Monday, July 13, 2009

With hopes of finding a pair of previously spotted Dickcissels at the county landfill, small group of us headed out for what we hoped would be a relatively easy re-location of the Dickcissels and then we could scout out the rest of the area for any uncommon birds might just drop by the ever popular landfill.
We got to the last known location the bird was spotted and the first thing we came across was this very proud Coopers Hawk with his breakfast. Several in the group half joked the it looked like the Cooper might have beat us to our quarry. Dead birds don't count. Maybe it was it still breathing? Anyway, nobody could ID breakfast and by this time Cooper had had enough of us staring at his breakfast. and decided to have his "to go."

We all spent some time combing the area for the now elusive Dickcissel. Success was finally ours when Jeff was able spot a pair in the high grasses not too far away from where the Cooper had been successfully hunting earlier.

And while it is leap to assume what breakfast was, it is interesting to note that the photo Jeff took shows that the Dickcissel is conspicuously missing his tail feathers. hmmmmmmm.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Bird Listing has slowed down dramatically since the end of May. After finishing up with 33 new birds for the year by May 31. June netted one new bird for the year, a Eastern Wood Pewee, can you guess what vocalization it makes? This brought my yearly total to 169. I had several misses, with birds that were spotted in the area but moved on before I had a chance. Black-billed Cuckoo, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Summer Tanager (this would have been a nice one) plus several warblers.

In July so far I have only been able to add one bird but it was a great bird for me , a pair Dickcissels . A hard bird to find because they have the unusual habit (or actually no habit at all) of never returning to the same breeding area. While with many species you can almost set your watch to with their return or exit to an area. The Dickcissel, it was explained to me, never returned to the same place. While we have a pair in the county this year we may not see this bird again for several years. All in all #170 for the county - 2009. # 195 on the county life list and number 224 on the over all life list.

Ahh. God's plan worked out to the tiniest detail. He even kept the birder in mind when He designed migration. With little to chase I can focus on the garden, hanging with my peeps and enjoying other summertime pursuits.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

By May 31

With my total for the county at 163 by May 9th, I did not expect to have many more by month's end. I was how ever to add 5 to the total for 168 through May. The additions were
Willow flycatcher, Yellow-Crowned Night Heron, Blackpoll Warbler, Prothonotrary Warbler, and a Little Blue Heron.
Birds I tried for and missed were Yellow-Billed Cuckoo, Black-billed Cuckoo, Cerulean Warbler, Sora. The county list is around 216 species for the year. My total is approx 78% of the county total.

I am hopeful that during the fall migration I will be able to pick up these listed plus several others that I missed.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Updating, in case someone reads this blog.

A lot has been going on and I have seemingly been able to find something else to do rather then blog. Translation: I have been birding. More cold, rainy,windy days then I can count. But there is something stimulating about putting on layers of clothing, a wool hat, gloves and heading off to a woodlands area.
The woods appear to be asleep wrapped in winter's blanket of frost or snow. But it teems with activity. It amazes me that warm blooded creatures weighing no more the a couple of ounces, and often less, not only choose to stay for the winter but thrive.
I am speaking about our year round birds, Carolina Chickadees, Titmice, Northern Cardinals, White-breasted Nuthatches, Carolina Wrens the list is long.

I have set no particular goal for the year other then to participate in more of the county's birding trips, and visit areas in the county I haven't birded.

Here is how the year is progressing:
On January 1,The bird club when out on the first day of the year and we recorded 42 species. My total by January's end was 52 species. In February I added another 26 additional birds. By the end of March I had 12 more, bringing my yearly total to 90.

With April came the spring migration, and all kinds woodland birds including Warblers, lots of warblers. By April's end I was up to 135.

It is now May 9th and my count is at 163. Considering that I was pretty pleased after my first year of listing to come up with a county total of 144 for the year. I think I am doing pretty well. I can not believe how God has revealed His Creation to me in a way that I have never experienced.

The hi-lights have been many. To date I have recorded 39 new county birds in Howard County for 2009. While each and every one was a joy to discover, below are a few high lights

In no particular order:
White winged Cross Bills, my first Life bird of the year 3 county records.
Harris Sparrow, this bird has only been recorded in the county only a couple times - 4 county records.

Painted Bunting , same with this fellow. - 2nd county record
Golden Eagle, a flyover, when I happened to look up at the right time to see him ride the thermals

Rusty Black Birds, always a good find
Virginia Rail,

Sedge Wren, - 8 county records
Common Moorhen

Ta ta for now.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Birding In January

I started this year off by getting up on January first at 7 am to restart my annual list. With a zeal that exceeds all types of weather and lack of sleep I met with the local birders that keep annual lists for county birds seen in a year,. Yes, there are several people that do this. Its a great past time and you can start afresh each year.

So January 1, 2009 at 8 am with the sky clear the temps in the teens, standing by a lake in the wind I started my new list. We visited several spots in the county and by 11 am we had counted 42 birds.
Not a bad start of the new year, considering I had a total of 37 birds middle of Feb last year. To date I am up to 63.
Some of the high lights have been life birds, Northern Pin-tail, Whitewing, Cross-bills, Tundra Swans, Gadwall, American Wigeon, and Green Winged Teal. All seen seen in the last two weeks.
I believe this has been the coldest January into February in several years and because of this all the lakes, ponds, and Reservoirs have been frozen over accept where the water fowl would keep it open for paddling around and diving for food. This has made for easy identification of birds I would probably have missed

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Food fight at the back deck feeders

These guys had actually calmed down some. There were more mouths then perches and no one was willing to wait their turn.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Big Day Dec 23

Howard county is freezing. That is always promising news for birders. Today seems to be the day that a lot of rare visitors dropped from the sky. here is a partial list of Birds I saw. But by no means inclusive.
At Centennial Lake were the following: a Greater White Fronted Goose (1), Cackling Geese (3), Golden Eye (1), American Black Duck (1), Canvas backs (2) and a lot of other birds, Canadas - 1000+, Mallards, Ruddy Ducks, Hooded Mergansers, American Coots, Ring Necked Ducks, Ring Billed Gulls.

I also Visited Lake Elkhorn. and saw more of the same just a lot less.

The Greater White Fronted is quite rare for Howard County. The last being in 2000, or so I am told.