Bird brained stories!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Birding the hot ones

I returned home from Europe to a heat wave combined with a moderate drought. I believe that with our recent rainfalls, the drought conditions have improved, but the grass was definitely crunchy. One of the wonderful joys to which I returned was a dentist's appointment. I told my dentist that I'd met his wife and done some early morning birding with her this past spring. He sort of laughed and said, "Yeah, she's getting into birdwatching and counting and all that." He told me about her best day, which was a good one indeed, and spoke much as my own bemused husband probably speaks of me. I told him I was actually planning to go out to the Myrick Marsh as soon as I finished my appointment. His response? "It's too hot, there won't be any birds!"

That sounded like a challenge to me.

I wasn't really sure what I might see. It had been over a month since I'd been able to bird the area, so the cute fuzzy goslings and ducklings would be big. And it was definitely hot. Right away, I spotted no less than thirty Great Egrets gathered near the reeds. During the time I was birding, they eventually worked their way over to a large dead tree, where they arranged themselves artfully among the branches. Large numbers of Canada Geese were resting in the shade of the Wood Duck Trail, at marsh's edge. The teals, mallards and other small ducks were all paddling about. On one dried up flat, there were probably 30-50 kildeer, difficult to count as they blended in and moved about often. I got a close look for a change at a number of Yellow Headed Blackbirds. The yellow was not so bright, but it was still striking.

I even saw a family of ducklings, but I'm not sure what exactly there were. Not Mallards, not Wood Ducks. Someone needs to make a field guide that shows the young birds.

The birds were indeed out there; I just had to take my time and look. This was no problem, with the heat near 100 and the humidity adding a light haze. I'd still rather be out there than sitting inside the air conditioned house, thinking it's too hot to go outside! I even added two new birds to my year list, not a bad day birding at all.

Birds seen (or heard)

Cardinal, House Wren, Yellow Warbler, Red-Winged Blackbird,
Mallard, Wood Duck, Great Blue Heron, Green Heron,
Great Egret, Canada Goose, Song Sparrow, Solitary Sandpiper,
Blue Winged Teal, Prothonotary Warbler, Redstart, Starling,
Grackle, Robin, Yellowthroat, Baltimore Oriole,
Catbird, Black Duck, Goldfinch, Eastern Wood Pewee,
Phoebe, Great Crested Flycatcher,
Some Empids! Warbling Vireo,
Cliff Swallow, Northern Rough-Winged Swallow,
Eastern Kingbird, Purple Martin,
Lesser Yellowlegs, Kildeer


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