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Photos / Sounds

What

Western Pond Turtle Actinemys marmorata

Observer

emilyheaton

Date

May 16, 2011

Description

This turtle can often be seen hanging out at Fox Pond at Healdsburg Ridge Open Space Preserve. Whenever I see it, it's usually lounging on a fallen branch that sticks up out of the water. I've never seen more than one turtle at the pond (going back to May 2008). The last time I saw it was sometime in April or May of this year (2012). This picture was taken on May 16, 2011.

Photos / Sounds

What

Red-shouldered Hawk Buteo lineatus

Observer

emilyheaton

Date

May 16, 2011

Description

I've been keeping my eye on this nest since early April. I'd heard a Red-shouldered Hawk calling from it several times but could never see the hawk. I've had similar experiences at other Red-shouldered Hawk nests this spring - seems they really hunker down while they're incubating eggs. Yesterday (5/16/11), I finally got a good look. One hawk flew out and another flew in within 30 seconds, carrying what appeared to be a partially skinned bird. I wasn't able to see exactly what was happening, but I could tell the adult was tearing off strips of meat and feeding them to at least one small, downy nestling. Very cool! It started to rain pretty hard and the adult climbed down into the nest; looked like it was doing its best to provide some shelter from the rain.

The nest is visible from the base of the two large valley oaks at the entrance to the preserve. It's near the top of the large live oak that's just beyond the black metal gate on the paved road.

Update: On 5/20/11, I watched an adult feeding two downy nestlings at the nest. Later, while the adult was still in the nest, I witnessed some behavior that I couldn't figure out. A second Red-shouldered Hawk flew to the nest with what appeared to be a stick (it definitely didn't seem to be anything to eat) and dropped it in the nest; it perched in the nest tree for awhile and then flew off. A little later, the hawk in the nest became agitated when a Red-shouldered Hawk flew low over the nest. Even later, a Red-shouldered Hawk flew away from the nest area carrying a stick; and a short while later, there was an apparent chase between two adults in the nearby woodland (I believe the original adult was still in the nest). Perhaps the one that was carrying the stick away from the nest was an intruder?

Although I visited Healdsburg Ridge several times after that, I don't have any record of what was going on at the Red-shouldered Hawk nest. I'm not sure why - bad record keeping! Perhaps there was nothing going on, but I wish I had bothered to make a note of it.

Pictures: the first two pictures were taken on 5/16/11. The third picture (blue sky) was taken on 5/20/11 and shows the adult with a downy nestling.

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