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> On May 1, 2018, at 11:00 AM, Mark Chao <> wrote:
> I had a lot of gratifying bird encounters around Ithaca on Tuesday morning.  
> Here are some highlights.
> * The GREAT HORNED OWL mother and her two chicks still at their nest in the 
> center of the Newman Municipal Golf Course (5:50 AM).  The chicks are now 
> about 4/5 the size of the mother, but are still covered with down.  As far as 
> I can tell, one owlet has essentially fully mature flight feathers, while the 
> other’s secondaries are still encased in their long sheaths, at least on one 
> wing.   
> Even aside from their outward physical development, it’s clear that the 
> owlets are very close to leaving the nest.  Maybe especially in the early 
> morning, they stand at the lip of the nest like little kids at the edge of a 
> pool, half-petrified and half-eager to take the plunge.  They stretch and 
> flap their new wings.  They bob their heads restlessly, side to side and back 
> to front to back, like Pernell Whitaker slipping punches.  They gaze around, 
> often straight up to the sky, evidently absorbing and mentally mapping all 
> the new sights and sounds around them.  It doesn’t take a lot of imagination 
> to see child-like wonder in their eyes at these times.
> On Sunday evening, I saw the mother for the first time this spring away from 
> the nest, about 30 meters away in a separate patch of trees.  I don’t know if 
> she was encouraging the babies to branch out, or just giving everyone a bit 
> more space, or preparing to forage.  (I have seen the adult male nearby a few 
> times this spring, but not for a couple of weeks now.)
> * A pair of EASTERN BLUEBIRDS building a nest in a box on the berm that 
> crosses the main pond in Sapsucker Woods.
> * A pair of COMMON RAVENS flying in wide circles around the main pond, 
> sometimes chased by crows and once by a COOPER’S HAWK.  Prior to this year, I 
> had seen ravens only as solitary flyby birds, but this year many birders have 
> been seeing one or two every day over the past couple of weeks.  I heard a 
> mind-boggling rumor this morning that people have seen at least one of these 
> ravens taking Canada Goose eggs.  Has anyone confirmed other behavior that 
> would indicate or confirm breeding here?
> * Two NORTHERN WATERTHRUSHES countersinging across the Woodleton Boardwalk, 
> and another Northern Waterthrush singing at the edge of the green pond across 
> the trail from the Sherwood Platform.  The latter waterthrush sang a very 
> distinctive song that ended with a high squeak.
> * One BROWN THRASHER also across the trail from the Sherwood Platform.  At 
> one point I had both the thrasher and the waterthrush in the same field of 
> view, which I think must have been a first for me.  The thrasher eventually 
> sang a little too.
> * A dazzling BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER singing and working his way south 
> from near the thrasher/waterthrush area to the Charley Harper bench.
> * A western PALM WARBLER also along the western pond edge.
> * One BROAD-WINGED HAWK perched near the Wilson/West intersection, then 
> flying through the treetops to the west.  Later, I saw another Broad-winged 
> Hawk flying west over the Woodleton Boardwalk.  (I am looking forward to 
> seeing how many people count over the next few days…)
> Mark Chao
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