Sunday, January 25, 2009

January 24

The star of the show at the Bird Preserve on Saturday was FOG! There was thick fog blanketing this side of the valley, I almost missed the turnoff in the dark and the fog. It was really kind of neat, I've seen fog on the ponds before, but never this much and never in town.

Initially, I thought the fog was going to put a damper on my birding, but it really didn't take that long for it to burn off once the sun came up. I ended up seeing 33 species, with six new species to add to my year-to-date list. After searching all month for Redheads and American Wigeons, I finally figured out where they are -- at Sunset Park in the pond begging for bread. But I did finally find one pair of Redheads laying low in Pond 8.

This Song Sparrow was kind of cooperative, and let me take several pictures. I saw a few other Song Sparrows, and there are still lots of White-Crowned Sparrows around.

This Snowy Egret was looking for lunch in Pond 1. The best bird of the day was a Peregrine Falcon; I didn't get a great look, but I wasn't the only one who saw it, and I did spend some time with my field guides and got a lesson in Peregrine wing and tale shape that will stick with me. This little project is doing me good. I wouldn't have hit the books so hard if I wasn't keeping track of what I see.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

January 17

A very cooperative Greater Roadrunner.

I didn't have quite as much time to bird today, but I added three species to my year-to-date list: Prairie Falcon, Canada Goose, and Northern Flicker. I also met this very cooperative roadrunner between ponds 3 and 4.

This Greater Yellowlegs was feeding on Pond 3.

My total species for today was 26. I saw lots of ducks, but still no Redhead, Canvasback or Wigeon. The only shorebird I saw was this lone Greater Yellowlegs, but I heard that there were a couple of Dunlin in the same place as I saw them last week on Pond 7.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

January 10, 2009

Three Dunlin in winter plumage.

This starting with a clean slate is a blast! I haven't had 8 "new" species in a day in a long time! I have also found that I am working harder at identification and am more excited to go out. Today I was very excited to see a Ross's Goose; I haven't seen one at the BVP for years. I also was excited to see three Dunlin in winter plumage. I got great looks at a Sharp-shinned Hawk, and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. A Bewick's Wren practically jumped out and posed for me. I saw 34 species total today.

Ross's Goose on Pond 9 with Ring-billed Gulls, Coots and Northern Shovelers.

There are still a lot of ducks at the BVP. Today there seemed to be a lot of Northern Pintails, Mallards and Green-winged Teal. I went out planning to look for a Redhead, Canvasback and Wigeon (those were all a bust), but having a Ross's Goose show up was nice. There were also two Snow Geese on another pond.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

January 3, 2009

Today I went out thinking that I'd knock out as many waterfowl as I could. Well, I didn't even get out the door before I found a duck that I thought I was going to have to work to get on my list. I was checking out Pond 1 from the visitors center at the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve just after it got light when I noticed a male blue-winged teal (above, center). He was feeding with a larger group of green-winged teal and remained on the pond throughout the day.

My first bird of the day and first bird of the year at the HBVP was a northern shoveler (no big surprise there, there are hundreds of them). At about this same time I could hear coyotes yipping and howling on the back pond; it sounded like there were at least three of them. During the day I found 37 "new" species. My last bird of the day was one of my favorites, a black phoebe. The bird I missed while I was out birding was a Wilson's snipe, seen from the visitors center's window!

The First Bird of 2009

I totally lucked out this year. I was standing in the kitchen at my in-law's house in Mona, UT, on New Year's Day morning (still in my pajamas) when I looked out and saw a mature bald eagle cruising past the window. Pretty good for the first bird of the year!

Later that afternoon, I went out with my sister-in-law, Cindy, and we drove around looking for birds. We didn't see as many hawks as she expected (no rough-legged, ferruginous, or Swainsons), but we had a nice little list: Five kestrels, 36 horned larks, a raven, juncos, mourning doves, American robins, two red-tailed hawks, a Northern harrier, starlings, cedar waxwings, mountain bluebirds, red-winged blackbirds, Western meadowlarks, a rock dove, a Northern flicker, another bald eagle, and a cow elk.