Bird brained stories!

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Great weather for ducks...and geese...and coots...

I thought the rain had stopped. I didn't stay up to watch the weather report last night, so I thought it was supposed to clear up. Oh well! I headed into town to bird the Myrick Marsh, a wetland area of the LaCrosse River. The rain remained light and with my camera tucked inside my barn coat, I pressed on.

I'm glad I did. The rainy weather seemed to bring the birds out, eager for a little bath. It was great to hear the din of the chorus frogs after their silence throughout the cold months. I practiced some birding by ear, hearing but not seeing a sora rail and eastern wood pewee, plus the bird that says "cow cat!" A review of my "Who Cooks for Poor Sam Peabody" CD, created by John Feith, should clear up that one. Yellow-headed blackbird, maybe? I know I've seen them there in the past.

Stepping off the trails into the dry sedges, I could watch song sparrows. I even got a photo of one singing. The quality of that photo remains to be seen. Most noteworthy were the millions and millions of tree swallows flitting all over the marsh, sometimes gathering in the treetops by the hundreds to digest their food. I could hardly walk without having one just miss me! Another treat was some wood ducks, which I watched for some time, but foolishly waited for a "decisive photographic moment," never getting it before they flew off. I thought that was the whole point of going digital, to be able to shoot away? Remind me of that next time!

In all, I saw 20 species and positively identified two by call. Not bad for a walk in the rain!

Canada geese Wood duck Song sparrow
Mallards Pied billed grebe Swamp sparrow
American Coots Sora rail Black capped chickadee
Common grackle Red-winged blackbird Great egret
Great Blue Heron Tree swallows Eastern wood pewee
Northern cardinal Robin Northern flicker
Downy woodpecker American goldfinch Cedar waxwing
American crow

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