Tuesday, October 23, 2007

135 Birds and Counting!

Posted by Kirk
While on a visit to the St. Croix Watershed Research Station on Sunday, September 23rd I spied three broad winged hawks in the sky circling in a mini kettle. Someone suggested that with only 3 birds it should be called a pot or perhaps a cup instead of a kettle. har har har. Bird humor.

October 4th we had a naturalists' staff meeting at the nature center and while meeting in the lounge, Paul pointed out a blue headed vireo hopping up and down the bark of a large oak out the window. It must have been feasting on insects hiding in the bark. I had no idea they could hold onto the side of a tree like a nuthatch. Very cool to see.

The morning of October 18th I headed out to the George W. Mead Wildlife Area in Wisconsin as part of a conference we were attending. We expected lots of migrating waterfowl but were disappointed. We did find a pond with lots of American Coots (hundreds?) but the only other birds in the pond were five lesser scaups and a couple of pied billed grebes. We kept searching and found some red winged blackbirds, swamp sparrows, field sparrows and juncos. Just outside the wildlife area we stopped at a small pond and spotted a lonely redhead swimming. Hmm, if you don't know that a redhead is a kind of duck is sounds kind of bad that we watched a redhead swim in a pond though our binoculars! Just after we left the wildlife area I spotted a half dozen or so sandhill cranes in a farm field.

October 19th Paul and I woke up extra early to go on an early morning bird hike with other naturalists. I can't believe I got up that early to look at essentially the same birds I see at work everyday.

We left the conference October 20th and we spotted a ruby crowned kinglet though due to a momentary lapse of reason we could not figure out what kind of warbler it was. Duh, it wasn't a warbler. We kept on hearing kinglets so we should have put two and two together sooner than we did. I did spot a brown creeper as well which is always fun.

On the way home to Minnesota, co-worker Bekah spotted a white bird sitting up in a tree on the side of the road. I pulled over turned around ( something that NEVER happens unless I'm driving with other naturalists) and we were super excited to see that the bird was a Krider's Red-tailed hawk. It looks like an albino but it has the red tail. I'd never seen one so that was very cool. It is still a red-tailed hawk so I'm not counting it on my list.

131 Broad-winged hawk
132 Blue headed vireo
133 Swamp Sparrow
134 Redhead
135 Ruby Crowned Kinglet