This past October 6th, Newtown Historical Society sponsored a walking tour of Maspeth’s Mount Olivet Cemetery led by naturalist and birder extraordinaire, Rob Jett. We were treated to viewing numerous types of birds during the 2 ½-hour walk, thanks to Rob’s expertise in spotting and identifying so many species. His ability to distinguish birds by their song and his keen eyesight made it possible to learn about the fowl among us that we would otherwise not even notice.

We witnessed a Merlin falcon who was interacting with a group of Blue Jays; and a Red-tailed Hawk who was feasting on a squirrel in the grass. (I’ve left out the graphic shots!) The Merlin, about the size of a Blue Jay, flew by and approached a tree where Blue Jays were perched. A battle ensued. At one point, the Merlin rested on a branch as the Blue Jays objected. The falcon eventually took off. The Blue Jays were victorious. This time…

Rob tells us that this Red-tail Hawk is a “teenager”, meaning it’s his first year. One can tell because his tail isn’t ‘red’ yet and his wings aren’t full length. Also, he seemed to play at eating his prey, not devouring it in the way of an experienced predator.

In addition, we saw Canada Geese fly by, two Purple Finches (slightly different from the familiar House Finches we see in our yards), a Northern Flicker with a bright yellow underside, a Scarlet Tanager, which is actually a green color in the fall, and migrating Palm and Yellow-rumped Warblers, Eastern Wood Pewee, Blue-headed Vireo, and an Eastern Phoebe. These walks are great and I encourage everyone to take advantage of them when they are scheduled.