Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Starry, Starry Night

Milky Way

I am lucky enough to live in a rural area where the little town tries to preserve the spectacular views we enjoy…even light pollution that might ruin our views of the night skies. I can see the Milky Way from my yard…right in town. It reminds me of a dry creek-bed, glinting in the sun; or a wide ribbon undulating across the black sky. I can see what appears to be the whole of it, from corner to corner across the wide expanse of night.

Last night I went out to watch and listen a bit…some futile attempt to see if I might hear or even see, against the billions and billions of bright stars, some evidence of the Fall Migration of birds. I understand many fly at night, sometimes in flocks numbering thousands…often calling and chattering between themselves.

Red-tailed Hawk

Okay, perhaps because I didn’t stay out for long, perhaps because I’m at 7000’ in the Southern Rockies…not a popular route for migrating birds, but I didn’t see much…other than those billions and billions of stars.

Swainson's Hawk

But, this morning, driving to work, I saw several hawks sitting on utility poles…watching the fields on either side of the road. Yes, finally, possible evidence of migration! I have not seen many birds at my feeders for a couple weeks now. Sure, I still get a hummer or two, and I occasionally see small birds around the yard…but nothing like the number of birds I see during breeding season or migration and wintertime. I go days without seeing a bird at my feeders. I like to feed birds; so I’ve missed their numbers.

An Accipiter: Cooper's or perhaps a Sharp-shinned Hawk

That made seeing a couple big hawks especially heart-warming. Probably this weekend I’ll put out a dozen or so feeders…getting ready for the little ones.

American Kestrel

As far as these big ones go, all those pictured here frequent Huerfano County...some even in my yard; and while it galls me to find house-cats there, I never begrudge a hunting raptor. I guess that makes me a birder. LOL


All photos on this post are from Wikipedia.


NW Nature Nut said...

Don't worry...the month is young and you got some GOOD flyovers!

Mary said...

I read your comment on the sandhill cranes on NW Nature Nut's! I can see your list contains all birds I'm not likely to see in my yard :-) I'm fortunate to live in the country wihtout lights, too and love the darkness at night. That is a great shot of the Milky Way! The hawk shots are wonderful, too! I would love to see a few of those....even one!

Beverly said...

My ‘online pal’ BosqueBill has talked about the quiet time after summer and before the fall migration gets seriously underway. Apparently, here on the southern-most edge of Colorado, I’m on the tail end of the affair. I remember seeing, in the dead of winter, several types of Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Chickadee, Junco, Grosbeak, Finch (including all three Rosy-Finches!), Sparrow, hunting Raptors… so this very, very quiet time is a bit unsettling; but I know things will pick up. I am hear to tell ya though, I’ve never had a crane or a goose in my yard. I did have a wild turkey visit once, though. LOL

Yeah, the FOs last night were GREAT! I’ll be paying attention to the skys…I’ve seen Herons fly over, in the past. This morning all I've seen is a single little hummer, though. [sigh]

Mary, you did see that the photos are not mine, right? I have one, single, halfway decent pic of a Sharp-shinned hawk in my yard early last year, but my camera is not so good at ‘long-distance’ shots.

Bosque Bill said...

The last several "days" I've heard the sounds of flocks of Canada geese flying down the Rio Grande through my open bedroom window during the night. It's only getting down into the 40s at night here, so I can keep my window open.

(Some may ask how I know they are Canada geese if it is dark and I'm in my warm bed. To them I reply, "they sure sound the same as the ones I hear and see during the day." Plus, the "light" geese, such as Snow & Ross', don't seem to migrate down the rio like the Canada geese do.)

Haven't heard any Sandhill cranes, yet. If I remember they fly mostly during the daylight hours.