Posts Tagged With: northern harrier

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

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

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