2009/11/30

Bike ride by the dike - Owl-harrier battle and GBH on tree

Today was cloudy but dry, and so it was nice enough to go out for a bike ride by the dyke.

Sky-watching

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
Mallard Male

First time clearly observed an owl on Sturgeon Bank. I believe this is a Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) because of its body size and the black "wrist" marks underneath its wings when in flight. Seeing this creature definitely makes today worthwhile!

Then a Northern Harrier came along!

And an aerial battle began!

I am not totally certain if this is the same Northern Harrier as the one in battle, because this individual looks dark overall and should be a juvenile.

Then out of no where, the battle started again! Perhaps the adult harrier was protecting its juvenile from the owl?

After a while, the battle stopped and the individuals flew away, and I continued with my bike ride.

Then sunshine appeared! Ah! Vitamin D!

Peaceful field
Beautiful views of the field.

Looking on the ground, I saw the droppings of a creature. And one of its contents was the foot of a clawed bird? Perhaps a coyote had digested an accipiter?

As I moved along, a Great Blue Heron flew from the trail and onto a tree.

And it gave me a couple of nice poses to photograph.

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

What a beautiful creature!

Shortly past 4-pm, the sun was slowly to set behind the clouds, and so it was time for me to head home. While biking towards home, an interesting bird caught my attention as it flew from the golf course and headed to the patch of trees across from the golf course.

As I biked closer, it was an Accipiter - either a Sharp-shinned or a Cooper's Hawk (which I am never very good at distinguishing). If I have to guess, then it's a Cooper's Hawk because of the more rounded tail.

Overall, an excellent day for wildlife viewing!

365 days ago (2008-11-29) ... Funny how last year I was observing some animal droppings too.
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2 comments:

Cicero Sings said...

Come beautiful golden colours in some of those photos ... nothing like the low light.

Hugh said...

What a spectacular series, especially the owl-harrier sequence. Yes, the colours in the heron photos were great. Quite a bike ride!

Hope you can get out a few times in the sunny weather they're promising us.

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