On Saturday I decided to see what was happening at the Fill. It was frosty, as attested by Truman:
It was also very quiet, bird wise. Not a songbird in sight anywhere -- but then, I had waited until 11:00am to turn up, due to the cold, so perhaps I had missed all the morning activity. Or there was a predator about, keeping the songbirds under cover.
It turned out to be the latter. A crow suddenly dive-bombed the prairie, and we hustled over to find out why -- and spotted this:
Having sent all the songbirds into hiding, this Red-tailed Hawk was busy hunting mice. For a good half-hour, we got to watch as it swooped up into the trees for a better view of the prairie, then swooped down again to catch a mouse or two.
We walked around the Loop Trail to see the ducks on the lake and the Great Blue Heron on the southwest pond, then returned to the prairie grass for more hawk entertainment. A fine outing all round!
A little out of focus, but the hawk has a mouse in this one. Also note a band on the right leg -- I need to remember to report this banded bird.
Taking off for another snack:
The leg band was black and white with the number 91 on it. I've reported other banded birds over the years, and got back brief information on whatever study the banders were conducting. The best one was a White-crowned Sparrow that had been banded in California three years before I spotted it at the Fill, part of a migration pattern study. Very cool stuff indeed.