Friday, September 21, 2007

130 Birdies!

Posted by Kirk
I finally made it to 130 birds. What a milestone. While visiting Chelsey's parents in La Crosse I spotted several tufted titmice (bird 128) in the trees by their home. I figured I would see some there at some point. Every time she calls them in the summer I can hear PETER! PETER! in the background. It was inevitable I would spot one there. There were also female ruby throated hummingbirds kicking through.

On September 10th I attended the Metro Naturalist Training at the Coon Rapids Dam. There were lots of great blue herons and a couple of great egrets. For the record, there were also Canada geese, mallards and a cardinal. The new bird for the list there was a ring billed gull (bird 129). This is sort of a gimme I save for this time of year when the pickins are lean. I probably saw one earlier but I purposefully willed myself not to id birds in the cub foods parking lot.

At Warner Nature Center, where I work, we have weekly trail assignments to force us naturalists to get outside. It seems silly to have to force naturalists outside but you get busy and then feel guilty about going on a hike (which is just as important to our training as anything else.) We need to know what goes on out there if we're going to teach about it.

On my hike today I hiked the new Esker Trail. I spotted bluebirds and goldfinches in the prairie. Once I veered into the woods and hiked along the lake I spotted wood ducks and a flock of white throated sparrows. All in all by the end of my hike I counted over 50 wood ducks. I also saw a green heron and a small group of Myrtle (yellow rumped) warblers. Bird 130 came as a real surprise. A bird landed on a branch right in front of me and I peered through my binoculars. I instantly recognized it. It was an ovenbird. That's bird species 130 for the year. I heard overbirds all summer but was never able to see one. Now that they have stopped calling here one plops down in front of me. Figures. What will be next? I see shorebirds and water fowl in my future as I head to a conference in Wisconsin next month.

128 Tufted Titmouse in La Crosse (Holmen)
129 Ring-billed gull-at metro training
130 Ovenbird