Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Quick Update...

Not much bird watching this week....more like walking in birdy places.  On Monday, October 15, I went to HBMO after helping out at Wings Rehab (see picture below of the thrill of my day!)  to see if there were any hawks moving.  It was a slow day, but still saw some Sharpies, a Cooper's, and some Turkey Vultures.  There were also GBH's, Great Egrets and Pied-billed Grebes in the water, along with lots of other ducks I didn't pay much attention to.  While there, however, I asked Todd (the hawk counter on duty) about the swallow-like birds flying around and he informed me they were Chimney Shifts!  How exciting to see a life bird!  I couldn`t get a picture of them though..they are far to fast for my photography skills.
In my glories!  Holding a Sawhet Owl, preparing to return it to its enclosure.
While at the Hawk Tower, I showed Todd (who is also a songbird bander for HBMO) the pics of what I identified as a Nashville Warbler in the last post and he seems to think it is a Nashville as well.  The contrast on the birds back, the distinct eye-ring and yellow-white-yellow underside are markers for the Nashville...this bird has kept my attention for quite a while, trying to be sure I haven't posted an error.

On Tuesday, while in Blenheim, I went for a walk with Jen  to the C.M. Wilson Conservation area...another nice spot!  There were quite a few birds around, but with the crunching of fall leaves and talking to each other, I didn`t get goods looks at any birds but a Hermit Thrush (first time seeing one in the bird!) and lots of Golden-crowned Kinglets.  Here are a couple pictures from that walk...
Such cuties!

Hermit Thrush
On Thursday, while in Blenheim again, I went for a walk with Cheryl, another swim mom.  She happens to have a pass to enter Rondeau Park due to the fact she is a Monarch tagger.  So, off we headed to Rondeau!  I didn`t realize it was only 13 minutes from the pool!  I love Blenheim :)  Anyway, I hadn`t been there since my kids were really little and I took Cheryl`s suggestion to walk along the marsh.  The first thing we noticed were all the ducks in the water...and a couple odd balls hanging out with the mallards...
Look at the two in the middle...sorry about the reeds in the way...

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Possible Northern Pintails??
To me, they look like Northern Pintails, but they are missing the long tail feathers that the guide books show...any thoughts?  You can see the white neck and white strip up the back of the head if you zoom in really close.  There were a lot of birds and ducks around but we spent the whole time talking.  It was also fun to point out some birds now familiar to me that weren't to Cheryl :)

Another highlight of this week was spending time at the banding station today (Saturday)...although it was a slow day, I did manage a few successful extractions (complete with letting one go accidently) and banding another Hermit Thrush.  To get used to handling the smaller birds, Bob (the experienced bander I was "helping") gave me a little Ruby-crowned Kinglet to practice handling after he processed it.  Amazingly, I he didn't slip away from me as I went through the motions with him of "banding" him (pulling out his leg), aging and sexing him, and checking how fat he was.  There is nothing more thrilling than handling birds up close and personal.  Here is an awful picture of this experience...
Self taken with my point and shoot...horrible pic, but love the bird face peeking out :)
I have started a page, at the top of the blog, to track my bird banding experiences, if you are interested.  While leaving the banding station, I heard a bird call I didn't recognize and Bob pointed out the Kingfisher flying around the pond.  Only the second time I have seen one, but the first time I have heard them...what a racket!  While driving home, I saw a Bald Eagle flying above the intersection of Howard and #3.  Only the fourth time I have seen one...but second this week...I forgot to mention that I saw one flying overhead near my mother-in-law's, near Jefferson and South National, on Thursday!

Well, not a bad week, if you ask me :)  I am hoping to get out to Rondeau and the Blenheim Lagoons this week, weather permitting, while my daughter swims :)


  1. I missed this post in my Google reader feed somehow... congrats on all your recent life birds! I have no idea about the ducks... too inexperienced myself. :) The bird-banding endeavor sounds great. I've only seen it once!

    1. Thanks :) I am really enjoying getting to work with the birds and learn more about is amazing to see the subtle differences between birds of different ages and to get to see them up close....such a wonderful experience :)