This October seemed to be a very good month for patch birding this year. I set a goal to find at least 100 species, to find more places to bird, and look for as many new patch birds as possible. I started October off with a Harris's Hawk (a patch bird) , who flushed from the cottonwoods that line the Buckeye Canal west of Jackrabbit Trail. The bird took flight and never stopped flying southeast at least when I was watching it. However, I could see the distinctive black tail with white on both ends and its broad rufous colored wings. Then it got even better when I found my first lowland Red-breasted Nuthatch foraging in a couple of large cottonwoods!
Things started to slow down towards the middle of October, I did less birding because my parents left on an out of country trip and I was staying with some friends that live only about a mile south of us, which is now part of my patch. But even with limited birding I still found some awesome birds like Blue Grosbeak, Crissal Thrasher, and Eared Grebe. By the 14th I was already at 103! But due to some confusion in listing I only thought I was at 93. So I was trying super hard to get to the 100 mark that I already beat without knowing. The highlight for the 14th was a flock of three Greater White-fronted Geese that flew over me and landed in the canal.
After my morning of birding with Mr. Gordon and a day with some family from CA I asked my parents if I could go biking and they said yes.So, I biked on down to the canal and before I reached Jackrabbit Trail going east along the canal I saw a small Accipiter like hawk fly up out of a ditch and up into a tree. When I saw the bird flying my first thought was a Coopers but, once I found the bird pearched I started to really think.
Another highlight was when I emailed Mr. Tommy D some photos. It was of an owl which I thought may have been a Long-Eared Owl that I had found last December, but was actually a Short-eared Owl!!! Here is the story.
On December 16th of 2012, I was out biking when I noticed a couple of raptors flying. I put my binocs on one of the birds and saw it was a Red-tailed Hawk, so I ASSUMED the other bird flying with it was also a RTHA as well. Five minutes later the birds were still circling in the thermals, and I finally took a look at the other bird just to make sure that it wasn't anything different. To my surprise I noticed it was an owl!!!
The bird was not a Barn or Great Horned Owl because Barn is much whiter and Great Horned is much larger, so I thought it must be some type of Eared Owl! Once I got back I thought the bird was a LEOW because SEOW's are not supposed to be here (according to field guides) but nearly a year later I sent my photos to Mr. Tommy and he says it is a SEOW! After he pointed out the field marks I could not believe I didn't see them. Here are the photos I sent him.
Short-eared Owl in my patch!!!
We call him "Beautimous Bob the Bald Eagle"