Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Millbrook Marsh in 15 minutes

I had a few minutes to kill yesterday after work before I met my new gal for dinner, so I stopped by Millbrook Marsh just north of Beaver Stadium. I was only there for about 15 minutes, but I got some nice birds:
Yellow Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Northern Cardinal
Common Grackle
American Crow
European Starling
Song Sparrow
I didn't get to the actual pond area and viewing platform before I had to go, but I did get some photographs! These are the best (and only) pics I've ever gotten of my FOY Common Yellowthroat:
I drove several of these guys nuts with my BirdJam, but they were wily enough to remain quite well hidden whenever I got my camera ready. I got some good looks in the binocs but had to settle for these crappy photos. Still, it was fun hearing and seeing them instead of being fooled by the similar call of the Carolina Wren.

An obliging Song Sparrow:
So cute!

Tomorrow after work, the girlfriend and I are meeting at the marsh to really give it a thorough birding. I'm really excited; I've only ever been there once before, but it was cold and wintry so there weren't even any Red-winged Blackbirds, much less warblers. I hope to have some good pics for you Friday.

This weekend will also be rather birdy, as Baby G and I will be checking out the sure-thing American Woodcocks and Whip-poor-wills at the Scotia Barrens (aka TICK WORLD--more on this later) on Saturday evening, and then we'll be joined by our friend Anne the Writer for some Sunday crack-of-dawn birding at Bald Eagle State Park, where I'm hoping to see a Scarlet Tanager, dangit!

Now--you'll recall that I'm in search of Lifer #200, but I have some issues with the list now. I've heard and kinda seen a fuzzy darkened outline of a woodcock, so does that count? Because I counted it, though now I feel a little funny about it--but that's part of how I got to 199. Still, I'll definitely see them Saturday (unless it's freezing or raining, both of which are NOT on the forecast), so I figure it all evens out. Right? But then, if I hear a Whip-poor-will but don't see it--does that count? I haven't ever counted heard-only birds, but I did count the woodcock, even though now I honestly don't know if I only imagined seeing the bird's shape in the darkening conditions at Middle Creek.

I guess, for the sake of whatever, that the woodcock counts, but if I only HEAR the Whip-poor-will, it will not count. If I actually SEE it, it will be #200. But you know that I really want the tanager to be #200. Of course, I may not even see the tanager on Sunday.

I guess whatever new bird I see will be #200, no matter whether it's a tanager or a whip-poor-will or even a snipe.

Now for some info on Scotia, aka TICK WORLD: several people have been commenting about the ridiculously abundant ticks at Scotia. They're bad every year, but this year, a woman talked about finding over FORTY! of them on her and on each of her kids! And they stayed on the mown paths and dirt roads! Gretchen and I are terrified, and we will NOT be taking Domino. Speaking of Domino, here she is, whoopin' it up at Em's recent birdday party:
hee hee! She's such a party animal. Anyway, back to the ticks: I guess we'll just have to drown ourselves in DEET and hope for the best, checking ourselves for the dreaded ticks all the way and afterwards. Eek.

What birdy stuff are you doing this weekend?


Earl Cootie said...

I feel funny about some birds on my life list too. Especially those early ones where I was sure at the time I'd properly identified them, but now I'm not so sure. However, I don't count all the birds I saw fairly regularly when I was growing up (Northern Cardinals, Blue Jays, Eastern Bluebirds, Scissor-tailed Flycatchers . . .); I hope someday I'll travel east of the Mississippi and pick them back up again.

Good luck this weekend! Take all the proper tick precautions.

Lynne said...

Go for the total dork look and tuck your pantslegs into your socks and then spray like nuts with deet. The ticks were ferocious last weekend at Hasty Brook. At least 8 out of 10 were deer ticks too.

Have fun (while I toil away in the laboratory...)

Sharingan616 said...

Nice site!

Susan Gets Native said...

I'm sorry, D.
I couldn't ever pay attention after you said "Beaver Stadium".


John said...

I think hearing and seeing a dark fuzzy outline is how most birders see their first woodcocks. I would count it.

dAwN said...

Good luck on the Woodcocks...Should have had you visit us at my sisters in NC..came like clockwork every eve and morn...
About those damn careful...i had lyme husband was just treated a week ago for a tick bite sickness.
Get naked after your walk and check everywhere..those buggers are nasty!

Rabbits' Guy said...

I like that sparrow picture!

My weekend will be spent agonizing over your bird no. 200! Do please resolve the issue and move on. The 0's on your keyboard are wearing out.

dguzman said...

Earl--I hear ya. I counted a scissor-tail I remember from my youth because my big sister pointed him out to me, but the rest of the old Texas birds I remember--I didn't count until I saw 'em again as a grown-up. Will do on the tick protection--eek!

Lynne--got it! Photos most assuredly to follow....

Sharingan--thanks for stopping by! I'll return the favor.

Susan--oh YOU.... hee hee.

John--thanks! Now I feel better.

Dawn--you're scaring me even more!

Rabbits' Guy--you're too kind. I'll let you know what happens. No matter what, I WILL get to 200, dangit!

nina at Nature Remains. said...

I like your photos of the Common Yellow Throat.
I managed to get one last week that barely caught his black mask through a thick, thick covering of leaves and branches.
If they could only realize how much we'd appreciate a picture!!

KatDoc said...


According to their rules (whoever "they" are) heard-only birds count. For your woodcock, "heard and a fuzzy outline seen" definitely counts.

For myself, I don't count heard only birds as lifers, with a few exceptions. Whip-poor-wills are one. Their call is very distinctive and seeing one is nigh unto impossible. A warbler or something, where I wasn't sure about the call and I had a reasonable chance of seeing it, I wouldn't count if I only heard it.

However, as many birders are fond of telling me, "It is your list and therefore you can count whatever you choose to count."

Have fun and good luck with your lifers. Scarlet Tanager would be a sweet one for #200.


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