Monday, January 25, 2010

IAS Meeting at Turkey Run State Park!

Gorgeous scenery at the park. This is directly behind the lodge. Awesome!
Last Saturday and Sunday (23/ 24) the Indiana Audubon Society, Inc. has their annual board meeting at Turkey Run State Park in Marshall, IN. It was my first board meeting since joining the board and WOW was it a great time. We have some fantastic board members and with the leadership of Amy, our president, we really got some things accomplished! There are a ton of great things going on in the IAS (the oldest conservation organization in the state) including... the Indiana Young Birders Club, Field Trips, Events... the list goes on and on!
I would recommend that anyone who loves birds in the State of Indiana (or anywhere) check us out at and become involved in something great!

Blue Jay... I love this bird!

Hairy Woodpecker... just a cool bird.
Don't forget to check us out!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Birding with the Kids!

It's been pretty dreary here in Indianapolis for the past several days. A constant overcast complete with fog has all but sapped most of the happy energy clean out of me. However, my zest for life was reinstalled this past Sunday when me and 3 of my kids went birding at the nearby Southwestway Park. Birds always cheer up a nasty day but when I am able to add my kids to the experience - it becomes quickly apparent of what its all about!

MY Young Birders! Lovin' nature!
Birds seemed all but extinct for the first part of our walk. The snow had just melted and it was fairly warm so I wasn't really sure what we would end up seeing. But, as good birders would, we kept moving forward. We arrived near the bank of the river to be welcomed by a Belted Kingfisher. Shortly nearby we were welcome by a honeypot of birds! Carolina Wrens, Song Sparrows, Cardinals, White-breasted Nuthatches, Downy Woodpeckers, Mourning Doves, Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, a Red-bellied Woodpecker, and American Goldfinches. For the most part, this whole gang of birds was within a circle of 4 trees. I am not sure what food was there, but they were all taking turns going to the ground to take their share.
Song Sparrow... even in drab lighting, its striking details are awesome!

Carolina Wren... not the best pic but he made such racket, it deserved a picture!

We birded for about two hours. Along the way we found some cool leaves, some good walking sticks, and I listened to my kids share some pretty amazing stories... very exaggerated I might add! A few lat minute birds included a Red-tailed Hawk and some American Crows! We had a great time! I can't wait to go again!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Reflections of 2009!

Although in 2009 I did not hit my birding goals, the year still turned out to be nothing short of absolutely fantastic! This was a big year in my world of birding! I was blessed to bird in both Florida and Ecuador as well as attend several birding events for the first time.
I wrapped up the year with 330 species total - 173 Life Birds! This brings my World List to 425, my ABA List to 230, and my Indiana List to 199. Indiana brought me 165 birds in 2009, 1 more than 2008. Not much of an increase but, an increase nonetheless.
2010 is going to be another awesome year! I can feel it! So far, I have planned trips to Florida, Denver, Lake Erie, San Blas, MX, and hopefully the Outer Banks. I am hoping that these trips will help me achieve my year goal this year of reaching 525 World Species - 100 new birds!
So... in no particular order, here are some memories from 2009 - a year that...

brought Indiana's first official Young Birders Club!
gave me the opportunity to take my family to Mammoth Cave, KY.

allowed me to see my first Florida Scrub Jay.

gave me a glimpse of these Roseate Spoonbills in Florida!

took me took Ecuador to see more than 20 species of Hummingbirds, including this Purple-bibbed White-tip...

a Booted Racket-tail, and and Purple-throated Woodstar.

gave me the best picture of a Blue Jay I have taken to date.

let me and the family see more that 7,000 Sandhill Cranes at Jasper Pulaski in Indiana.

has given me a record low backyard bird count thanks to our neighborhood Coopers Hawk.

gave my son and I a chance to bird Lake Erie with the Kaufman's and other fine birders!

my kids took turns looking through the scope at Eagle Creek, Indianapolis.

I witnessed a murder before my very eyes!

my neighbors had a Golden-crowned Kinglet in their garage that did not want to leave.

introduced me to the experience of trampling around in a wet mess in the rain to see a LeConte's and Nelson's Sparrow... and to get a chance to bird with some very good birders!

gave my nephew a chance to experience how nuts birders can be at Lake Michigan, IN.

miraculously gave me an opportunity to see a Kirtland's Warbler while at the Midwest Birding Symposium along the coast of Lake Erie!

let me bird with the team from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology... OMG!

gave me another lifer... a Philadelphia Vireo at Magee Marsh.

gave me a chance to see this gorgeous sunrise at Ottawa NWR.

let me get a picture with THE Kenn Kaufman! Yeap, THE Kenn Kaufman!

made me appreciate those who spend their time to saving wild birds. This gorgeous Peregrine Falcon was a patient.

made me appreciate the ugly beauty of this baby Indigo Bunting.

brought a good number of Caspian Terns to Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis.

I realized how photogenic a birder can be!

I saw a copycat of the Hummingbird.

I saw my first Dickcissel at Goose Pond, IN.

my House Finches drank more sugar water than the Hummingbirds did.

my insect-eating plants bloomed as if they were normal innocent flowers.

my kids continued to learn that being outside is always more fun than sitting behind a TV.

I come to appreciate even more that there is nothing more relaxing or peaceful than being able to spend time outside watching birds!
Now, I am off to 2010!

Indiana State Bird

Indiana State Bird
Northern Cardinal