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October 2007

Celery Farm Halloween sightings

  Ace birder Rob Fanning passed along the following list of species seen this morning (Halloween) at the Celery Farm Natural Area:

-FOX SPARROW--No Name Culvert
-White-throats--singing; Swamps; Songs
-Black Cat
-Palm Warbler--several
-C. Yellowthroat--female
-RC Kinglet--several
-The Great Pumpkin
-VA. RAIL--flushed/called NN Culvert
-WILSON'S SNIPE--flushed--NN Culvert
-PURPLE FINCH--6+ incl. 2 adult males
-Bufflehead--2 females
-Ghouls (as well as Gulls)
-Shovelers; GW Teal; Coot

Some say that Rob is so good it's downright scary...

Coots du jour


   In case you were wondering...

  Those goofy little black swimmers seen in abundance at the Celery Farm these days are coots.

   Some 50 were reported there yesterday.

  These birds have whitish bills, whitish rumps, and heads Coot_smallthat bob forward and back in pied-billed grebe-like fashion.

  Many might think these birds are part of the duck tribe, but they would be mistaken.

   Not only are these swimmers actually related to moorhens, rails, limpkins and gallinules, but they lack the webbed feet of their cousin canards.

   Riddle: These birds are officially called American coots. Eight American Coots were seen in Blakeney, England, a few years ago, during a Big Sit. But they weren't counted. Why?

   More info on coots:

Celery Farm, 7:40 a.m. Tuesday



   Today was one of those mornings when you could almost feel the seasons change.

   The distant landscape was swathed in mist and frost, in stark contrast to the Frost_1030view from the previous post.

   The railing at the Warden's Watch had a light coat of frost.

   I arrived silently, in time to catch a coot, with its goofy head motion, swim past the front of the platform. I had neglected to wear a coat, and was glad I had a cup of coffee with me to keep me warm.

   Below, a shot of a portion of the Celery Farm blessed with sunlight early this morning.

   Yes, I do believe that's a touch of frost on the phragmites.


Celery Farm, 5:20 p.m. Monday


   The autumn foliage this year has been mostly a washout, but the fading golden afternoon light hitting the trees across from the Warden's watch gave the leaves a boost late Monday afternoon.

  When the sun is shining, I'll take that view and that time of day in autumn/winter at the Celery Farm anytime.


   In the distance on the water were six buffleheads, including males with white heads so bright they looked like mergansers. 

   For more on buffleheads, look here:

   This many buffleheads at the Celery Farm is an unusual treat.

   The reflected foliage gave a couple of them an almost painterly quality.