An Amateur Birdwatcher's tally
This weeks’ birding experience was fraught with more cold than danger. There were no downed power lines, no standing water over the road. But the walk was icy. The temperatures were 32 degrees at around 9 in the morning.
We were excited about getting out for various reasons. My sister and I were looking forward to bird watching. Also, we like the chance to walk with the dogs outside the neighborhood. Katie always knows when we’re going to the park and she dances in excitement. Maggie could do without the car ride but she likes being with her peeps and sister. She is getting more comfortable on our drives, and will even poke her head out the window for the breeze in her ears, like Katie. Katie would dangle out the window if she could. Car rides are great in her book.
Of course crows, seagulls, and pigeons dot the light poles and lawns at this time of day so they made our first three bird sightings. My yard birds are late risers and will be out later, when the sunshine has warmed the air.
We’re heading to the Flaming Geyser state park this morning. The trip is along rural, country style roads that are interesting in their own right. There are a variety of environments and they all contain their own promise of birds.
Several small environmental areas are along the way. The Green River runs the length of the road. A couple of bridges cross our path, with the river racing below. These are wonderful places for kingfishers, herons, and raptor birds. We added all three into our count today.
Natural and manmade ponds also are in abundance in this journey. A lovely little stream lines part of the trip. All these water features attract a variety of birds. We saw robins in the fields, as well as a stellar jay jetting across the road toward a very tall pine tree. Finally, Katie’s excitement rose and she barked with enthusiasm. We turned into the park.
We were alone in the cold right now. So we drove down the middle of the road and watched the rushing river on one side, and fields and a marshy area on the other. The car heater was on and all the windows were down. Some folk would say we are nuts.
We parked near the dog station and got the dogs out of the car. It was my turn to walk Maggie. We saw red winged black birds in the marsh and a wren perched on a cattail. Our walk was about 1200 steps according to my Fitbit watch, and crossed the meadows over by the marsh. Maggie likes bushes and poles to sniff so we wandered about in different directions to reach the scrub areas and trees.
In a quick moment I snapped a shot of a frozen mushroom. Wonder if mushrooms are annual or perennial? I’ll have to keep an eye on it over time.
The marsh had several ducks – Mallards, common female Mergansers, and Widgeons. I took a few pictures of them. Ducks are great photo subjects – they’re big and not very fast when they’re floating on the water and they aren’t alarmed if you stay your distance.
One of my best tips about photographing birds – pick big ones to start with. They’re beautiful, noble, and easy to get pictures of. Little birds move fast and are hard to catch.
Our drive home was non eventful. We warmed up and didn’t see any new species of birds until we got home. As we pulled into the driveway a host of sparrows danced in our bushes, enjoying the food I had put out earlier. When we listed our count we were pleased – 15 birds species identified.
Red winged blackbirds
I love birdwatching. It's relaxing and fun. Even though I've been birding for over 10 years I classify myself as an amateur birder. I plan to write a blog each month about my experiences. Hope you enjoy them!