Sunday, November 7, 2010

Birdwatching at Hawk Mountain

Hawk Mountain is a wildlife sanctuary in east-central Pennsylvania. It is located right on the migration path many birds take and is a very popular spot for birdwatching.

We did see the migrating raptors - but only the outlines. Raptors tend to fly rather high, and only the strongest optics could get a good close-up of them flying overhead. There were volunteers calling out the types of birds and keeping count, and lots of people getting very excited about each one. But, of course, I have no photos to show for it - my lens are not that strong.

Besides raptors, there was other wildlife in the sanctuary, though - at a much closer distance. We saw some birds at the feeder by the Nature Center, chipmunks and squirrels gathering acorns for the winter, heard and saw Blue jays and grackles... Not to mention the beautiful view, fall colors and great crisp weather.

This American goldfinch united forces with a pine siskin (?) to repel an invader.

White-breasted nuthatch. You can tell these guys from a mile away by the way they run around the tree trunks.

White-breasted sparrow. Looks a lot like the white-crowned ones in CA.

Still undecided, if this was a female downy or hairy woodpecker. Most likely downy, since it was not too large.

Black-capped chikadee.

Barely captured this titmouse - it wouldn't stand still for a second.

This winter wren was exploring a small cave. Do they nest in caves, I wonder?

A Northern Cardinal in all his glory...

...and his fair lady.

Dark-eyed (or Slate-colored) junco.

Non-avian wildlife :))

This American Kestrel was part of a very educational lecture at Nature Center amphitheater.

A view of the River of Rocks from Hawk Mountain.

Wildlife Refuge

Shortly after arriving in Philadelphia (and before even unpacking my car) we visited Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, which is located right in Philadelphia and was established to protect the tidal marshes next to Delaware river.

We didn't have much time, but the place looked very promising and we will definitely return there for a longer walk.

We did see a white-tailed deer, though! There it is giving me one last look before disappearing into the bushes.

The Great Blue heron was intently watching the water and allowed us to come quite close.

An assortment of butterflies on a cleared patch near the parking lot. A Common Buckeye, a White Admiral (or Red-spotted Purple) and some sort of a sulphur...

A whole new Zoo

This Zoo is, actually, the oldest in the US. It's new to us, because we just moved to Philadelphia.

Here are some of the residents of Philadelphia Zoo as we found them this fall.

Gila monster taking a snooze on a warm rock.

These two male kangaroos were practicing wrestling in their spare time.

Hammerkops are known for their huge nests. The pair in aviary was actually working on building one.

Southern ground hornbill with it's amazing eyelashes.

Cheetah... the Zoo has several, all beautiful and very large.

African Wild Dog

White-nosed coati - a relative of the racoon...

Patagonian cavy, also known as Mara, is a rodent - a relative of Guinea pig.

This Lowland gorilla male was curiuos.

Spectacled langour

Sifaka... it's nice to be flexible, isn't it? I bet you can't do that!

This baby orangutan just turned one. The dad is hiding under a blanket in the background.

Mountain lions resting in a shade.

The Zoo Baloon is quite a landmark; so what it's grounded most of the time due to inclement weather :))

Milk frog lazily eyeing food...

Alligator lizard