This morning (Tuesday 27 Dec) Laurie and I took a second lovely walk in Hammond Hill State Forest. Having gone there Christmas day to not see Bob's White-winged Crossbills, today we went to not see his Northern Goshawk. Again I was not surprised, because both species are wide-ranging and flighty. 

After the rain started, and we were leaving, we met Ann & Gary arriving, and having not heard from them since, I assume they were also unsuccessful, or perhaps embarrassed to admit they started on a walk in the rain. It's comforting to me to know I'm not the craziest one in this crowd. 

We had two interesting sightings, however. One was a BELTED KINGFISHER on a wire by someone's house along Irish Settlement Road south of Hammond Hill Road. Whoever's doing the Christmas Bird Count there should look north of the house with the carriage house with 3 cars.  Just nose into the driveway and look to your right, then smile and wave to the guy in the yard, and he probably won't hurt you.  

The other interesting bird was in the state forest along Hammond Hill Road at the top of the hill next to the parking lot. Among a flock of about 30 DARK-EYED JUNCOS was one male with white ear patches. The unusual marks were symmetrical and very chic. We hope they catch on among the populace in future generations. Maybe a photographer would enjoy re-finding it.

Nearly all our birds were found along the roads and most within the first 200 yards. Other finds included a flock of BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES and RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES, an AMERICAN CROW, and a BLUE JAY. It is possible that starting before 11:20am would have given us better odds at finding active birds. 

--Dave Nutter

On Dec 26, 2011, at 12:01 PM, bob mcguire <> wrote:

Last Saturday I decided to explore the north end of Hammond Hill SF,
an area I almost never visit. As noted then, my reward was a pair of
White-winged Crossbills flying over and stopping for the briefest of
moments. Today I walked a different route: north on the ATV track
(Star Stanton Road, then left just after it breaks from Hammond Hill
Rd), to the end and then back on green trails (G2 and G1) to SS Rd.
Bird-wise, it was mostly chickadees, 1 Brown Creeper, and a few Blue
Jays — until a large, light-colored (undersides) bird flew through the
hemlocks to perch out of sight close by. At first I thought "Red-
tail", given the size and coloration (and not goshawk because it did
not show gray). I played the Red-tail call - no response. Then I
played the goshawk call, and it responded immediately! It called
several times, and, fortunately, I had my recorder along and got some
of it on tape. Blue Jays came in to mob it, and eventually it took
off, circling away to the north. At that point I got a better look at
the shape, especially the long, narrow tail. Juvenile NORTHERN GOSHAWK.

Hammond Hill has about two inches of new snow and makes for a
delightful walk.

Bob McGuire


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