Thursday, April 30, 2009

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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 back...in 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. :)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

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Recent Migrants

The first migrants started showing up on the landfill around April 20th and been picking up in number the last couple days. By far the most common warbler is the Palm Warbler, but many others have been seen including Yellow, Prairie, Yellow-rump, Black-throated Green, Nashville, Orange-crowned, Northern Parula, and Common Yellowthroat. Here are some of the better pictures we've been able to capture this past week:


Yellow Warbler

Palm Warbler

Warblers were not the only new birds recorded recently. Both Orioles, Eastern Kingbird, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Swainson's, and Wood Thrush all made their appearances in the last week. Several Barn Swallows were at a mud puddle today collecting mud and grass for nest building.

Eastern Kingbird

Barn Swallow

Last but not least, a lone Horned Lark was observed on the landfill yesterday. During the ice storm in January we were inundated by Horned Larks. They were everywhere there wasn't snow and were especially concentrated at the active face where they were feeding on the garbage and in the dirt. Another good group were mixed in with Snow Buntings underneath the flare where they were keeping warm and feeding on recently laid seed. It's nice to have them back.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

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American Kestrel


video

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

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Sandhill Crane

This Sandhill Crane was seen on the landfill around 6:30 on Tuesday the 14th. I can't help but think there must be something wrong with this bird considering the last time Sandhills were seen flying over the landfill was this time in February. This is the first one to my knowledge that has actually landed on the landfill.


video

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

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Unknown Shorebird

My supervisor was able to get some video of this shorebird while I was not there. He did not know what it was and I am no shorebird expert myself (I'm working on it). The bird was larger and had bright yellow legs, which would lead me to think Greater Yellowlegs (duh!), but without actually seeing it for myself I couldn't say. Without further ado, here is the bird in question. If you think you have an idea of what it might be, drop me a comment! Thanks! Sorry for the poor quality.


video

Monday, April 6, 2009

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Scoot Coot Scoot

This American Coot has been on the same pond now for about two weeks. We think his wing is broken because we have never seen him fly and when approached he walks up onto the bank.

video

They should have called them Scoots with the way they swim.

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