Thursday, January 7, 2010

Goose Pond FWA - SkyWatch Friday

Bald Eagle flying over Goose Pond FWA

After birding Lake Michigan on Tuesday, Rob and I headed south to Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area to look for waterfowl and raptors. We had a very exciting start when we spotted a falcon that was heading east over the highway. Luckily there was a spot to pull off the road and we were able to get binocular views of a Prairie Falcon. One or two Prairie Falcons usually winter a few miles west of this location but none had been seen yet this winter.

After seeing the falcon we decided to change our plans and go to Beehunter Marsh since the falcon was flying in that direction. We were not able to relocate the falcon but did have a good assortment of sparrows. We were able to find a small flock of Savannah Sparrows and the only Swamp Sparrow that we saw all day. We also saw a few White-crowned which is one of my favorite sparrows.

We then birded around Goose Pond FWA south of Linton, Indiana. One of the highlights was watching a Bald Eagle sitting by its nest, then flying down low over the marsh to grab some grasses to take back to use for building the nest. In the same area we were able to watch about 5 American Pipits along with many American Tree Sparrows and a few Eastern Meadowlarks. There was also a small group of Tundra Swans resting on the ice but the marsh was completely frozen.

A first winter Red-tailed Hawk

After getting some lunch we decided to bird around Greene-Sullivan State Forest (GSSF) and Hawthorn Mine. We were able to count many raptors at Hawthorn Mines with 20 Rough-legged Hawks and 19 Northern Harriers. One of the ponds at the Mine had some open water and was loaded with waterfowl throughout the day. There were many Ring-necked Ducks along with lesser numbers of Redhead and American Wigeon. We also drove south of the mine to look for Northern Shrike without luck but we did find a pond that had many Greater White-fronted Geese and one Cackling Goose.

We then spent some time birding in Greene-Sullivan State Forest with some good birds. The State Forest is an old strip mine. Some how I had still not yet seen a Brown Creeper or a Hairy Woodpecker in 2010 both of which we found in the forest. We also had a couple Red-headed Woodpeckers and a Pied-billed Grebe in one of the unfrozen portions of one of the lakes. In the evening we went back to Hawthorn and only saw 1 Short-eared Owl.

A Short-eared Owl against the evening sky.

Check out more SkyWatch Friday posts here!

Good Birding-Eric


Sylvia K said...

Love your shots! The eagle and owl are beautiful and the lovely skies make a perfect backdrop!

Have a great weekend!


Eve said...

Wow - wonderful eagle photos! I never seem to be able to get close enough to take a photo. They usually glare at me as I approach, then just as I get ready to take a photo, they fly off (and always in the wrong direction). I think they're mocking me. ;)

clairz said...

That first shot is so beautiful--the colors, all arranged in strata, the lighting, the action. But if we were voting (which of course, we're not) I would have to pick the third photo as my absolute favorite--it's a stunner! Thank you for recording and sharing your wonderful day with the birds.

Elisabeth said...

I love red-tailed hawks. Raptors are elusive. Your shots are fantastic!

Eaglesbrother said...

Awesome shots of the ever elusive Raptors.

Jane said...

Great and awesome shots of them, great landscape too. Thanks for sharing NB:)

Shannara said...

Love your shots!

Especially the first one! =)

TonyC said...

Great Shots - love the owl silhouette

Susan Ellis said...

Nice! I really like the silhouette of the owl.

Xavi said...

Beautiful shots!!
Thanks for taking time to look at my photos.
Have a nice weekend.

eden said...

Great shots. Love the first photo the most..

Have a great weekend

Trish ~ ♥ ~ said...

Birding can be so much fun, you enjoyed your day.

Regina said...

Amazing critters. Great skies!

Happy weekend.

Glennis said...

Good shots of the predators.
I like the first photo the best I think.

Maria said...

I love birds~
thank you~

vincibene said...

Beautiful great pictures!

Helena said...

Wonderful shots! I really love the eagle shot. The red-tailed hawk looks like he stopped to pose. :)