Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Big Birding Day Part 2

Sunday yielded so many birds and photos that I had to divide it into two posts. Here is part 2 of my big birding day. Unfortunately, I didn't have Gretchen along -- she would've loved seeing all these birds.
Sadly, I noticed that the dead loosestrife is now giving way to brand-new loosestrife. I think now would be a good time to go out there with some garbage bags and pull up little loosestrife plants. I would need hip waders, though.
These shoots are each about 4 or 5 inches tall (above the waterline). I don't know whether the biological controls that the marsh owners told me about are working. Doesn't look like it--yet.

All afternoon, I could hear soras doing their whiny little calls almost non-stop so I worked up a passable imitation (by whistling) to try to perhaps coax the soras from their hiding places.

First, I checked out the boardwalk and spooked a green heron, who flew to the viewing platform at the end of the boardwalk. I snuck up, crawling army-style along the boards, knowing that Mary and Susan would do the same thing:
Gotcha! Thank goodness no one was around to see or photograph my "stealth." So after the mama (?) heron flew, two smaller birds flew as well – babies! But not so baby that they couldn’t fly away; I tried my best to get a shot of at least one of them. Here's the best shot I got:
No, no, really -- click for larger and look near the middle of the frame, just at the top of the grass--it's there!

So I guess the green herons have been here for a while, judging from the size of these young. Cool! Now I just had to find and photograph a sora and see if the American bitterns were back yet.

I kept doing my imitation whistle to which soras often responded, but I never drew one out of cover. Still, at one point I spooked another bird and realized it was an American bittern! Finally! I never did hear the pumperlunk sound, but I watched him in my binocs as he flew to the opposite end of the marsh. I tried to chase him down but of course he flew again when I got close. No pictures, though--I was just trying to follow him with my eyes and make sure it was the bittern.
I did get some other pictures, however:
These Canadas were quite perturbed by my presence almost from the moment I stepped onto the marshland:
Farther down the path beside Long Pond, I spotted two green herons in a tree. I think they were adults. This is as close as I could get, and I'm shooting into the setting sun:

This little yin and yang formation was a lucky shot--I think these are wood ducks (can't remember):
The tree swallows were doing their acrobatics all over the place; this guy sat still only long enough for a quick snapshot:

I also got some great photos in the backyard, as the feeders and trees around the yard were alive with songbirds. This photo of a yellow warbler would've been awesome were it not for that stupid branch!

I had time for one shot before he flew, and the dumb branch blocked him. Sigh.

Then as if to mock me, a branch obscured this American goldfinch's face as well!
Curse you, little tree!

Mr. Cardinal, wondering what I'm doing:
We still have white-crowned sparrows, though I imagine these guys will be leaving pretty soon.
The white-throateds are already gone.
The lilacs are blooming!
I'll finish up with these pictures of some wild daffodil-like flowers we have growing near the back fence -- are these just some other "breed" of daffodil?
Tonight, my work birding friend Hillel is coming out to the marsh, so I'll have a chance to try my little sora whistling technique and see if I can attract a little attention.

My marsh/yard list for Sunday:
American Bittern
Green heron
Sora
Yellow Warbler
Baltimore Oriole
Wood Duck
Osprey
Ovenbird
Red-winged blackbird
Tree Swallow
Barn swallow
Chipping Sparrow
House Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow (several—shouldn't they be gone?)
Northern Cardinal
Gray Catbird
Black-capped Chickadee
American Crow
Mourning Dove
American Goldfinch
Canada Goose
Common Grackle
Blue Jay
Killdeer
Mallard
American Robin
European Starling
Chimney Swift
Tufted Titmouse
Downy Woodpecker
Carolina Wren

21 comments:

dguzman said...

Hey, it won't do "click for larger" again. This is frustrating. Blogger, why do you hate me so?

Lynne said...

What an impressive list! I wanna be your birding buddy! I've never een a sora so you HAVE to get a picture. I can just see you doing the low crawl sneaking up on that green heron!! The Canada goose photo is awesome! And I really like the silhouette of the herons in the tree- very cool.

BTW- yellow warbler would be a lifer for me...

KGMom said...

Some lovely photos, there, Delia.
The cardinal with tilted head is trying to help you--since the other birds have worked to obscure their faces.

dguzman said...

Lynne--I've been out every night since Sunday and those soras are calling and calling, but they just won't come out. However, I'm about to blog about my new secret weapon, which might help me get one of the brush....

KGMom--Isn't he cute? We're having a good year for cards--normally I see only one pair; this year, I've seen three pairs at the feeders.

ehunter said...

You have some great shots there. I love the flying Canada geese. Amazed at some of the cool birds you're seeing too.

Love your site.

Mathman6293 said...

Great pictures. I am little jealous. Yesterday, on the way home, I missed a pic of a wild turkey crossing the road by a small swamp that I drive by. I couldn't get my camera turned on - the car bearing down on me frightened me.

dguzman said...

EHunter--welcome to the bloggy! Please stick around! And thanks--Central PA is rich with a wide variety of species.

Mathman--oh man! The same thing happened to me when I saw a ruffed grouse (my first one) on the side of the road a few weeks ago. So frustrating!

Bubs said...

What a wonderful day.

I can't tell you how much I enjoy your birding adventures and all the pictures from it.

dguzman said...

Bubs--I'm glad you like it. I enjoy your work posts a lot; I told you I'm planning to work in a crime lab, right?

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