July 13, 2009

Year Bird #400

A couple bird reports from last month. Haven't been able to get out much recently. Still missing a few CNY birds like Least Bittern and Sedge Wren.

June 6 - Yesterday I visited Balcones Canyonlands NWR just west of Austin. I arrived around 8:30 AM and quickly located several pairs of singing GOLDEN-CHEEKED WARBLERS. I was able to get some decent photos of the warblers but I could not locate any Black-capped Vireos. I also got some shots of what I think were a pair of RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROWS (Life Bird). Some of the field marks weren't quite what I expected for this species. Both were very brownish and faded all over. But the male(?) had a distinct rufous crown, whitish malar stripe and eye line. Planning on showing the photos to Jay when I get home. Still hoping for Black-capped Vireo sometime this week. My year list is at 395.

June 12 - We tried again for Black-capped Vireo at Dinosaur Valley State Park near Glen Rose, TX several days ago. No luck with the vireo but we did see a few nice birds including another Golden-cheeked Warbler. Yesterday we left Dallas and drove to the Wichita Mountains near Lawton, OK. It was an amazing place. We hiked up Elk Mountain and along the way we had lots of singing BLACK-CAPPED VIREOS (Life Bird). Most were males but I saw at least one female as well. Also had great looks at more distinctive Rufous-crowned Sparrows and singing male Painted Buntings. I caught more glimpses of probable kites several times during the afternoon and I finally got my first good look at a MISSISSIPPI KITE (Life Bird) near the Riverside Cafe in Medicine Park, OK. Getting very close to a couple milestones: my year list is at 397 and my life list is at 492.

June 16 - This morning I went birding at Beaman Park northwest of Nashville, TN. At the Henry Creek trailhead I had a singing Yellow-throated Warbler and Northern Parula. It was a very pleasant hike up along the creek and I had some nice stuff including multiple pairs of both Scarlet and SUMMER TANAGERS, lots of Acadian Flycatchers and Louisiana Waterthrushes. My 400th year bird was a beautiful WORM-EATING WARBLER! On my way back down I flushed a female KENTUCKY WARBLER (Life Bird) from right near the trail. The bird didn't seem to respond to spishing but also didn't fly away. After a few moments a stunning male flew into view as well. Both birds seemed to be acting a little strange; they didn't fly away but they seemed very wary and didn't seem to respond to spishing. I watched them for a while and eventually located a chick! It stayed fairly close to the trail and the male and female were never very far away. I was able to get some nice looks at the threesome for the next 15 minutes or so. Once the male flew in with a caterpillar in it's beak and several times they tried to draw me away from the chick. It was a very memorable experience and another highlight of the trip so far. My 2009 year list is at 402.

July 12, 2009

Hope this never happens to me...

July 09, 2009

Away We Go

Last night Sarah and I walked down to the Manlius Art Cinema and saw this great movie...

Away We Go Trailer - These bloopers are hilarious