Todays hike at Hudson Gardens was a great success! We had a large flock of mixed sparrows about a fourth of the way into the walk and no matter how hard we tried we couldn't get a great view of all them. They were constantly flitting up and down and left and right and back and fourth. The good looks we did get turned up several Song Sparrows, a few Vesper Sparrows, a Lincoln's Sparrow and the most exciting a Clay-colored Sparrow! Several other species went unidentified because of brief glimpses. One we thought perhaps was a Field Sparrow because it showed some rusty red on its head, a grey nape, as well as a strong eyering, no one ever got a good enough look however so it is going uncalled.
We also had another great opportunity of observe Mallard in their eclipse plumage. Now why look at Mallards you say? If you know the common birds like the back of your hand your less likely to misidentify them as something else when they change into winter or non-breeding plumage.
Male Mallards in eclipse plumage look a lot like the females but pay attention to the color of the beak and the feet and also the males will have a much darker breast than the females but often without a female right next to the male it can be hard to tell the difference. Remember female Mallards match, they have a orange (and black) beak and orange feet. While male Mallards don't match they have a yellow beak and orange feet.
We stopped at the Songbird Gardens and watched several Black-capped Chickadees, American Goldfinches and House Finches feed and chase each other around. As we made our way back to the gift shop we walked through the pine forest and enjoyed the scent of the various conifers. We passed a few very vocal Black-billed Magpies and came upon a lovely butterfly bush surrounded by butterflies. There was a Painted Lady, a Monarch and Fritillary Sp. all feeding at the same time.
Great Blue Heron
White-breasted Nuthatch (heard only)
House Wren (heard only)
Thanks for reading
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