Posts Tagged With: american kestrel

A Great Day at Goose Pond

Goose Pond Does Not Disappoint – March 13, 2016

I had been seeing posts from other bloggers and E-bird lists saying that great amounts of American Pelicans had been seen Goose Pond Fish & Wildlife Area. So my husband said my daughter and I should to go. Now when we’ve gone hunting particular birds, our track record is not all that great. I had told him after our fruitless trip to see short-eared owls at Kankakee Sands again this year that I was NOT going to chase a particular bird.

But we took off Sunday in overcast, rainy conditions and drove the 2 hours to get there. And it continued to rain off and on all day, but what a day!!!

It didn’t take us long to find the pelicans – bazillions of them!!! (That’s an official birding term, I’m sure.) They were quite a ways away, but they are so huge they are unmistakable. And every so often they would fly up and over and circle around to give us the classic pelican view!

Pelicans - LOTS

I read in my field guides that the American Pelican is the inland pelican seen on lakes and along rivers in the middle of the continent. My daughter had seen them on a trip to Yellowstone Nation Park with her grandparents. I had seen them in North Dakota on a family trip when I was in high school. It is quite a shock to see them when you equate pelicans with the ocean and seashore. The American Pelican also fishes along the surface of the water as it swims catching fish and smaller organisms while I have seen the Brown Pelican fold its wings close to its body and bomb into the ocean to come up with a fish in its pouch.

Pelicans

As we were driving around the roads looking for other birds and trying to get a closer view of the pelicans, we stopped and walked along a trail and noticed two large white birds. Now I knew people had seen these birds here, but I assumed it was by hard core birders, not amateurs like I am. Wrong! WHOOPING CRANES!!! And not just those two, but as we drove around, we saw three more at another location – one of which was a juvenile and then another two as we were getting ready to each our lunch.

Whooping Crane

We saw three eagle, one of which was juvenile. And our favorite duck – another bazillion American Coots!

The day turned sunny and warm – 70 degrees – as we traversed the roads. We kept running into a caravan of cars where the people all had huge cameras and tripods. We stopped after seeing the first two whooping cranes and my daughter went over and asked if they’d seen them. They hadn’t, so she gave them directions to where we had found them. After reading one of my favorite blogger’s post, I’m wondering if it was Jim McCormac as he was here helping lead a photography class the same day. I would have loved to have met him, as he has been a great help to me in learning new things in nature just by reading his blog and applying what I have learned.

We finally decided we needed to leave for our 2 hour drive back home, but as we were leaving, my daughter said, “Goose Pond has not disappointed us!”

Whooping Cranes with immature

Goose Pond Birds:

  1. Red Winged Black bird
  2. Kestrel
  3. Mallard
  4. American Coot
  5. American Pelican
  6. Whooping Crane
  7. Eastern Meadowlark
  8. Wood duck
  9. Redhead
  10. Killdeer
  11. Mourning Dove
  12. Bufflehead
  13. Bald Eagle
  14. Sandhill Crane
  15. Downy Woodpecker
  16. White Breasted Nuthatch
  17. Yellow-shafted Flicker
  18. American Crow
  19. Canada Goose
  20. Song Sparrow
  21. Field Sparrow
  22. Chipping Sparrow
  23. American Tree Sparrow
  24. Northern Harrier
  25. Northern Shoveler
  26. Canvasback
  27. Lesser Scaup
  28. Greater Scaup
  29. Ring Necked Duck
  30. Woodcock – H
  31. Red Tailed Hawk (with a snake in its talons)
  32. Bronzed Grackles

In Linton:

  1. Red Shouldered Hawk

On way Home:

  1. Wild Turkey
  2. Turkey Vulture
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Categories: Bicentennial Birding Big Year, Birding, Life Birds | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bicentennial Birding – February 6

Zoomed in Snowy owlWe went on a quest to find the Snowy Owl that had been seen all week in White County north of Brookston. Since that area is old home place to my husband, he looked at the coordinates listed and drove us right to it. It was right on the side of the road, so we kept our distance and took pictures with both the camera and IPhone “digiscoped” with the binoculars. When we were finished viewing it, we turned around in the road and went back the way we had come, so we wouldn’t disturb it.

