Thursday, April 30, 2009

Nice Surprises

Seven new birds were added to the list today, including: House Wren, Red-eyed Vireo, Lincoln's Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Wild Turkey, Yellow-breasted Chat, and Northern Waterthrush.

Each morning when I arrive I usually take the same route, hitting the same places at the same time, mostly because these are the spots where I've seen the most/best birds. Today I decided to switch it up and try out some of the spots I haven't spent a great deal of time pishing and squeaking and it worked out to my advantage. My first stop was at the compost. This is where all the yard waste is taken and mulched up to be sold or used as cover for the trash. It is bordered on three sides by wooded swampland with an abundance of vegetation and dead trees littered with woodpecker holes. I let forth my best pish possible and was greeted by a lone Lincoln's Sparrow. This is a lifer for me but I knew it right away. I reached for the camera, but once he saw that lens pointed at him he ducked into the brush, never to be seen again. Later in the day I was given another chance along a stream at a different spot on the landfill, but this bird gave me the slip as well. Hopefully one of the two will still be there tomorrow and hopefully I will be able to get a shot.

Most of the birds I see are by happenstance. Something will dart into the woods or sing loudly from a treetop, promopting me to stop and pay closer attention. Such wasn't the case today. Two of the birds I saw were by mere luck. Driving along a dirt road past a small strip of flooded woods I just happened to catch a glance at a bird sitting on a half submerged log. I lifted the binos up and to my surprise saw a Northern Waterthrush, another lifer. The White-crowned Sparrows were seen today by a similar stroke of luck. I had to put the truck in reverse and back up to look at what looked like a black and white striped crown. Sure enough there were two White-crowned Sparrows sitting on a pile of old dump truck tires.

Surprises come in all types, even the adorable. I got a good look at a Killdeer family: mom, dad, four chicks, and another bird (maybe an aunt or an uncle). The definition of cuteness. Take a look.

Killdeer chick

Perhaps the biggest surprise came in the form of a large bird that initially threw me for a loop. Driving up on it I suspected it was the injured Sandhill Crane from a week the middle of a field. As I got closer I realized I was looking at a female Wild Turkey. This was extremely surprising to me. I know these birds are on a comeback but I never expected to see them at the landfill considering we are bordered by the airport, railyard, I-65, and neighborhoods. There is a small patch of woods on the landfill and across the interstate so I guess anything is possible. Nevertheless I was excited to add species number 113 for the year. Wild Turkey hen

I wonder what surprises tomorrow will bring. :)


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