Monday, May 12, 2008

Bird stories

The Beautiful Boardwalk


Here's my list of birds seen and/or heard this weekend (Thanks to Kathi, this list is way longer than it would have been if I had been alone):
Bold = LIFER
(there are only seven lifers...I must have miscounted. But still....)
***
Canada goose
Tundra swan (yes, I saw a live one)
Wood duck (In a TREE, no less)
Mallard
Northern shoveler

Double-crested cormorant
Great blue heron (100's)
Great egret (100's)

Turkey vulture
Bald eagle
Red-shouldered hawk
Red-tailed hawk
GOLDEN EAGLE (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
American kestrel
Peregrine falcon

American coot

SEMIPALMATED PLOVER
Killdeer
Greater yellowlegs
Lesser yellowlegs
Spotted sandpiper
Ruddy turnstone
Dunlin (500 +)

Ring-billed gull
Herring gull
COMMON TERN

Mourning dove

Northern flicker

Eastern phoebe

Purple martin
Tree swallow
Barn swallow

Black-capped chickadee
HOUSE WREN
Golden-crowned kinglet
Blue-gray gnatcatcher
Veery
SWAINSON'S THRUSH
Wood thrush
American robin
Gray catbird
Brown thrasher
European starling

WARBLERS:
NASHVILLE
Yellow
Chestnut-sided
Magnolia
Cape May
Black-throated blue
Yellow-rumped (Hey, Delia! I saw yellow-rumped warblers!!! Hee hee)
Palm
American redstart
Prothonotary
Ovenbird
Northern waterthrush
Yellow-breasted chat

SUMMER TANAGER

White-throated sparrow
White-crowned sparrow

Northern cardinal
Rose-breasted grosbeak
Indigo bunting

Red-winged blackbird (there were at least two RWBB's every five feet. And that's not an exaggeration)
Common grackle
Baltimore oriole

American goldfinch

House sparrow (very very sparse, thank goodness)

And now, some pictures:

No ID yet
I don't have an ID for this one yet. Anyone want to throw in? It's either some sort of empidonax or a female warbler of some kind.
UPDATE: Kathi can't comment (Blogger's acting like Frogger) but she agrees that this is some sort of empidonax)

Another dead Tundra swan
Yep, another dead tundra swan. I Chimped, but the body was too torn up to figure anything out. I looked for bands, but this one is anonymous.

Tundra swan looks bloody
This one was alive, but looked bloody! I watched, and it seemed to preen most of this stuff off. I assume that it just had its head stuck in some mud underwater, and not injured in some way. I observed it for quite a few minutes, and it seemed just fine. Scared me, though.

Crazy Ovenbird
Ovenbirds are just color-crazy. This one was stylin' with that brown-bordered orange head.


Let this be a Gray cheeked thrush!
I would very much like this to be a gray-cheeked thrush. It's not outside the realm of possibility, since Kathi saw one the day before. Anyone?
UPDATE: A Swainson's. Crap.

Grackle has a bad day
Poor grackle. He got into a tussle with someone.

Muskrat and yellowlegs love
A muskrat and a lesser yellowlegs....an odd couple.
Feel free to sing "Muskrat Love" by Captain and Tennille. I'll wait.

Story:
It was getting late in the day, and I knew that I had to start for home soon.
I walked the lake trail that Kathi had pointed out to me earlier, and I am glad I did.

First, I saw the terns that we had glimpsed the day before, but couldn't ID.
Common terns, soaring and plunging into the very cold water for fish. They didn't even care that I was standing just beyond the water, snapping photos and giggling like a maniac.

Common Tern
They reminded me of the black skimmers the Flock saw at Cape May.
Gorgeous, elegant, graceful birds.

I was preparing myself mentally for the actual removal of body and soul from MY Lake Erie ( I never want to come home after being there), when I noticed that the terns had disappeared before my eyes.
A medium-sized bird was flying parallel to the beach with strong, purposeful wing beats. Hmm. That looks like some kind of dark gull. No, wait. That looks falcon-ish.

A peregrine falcon. Just for me.

Peregrine flying away
(This is the best I could do. My eyes were all teary and I was jumping up and down and struggling with my new birding bra and trying to get the camera up to my face)

Peregrines hold a sacred place in my heart. Lucy was the first one I ever laid eyes on, and her mixture of sweetness and nervousness, and yet that unabashed fierceness, has endeared the species to my soul forever.
So I stood there on a lonely beach on Lake Erie, buffeted by cold wind and freshwater spray, and cried because a peregrine falcon had just passed by. Yeah, I'm all crunchy on the outside, but there's a chewy, gooey center in there somewhere.

Tomorrow: The eagle that didn't get away!

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan, that mystery empid looks
like a Warbling Vireo to me. I
enjoy your blog very much! Oh, by
the way, that mystery leucistic
bird a couple of weeks ago sure
looked like a Cedar Waxwing to me,
especially the third picture.
Good birding, Hap in New Hope

Susan Gets Native said...

Hap:
I meant to respond to your comment earlier about the leucistic bird. You are right, it does look like a waxwing.
The mystery bird does look like a warbling vireo. But something made me pause. It was pretty small for a vireo...I'm still on the fence.

Patrick Belardo said...

It looks like a Warbling Vireo to me too.

NCmountainwoman said...

Bless your little chewy gooey center! Peregrines are favorites of mine as well. I love their versatility...will live in big city high rise or mountain cliff, whichever is available.

dguzman said...

Sweet pics! But no butter-butt photo???? :)

Wow--what an amazing trip. Great list! Maybe next year I'll make it out there--there are quite a few birds on your list that would be lifers for me.

KatDoc said...

[trying again to leave a comment]

The more I look at the mystery bird, the more convinced I become that it is a Warbling Vireo and not an Wmpid flycatcher. The upright posture made me think flycatcher (I usually see WAVI perched more horizontally) and I can see bristles at the base of the bill when I enlarge the photo.

But, I don't see any wing bars or eye ring, and the color and size are right for WAVI, so I am changing my vote to "uncommitted." Hell, if the super-delegates can do it, so can I.

~Kathi

Lynne said...

Catching up on posts after working a week on the graveyard shift. I got teary eyed reading of your Peregrine. It really was just for you.

Can I come next year?

Julie Zickefoose said...

So thrilled about your life golden eagle, and seeing the wild peregrine. I had exactly the same reaction on seeing a peregrine beat low over Marblehead Light. Even wrote a poem about it, got all bunched up inside.

My first reaction on seeing that mystery bird was warbling vireo, so I'll just add to the chorus. Wing and tail proportions are all wrong for a flycatcher. He looks very tired and that is an atypical perching position for sure, but the bill and head and overall shape and proportion all check out.

Blackpolls are singing in the rain as I write--the end of migration is near. Sigh.

Julie Zickefoose said...

So thrilled about your life golden eagle, and seeing the wild peregrine. I had exactly the same reaction on seeing a peregrine beat low over Marblehead Light. Even wrote a poem about it, got all bunched up inside.

My first reaction on seeing that mystery bird was warbling vireo, so I'll just add to the chorus. Wing and tail proportions are all wrong for a flycatcher. He looks very tired and that is an atypical perching position for sure, but the bill and head and overall shape and proportion all check out.

Blackpolls are singing in the rain as I write--the end of migration is near. Sigh.