Birds Seen in White County:

  1. Snowy Owl
  2. Red-tailed Hawk
  3. Horned Lark
  4. Canada Geese
  5. American Crow

We drove on up to Kankakee Sands as there had been short eared owls spotted there during the week. We tried this last year on our way back for our First Day Hike at the Indiana Dunes State Park (see previous post). And like our try last year, we failed to find the short ears. Someone called the cops on the 10 or so cars scattered around the preserve, complaining of cars blocking the road. So we left Newton County and spent our money on supper in Benton County!

Zoomed out Snowy owl

Birds seen at Kankakee Sands:

  1. Rough-legged Hawk
  2. Red-tailed Hawk
  3. Northern Harrier
  4. American Kestrel
  5. Red-winged Blackbird (First of Year)
  6. Sandhill Cranes

Z Northern Harrier

Bicentennial Birding – February 7

We went to Turkey Run State Park today. Beautiful mostly sunny and about 50 degrees. On our way there, we saw:

  1. Turkey Vulture (First of Year in Darlington, Montgomery County) (see previous post).

Birds Seen at Turkey Run:

  1. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  2. Red-headed Woodpecker
  3. Downy Woodpecker
  4. White-breasted Nuthatch
  5. American Goldfinch
  6. House Sparrow
  7. Tufted Titmouse
  8. Carolina Chickadee
  9. Dark-eyed Junco
  10. Northern Cardinal
  11. Blue Jay
  12. Bald Eagle
  13. Canada Geese
  14. Golden-crowned Kinglet
  15. American Crow

And on our annual pilgrimage to find Skunk Cabbage blooming!!!! (see previous post). Yay! Skunk Cabbage! Between the Vultures and the red- winged blackbird returning and the skunk cabbage blooming, we have hope for Spring soon!

On our way home from Turkey Run, we drove past Lye Creek Burn. We have never seen the Lapland Longspurs, but what we did see made us VERY happy!

Burn

Birds Seen at Lye Creek Burn:

  1. Northern Harrier
  2. Canada Goose
  3. Mallard
  4. Greater White-Fronted Goose
  5. Northern Pintail
  6. Redhead
  7. Ross’s Goose

And the local eagle nest along Sugar Creek has an adult sitting on the nest!

 

Categories: Birding, First Of Year, Life Birds, Montgomery County, Parke County, Turkey Run State Park | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bicentennial Birding Big Year Continues

January 30. On the last Saturday of the month, we went on a bird hike in Celery Bog in West Lafayette led by Barny Dunning, professor of Wildlife Ecology at Purdue University. It was a great, informative hike on a “crisp” 40 degree day with the sun shining (most of the time!)

2016-01-30 09.46.29-1We were able to add several birds to our list only because we had experts with us in the field explaining their field marks and the similarities and differences.

Birds Seen at Celery Bog

  1. Cackling Goose
  2. White Fronted Goose
  3. Snow Goose
  4. White fronted Canada Cross
  5. Canada Goose
  6. Ring-necked Duck
  7. Mute Swan
  8. American Coot
  9. Gadwall
  10. Northern Shoveler
  11. Mallard
  12. Black Duck
  13. Coopers hawk
  14. Northern flicker
  15. Cardinal
  16. Tufted Titmouse
  17. Dark-eyed Junco
  18. Chickadee
  19. Red bellied woodpecker
  20. Nuthatch

We also saw about 12 muskrats on the ice! They were diving for underwater foliage and then bringing it up in the sunshine to munch on! I have never seen so many muskrats so close.

We decided to continue our birding day by ourselves and went north to Benton County.

Birds seen while driving:

  1. Bald Eagles on Wabash River
  2. American Crow
  3. American Kestrel

At Pine Creek Gamebird Habitat Area in Benton County:

  1. Rough-legged Hawk

At Willow Slough Fish and Wildlife Area, Morroco, IN:

  1. Blue Jay
  2. Red Headed Woodpecker
  3. Red-tailed hawk
  4. Northern Harrier

A great day. Special thanks to Barny Dunning and the entire group of guys we hike with at Celery Bog. It was a great, fun & informative morning!

