Croton Point Birds


I finally got a decent camera strap so that I can make better use of my 5 pound zoom lens. Last weekend I went out to Croton Point Park, which is a peninsula formed at the confluence of the Croton River flowing into the Hudson River. It's a former landfill, so its "hill" is always grassland surrounded by tall trees and of course water, so there's typically a nice mix of birds there year round. Sometimes you can luck out and see a half dozen eagles (adult and/or juveniles); while I wasn't lucky in that regard, I did have some noteworthy glimpses in the ~2 hour walkabout.

My favorite has to be the Cooper's Hawk that was in a tree not far from the path; I had the sun behind me and he stayed in place for a good 5 minutes, so I managed to snap a good number of photos. Did I mention at first glance I thought he was a tiny osprey? A small branch cast the perfect shadow that it (sadly?) took me a minute to realize that wasn't his natural coloring. I was able to change my angle and get a little closer; I think the close-up is one of my favorite all-time shots I've been able to get (more or less the reason I was lugging around the massive zoom lens!)

A minute later I noticed a bird perched near a cabin along the riverfront. Another id-after-researching, but pretty sure another first for me in spotting an Eastern Phoebe.

Later on I thought I caught a few long-range shots of a red-tailed hawk soaring, but after looking at the photos I realized he most certainly did not have a red tail. I had overheard a fellow birder mention a harrier, and sure enough that's what it was! Definitely my first confirmed sighting, but non-zero chance I've confused it before.

My last shots were of two kestrels; they can often be found on the capped landfill, as it has numerous metal poles they perch on (and hunt from). It was pretty windy, and two of them ended up flying in place maybe 20 feet off the ground. Flapping wildly, not moving in any direction, but very much with a purpose. Holding station.

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