Sunday, February 01, 2009

Two "state bird" day

The Owlman and I took a morning birding trip on this Super Bowl Sunday in search of some of the NJ rarities that have been around. Our first stop was down to Collingswood, a suburb of Philadelphia. A plain-old-regular-run-of-the-mill yard that happens to have a really nice feeder setup, some water, and a few evergreen trees surrounding it has been host to a Green-tailed Towhee for the last month or so. The last NJ Green-tailed Towhee was in 1985. It goes to show you never know what will show up where. We were lucky and were treated to splendid views of the Towhee, although my awful photos don't do it justice.
We then headed to the Pole Farm in hope of seeing some owls. No owls, but we encountered a splendid raptor show. We had multiple harriers including 2 "gray ghosts." We also had a gorgeous dark-morph Rough-legged Hawk fly right over us. It was cruising quick and I was a bit slow with the camera but I got the decent shot below. We also saw several Red-tails, a light-morph Rough-legged, and we had crippling views of a Red-shouldered Hawk. Enjoy the pics below. I particularly love the last one. We finished our day at Round Valley Reservoir where we saw an Eared Grebe that had been hanging there for some time now. Two state birds for me in one day! Be sure to check out Quintus's better pics of the Towhee and his report of the day.

Rough-legged Hawk



Red-shouldered Hawk

14 comments:

Vickie said...

I see why you love that last shot. spectacular. What a satisfying outing!

Susan Gets Native said...

Green tailed towhee is the State Bird of NJ???

Kallen305 said...

I have never seen a green tailed towhee. Such nice colors and I love the crest on its head.

Larry said...

Fantastic photo of the Red-shouldered Hawk. I was a fisherman long before I started birding and when I first heard someone shouting Grey Ghosttrolling fly for fishing which goes by the same name.Congrats on the two state birds-owlman brought you good luck.

Patrick Belardo said...

Thanks for the comments on the RS Hawk pic everyone.

@Susan - I wish! It's the Goldfinch for what it's worth.

@Larry - my dad and bro tied flies for a while. The only one I ever remember is the Royal Coachman.

Owlman said...

I've been bad mouthing you on my blog saying we both missed the Rough legged hawk and here it is - nice shot. I knew your red shouldered hawk was going to be crazy hot and you didn't disappoint - nice job! You also got the Towhee in the bush which I missed totally. Cool morning of birding, pity we missed the owls.

Patrick Belardo said...

That was really the only salvageable Towhee shot. THe rest were PITIFUL.

corey said...

I am so jealous...

Anonymous said...

That picture of the red shouldered hawk was amazing--
Love, Mom

dguzman said...

Nice shots! Boy--to go birding with you AND Owlman? What a dream come true that would be! Maybe I should consider moving to Jersey....

Diane C. said...

I agree that "you never know what will show up where." That seems to be reason enough to go out exploring. Great red-shouldered hawk photo!

BirdingMaine said...

I love the Red-shouldered Hawk photo!

Sweet!

Mike said...

Man, a Green-tailed Towhee?!? I never thought I'd miss NJ but now I'm a little sad.

Larry Jordan said...

Hey Patrick, I think the Green-tailed Towhee capture is fine. I would be happy to see one! And the Red-shouldered Hawk is fabulous!

I think one of the best things about birding id what you can find in your own backyard.