Stilt Sandpiper

Too nice an afternoon not to get out for a walk, so I made my way to Reifel. First up I checked the back of the house pond, but there were only a couple of yellowlegs. Next I headed out the middle trail to the outside fields. The Green Heron was present again in the southwest field, but not in great spot for photos.

I was then accompanied by another gentleman who was looking for some assistance in locating the Stilt Sandpiper that had been reported in the west field. We checked the entire west field and then made our way back to the house pond without success.

That was the end of his day and I then carried on to check some of the inside trails for songbirds. The only thing of interest I came across,

Squirrel
Squirrel

… was this squirrel working on a chestnut. On my way back I decided to give the back of the house pond one last look.

Stilt Sandpiper
Stilt Sandpiper

Good thing I did as there was now a Stilt Sandpiper present along with the yellowlegs and a few dowitchers.

Stilt Sandpiper
Stilt Sandpiper

In addition to foraging in the pond, it took time out for a little preening.

Stilt Sandpiper
Stilt Sandpiper

What a great end to what had been a fairly uneventful walk to this point.

Cooper’s & Swallow Nest

The day got better as it progressed and this afternoon’s walk was back to the North 40. No sign of the Bullock’s Oriole today, but while checking for them a familiar “pek pek” got my attention. It was coming from a tree behind me, one frequently used as a staging area by the Cooper’s Hawk pair.

Cooper's Hawk
Cooper’s Hawk

The adult male Cooper’s Hawk was on a branch inside the tree with prey in its talons. I could not make out what it had before he flew off towards the nesting area.

With nest on the mind, I made my way to an area where I had previously seen some Tree Swallow activity and suspected there was a nest.

Tree Swallow Nest
Tree Swallow Nest

It did not take long after arriving before I could see the adults arriving and feeding the young in the nest.

Tree Swallow Nest
Tree Swallow Nest

While you can only see two here, I could make out at least three at one time. They look to be a good size and crowded in there, so it will probably not be long before they fledge.

One other fun shot from this afternoon,

Squirrel
Squirrel

… was this Squirrel stretched down the trunk of a tree eating leaves.

Squirrel & Sharp-shinned Hawk

A chance arose to get out for a walk this afternoon. As there were still some showers off and on, I headed to Reifel where the trails would afford some cover if required. After arriving something entertaining caught my eye before I even left the parking lot.

Squirrel
Squirrel

While my focus is usually birds,

Squirrel
Squirrel

… this squirrel was fun to watch as it dangled amongst the branches eating berries.

As for birds, I was not finding much along the east or north dyke trails. About half way along the centre dyke while scanning back over my shoulder I spotted a Sharp-shinned Hawk off in the trees I had just walked by. It did not take off after I stopped, so I slowly worked my way back to where I would have a clear shot through the branches. It remained on its perch once I stopped again.

Sharp-shinned Hawk
Sharp-shinned Hawk

As you can see from this shot it was watching me,

Sharp-shinned Hawk
Sharp-shinned Hawk

… but soon went back to scanning the tree line. A pleasant surprise to have it stay put, but at this point it was just me and the bird.

Sharp-shinned Hawk
Sharp-shinned Hawk

After I managed a few shots, a young family was approaching along the trail. I motioned for them to be quiet and pointed out the hawk to them. They caught a brief glimpse of it in the tree, but this was too many people and it flew off to the north. None the less, they were as happy as I was to have seen it.