Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Bad Day Birding! Never!

I had a very late start this morning but after a LONG last week preparing for the busy holiday season at work, I was ready to get out do at least a little birding. I needed it! Between work and the seemingly never-ending challenges that my teenager continues to put me through - stress relief couldn't come fast enough. As always, birding was just what the doctor ordered. At least for a little while.

American Goldfinch... Southwestway Park, Indianapolis, IN. If this was the only bird you saw during a day of birding... how could you be upset?
I don't believe there is a such things as a bad day of birding. To me, just having the ability to get outside to "bird" is wonderful! Birding allows me to get outside and forget about everything else that is going on in life. Most importantly, the stressful things in life that need to be released.
Today was one of those days that many would consider a bad day of birding. I saw a whole 10 species. Only 10. I was told by a couple of friends upon entering my first location that I wouldn't see anything and they absolutely correct - not a thing. I arrived at my next location to find the exact same thing. Hmm. From there, I went to Southwestway, a park very close to my home. I walked an entire trail and did not see one bird?? Finally, I came upon a spot near the mouth of the trail - a honey hole! At this one spot, after a morning of nothing, I found the birds. At this one spot there were 10 species that included: Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Chickadee, Northern Cardinal, Song Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Golden-crowned Kinglet, and Downy Woodpecker, White-breasted Nuthatch, Rock Pigeon, and American Goldfinch.
Jackpot!... Southwestway, Indianapolis, IN. The highlight of my morning was this flock of American Goldfinches. This may not seem like a highlight to many or even a bird worth seeing but to me, a flock of this beautiful bird is like hitting a gold mine! There could always be an alternative... somebody could decide to tear this shrub down and this flock of Goldfinches could have never landed in it!?!!
There is really no such thing as a bad day of birding! Unless your not really a birder!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

One Great Weekend, Bonus - 6 Lifers!

It all started on November 14, 2009. We woke up in our hotel room after a late night's drive excited to attend the Ohio Young Birders Conference that was being held at the Ottawa NWR Visitors Center and hosted by the Ohio Young Birders Club. The conference was unique in that all presenters were actually young birders. From the first words of the first presenter, I was amazed at the enthusiasm for birds that these young birders possessed. Each spoke on a different topic - California Condors, Piping Plovers, and even a story of a Big Year by bicycle - a young birder and his parents birded more miles by bike in one year than I think I have travelled by car! All presentations were absolutely amazing!
Tundra Swans... Ottawa NWR. My day immediately started with a Lifer - Tundra Swan. As you can see there was not only a Swan but many gorgeous Swans decorating the wetland. I would estimate about 300 Swans visible throughout the property this particular day. There were also Mallards and Canada Geese in this picture.
The Young Birders... these four were the primary components of the conference. All were very cool kids and represented the club with class. I am still amazed!
Kim Kaufman... the Visionary behind the OYBC seen here giving away 1 of many prizes throughout the morning. This lady is nothing less than absolutely amazing - a true definition of genuine!
Kenn Kaufman... yeap, THE Kenn! Kenn was also on-site to support his wife and the OYBC. Here he was reviewing answers to the Bird Quiz that was part of the day. Members I.D.'d birds from pictures and then entered their answers for a chance to win a set of field guides based on their accuracy!

Snow Buntings... Ottawa NWR. Although it was sad for the conference to end, we were all very delighted when Kim announced that the Ottawa Auto-tour was being opened just for us. These Buntings were a few of the very cool birds we seen during the tour.
My son... as always having a great time outside. This time, rock skipping!
Me and one of my 5 birding buddies (I have 5 children) out doing a Pelagic Birding Trip on Lake Erie hosted by the Black Swamp Bird Observatory.
This Pelagic trip on the lake was on November 15 and was worth every penny paid to attend. Several awesome birders were on board including Kenn Kaufman. I picked up 4 lifers on the lake this day - Black Scoter, Pomarine Jaeger, and Peregrine Falcon.

My boy enjoying the Gulls!

Merlin... Cleveland, Ohio. Lifer #6. This particular bird was definitely a bonus since we found it in a spot we had never planned on coming upon. There was an issue with the mechanical bridge over the river our boat needed to pass under so we had to dock about a mile down the lake. In most cases, this would have angered most people but not us birders - especially when we were welcomed by this Merlin.

Sunset at Metzger Marsh... near Ottawa NWR. Muy bonita!
The weekend takes my World List to #424 and ABA to 229!
The best part of the trip was that I was able to spend some quality time with my son!

Indiana State Bird

Indiana State Bird
Northern Cardinal