Monday, January 14, 2013

Somewhat Busted Again

OK. I think I am over the disappointment of missing the Prairie Falcon again.  I have been birding, but have not been able to process photos or post due to overwhelming work schedule the past week or so.  Here is a quick recap of latest birding efforts:

I went to Tinicum on Thursday morning in an attempt to redeem myself from the Amish country bust.  There has been a Northern Shrike hanging around there for a month or so.  It took some time and alot of luck, but I did get the shrike.  Just as I was giving up to go to work, I happened to look over my shoulder, through the tangle of trees and vines that line the path and there it was - sitting on top of a thin stick just like a shrike is supposed to do.  I snapped a few terrible photos before it disappeared. Whew! Redemption! Bird # 731 for the life list.

Northern Shrike

Northern Shrike - cropped
 I also saw 3 American Tree Sparrows which is pretty unusual. I snapped these photos for proof in case anyone questions the report.  It's a shame that I didn't get a photo of the front to show the central breast spot.

American Tree Sparrow
 The second photo isn't very good but you can see 3 birds in it.
3 American Tree Sparrows

On Saturday, I dragged Diane and Barbara along to do the Mid Winter Bird Census at Pennypack Park. We were at it for hours and only got 28 species total.  We busted on owls again and really got steamed about it because I was sitting in my car at 6:30 AM listening for owls along Bloomfield Rd for 30 minutes.  I finally got out of the car and walked into the woods when it was light enough to see where I was going and here comes 3 birders out of the woods who said that they saw a Screech Owl moments earlier.  AARGH! I should have gone into the woods at 6:30.  The other bummer of the day was the weather which was overcast and damp, so no photos.

On Sunday, the same 3 of us headed to the shore in hopes of seeing a few rare species that had been reported all week. One is a Townsend's Warbler which is a western bird.  I have a pretty good photo of one from my trip to San Francisco last April  but no photo from yesterday. We did see the bird, but once again the weather did not cooperate for photo opp.  We did take a photo of the moment which I think is very interesting.  This is probably the first time in my birding life that there were so many women chasing this bird without any men in sight.  I only know 1 of the women in the photo and Di and Barbara aren't in it. That would make 7 women which is unusual.

Looking for the Townsend's Warbler
We were also looking for the Crested Caracara which we never did see.  We drove up and down Seashore Road. We stopped at the dump several times. We drove on dirt roads.  Never saw the bird - BUST.

Another cool thing that we saw on Sunday was 2 immature Bald Eagles trying to catch ducks on a lake on our way home.  We saw the commotion while doing 50 MPH around a bend.  I turned the truck around and got to see the eagles swooping down to the water while the Bufflehead ducks dove underwater to escape the talons.  The eagles never did catch a duck. They flew off to try their luck somewhere else.  Pretty neat though.

I don't know when my work schedule will calm down or when the sun will shine again, but I will try to get out and get some more photos soon.


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