January 10, 2016

Pipits at the Lakeshore

On this cool winter day, as I was walking along the shore of Cayuga Lake, I flushed several American Pipits, little brown birds whose color blends very well with the shingle beach. These relatively rare visitors from the north flew a short distance up the beach and disappeared amid the rocks, where it was a struggle to locate them with binoculars. One big source of frustration is even knowing whether the birds are there; they could easily have taken off unnoticed.

But they could not hide from my Therm-App. Here's a visual and infrared view of the section of beach where I thought the birds might have landed.

While I'd guessed that there might have been about three birds, the Therm-App showed me that there were, in fact, seven birds foraging on the beach in loose association. With some patience I was able to get this close-up of one of them.

And here's a photo of four birds in the same frame, this after my slow approach encouraged them to gather closer to each other.

The flock eventually took to the sky, during which I was able to confirm a count of seven individuals.

Not far from that beach at Salt Point, I came across a nestbox that was showing some warmth:

A closeup photo shows some fur.

Looks like a squirrel has found itself a nice home for the winter.