We've had rain every day this week, with more in the forecast. However, there was a break in the precipitation this morning, and I took advantage of the cloudy, but not rainy, weather.
It's been more than a year since I have been birding in Swoope. I used to make regular trips there as I had permission to bird along Smith Lake, but was told in 2021 by the property manager that the property owner no longer wanted birders to access the property. But I hadn't seen a Yellow Warbler so far in 2023, and I knew of two good locations for them in Swoope. The first was in the trees along Smith Lake, but that was no longer an option for me. The other good site for this species was in the CREP area near the corner of Cattleman and Livick Roads. So Yellow Warbler was my #1 target species, followed by Grasshopper Sparrow and Bobolink, as I haven't these species for quite a while. And I also wanted to check out the Bald Eagle nest.
As I drove down Hewitt Road, a Red-tailed Hawk flew right in front of my car and landed in a ditch to my right. When I stopped my car, it flew back up to the left, and I was able to get a few photos from my car. I also saw a couple of American Kestrels along Hewitt Road.
I stopped at the CREP area, and although it was fairly "birdy," I didn't see a Yellow Warbler. So I turned around and parked on Cattleman Road near the entrance to the Smith Lake Property. There were several bird species there, including my first of year Yellow Warbler.
I birded some more along Cattleman Road, and added some good species including a few Willow Flycatchers making their whit call.
I stopped on North Mountain Road where I thought I should be able to see the Bald Eagle nest. An Eastern Kingbird was on the fence line, but I couldn't see the eagle nest. I did, however, get a very distant photo of a perched Bald Eagle.
My next stop along that road was at a site where I have always had good luck finding Grasshopper Sparrows, and today was just as successful.
I had 31 avian species in Swoope in two hours, and was going to make another loop to look for more birds, but my car starting making some bad noises, and I wanted to get home while I could.
Northern Rough-winged Swallow