Thread: USA Grand Tour
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Old Wednesday 6th April 2011, 03:40   #11
Mike Kilburn
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 4,005
After missing out this morning - a bummer as overnight rain may have dropped some migrants - I had a terrific session this evening - walking down to the cherry-ringed Tidal Basin from the Washington Monument.

A small stand of cherry with a couple of pines held a pair of Cardinals - and I enjoyed watching the female munching away on the blossoms. An unfamiliar call was being troublesome to pin down, before a pristine Palm Warbler dropped onto the ground and gave tremendous views.

The same stand also held 10 House Finches, another new bird for me, and looking very similar to Common Rosefinch in Hong Kong.

The weather in Washington has been bizarre - 15 centigrade on Sunday, 26 on Monday and then back to a chilly 15 again this afternoon and the chilly wind blowing across the Tidal Basin made it pretty difficult to view the water. However I did get killer views of a Pied-Billed Grebe down on the water and as I walked round behind the Jefferson Memorial found first a Dark-eyed Junco and then a flock of 20 odd Chipping Sparrows with a couple of Field Sparrows lurking amongst them.

Crossing the road to another stand next to the Potomac River a small posse of Song Sparrows were feeding in a flowerbed and my optimistic rooting about in the back bushes eventually resulted in good but brief views of a handsomely rufous Brown Thrasher, complete with dashing long tail and a slim piebald wing bars. The same area held a pre-roost flock of some 30 Common Grackles and a Northern Mockingbird popped up a couple of minutes later.

Back on the Tidal Pond a couple of Slavonian Grebes (one still in winter plumage and one with a fine set of ear tufts but a very mucky throat. Both had the flat crown and deeper bill that comfortably separates Slavonian Grebes from Black-necked.

There was a flock of some 30 Tree and Barn Swallows feeding and a couple of Rough-winged Swallowshunting over the pond, but the real highlight and a fine cap to a very good evening session was seeing a pair of Bufflehead which had obviously dropped in to roost for the night.

I'm wiped out now - pix tomorrow.

HKIA Magic Roundabout: Blue Whistling Thrush, Black-throated Thrush, Great Cormorant (181)
Hong Kong: House Sparrow, Ultramarine Flycatcher, Rufous-faced Warbler (467)
Greater China: Franklin's Gull, Buff-breasted Sandpiper (961)
Lifer: American Bittern, Swamp Sparrow

Last edited by MKinHK : Wednesday 6th April 2011 at 03:43.
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