Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Lifer trifecta! I mean -- daily double.... hmph.

This past Saturday, we had a rare mild day temp-wise (in the 40s), so my friend Roana and I went to look for some birds that had been seen in and around State College.

First, we went to the PSU campus to look for the White-winged Crossbills that had been seen near the Nittany Lion Inn. Sadly, we only saw (and smelled) a whole lot of crow poop and nothing else. The hemlock cones look pretty picked over, so we wondered if they had just moved on to another feeding area. My first lifer-attempt of the day was thus scuttled.

After that, we went to the duck pond to look for redheads, a pair of which had been seen recently. Sure enough, they were there and oh-so-easy to spot:

Look how beautiful they are! There's also a Ring-necked Duck (I think?) in that last photo--not a lifer, but the redheads are!

Also swimming around the pond was this HORNED (updated, thanks to Patrick and John) Grebe, [update:] NOTmy second lifer of the day! [I realized that I'd already gotten Horned Grebe on my lifelist, with a photo, back in April of 2007. That changes my whole post! It's just a daily double.
I had thought that Ro told me this was the Pied-billed, but you know--now as I'm saying this, I'm wondering if I didn't just mix it up myself. She's not prone to errors like I am.... The bad thing is that I should've KNOWN this wasn't a pied-bill. I just did a post on those! I'm so disappointed in my ID skills, or the lack thereof. I think, in my defense, that I was trying so hard to get a good photo that I didn't even look at the bird. I've talked about this tendency before; I get so caught up in the photography that I forget to really note the field marks and stuff. I just relied on Roana that day, and look what it got me. I'm bummed.

We then decided to try some different spots for the crossbills. We hiked up some snowy mountain road, and although we heard some nuthatches and Black-capped Chickadees tuning up for spring (yay!), we didn't see any crossbills. In fact, the hemlocks all around us on this round (Pine Marsh Rd.) had very few if any cones on them -- is this a sign of disease? Do they not produce cones each year? Anyone?

We then tried around the Shaver's Creek Environmental Center. No crossbills, but check this out!
That's a Red-breasted Nuthatch (along with a cute Dark-Eyed Junco, who looks really huge compared to the little nuthatch). Lifer number 3! I'd only ever seen White-breasted ones; this guy was so much smaller than the white ones. Here's another pic:
So cute!

So that was my lifer DAILY DOUBLE for the weekend. No crossbills. No trifecta. Hmph.

Here's some other stuff I saw at Shaver's Creek:
this huge stuffed turkey was a little scary, actually.

This is a "Stinkpot Turtle." I'm guessing he must emit some smelly stuff. Help, Science Chimp?

This TV is for you, Lynne!

Here are some Pine Siskins we saw at the feeders near the center:

We've had a huge explosion of siskins this year, with everyone and their dog posting their pics on the listserv. It's gotten kinda funny how everyone seems to want to say "I've got 'em too! Look at my siskins!" on the listserv. I'll just say that here on the bloggy instead.

These warm temps have me sooooooo excited for spring and more adventures. I was thrilled to hear a forecast of showers, not snow, for the next couple of days. I'm just itchin' to wear shorts again.

Meanwhile, I'm sorry I haven't been posting or visiting your blogs. I only have access to the 'net during breaks and lunch now (there's a rumor that they're busting people for excessive internet use at their desks at work, so I'm trying to be good!). As a result, I'll be posting and commenting a lot less, and missing the heck out of all your blogs a lot more.


Patrick Belardo said...

Hey Delia, congrats on the lifers! Love the Redheads! Your pic shows a Horned Grebe.

John said...

Congratulations on the life birds!

I think four lifers would be a Lifer Quadrufecta.

By the way, the picture is a Horned Grebe.

dguzman said...

Patrick and John--well, dangit, I thought so too, but Ro told me it was the pied-billed! I'll update. Thanks! "Quadrufecta" -- got it! What about when you see like fifteen?

KGMom said...

Delia--I am pretty sure I had a red-breasted nuthatch hopping around on one of our trees yesterday. At first, I assumed white-breasted, but then I heard its call which sounded rather like a cat. I looked it up on Whatbird, and played the call--yup, red-breasted.
Congrats on your ever-growing list (soon to be added to greatly by western birds, right?)

Oh my, the word verification is. . .duumb

dguzman said...

Oh man -- I already had a Horned Grebe on my lifelist from April 2007. I'm bummed. I have to change my whole post now!

Earl Cootie said...

What an exciting day! Congratulations! I only saw a Redhead for the first time last spring. (Now if I could just get a darned Ruddy Duck.)

KatDoc said...

What a great day! One, two, three Lifers - whose counting when you're having fun!

I have never seen a Red-breasted Nuthatch on the ground - how odd.

I agree that it is hard, if not close to impossible, to bird and photograph at the same time. When you are using your bins to ID a bird, you can't take pics, and when you are worried about focus and composition and lighting, you can't concentrate on the birds.

15 lifers in one day is called ...


Dr. Zaius said...

I think that it is unfair that you sentence those poor birds to "lifer" sentences. Surely they could get some time off for good behavior!

Also, I think that it is inappropriate to ring the necks of all of those cute ducks. That's just mean spirited!

Don't get caught goofing around on the internet at work. They might ring your neck - just like those poor ducks!

dguzman said...

Earl--I love Ruddies!

KatDoc--he was kinda near a feeder; I think that's why he was on the ground.

Dr. Zaius--you crack me up, you silly ape.

Larry said...

Conratulations on the lifers! Looks as though you had a nice view
of those birds! I've made more than my id mistakes over the years so I've nothing to add on that subject.

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