Sunday, January 18, 2009

Villas WMA: White-winged Crossbills, Pine Siskin, Redhead

A midday turn around Villas WMA did not yield any Red-headed Woodpeckers, probably because we walked the perimeter rather than up the center of the property where the RHWP's have been hanging out. There were plenty of other highlights, including a drake Redhead with Ring-necked Ducks and a Ruddy Duck on the nearly frozen main pond and, even better, two White-winged Crossbills that flew out of the woods at the south side of the WMA and into the center of the WMA property, calling and giving nice in-flight views. A Pine Siskin was calling softly while feeding on seeds from sweet gum balls hanging from a tree at the southeast side of the property. Eastern Bluebirds and Rusty Blackbirds were present as they have been all winter.

A pair of Red-tailed Hawks exhibited some interesting behavior. They took off together, the female flying above and ahead of the smaller male, probably because he was carrying a still twitching gray squirrel! As they disappeared, the female performed a rising-and-falling sky-dance display. We didn't get to see the finish of this interaction, but clearly a pair of red-taileds will be nesting at Villas and probably the male is now short one gray squirrel!

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