Yesterday, Jeanette and I decided that rather than stand in line to return gifts and hunt for sales we would track down a gift of our own. The 5 hour trip is a little more than we would usually take on, but with a full day off and the possibility of a bird that hunts and hangs out in a relatively small area we decided we would take a shot. The trip up wasn’t bad at all. I much prefer a trip into NY that avoids any notion of the city itself. We flew all the way up 287 and then the NY Thruway and eventually 87. The views at times were beautiful and the surrounding area has a lot of natural activities to offer.
We left at 4 30 AM hoping to get there at a time many had reported success with in the morning hours. We got into Peru around 10 AM and stopped for a quick on-the-go breakfast break. As we closed in, the directions were spot on and the roads were easily traveled with our car. We drove down Clark Rd and sure enough there he was perched on a telephone pole on the right side of the road. We easily watched him from the car as he moved periodically from one pole to another. At one point he flew to a tree branch that seemed incredibly too small to support the birds weight. But alas, perch there he did. We watched for about 45 minutes without the need to even leave the car. The bird seems content to share the space with onlookers, which hopefully doesn’t result in over-eager birders getting “too” close.
As we watched he (I keeping saying he out of ease of use rather than actual knowledge of the bird’s sex) preened and scratched and stretched as needed. Occasionally doing that poltergeist spinning head move that seems impossible. The drive home was a little more difficult with the star of the day already seen but a quick stop off at the Great Swamp for a dark-morphed Rough-legged helped, and a stop at the Raptor Trust allowed us to donate and take in some final holiday cheer. There are also some more pictures of the Hawk-Owl on our Flickr site.