Sunday, February 1, 2015

Some Interesting Happenings in January

A juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk takes refuge in the horse barn
For over 2 weeks in January a juvenile male Sharp-shinned Hawk took refuge in the main horse barn at Spring Farm. Even though he had plenty of opportunities to leave though the main door, he opted instead to remain among the rafters, availing himself of relative warmth, and most importantly, taking advantage of a reliable source of food.  Sharing the living space in the barn were lots of potential prey species including House Sparrows and Pigeons. So really, why would he want to leave? Interestingly, those birds didn't seem to take notice of the Sharp-shin unless he was engaging in a pursuit flight. The sparrows and especially the Pigeons would sometimes even be seen perching quite close to him. They failed to recognize the lion in their midst.
A Carolina Wren frequented the bird feeders though  all of January
Look out! Incoming Titmouse!
An overwintering "Tundrius" Peregrine Falcon in the small village of Clinton
In more raptor news; The Village of Clinton had its very own Peregrine Falcon for over 3 weeks. This overwintering bird was an juvenile Tundrius race of the Peregrine also known as the "Tundra Peregrine". They breed in the far north and  are known to spend the winter further north than the eastern Peregrines we are used to. It was hard to believe that  anything  could interest a Peregrine in Clinton's little "downtown" area, where prey is not that common and very few buildings stand over 4 stories high.
This  immature female Tundra Peregrine  is definitely not one of the Utica falcons
In the cold final days of January, some male cardinals began singing
The female Northern Cardinal is not as showy as her mate, but she's every bit as beautiful
The Swamp White Oaks in the reforestation fields continue to retain their dead leaves

Roots from a not-so-close by Yellow Birch stretch over land and seem to lasso this stump

The decaying body of a long-dead mature tree becomes like a nursery in the swamp - sprouting trees and growing mosses
Trees of 2 species growing together - An American Basswood and an American Beech
An Eastern Hop Hornbeam grows together with an apple tree
The trail camera catches a Gray Fox in the act and on the prowl
The Ermine (Or Short-tailed Weasel) has been leaving footprints everywhere. This one was finally captured by the trail cam
Yesterday a fisher strolled through much of the property and left its large footprints over nearly-half of our trails.
In the woods it's not hard to find Deer beds - Note how the animal's body warmth melted the snow at the center of these beds

A deer kicked up some greens in this place - mostly grass and a few Christmas Ferns
Early in the new year I found one of our festive White Pines holding this balloon - No champagne bottles were found
Another one down from the skies! Natalie is holding up a downed weather balloon!! 

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