January 9, 2010 [LINK / comment]

Nice drive in the country

I got a call today from my friend Steve Kijak, who said he's pretty sure he saw a Bald eagle at the Middle River while driving along Interstate 81. The perfect excuse for me to do a little weekend birding in the countryside! So, I hopped in my car and (after attending to an obligation) found a suitable place to park at the corner of Routes 780 and 781 east of Verona. There was a Kestrel perched on an electrical wire (see below), and a Phoebe showed up soon afterwards, but no eagles were to be found. After waiting for 15 minutes or so, I decided to head east along Route 781, which dead-ends in a stretch of land that is surrounded on three sides by the extremely [winding] Middle River. It was the first time I had ever driven on that stretch of road. I saw several Bluebirds along the way, and took a nice photo of one.

Just as I was turning around a bend as the road entered a wooded area, a Red fox ran across the road less than fifty feet in front of me! It was the closest view I had ever had of the animal. It did not stick around, so I had no chance to get a photo. The rest of the drive was full of interesting scenery, with several nice houses and a few interesting birds here and there. Here are the feathered highlights of the day:

Kestrel on wire

American Kestrel; the blue-gray wings indicate that it is a male.

Bluebird on wire 2

Eastern Bluebird; the bright blue and orange colors indicate that it is a male.

River Bend Farm

Route 781, which terminates at the aptly-named River Bend Farm. The Middle River closely parallels this ridge-top road on both sides for over a mile!