Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Would you believe birds?

Posted by Kirk
It seems like it has been a long time since I posted about birds. Such is the middle of summer. It gets hard to find new birds for my list. I did finally manage to creep up to 120 birds this week.

On June 20th I added two birds. I added the clay-colored sparrow and a blue-winged warbler. I was one of the few people at work that day and no one had gotten the mail yet so I hiked out to the mailbox. I spotted a blue-winged warbler along the driveway on the way to the mailbox. Rule number one. Always bring binoculars, everywhere.

On the way back I cut through the prairie/savanna restoration and could hear the distinctive call of the clay colored sparrow. Paul had taught it to me earlier in the month and while I had heard it everywhere the actual birds had eluded me. Sitting on top of a big slash pile was a little brown bird. With my binoculars I thought I could tell it was the one singing. I crept closer and sure enough it was the clay-colored sparrow.

The nest week was the first week of summer camp and I lead a trip of kids down the St. Croix river. The first night we heard but didn't see a whip-poor-will. The second night we camped out at Goose Creek and a pair of sandhill cranes flew right over our heads. They landed on the opposite shore to eat. We got a great view. As I remembered, the goose creek campsite is thick with American redstarts and the wood thrushes were singing beautifully from the woods. The second morning (June 29th) I arose early and birded along the quiet shore as mist lifted off the water. I saw another blue-winged warbler but there was another bird hanging out with it. I finally got a good luck and to my delight it was a golden-winged warbler. There was another misc. vireo about that morning. It looked like it was probably a red-eyed vireo but I'm going to hold off on counting it since I didn't get a great look.

Bird 120 was a pleasant surprise. I don't get to add many birds to my list from my treeless suburban back yard. I've done a lot to encourage birds including feeders and a new pond. The improvements have brought in cardinals, robins, house sparrows, chickadees, goldfinches, and chipping sparrows but I kept on saying where the hell are the house wrens! I have two next boxes up that would be suitable but I don't so much as see a single sign of the wrens. Then, just the other day (July 15th)there were two of them hanging out on my back porch and playing around in the mulberry bush. Believe it or not they were the first ones I had seen all year. I really hope they see what a nice place my yard is and decide to stick around.

Woo hoo, 120 birds. I'm going to beat last year.

117 Clay-colored sparrow,
118 Blue winged warbler
119 Golden-winged warbler
120 House Wren