2016-01-30 09.46.39

Categories: Benton County, Birding, Life Birds, Tippecanoe County | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Has Winter’s Grip Been Broken? March 7-9, 2015

Stephanie and I were finally able to get outside this weekend and hike again! We haven’t really been able to do so since our First Day Hike. Between snow storms, ice storms, bad roads, frigid temps, vehicle failures and commitments, we have not been able to get out and hike as we would have liked.

Photo of an orange oak leaf in the iceOn Saturday, as we unloaded our recycling at our local drop off location, we heard our first killdeer of the season.

On Sunday, we went to  Rock River landing to take a short hike on the Sugar Creek Rail Trail. After carefully making our way up the steep, icy embankment at the trail head, we walked to the Nucor Bridge on Sugar Creek, which was mostly frozen over still.

 Birds seen:

  1. Bald eagle
  2. Downy Woodpecker
  3. Chickadee
  4. Nuthatch
  5. Junco
  6. Canada geese
  7. Robins
  8. Tufted Titmice
  9. Blue Jays
  10. Cardinals

On our way home, we saw:

  1. Kestrel (many)
  2. Turkey Vultures (yay!)
  3. Robins
  4. Red-tail hawk stooping from wire to field for its prey
  5. Red shouldered hawk
  6.  Horned Larks
  7. Mixed Blackbird flock

Eagle Creek reservoir by Stephanie CainMonday found us heading to Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis. This is our second time to visit this park together. we are really impressed with it. I had visited previously with my husband to attend his company picnics, which left no real time to hike or bird.

We parked at the Ornithology Center and started down a trail that would connect us to the Red Trail out and around the causeway around the Bird Sanctuary, This is a very easy hike and very pretty.

Although most of the reservoir was still iced over, the area where the current evidently runs was still open. We were able to catch sight of several flotillas of ducks and Canada geese.

Several surprises for us were spotting a wood thrush and a wonderful long look at a Peregrine falcon.

We saw sign of beaver, but didn’t see any beaver themselves. We saw a pair of mallards possibly looking for a nest site.

As we lingered at the observation room at the Ornithology Center (Wonderful place to spend an afternoon) we were able to spot and ID mute swans and common mergansers.

Peregrine Falcon, photo by Stephanie CainBird List for Eagle Creek:

  1. Red Shouldered Hawk
  2. Peregrine Falcon
  3. Coopers Hawk
  4. Blue Jay
  5. Nut hatch
  6. Tufted Titmouse
  7. Chickadee
  8. Down Woodpecker
  9. Red-Bellied Woodpecker
  10. Cardinal
  11. Goldfinch
  12. Field Sparrow
  13. Song Sparrow
  14. Wood Thrush
  15. Mute Swan
  16. Canada Geese
  17. Goldeneye
  18. Wood Duck
  19. Common merganser
  20. Bufflehead
  21. Mallards

What a wonderful weekend with the promise of more to come!

Categories: Birding, Marion County, Montgomery County | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kestrel Box Project

Kestrel Box Construction 2My wonderful husband is very supportive of my addiction to nature. He attended the American Kestrel Partnership workshop given by the Indiana Audubon Society at Cool Creek Nature Center back at the first of February.

He then proceeded to build me a kestrel box according to their specifications.

Finally yesterday, the weather was cooperative enough for us to mount the nesting box on one of the big maple trees across our second drive today. The kestrels have nested nearby maple, but the power company has marked it to be cut down. We are hoping to lure it Kestrel Box Treeto the new box. We hope to add another box on the opposite corner of our 3 acre plot. Conservation chair Jeff Canada said we could probably support two kestrel nests on our property.

Our land is a 3 acre wooded plot set in the midst of farmlands. We also hope to put up a similar box for the screech owls that we have nesting here every year. There nesting hole is in a branch that overhangs our power line and every year I am afraid that it is either going to blow down in a storm Kestrel Box Mountedor the power company is going to cut it down.

I’m hoping hubby will make a few chickadee and wren houses to add around the property. We have quite a few old and holey trees on the property and the birds and mammals have no problems finding homes, but I want to be as nature friendly as possible.

