Of course, I took the opportunity to go after a life bird while everyone was sleeping off their hangovers. I was up and out of the hotel at 6 AM (with a mild hangover) and up to the grasslands by 7. The "grasslands" turned out to be a couple of fields that had grown over a strip mine. It turns out that grown over strip mines are actually good habitat for some birds such as my target - Henslow's Sparrow plus other cool birds like Bobolink and Meadowlarks.
I'll save you the suspense and get to the same old story - it took me a long time to find the Henslow's Sparrow and when I did, it wasn't the wonderful experience that I had imagined. All of the other birds sat up and sang, did their flight displays, posed for photos but not that Henslow. No, he hid in the middle of the field. He didn't sing for 2 hours. Then he sat up on the top of a piece of grass for about 20 seconds - you know, just long enough for me to find him before he dove back into the grass.I'm counting that as a life bird but hoping to see another one soon.
Here are some photos of the friendly birds starting with a Savannah Sparrow. This was his favorite post. He let me get really close with the car.
|Bobolink - weird beak|