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Golden Triangle Audubon Bird Alert -- January 12, 2012

More good birds are being seen at Cattail Marsh.  Following the January 8 Alert, (birders going there to see the Least Grebes have been finding much else of interest.

Yesterday afternoon (Jan 11), John Haynes found a sub-adult Harris's Hawk perched in the trees along the west edge of Cell 2, the cell that is the one you see as you enter and go to the top of the levee.  The bird was seen in mid afternoon to the north (left as you walk in) probably between 1/8 and 1/4 mile.  Today, we found the bird at about 3:30 p.m. perched in a tree on the north edge (left) of the interior parking area.  It was being buffeted by the wind, and eventually flew off, but we relocated it perhaps 150 yards further north, perched in a tree and readily visible from the levee.  This is only the second Harris's Hawk sighting in Jefferson County that we know of.

Both yesterday and today, an American Bittern flushed near the northwest corner of Cell 2.  If you want to try to refind this bird, turn left on the levee and walk until just before the bulrushes and other vegetation give way to more open water, almost at the corner of the cell.

Least Grebes were easily seen yesterday and today.  There seems to be one grebe usually in the deeper water channel that greets you as you walk up the levee from the entrance. There may be several grebes, as one has been a little way south (right) and another some distance north (left).  There are also a good number of Pied-billed Grebes everywhere in the Marsh.

Scanning the dark ibis (there are about 150 around) has produced at least two birds that are very likely Glossy Ibis.

After the three Bald Eagles last Sunday (Jan 8), one young eagle was seen in mid morning yesterday (Jan 11) and an adult bird in the afternoon.  An adult Bald Eagle flew in around 3:30 p.m. today (Jan 12), landed on a coot, held in underwater to drown it, and then carried it off to the levee to the south, presumably to consume it.  Northern Harriers have been seen apparently doing the same thing, but they apparently cannot lift a coot, and have to consume it in the vicinity of where they catch it.

In Cell 2 today just inside the gate were lots of Green-winged Teal, a good number of Blue-winged Teal, at least three male Cinnamon Teal, many Ruddy Ducks, many Northern Shovelers, Northern Pintails and Gadwall, a few American Wigeon a few Mallards, several pairs of Mottled Ducks and two or three Redheads.

Cell 1, the deep water cell at the north end of the Marsh, has lots of Ring-necked Ducks and Ruddy Ducks, as well as Canvasback, some Redhead, a few Northern Pintail, a few Gadwall and one male and two female Bufflehead.  There are two or three Lesser Scaup also in that area.

John A. Whittle


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