Categories: Birding, Montgomery County, Yard BIrds | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Eagles In Flight Weekend at Turkey Run State Park

Icicles on Sugar CreekSaturday morning, day 2 of Eagles in Flight Weekend, we set off for Turkey Run as I volunteered to sit for a couple of hours at the Event Table for the Friends of Turkey Run and Shades State Park Organization who sponsors the weekend. It was a snowy day; probably an inch had fallen by the time we left home at 7 AM. After my shift, daughter and I sat in on Alan Bruner’s workshop on Keys to Identification of Common Raptors in the Turkey Run Area. For those who don’t know Alan. He is involved with the Indiana Audubon Society and a birder extraordinaire!

2013 First Skunk Cabbage

We then left the main part of the park and drove to the Lusk Home/NarrowsCovered Bridge on an annual pilgrimage on Trail 1 to a couple of places where a spring causes boggy areas. We always check here for our first sighting of skunk cabbage blooming. This tradition dates back to my childhood forays to this area with my dad in late winter or very early spring.

We had a hard time spotting the bloom, as usual, but finally found one blooming. This is the earliest we have actually looked for the plant, but did so because of a blogpost I read by Jim McCormac, an Ohio naturalist   . Our previous dates were: 2/20/13; 3/19/11; 3/20/10.  (Note: this doesn’t mean we saw the bloom earlier this year, just that we searched for it earlier this year!)

Carolina WrenOn Trail 1, we saw:

  • Carolina Wren
  • Chickadee
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Downy Woodpecker

Our species list on our way home by way of Clinton Falls and Rockville were:

  • American Kestrel- 6
  • Red-tailed Hawk – 7
  • American Crows
  • Turkey Vultures
  • Red-shouldered Hawk – 2
  • Bald Eagle

At the Rock River Landing in Crawfordsville, we saw an Adult Bald Eagle close by the nest.

Rock River Landing Eagle

Categories: Birding, Botany, First of Year, Parke County, State Parks Indiana, Turkey Run State Park | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

American Kestrel Partnership

We went to a program at Cool Creek Nature Center presented by the Indiana Audubon Society’s conservation chair Jeff Canada on the American Kestrel Partnership, http://kestrel.peregrinefund.org/, a project of the Peregrine Fund, He gave a PowerPoint presentation on the nest box monitoring program and talked about the decline of the American Kestrels. He had an example of a next box and told us how to position and monitor them.

DSC_0005[1]Also at the program was Patti Reynolds from the Indiana Raptor Center in Brown County, Indiana, with her American Kestrel Patrick. Patrick was a very congenial subject and did not mind having his photo taken.

He said our property should be able to support 2 nest boxes, so we are going to try to put them up this year and monitor them. (if hubby ROC can brave the cold garage/workshop and put them together in time for nesting season!)

I’m also thinking about putting them on my childhood home property which my sister still owns. She has about 7 acres there that should be good habitat for Kestrels.

We regularly have a pair nesting on our property in an old maple on the far southeast of the property. The maple is in danger of being cut down by the power company – it has had a red X painted on it for about 3 years now. I hope they have forgotten about it. HP0004

Over the years we have had interesting encounters with the young kestrels. We had one on the ground and a big dog who regularly escaped from our neighbor’s about a mile to the south of us was nosing around it. In lieu of leather gloves, daughter took an old oven mitt and carefully picked it up and put it in the crotch of the maple tree.

Last summer the kestrel family was practicing their aerobatics over and around the house, as I was out working in the blackberries.

DSC_0070I’m hoping we can put the nest box in another maple tree just north of the present one in hopes that they will find that one acceptable and move out before the power company removes the one closer to the road (and the power line).

Categories: Birding | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Rock River Landing Eagle Nest


DSC_0018
Sunny and cold today, 23-29 F with a snow cover. Typical birds at the backyard feeder:

  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Chickadee
  • American Tree Sparrow
  • Mourning Dove
  • Starlings
  • House Sparrows
  • Cardinals
  • Blue Jay
  • Junco
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker

Went to Rock River Landing along the Sugar Creek Rail Trail in Crawfordsville to look at the eagle nest. It’s right off the parking lot!

Saw an adult eagle on our way there, flying upstream along Sugar Creek at the SR 136 bridge.Saw 3 kestrels on the drive and 2 red-tails. Also saw a Turkey Vulture flying over the Kroger parking lot!

Categories: Birding, Feeder Watch, Montgomery County | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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