The Stroud Preserve, 2 March 2014


Finally, after a long, long absence, I was able to visit the Stroud Preserve today. My last visit was way back on 15 October! I must admit that my motivation to get out and walk around this winter has been pretty low. I can’t remember a winter where we had snow on the ground from the first of December to at least the 2 of March. To add insult to injury, the forecast for tonight is for more of it, anywhere from 3 to 10 inches. Ugh.

I didn’t get there until 2:30 so my expectations for a long list of birds was pretty low. This is in fact, exactly what I got - twenty-one species in all. Even with this low species count there were a few surprises. I observed a single Hermit Thrush in one of the thawed out patches of grass. This is only my 12th observation of one since August 2011. I also saw 2 Killdeer in the old farm bed. This would only be the 18th time I’ve seen them on or from the preserve. I still consider both of these species to be uncommon here.

The bird of the day, though, was a juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk. This is only the 7th one I have recorded at the preserve. Five of the previous observations were birds flying overhead. Only one time prior have I seen one perched on an object attached to land that was within the boundaries of the preserve. Even then it was a great distance away. Today I was less than 100 feet away and had fantastic views looking down from a hill onto it. I still don’t understand why this species is seen so infrequently here. It seems to me that it would be great habitat for them. What I do see here are great numbers of Red-tailed Hawks. Perhaps it is a simple case of competition that keeps their numbers low.

One of the main reasons I decided to head out today was that I wanted to check the Red-tailed Hawk nest from last year to see if it had a Great Horned Owl on it. The nest site is on the north end of the preserve not far from the failed owl nest from last year. However, the loop trail that goes past the site was quite the difficult trek. So, I opted to bird from the main road that runs through the preserve. I’ll wait until some of the snow melts before I try that again. Here is the rundown of my very short list of birds.


Start time: 2:33

End time: 3:54

Temp: 37

Wind: None

Skies: Overcast

Species Total: 21


  • Turkey Vulture – 4
  • Canada Goose – 50
  • Mallard – 25
  • Red-shouldered Hawk – 1 immature
  • Red-tailed Hawk – 3, 2 adults, 1 immature
  • Killdeer – 2
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker – 3
  • Downy Woodpecker – 1
  • Hairy Woodpecker – 3
  • Northern Flicker – heard only
  • Pileated Woodpecker – heard only
  • Blue Jay – 4
  • American Crow – 8
  • Fish Crow – 5
  • Eastern Bluebird – 2
  • Hermit Thrush – 1
  • American Robin – 20
  • Northern Mockingbird – 1
  • Song Sparrow – 1
  • Northern Cardinal – 1
  • Common Grackle – 25