Thursday encounters

Kingfishers are usually restless fast-moving birds, so it’s rare to have on sit still, not only long enough for me to photograph it, but long enough for me to go into the house and get my camera!

  

I stopped on a back road to watch a family of Eastern Bluebirds on the power line when a flash of black and rust ran by. A large tomcat chased a Red Fox into a field, then stood hunchbacked, tail lashing, as the fox sat avoiding eye contact. A few minutes of uneasy detente punctuated by deep cat-growls, and the fox trotted off into the underbrush and the victorious cat strutted home.

Just before dusk I drove to the Albany Pine Bush nature center to watch for migrating Common Nighthawks. Two streaked overhead as I arrived, and a third repeatedly circled over the trees at the parking lot’s edge. There must have been a cloud of delicious insects. As the sun set a sharp-eyed watcher observed a huge distant flock of circling birds, at least 50 of them. They were too far off to get any details, but we pieced together enough (sharp wing-points as seen by scope, quicker wing-beats than hawks or crows, just ‘not flying like’ broadwings which also form kettles) to be fairly confident they were Nighthawks. Between one breath and another, the whole flock disappeared.

Otherwise things were quiet there, with only a flyby Kestrel and two Woodcocks in addition to a few expected birds settling down for the night. Off to the east, someone was getting an impressive thunderstorm.

The road to Kestrel Hill was damp and frogs hopped, called, and died. A raccoon munched on the little bodies, stopping only to glare at me when I coasted to a stop to watch him. I drove on, and he returned to foraging.

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Categories: Bird photos, Mammals too | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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