Monday, February 19, 2007

A good day of birding is better than a bad day at the office

Lots of pictures. And of birds, no less!
Kathi alerted me to a new spot to bird: Armleder Park. (No worries, Kath, we will still go together. Imagine how great it must be in spring migration!)

It got up to 40 degrees today (almost broke out the shorts!), and I took the opportunity to do real birding. The wind was brisk, but not too bad. The girls didn't even complain. That's a first.
I got FIVE life birds today. And got pictures of FOUR of them.
Merlin speck
These little specks are a wheeling merlin, just out of reach of my camera.
Slightly larger merlin speck
The girls did pretty well on the walk, but pooped out halfway around the trail. So we walked back to the parking lot. I spied someone carrying a scope, so I went over to see what they were looking at. Turned out the person was Bob Foppe, the guide I met on my first bird walk.
He pointed out the birds I had been hoping to see:
Horned Lark
A horned lark...
Horned larks, lapland larkspurs, snow buntings
...snow bunting and Lapland larkspurs. Huzzah! A photographer was spreading corn and grain in the field and preparing to get some shots of the flock
(laying out plastic and blankets to lay on).
Bob said the guy's name, but I can't remember what it was. Sounds like he was sort of a well-known photographer. I may have to email Bob to get the guys name.
Looks like someone has been wearing YakTrax!

As we walked back to the car, a flock of black ducks flew over. That made 5 lifers.
Goose feet
We went on to Lake Isabella, where the ice is receding and more birds were hanging out than I have seen in weeks.
Fighting over the female
The male mallards were fiesty, chasing each other away from the females.
Things are looking up
What a sweet face...things are looking up!
Itchy goose
Itchy goose
Duck flotilla
The Duck Flotilla....canvasbacks, redheads...
banded goose
And two banded Canada geese!!!
another banded goose

Yelling goose
The geese were rowdy, too. I saw lots of butt-biting and plenty of wing-flapping and honk-yelling.
ring necked close up
It's not a lifer, but it's still nice. A ring-necked duck. What a dumb name for a bird, when you can't even see the ring in the field! Kathi showed them to me once, and mentioned the "whale" of white and gray on the side. Maybe we should call them whale ducks. That would make a heck of a lot more sense.
female ring necked
Here's a female....and you CAN see the ring.
*Update: Kathi alerted me that this was a female canvasback...I wasn't paying attention to what I was labeling*
Canvasback and ring-necked
Sweet....ring-necked with a canvasback.
canvasback again
I love canvasbacks. They look so clean. It's funny about them: A friend had one on her pond, and described it to me for help with the ID. I never saw it, but knew what she was talking about. I have been looking for them for 2 years, and now they are freakin' everywhere.

I will be going out tomorrow, sans children, probably back to Armleder, and maybe elsewhere, too. The girls finally get to go to school, after a WEEK.


mon@rch said...

O my goodness, such a wonderful day you had! I love all the photo's you took and only wish my waterfowl would let me as close as you were able to get! Love all the lifers including the merlin! WOW Hope you see more tomorrow! Yeah, 40F??

Susan Gets Native said...

This day just rocked!
That makes 122 life birds, and 58 for 2007.
Not bad, considering that I didn't know what I was going to do today.
The ducks gradually go used to us standing on the dock (I told the girls to go farther away) and there they came. Sweet!

Mary said...

Hey, Susan! Great day, great photos! Congratulations. I really like the "yelling geese" photo. They do get quite nasty.

Looks and sounds like spring is comin' in Ohio! A warmer day and the girls back in school...can't get any better than that, right?

katdoc said...

Glad you enjoyed Armleder. Sunday was the first time I have been there, and I will be back. I got 3 Lifers there myself (Merlin, Snow Buntings, and Lapland Longspurs).

Loved your male Ring-necked Duck photo (or should we call them "Ring-BILLED"?) but double check your ID of the female duck below his photo. With the solid black bill and sloping forehead, that looks like a female Canvasback to me. Compare the pattern of her markings to the handsome male in the last photo. She is dingy gray where he is clean white, and faded brown where he is dark red and black, but otherwise the pattern is the same.

A female Ring-necked Duck should have a bluish gray bill with a black "nail" at the tip, like the male, and a small bit of white where the bill joins the head. A female Ring-necked will also have a pale gray cheek patch with a dark cap, instead of a solid color head. And, she will still have a fairly obvious "whale" on her side, though in shades of brown rather than black and white.

Female ducks are tough. Where there are scaup and ring-necked together, I have a heck of a time determining the females apart.

~Kathi, who wishes she didn't have to work today and could go out birding with you

NatureWoman said...

Congrats on FIVE new lifers - yay Susan!! Love all of your photos! Did you get my email on how to set your camera's resolution higher and compression lower?
Geese can be so nasty - like there aren't enough girls to go around.
Ack, what's with the band around the throat, looks very uncomfortable! But I'm sure it's not?

Mary said...

Agree - that band looks uncomfortable, coming from someone who hates turlenecks.

Lynne said...

Snow buntings??? Lucky you!
I think that goose band looks uncomfortable too. Don't like it.
Great water birds. Maybe I'll try and gain some confidence on them this summer. We ARE the land of 10,000 lakes you know...

vicki said...

I would think a bad day of birding is better than any day at the office. :-)

I love your ring meck duck and those black feet- those look all the rage. Very sharp.

A nice series of photos! I admire you- here I don't have to brave the cold and snow to go birding. You're a dedicated birder, Susan.

Endment said...

Great photos - sounds like a wonderful day --- what's with the quote at the beginning??? is that really the way it is suppose to go? :)

Liza Lee Miller said...

AWESOME!!! Great day of birding indeed!

I'm at 77 life and 41 year. Clearly, I need to get out more! :)