Saturday, September 26, 2015

Avoiding the Pope

In case you have been living on Mars and didn't hear about it - the Pope is in Philly this weekend. If you have been paying attention for the past 6 months, it is all the news casters talk about. The mayor and the Secret Service have been announcing road closures and off limit areas and tow-away zones for weeks. Our office closed on Friday. We were all told to work from home. I chose to work from the Villas instead.

There have been very few birds around since that big Monday but recently, my friend Harvey found a Curlew Sandpiper at Forsythe (don't worry, I'm not going to give you another shorebird lesson). Curlew Sandpipers are supposed to be in Europe. Harvey regularly finds one in the spring but having one in our area in fall is really rare. Needless to say, I went to Forsythe before work the other day with Harvey to see the bird. This is the best shot I could get.

Curlew Sandpiper (center), Ring-billed Gull
The shorebirds were skittish - taking off and landing somewhere else - the whole time we were there. This had something to do with it:

Peregrine Falcon
A Peregrine Falcon was cruising the area looking for a meal. He/she sat down for a few minutes in the salt hay which made for a very fall-flavored photo.

Peregrine Falcon

We saw this nasty looking Marsh Wren in the weeds along the road.

Marsh Wren
And this Clapper Rail hunting the edge of the marsh.

Clapper Rail
On our way back to the Villas, we decided to swing by Reed's Beach Road to see if we could find another rare bird that was seen there this week - Western Kingbird. You can tell by the name that the bird shouldn't be found here. One Western Kingbird is a good find, but 2 is pretty rare. We found both birds sitting on wires along the road. I told Harvey that I needed to be back to the house to get to work so we got back into his van - or at least that was our intention.  There we stood, looking into the van where both sets of van keys, both cell phones AND Peanut were locked in. Sigh. Luckily Harvey's friend Steve came along to see the Kingbirds and rescued us by calling AAA. A quick trip turned into 2 hours sitting on the side of the road. At least I got a few good shots of the birds while we waited for AAA.

Western Kingbird
Not sure what that red stuff is on his breast - looks like blood to me.

It was fun to watch them try to land on the wire. You can see how focused this bird is on that little wire.

Getting closer.
Touchdown!

A quick trip turned into a pretty long day.
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