Thursday, August 7, 2014

FarmStock 2014

I made it out to FarmStock this year which was really great. As usual, Mark and Linda volunteered me to lead the "bird walk". The walk is scheduled for 7:30 which means that we start an hour later after everyone rouses themselves, gets much needed coffee and opens their eyes after a fun night of drinks and music.

Of course, the bird walk is more like a walk down to the Buffalo Creek with me hoping that a bird - any bird - shows up or sings or something. And as usual, the walk started off with no birds in sight or earshot. I tried to entertain the group by pointing out butterflies and such but they weren't interested. Thank goodness we heard a few and got to see a few too. Eastern Kingbirds were chirping. This one posed for me later in the day.

Eastern Kingbird
 When leading a bird walk for non-birders, you really hope to see big birds or red birds or blue birds or something showy and flashy. Of course, the only bird that would show itself was this immature Swamp Sparrow. B.O.R.I.N.G. The crowd lost interest and started lagging behind. A leader's worst nightmare.

Swamp Sparrow
We finally made it down to the creek which thankfully was more interesting. The group perked up a little bit when we got to the duck blind. A few birds showed up. We saw this Killdeer and a Solitary Sandpiper too.

Killdeer
Juvenile Wood Ducks quickly took cover when we arrived. I snapped this photo before they ducked (pun intended) behind the reeds.

Wood Ducks
The group lost interest again and we headed back to the camp for breakfast and a tractor ride. I guess all leaders have to suck it up when there are no birds. I think they forgot all about it once the tractor came out of the barn.

Tractor Ride!

A leader's worst nightmare - seeing the best birds of the day after the official walk has ended. Case in point:

Female Kingfisher

This female Kingfisher sat right next to the duck blind and chattered away. Her mate was there too. I could just cry. This is one of those birds that could get someone really interested in birds and birding. God forbid they show up when I have the group with me.  I give up.

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