Monday, March 18, 2013

Birds Along the Betar

 When I was a kid, the sight of a robin running across the grass was a sure sign of spring.  Not anymore, it seems, and especially not in this place -- the Betar Byway in South Glens Falls -- where robins flock together all winter long, feasting among the tangled masses of Oriental Bittersweet.  I came here today to work up a little sweat with fast walking along the paved path that follows the Hudson River just above the Glens Falls dam.  It's a pleasant unobstructed place to walk, and a great birding site, especially now, with the river running free of ice, inviting many different species of migrating songbirds and waterfowl to stop for a rest and to feed.

How I wish I had had my friend Sue along, for she can spot birds that are nothing but dark blurs to me, and can also identify the different species by their songs.  Well, I heard lots of chirps and whistles and twitters and trills today, and saw lots of fluttering shapes in the trees and the bushes, but except for this bright red cardinal perched in a thicket, I couldn't have told you what any of them were.

Of course, the old regulars were well in evidence.  Gulls and geese hang around the river all winter, just as the cardinals and robins do.  I did take a second look at these gulls, though, when it looked as if they were walking on water.  Turns out there was just a sheet of new ice close to shore, which was covered with a thin layer of water.

While watching the gulls and feeling rather disappointed that I hadn't seen any birds a bit more interesting than them,  I heard a thunk! thunk! thunk! just over my shoulder.  I turned around to see this magnificent Pileated Woodpecker not ten feet away.


Andrew Lane Gibson said...

Amazing, Jackie! You're so kind and quick to talk of my luck but I think this one takes the cake! Such a majestic bird few ever get to see so close up and personal. Simply incredible!

Elizabeth said...

Wow!! What a sight! That pileated woodpecker is amazing, and so cool that it was so close! :D

threecollie said...

Great pics! A robin is always good for a smile!

Carolyn H said...

I came across a male pileated woodpecker on Sunday, working hard on a stump. Alas, mine was much further away than yours.

catharus said...

You might enjoy this: