Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bad Frog Jokes; Western Kingbird Reappears

[This Great Egret caught and consumed, after a struggle, an apparent Green Frog in Bunker Pond this morning. The frog fought hard - if you've seen the comic of a frog with its hands around the throat of the bird about to eat it captioned "Never give up," well, we almost literally saw that - the frog had its "hands" clasped tightly on the egret's bill until it eventually succumbed. Quickly digiscoped by Don Freiday, click to enlarge.]

Josh Lawrey deadpanned, "That frog croaked." When the egret later flew past calling, Mark Garland, King of the Pun, commented that it sounded like it had a frog in its throat. . .

CMBO's Hidden Valley Walk this morning found a (presumably "the") Western Kingbird on an otherwise fairly quiet morning. A Yellow-headed Blackbird flew past the Higbee Dike. The final Bird Walk for All People at the state park this morning featured an American Bittern flushed at close range along the red trail, great looks at Golden-crowned Kinglets, loads of ducks, and a few raptors including perched scoped Red-shouldered Hawk and Osprey, a Peregrine on the beach, and a male Northern Harrier. Cloudy and with a northeast wind, not much was happening flight-wise today. We're inching closer to 30,000 birds on the year for the hawk count. A Barn Swallow fed around the platform, and I had an interesting pale-rumped swallow at the far end of Bunker Pond that eventually disappeared towards the meadows before I could see everything I needed to, i.e. a definitely pale throat (looked good at a distance), dark forhead and more rufous-colored rump than a Cliff.

Looking ahead, winds are supposed to go northwest beginning Sunday morning and stay north-northwest through Tuesday at least. Hawks on Sunday, hawks and passerines on Monday, and as the wind tapers off, owls and passerines on Monday night-Tuesday. How's that for a long range forecast?

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