Nahanton was a sunny and snowy winter wonderland when I arrived at noon, much later than planned. The first find of the day was a small cluster of juncos (first birds of the year) while parking. The lower gardens were initially pretty quiet with a few song sparrow and house finches. As I rounded the back corner of the gardens I heard blue jays calling, then I startled as a jay right behind me imitated a red-tailed hawk. It took me a second to realize that this scream had too much power to be a blue jay! I spun around and found three massive buteos circling right above me. Then she screamed again, and if the auburn tail didn't give it away, the single descending scream is unmistakable. I wish I had been able to record that sound (here's a link to a recording). I watched as one adult and two juveniles circled overhead before raising in altitude and soaring off over the park. No hint of Haynes' red-shouldered hawk though.
I was hoping to make it through the woods by the JCC searching for more finches in the pines, but my time was running out and I really wanted to see the redpolls again. I passed through the soccer field checking the birches, but only found some white-throated sparrows. Back in the upper gardens the two birches now had five redpolls! So I spent a few more minutes soaking in their presence before heading back to the car.
This was truly a fantastic way to start 2013 and I would like to wish everyone a happy New Year!
1/2/2013 Today I found a flock of 7 redpolls in the birches by the soccer field, so maybe they are staying around?