Sunday, February 1, 2009

Feelin’ groovy…because I saw five White-winged Crossbills and a Sharpy today!

After reading White-winged Crossbills were sighted once again in Spring Grove Cemetery on the Birding in Cincinnati site and on the Nutty Birder site, I high-tailed it down there today. I drove around with my windows open for about an hour, listening and looking, but had no luck with the crossbills. I did, however, see a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. I heard his call first, then stopped the car and looked, and there he was. His yellow belly was such a pretty pale yellow it made smile (or maybe it was just saying his name...there's no doubt about it, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is fun to say).

I soon came to a section with several parked cars and people with binocs. This was a good sign. I parked and walked over. Three crossbills had just left about 20 minutes earlier. In their place, a Sharp-shinned Hawk (life bird for me). I was amazed at how small he was. He remained in the tree for a long time, occasionally flying out and circling. Earlier I had photographed what I assumed was a Cooper’s Hawk on a statue of a soldier, but it may have been the Sharp-shinned Hawk. It seemed too small for a Cooper’s when I photographed it.  


We waited about 45 minutes. The sharpy kept coming back to the hemlock. Apparently he was looking for the crossbills too. Eventually I heard their twittering, and we looked up and watched five of them fly into a pine. I fired off a shot, but it’s not great. You can sort of see the crossed bill and the rosy color. They chose the tallest tree to feed in, and my lens was not powerful enough for a decent shot. That’s okay. My binocs were just fine and I was able to add another lifer to my list. Crossbills are very quiet when feeding (just like us, I guess), but as soon as they took off in flight, their twittering was loud and clear.

8 comments:

Nitro said...

Way to go Kelly!

Roy said...

Cool! Yup, that's a Sharpy. I need to post on my blog the article I posted on Gather.com about my experience with a Sharpy about 2 weeks ago. I was walking back home from the library when I almost literally walked into a juvenile Sharpy sitting on a hedge; and since hedges are where Sparrows retreat to, I know what he/she was doing there! Heh, heh. We had a good 15 minute photo shoot. As I saidm I need to post that here on Blogger as well.

Eric Ripma said...

Congrats on the Crossbills. They are such cool birds.

Kallen305 said...

You lucky duck!! I was looking for them today too but no prize.

I love the photo of the hawk on the statue.

Heather said...

Congrats Kelly! That is so cool. Sounds like you should head back to that spot during the Great Backyard Bird Count!

Kelly said...

Nitro: Thanks!
Roy: Yeah! Thanks for identifying the Sharp-shinned Hawk. I'm always a bit hesitant to commit to hawk IDs. I'm getting better, slowly.
Eric: Thanks. I loved seeing them fly as a flock, chittering and twittering, and then watching them use their unique bills to grab the seeds from the pine cones.
Kallen: Thanks. You've inspired me to hunt the Hooded Merganser. I hope to find one this week.

Kelly said...

Heather: I just posted my backyard bird list. I'm accepting your challenge to the Ohio Bird Bloggers to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count of February. I WISH the crossbills would fly into my back yard. I do have a few hemlocks with lots of little pine cones...and regular Eastern pines too...

ByLaura said...

HELLOOO!