Friday, April 6, 2012

Bird Songs 101

Ever heard that beautiful song coming from deep inside a dense bush, but don't know what exactly is the source of that amazing sound?  You can check out this great site to help you match the song with the bird.
The Blackpoll Warbler sings a very high-pitched song that can be inaudible at times is a great site; whether you are a novice and just learning the songs, or you are a seasoned pro and brushing up for the spring migration. Photographs of the bird are provided on this site, as well as a description of the song or call and then the song itself. Once you have gotten familiar with the sounds, you can go out into the field with this newly-found or rediscovered knowledge, and be able to identify that beautiful song coming from deep inside the bush.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Third time is a charm

  Easter Break: a five-day weekend. Also, a great relief from school. All the same, I was bemoaning the fact that yes, school was over but Wednesday, the day the break started, I had missed my bus by all of about a minute.

Here I was trudging home with my heavy backpack and sweating under the fierce sun, getting my break off to a great start. As I continued on my way, I passed a stand of pine trees and heard an unfamiliar sound; upon investigating, I discovered a Brown-headed Nuthatch! Finally, after two misses at Burrough's Park, where the nuthatch should have been a shoo-in, I finally had it-the third time is always a charm!

Today, Thursday, I went to the local natural pond, which is often home to plenty of wildlife. On my way there, in the tall grass along the edge of a bayou, I heard a rustling noise. I stopped and saw a strange shape scurrying about in the weeds.

This was all I managed to see, until the bird, for it was indeed a bird, stopped for a minute and allowed me to identify it- an Upland Sandpiper! Never had I expected to see one in such a random place as my neighborhood!

This was the turning point in my walk, from there I saw a fly-over Scissor-tailed Flycatcher and two more new year-birds after the nuthatch and the Sandpiper- several Green Heron and a Broad-winged Hawk.

Finally I might be getting somewhere with my Big Year!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Slowly but surely

Inching towards 200...
Migrants are starting to come through. I am now seeing lots of Scissor-tailed Flycatchers out in the country, with their long tails and amazing colors. As I see them, I can't help but wonder just exactly how they made it over the Gulf with those tails.

Last week, I saw my first Swainson's Hawk and a small flock (60) of American Golden-Plovers in the Katy Prairie area. At Zube Park, I was surprised to see an Anhinga, circling way up high in the sky- no doubt about it though, that form was unmistakable, it was an Anhina! Here is a Swainson's Hawk photo from my archives.

Finally, I've started to see more and more Chimney Swifts as they come back north. Spring migration is here and by the end of April, I hope to be closing in on about 290 species for the year.