Maplewood: January 23rd 2010

This Saturday I was again out at Maplewood Conservation Area. The tide was in when I visited the mudflats and I wasn’t expecting much in the way of activity. A scan of the area produced a few Bufflehead, two Pelagic Cormorants, a Common Loon, and the usual compliment of gulls. However, when I checked out the northern section of mudflats I found two birds of note…

Upon scanning the salt marsh I spotted a male Eurasian Widgeon among a group of American Widgeon. The ducks were milling in and amongst the flooded marsh plants with a couple of Green-winged Teals. Unfortunately the birds were too far away to get any recognizable photo when I held my camera up to my bins but this picture shows the characteristic bright russet-red head of the Eurasian Widgeon… or at least I think it does.

After ten minutes or so of observing the Eurasian Widgeon I noticed a group of Northwestern Crows making a bit of a racket. One of them made a swooping pass at something perched in one of the conifer trees near the McCartney Creek outflow. It turned out to be a Red-tailed Hawk; a familiar bird of the street lights of Highway One but uncommon at Maplewood according to the WBT’s checklist. I wonder if it wasn’t contemplating making a meal of the ducks directly below in the salt marsh; waterfowl are occasionally prey for Red-tailed Hawk, among many other animals (1). At least in this photo you can see the hawk and the reddish tail that gives the species its name.

It was nice to get out from behind the desk and do some birding even if it was only for a short time.

Reference:

  1. Preston, C. R. and R. D. Beane. 2009. Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/bna/species/052doi:10.2173/bna.52
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