But....how exciting and sad at the same time...the last AAS walk of the fall 2015 migratory season. Kevin did a great job of leading us. Yet, what a great walk....the weather was fine although just a tad on the nippy side initially and we had a goodly sum of folks who came along. Probably a dozen...maybe 13?
Some walks are just 'ho ho'....others are 'ho! ho!"....this was the latter. Now I was down at Avalon (in the pm as I forget about he clock change) and was talking to a couple down there on Sunday who heard about our great adventure the previous outing at Forsythe. We encountered this beautiful Golden Eagle soaring high. What a find..... One doesn't come across Goldens like we do Baldies so to find one and be able to observe in detail was a treat but it was the day after Halloween so somewhat expected I suppose. This guy started off on the horizon and slowly soared towards us as we were walking around Experimental Pond. With each evolution of a soar, it came closer until it was right above us as we used our best warbler necks to start straight up. But the pattern of the wing below matched perfectly and as it soared and slanted with the arc, the 'golden' part of what makes it a Golden Eagle became clear as it glistened in the sun. Simple a fantastic and 'far out site'.
And to boot....a mature and an immature bald eagle followed up, so it was easy to almost make side-by-side comparisons.
Now, prior to this, Kevin led us down the 'off limits' area on the far side of Experimental Pond and were treated to Bittern, 'snubbing' us as the beak pointed up in their behavioral stance. A solid 5 minutes of 'us' just viewing 'it'....before it meandered across a bit of water to the other side. As we proceeded our way down the walk, we spooked it to fly away, along with a Northern Harrier who we had no idea was also hiding in the reeds. So it goes to show you, no matter what you think you might have found...others 'lurk'...
Speaking of lurking....a Sora 'spoke' to us, just once....but enough for us to gather it was within our midst. On the walk to Gull Tower, the Sora ID'd him/herself. No visual, just a nice loud sound.
Other highlights included multiple raptors with Peregrines, Red Shouldered's eating away at breakfast far off in the distance but allowed us to view a silhouette, a Red Tailed, a late Osprey....a Coopers which we played with as we followed along the back leg of our journey.
Hmmmm....a nice looking Wilson's Snipe in flight.....and 10 species of duck, including the first Hood Merganser of the year; which only points to 'winter' setting in. No one was exactly thrilled by that, including the Mallards which shed themselves of their neighbor who flew in and landed next to them. No use being apart of winter...no, no use.
All in all....a great walk....accompanied by birds and humans and among all things, something I have never seen nor heard of...a "SUNDOG". Now, as I was told, a Sundog is a double rainbow. The sun is in the middle and the rainbow almost arcs around and touches a cloud on each side. The picture below, is of the left rainbow but the iPhone didn't really capture the colors. Anyhow, did you know what a Sundog was? I have been active and outside my entire life and this is a new 'learning experience' for me....'far out, simply far out of this world.