Thursday, October 7, 2010

American Kestrel

This afternoon on my way home from work I couldn't bring myself to go inside a stuffy gym when the weather was so awesome and I had a little bit of light and time before the Twins / Yankees game.  As some of you may be aware, the Town of Riverhead erected a barrier near the entrance to the Western runway denying access by vehicle.  This was quite frustrating as the runway is a large area that makes photography via walking near impossible (at any large scale level anyhow).  I thought I'd try my luck and see if anything had changed, and sure enough it had.  While the barriers are still present, the "road closed" signs are gone, and just to the left of the sign is a big parking lot near the old control tower.  The parking lot leads to an access road for the runway where the gate is always open - access secured!  The diversity was light, but there were plenty of grasshopper sparrows (who were playing hide and seek) and Kestrels nearly everywhere I looked.  It's roughly the peak migration time for this species, and EPCAL provides the perfect habitat for them to stock up on food - I estimate there were at least 15 present on the western runway, but it is likely there were quite a few more.  Unfortunately for me, the runway is never used by vehicles, so the birds were all very skittish and wouldn't let me get anywhere near them on almost all occasions - but i did have a little luck, as seen above and below.

While the Grasshopper sparrows I spied today wouldn't come out in the open, here is a shot from earlier in the year:

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