This is the post that I was debating about: is it too much information? But Non Birding Bill said that is was gold...hm, interesting choice of words in hindsight.
I was bebopping around in Mr. Neil's woods on Sunday. I was in hot pursuit of a ruffed grouse and the report that a black-backed woodpecker had been seen (I did not see it). After spending so much time trying to get photos of fox sparrows on Saturday, I was amused at how abundant and cooperative they were for my camera. Note the guy above. He just perched right above me in the woods and sat for several minutes. We're banding at Mr. Neil's on Sunday, I hope a few stick around.
It did seem to be a brown bird bonanza day. I was trying to get a photo of a brown creeper, but boy they just do not sit still. I got this shot and then aimed my scope up a few feet higher in anticipation of getting the perfect shot...
The woods were full of hermit thrushes foraging on the ground. I love these birds. They are so secretive when they feed, it's hard to remember that they are the glorious singers we'll soon hear up north. I lost total track of how long I was in the woods chasing down all these brown birds. As I was following the thrushes, I heard a red-tailed hawk call from not too far behind me. It's sound I hear the education red-tails at The Raptor Center make in their mews. I wondered if there was one on territory nearby. I know a pair is nesting nearby, but did not think that the nest would be in this direction. I soon found myself far off on a path I do not normally travel looking for the nest. The sound of the red-tail was getting louder and louder, but I couldn't see anything in the bare trees that looked like a hawk nest. I reached the end of the path, it ended right at a bend in the creek. I noticed that I had a dire need to pee. There was a place just right for needs, and I assumed the position. From that angle, there was a clearing in some tangled buckthorn with a view of some pines across the creek:
Oh hey! check out that lump in the pine. I couldn't see it when standing on the path, but from this lower angle, it was quite visible. I finished what I started and then got the large lump in the scope.
I watched for about five minutes and then saw a large lump emerge. That looks like a hawk. Then to confirm it, I heard the loud, scratchy "keeeeeer" of a second red-tail--right over head. Then a third bird appeared. There was lots of screaming and it looked like a territory skirmish was underway. The red-tail in the nest took to the sky and the two hawks drove out the third.
After the intruder left, both red-tails returned to the nest. I was excited to find the nest, but a tad bummed that it is not in a place that is easy to photograph from a distance. Once the buckthorn leafs out, it will be well hidden.
I worried about posting this because, me peeing in the woods might be too much info and really, do you need that image floating around in your head? But as I said, NBB said "How can you not blog about peeing in the woods?"
Anyway, it led to finding a cool nest.