Posts Tagged With: american tree sparrow

Long-Eared Owls

Sunday, February 5, 2017 – There had been multiple emails on the Indiana birding list serve about the Long-eared Owls at Prophetstown State Park. We had been seeing them for almost 2 weeks before we were able to make time in our schedule. We had pretty good directions on where to find them in the park (unlike the last time one was seen there.)

It was a gorgeous day 46 degrees and sunny, but pretty windy out on the prairie. We started on trail 1 towards the site and there was no mistaking where the bird was – birders and their spotting scopes or determined hikers with binoculars.

Within seconds of coming to the site, we were helped to locate the birds and quickly saw 3 of them!!! Yay – LIFE BIRDS!

two-leow-smaller

SAC was able to take pretty good photos of them although the saplings in the fen were good camouflage.

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She took pictures with our DSLR and she also used her iPhone and Bluetooth shutter release to digiscope some pretty good photos.  I’m not a good judge of distance, but they were maybe 20 feet off the trail. We kept a quiet demeanor and didn’t stay very long so as not to disturb them. I don’t know that they would have been disturbed. They have been in the same location for 2 weeks, at least, and haven’t seemed to mind their paparazzi!

leow-smaller

 

We decided it was such a beautiful day and we had been working hard all weekend on cleaning and decluttering the house, so we walked on towards the pond. We saw northern shovelers, mallards, and American tree sparrows. Still present were 12 mute swans, 2 of which were juveniles.

musw

We walked on to see if Trail 3 was inundated by the water like it was on our last trip, but it was now open. We didn’t have time to take that, so we headed back to our parking lot via the paved, multi-use trail. We heard a ruckus towards the Wabash River – a murder of many crows probably was protesting an eagle although I didn’t get a look at it. SAC thought she may have seen it, but wasn’t sure.

We had a great day and were able to add to our life list!

 

leow-digiscope

One of SAC’s digiscoped photos

 

Categories: Birding, Prophetstown State Park | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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
Categories: Bicentennial Birding Big Year, Birding, Life Birds | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

First Day Hike

January 1, 2015 – First Day Hike2015-01-01 10.23.24-1

My daughter and I saw our first bird of the year on our way up to Indiana Dunes State Park to take part in the DNR’s First Day Hike.  While we have hiked the three dunes in the past, it was before we learned about the Three Dune Challenge! It had been on our list of things to do and this was the perfect opportunity to accept this challenge.

The weather cooperated, roads clear for the three-hour drive. We got up way too early – too eager and didn’t want to miss it. When the sun did come up, we had beautiful blue sky and sunshine, although the wind was a bit brisk! The day eventually warmed, but not as warm as the first time we did this hike. We first hiked it on a very hot, humid day in July and we were totally drenched in sweat and had to refill our water bottles in the campground before we got back to the car!

We enjoyed the hike with 100 plus other people. And we did get extremely warmed up going up those dunes! We had to unzip our parkas and take off our hats.

List of birds at the park:

  • American Crow
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Blue Jay
  • European Starling
  • Black bird
  • Rock Doves
  • Canada Geese
  • Gulls – probably Ring-Billed
  • Red Tailed Hawk

 

We looked for Northern Shrikes along the Beverly Drive (known to local birders as “Shrike Alley”). They had been spotted here before and I would love to see one, but didn’t see any.

Like I was going to swim!!!

Like I was going to swim anyway!!!

DSC_0009 (3)We then drove on north into Michigan to New Buffalo to see the Snowy Owl along the breakwater. We spotted it even though another vehicle pulled up way in front of ours, blocking our view, and the woman got out and walked closer to get a picture of it. We took our picture from the vehicle and much farther back in the parking lot even though it was out on the breakwater. The owl was watching the woman’s movements very closely. We never get out of our vehicle and always try to park a ways away from this unusual birds. We figure they get enough publicity that people who either don’t know good birding protocol or just don’t care stress them out enough. My daughter has heard of a Snowy Owl starving to death because it wasn’t left alone enough to hunt.

On our way home, we detoured to Kankakee Sands, a wonderful Nature Conservancy property in Newton County. I can’t say enough good things about the Nature Conservancy or this property! We were looking for a glimpse of the Short-eared Owls that had been seen here recently. We have seen these owls at Universal Mine

in Vigo County, Indiana. And I love these owls that flit around like giant moths! It was the perfect time of day to see them and although we drove up and down all the roads around there very slowly, stopping at many of the parking lots the Conservancy made, we didn’t see them. At least two other cars were full of people doing the same thing while we were there. We did see a marvelous New Year’s sunset over the golden prairie – always spectacular!DSC_0015

Birds seen at Kankakee Sands:

  • Ring Necked Pheasant (male)
  • Northern Harriers (numerous hunting and hovering, seemingly still in the the brisk winds)
  • American Tree Sparrows

 

As we continued our way home, we saw a fox along the highway at Fowler.

 

All in all a beautiful New Year’s Day with 14 species to start our 2015 Tally.

Categories: Birding, First Of Year | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Spring House Cleaning

DSC_0487It looks like someone is trying to tell me that it is way past time to clean out the old nests from the wren house on the porch! I haven’t heard the wren yet this year, but it is obviously here! I don’t like this style of wren house – the slot to open and clean it out is way too small for all the sticks the wrens put in it.

Heard the screech owl whinnying this morning as I stepped out my door at 7. And when I left work at 3 this afternoon, a flock of Sandhill cranes flew over the parking lot! The day was sunny to cloudy and 38 degrees this afternoon.

Daughter saw a very small and very reddish squirrel in our back yard today.

Feeder watch & yard watch:DSC_0466

  • Crow
  • House Sparrows
  • Chickadees
  • Cardinals
  • House Finches
  • American Tree Sparrows
  • Juncos
  • Mourning doves
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Robins
Categories: Birding, Feeder Watch, Montgomery County, Spring, Yard BIrds | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Great Backyard Bird Count

Great Backyard Bird Count logo

As I have in the past few years, I counted birds in my backyard for the Great Backyard Bird Count. It takes place February 15, 16, 17 and 18. All they (GBBC is a joint project of The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Audubon Society and Bird Studies Canada) ask you to do is count the highest number of each species seen during your reported period. This can be as little as 15 minutes a day. The hardest part of this is counting the little spatzies that flock to my tray feeder each day. I know I am not “supposed” to like House Sparrows as they are not native, but they are very beautiful birds.

My counts for the day are:

Species February 15 February 16 February 17 February 18
American Crow 1 1
American Robin 1
American Tree Sparrow 3 3
Black Capped Chickadee 2 2 1
Blue Jay 3 3
Cardinal 4 5 5
Cooper’s Hawk 1 1
Dark-eyed Junco 2 1
Downy Woodpecker 1 2
European Starling 1
House Finch 1 4
House Sparrow 34 44 40
Mourning Doves 2 2 1
Red Bellied Woodpecker 1 1
Tufted Titmouse 1 1
White Breasted Nuthatch 2 1
Time Counted 2 hours 15 minutes 6 hours 30 minutes 30 minutes Was not able to keep count

As usual family obligations and something called jobs, prevented us from counting much on all days, but the count is a pretty good overall picture of our backyard birds. The Mourning Dove count is way down from several years ago. 2010 saw 30-50 birds.

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Categories: Birding, Feeder Watch, Great Backyard Bird Count, Montgomery County, Yard BIrds | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rock River Landing Eagle Nest


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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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