Saturday, May 05, 2007

Bounty at the Oxbow

I had the day free today, so I headed out to the Oxbow.
I am so glad I did. I have never been there during spring migration (Why? I don't know.)
Let's do the ho-hum stuff first:

juvenile double crested cormorant
As I saw this fly in, I was hoping that it was a loon, seeing the pale chest.
But it was a juvenile double-crested cormorant. I've never seen a juvenile, but cormorants are a dime a dozen up at Lake Erie.
Northern water snake
This was pretty cool. I saw what I thought was a water bug skimming along the water about 20 feet away. But I realized that it was moving way too fast to be a bug.
A snake! A Northern Water Snake, to be exact. Not venomous, but aggressive. Glad I didn't get close. If you click it to enlarge, you can see his tongue flicking!
Okay, onto the good stuff:
*(Note: I am 95% sure of these ID's. But if anyone has an opinion, I would love to hear it. I am weak in warblers, shorebirds, vireos...well, I'm weak in a lot of areas. But I rock at raptors!)
Northern waterthrush
I'm calling this one a Northern waterthrush. But parts of it make me lean just a bit towards Louisiana. The habitat is wrong for a Louisiana, though. This was swampy, flat shoreline.
Palm warbler
I'm called this one a Palm warbler, and though you can't see it well in the photo, he had a faint reddish cap.
Warbling or solitary vireo
With a better view, I could probably ID this one better. But all I got to see was his eye ring and a very faint yellow wash on his flanks. So I am saying Warbling vireo, but I like to hear if anyone thinks Solitary.
I heard way more birds than I saw today. The warbler family is a tough one to learn when it comes to songs.
Other birds seen today:
Robins
Mallards
Killdeer
Canada geese
Tree swallows
American coot
Some warbler smacking a caterpillar against a branch

6 Days until Magee Marsh!
I am especially jazzed about this year's trip, not just for the alone time, but also because my confidence as a birder is stronger now than in past years. The first year we went, I was new at birding, and Magee Marsh is an overwhelming place to go on a first bird-trip. I didn't know the landscape, or most of the birds I was seeing.
Last year, I was better at it, but still a little unsure.
Now, I am ready to rock it hard on the Boardwalk. I've heard that some birders never make it out of the parking lot, it's so birdy there.
Anyone who reads my blog and is planning to go up to Magee, let me know. Maybe we can meet up and stumble over some warblers together!

8 comments:

Mary said...

Susan,

Those damned leaves are getting in the way! LOL! Just joking, I like leaves.

I'm beginning to realize that Spring is quite an extravaganza for bird watchers! I keep threatening to find a birding group here. When summer arrives and things slow down a bit, I'll start looking. But I'll feel SO dumb. "Novice" will be written across my forehead.

Susan Gets Native said...

Mary:
I know. The leaves are coming out and the light today was horrible.
Spring is the ultimate celebration time for birders!
And you would love a birding group. You don't have to worry about being a novice. If you tell the guide that you are new at this, they will MAKE SURE you get to see everything. It's a confidence builder!

Trixie said...

Susan,

What a great day. As you may suspect, I am trapped in Alaska with kids too sick to get on a plane. We did take Vivi to the zoo and if I had a bird guide that looked at the underside/a&* side of the birds, I would have gotten four! We also walked the Albert Loop at Eagle River and heard some interesting stuff. Even a varied thrush. Most cool.

Sorry for no e-mail, we are also in computer purgatory right now. Some update gone awry.

Enjoy the Marsh. Maybe I'll go next year.

Susan Gets Native said...

Trixie:
Bummer! Don't worry...we'll getcha next time!

Trixie said...

Thanks for being understanding, I am DISAPPOINTED! I really wanted to hang with you and some Skyline! I will have to settle for maybe the fall?!

Lynne said...

Creepy watersnake, cool tongue though.
Once the leaves pop out I'm hugely frustrated by warblers. Too much yellow/green between the birds and the leaves. The birds move so flitty too. ...grumble...pout...

A weekend ALONE- sigh...
I'm envious. For sure tomorrow I'll be looking at flight info for Cape May!

mon@rch said...

I would have to agree - Northern Waterthrush! Great birds you had and love your photos BRAVO

NatureWoman said...

Hi Susan, sorry I can't comment on your blog entries everyday - you have so many interesting things to see and read about I don't know where to begin! So many cool birds and flowers and snakes and etc. etc. Love the Indigo Bunting! I don't know if I've ever seen one in person - wah!
I have the greenest lawn in my neighborhood, and it stays green all summer long, cause I have the same mentality you do! No pesticides, no nothing, zippo!