Girl Scout Field Trip

Girl Scout Field Trip – February 10, 2013
Fresh snow, sunshine, healthy exercise and some terrific encounters with hawks, harriers and Short-eared Owls turned our field trip to the IBA with Queensbury Girl Scout Troop #3392 into a true “winter wonderland!”  The “birding” action started when a Short-eared Owl flew over our heads during an enjoyable stroll around a field and pond on the walking portion of the field trip. We didn’t see much else but the scouts enjoyed themselves with some “snow time.”
Later, the girls proved their scouting abilities during a short auto tour by spotting and identifying numerous Red-tailed Hawks perched in trees or on power poles alongside the road.  We were excited to see two threatened Northern Harriers skimming low over the fields on our way to a favorite viewing spot for Short-eared Owls.
We were thrilled when the “Shorties” emerged while there was still good light to see.  Short-eared Owls – endangered in New York and several other northeast U.S. states – roost and nest on the ground.  Each owl “erupting” from its hidden roost in the hay was greeted with cries of wonder and delight!  We stood, mesmerized, as they began their ritual greeting “fly-bys,” swooping over and past each other before starting to hunt.  We watched these enchanting medium-sized owls for half an hour, counting eight in all.  Fading light and the quickly chilling air convinced us to call an end to another magical day in the Washington County Grasslands Important Bird Area (IBA).