Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sunday Bird Walk - Somewhere Else

Today wasn't the official Sunday bird walk; that was last Sunday, but officially it was called off because the Norman Bird Sanctuary, where we start from, was having its annual Harvest Fair. My friend Mark (who has been leading the walks since our usual guide Jay Manning ruptured his achilles tendon in August) and I had planned to do our own thing, but he had family come visit, so we postponed to today. And today we decided to go to a place Jay likes to go - the fields around Sisson's and St. Mary's Ponds in Portsmouth, and an extra trip just down the road to the fields and woods behind Newport Vineyards and Winery. The fields are great because they host a wide variety of Winter Sparrows (White-throated, Vesper, Savannah, Sharp-tailed, and others) and Hawks, and the ponds are home to an equally wide variety of Winter waterfowl.

There was lots to see today. Lots of Hawks - we're in the midst of the Fall hawk migration, and we saw 3 or 4 Northern Harriers in different places, 2 Ospreys cruising over the ponds, 3 Redtail Hawks cruising over Newport Vineyards, a Merlin and a Sharp-shinned Hawk in the fields around Sisson's and St. Mary's, and a Cooper's Hawk in the fields behind the vineyards. The fields around Sisson's and St. Mary's were full of Sparrows and, oddly enough, Fall Warblers; the ponds featured some American Widgeons and a ton of Ruddy Ducks, along with a steadily-growing population of Canada Geese. Most of all of this was out of camera range, but I did manage to get some usable shots.

This Osprey caught his breakfast in Sisson's Pond and retreated to the nearest utility pole to chow down.

A White-throated Sparrow in the Sisson's & St. Mary's fields.

A Palm Warbler in the Sisson's & St. Mary's fields.

One of about four immature Black-bellied Plovers on the shore of St. Mary's Pond.

An American Coot on Sisson's Pond.

There's a 3-foot Alligator living in Sisson's Pond, obviously one of those little pets that somebody dumped when it got too big. This is one of the traps set out to catch it. We kept a close eye on Mark's little terrier Leo while we were in this area!

The view across the fields behind Newport Vineyards toward Albro Woods. Fall is painting this area, too.

Tomorrow I'll be going down to Ballard Park and Gooseneck Cove, so you won't miss your weekly dose of my spiritual home!

© 2010 by A. Roy Hilbinger


  1. I haven't seen an Osprey since June. You were lucky to capture him with the freshly caught fish! that little plover (haven't seen one of those since April).

  2. Good gracious : alligator traps in the pond. Great pictures as always Roy.