it and he pointed it first--before me. While we were walking around and enjoying the daffodils at Kingwood, NBB found a hawk--very low and not far away. It was a young red-tailed hawk looking for something small and furry. NBB's mom was impressed. She said, "Bill, I know you say you're not a bird watcher, but you're pointing them out faster than her. I think you are a bird watcher now." I told her not to take it too seriously. NBB has learned from going out with me that the faster we find the bird or nest the faster we can go home. He's learned to spot stuff in self defence.
We enjoyed the red-tail and as we were walking away from it, I heard the familiar kek kek kek kek kek kek kek kek and in flew an adult Cooper's hawk! It bounced from branch to branch getting closer to the red-tail. Even though the Coop's was half the size, it still managed to drive off the red-tail, I think it's erratic dashing from perch to perch and maniacal red eyes just freaked out the larger buteo. It was so cool to see an accipiter and buteo momentarily perched close together. As soon as the young red-tail flew out of the territory the Coop's returned to its origional position on the other side of the woods. Guess I know where it is going to build its nest this year.
The raptors didn't end there. On our way out of the parking lot, we heard a red-shouldered hawk and watched it fly around on the other side of the parking lot. Adult red-shoulders are such beautiful and colorful hawks, it really blended well with the blooming flowers. Not bad--getting three raptors in a small park in Ohio.
I did enjoy all the exotics running around on the estate grounds. The black swan was pretty cool and I loved to watch the Canada geese give it a wide berth as it waddled along. Not long after I took the photo on the left, it made a bee line for me, but I got out if the way in time.
It was fun to witness the change in migration. While down in southern Ohio the first part of our trip, we saw and heard white-throated sparrows all over the yard. When we got to Mansfield, I didn't see or hear any at the in-law's house. But on Monday morning I woke up in the guest room to hear one singing outside our window. I wondered if this bird had been down in southern Ohio on Friday like we were?
Okay, now I totally have to finish packing for Utah. NBB tells me that it snowed but will get warmer. The hotel that I'm staying in has internet access so I should be able to talk about the wacky antics that happen at the Bear River NWR Grand Opening.