Sunday, June 24, 2007

Birding with a real birder

I got the pleasure of birding this morning with Kathi....and Holly. It is always nice to go birding with someone who actually knows what she is doing.
Not a very birdy day, though. I choose not to blame Kathi for that.

I got a better shot of this pretty frog, Kathi! Neener.
May I help you
"May I help you?"
This is an indigo bunting. I swear.
Ivory bills in Ohio
As Kathi says on her post for today, a very industrious pileated woodpecker made a huge hole in this poor, hole-ridden tree. Either that, or we have Ivory-Billeds.
A very good place to nest
Kathi really knows the CNC. I have walked behind the Visitor Center a zillion times, and never noticed this brilliant nesting spot for phoebes. A light fixture near the ceiling of a stairwell, with no way for a predator to get to it. Smart birds. They nest here every year.
Baby phoebe
"I am a small, helpless baby phoebe. Feed me."

Here's a mystery for everyone...Kathi and I heard a very, very weird bird call (we are assuming it's a bird). When we heard it we looked at each other, and said in unison, "What the bloody hell...?"

After birding, Kathi and I went our separate ways, and I stopped over at the new RAPTOR property to do a quick drive-by of the property.
RAPTORs pretty prairie
This is where the new parking lot is going to be. It was bush-hogged last summer, and now it's full of grasses, ironweed, and my new favorite plant, MILKWEED.
Some sort of frittilary
This is just one of many butterflies in the meadow. Some sort of frittilary.
Can't remember the name
I turned my library books in last week, so I can't easily look this up. I have seen this plant in field guides, but can't remember the name!

Bug on milkweed
The milkweed is teeming with insect life.
Yummy milkweed and an aphid
If you look closely, you can see an aphid on the flower!
Clearwing moth on milkweed
This is what got me jumping silently...a clearwing moth! Another thing I have seen in field guides, but not in real life. There were loads of this cute little guys buzzing around. Yes, they buzz, just like a hummingbird.
Not very birdy here, either. I did hear a catbird, though.

Milkweed is perfection. It smells good, it has intricate flowers, and it is the host plant for Monarchs and their relatives, moths, beetles and true bugs. And it is beneficial to nearby plants, because it repels pest insects, like wireworms.
Guess who will be gathering milkweed seeds this year?
And fellow RAPTORites: Be prepared to see me chained to the milkweed when the time comes to make the parking lot. We are saving these plants. They would make very nice islands between the parking spots.


nina said...

I think that yellow spike may be a mullein?--is it really soft and fuzzy below?
And I couldn't get the audio recording to play on my computer--but I also heard what I would describe as a baby crying a couple weeks ago. Turns out, it was a deer, with a newly born fawn--just getting settled together. Maybe??

KatDoc said...

I agree with Nina, I think your yellow spike is Common Mullein, Verbascum thapsus. Did it have soft, thick, velvety basal leaves? Common Mullein is a biennial which had many practical uses for Indians and early colonists.

The crying noise was high in a tree, Nina, and there was no cover around for a deer and fawn. This was on Edge Trail. If you leave from behind the nature center building, passing the boat dock and heading down the hill, we heard it near the intersection where you would turn left to continue around the lake or go ahead down the stairs. It was TOO WEIRD!


KatDoc said...

You know, Susan, the more I look at that baby bird in the phoebe nest, the more I wonder if it isn't a cowbird chick instead of a phoebe. I have never seen cowbirds parasitize that particular nest, but the bill doesn't quite look flycatcher-y to me. I dunno, what does everybody else think?


Mary said...

Those cowbirds do get around...

Great photos, Susan. And you are right, that bird cry is eerie.

Patrick Belardo said...

The bfly is Great-spangled Fritillary I believe.

Anonymous said...

I was going to agree with Nina and say young fawn, but up in the tree? Hmmmm.


NatureWoman said...

You saw some cool things! Wow - I can't believe a pileated woodpecker made that hole - that's amazing. I can see you protecting the milkweed, and I wouldn't blame you!

nina said...

The deer in tree is not working for me--
very interesting, I might be lured to take a closer look. :-)

mon@rch said...

The video is hard to say but the Indigo Bunting singing sticks out very well! I just love the froggy picture! I two think its Common Mullen! The Fritillary, hard to really say without seeing the underside of it! Probably a Great Spangled though!

Q said...

I so love the clearwings!
I have one in the backyard this year and am Wowed!
Nice birding day!
The Fritillaries are lovely butterflies too.
Great photos!

Julie Zickefoose said...

I think the baby might be a cowbird, too. The naked head and Roman nose (curved culmen) are suggestive. Even when they were very young my baby phoebes had a lot of dark gray head down, and the bills looked long, flat and fragile. That bill's leaning toward conical.
I think the mystery call is a gray squirrel--the way it has a short, sharp note before the cry is typical of their scold. Sort of a squirk-waaaaaaaah pattern.