If you would’ve told me that I’d seen three towhees in Indiana by the 16th of January I would have thought you had a problem. But if you pay attention to the Indiana birding lists, you know that is very possible.
Saturday I accompanied Don and Becky on a trip to western Indiana. There had been a SPOTTED TOWHEE for several days at DePauw Nature Park which was on the way west. Don had seen it a couple of days before, I’ve seen them numerous times out west, but Becky had never seen a Spotted, so we decided to stop. Even though it was still kind of dark, and kind of dreary, and kind of cold, Becky and I went looking for the towhee while Don birded the parking lot for a reported Brown Thrasher. We didn’t have any luck and then others joined us in search of the towhee. After a while we still hadn’t seen it, and since the main point of the day was western Indiana, we headed back. Don had come looking for us and was about to the towhee site so he said he would help us look.
Sure enough Don worked his magic. He wasn’t there a minute when the bird appeared.
After seeing a Eastern Towhee at Johnson County Park on 1/1 and then seeing the lingering Green-tailed Towhee at Tern Bar Slough on 1/2, this was my third towhee in Indiana this year. Go figure.
We made stops at Chinook Mines looking for raptors and waterfowl. The highlight for me was seeing a GREATER SCAUP and a flyover CACKLING GOOSE, which was obvious flying with a group of Canada’s.
And then on to the main part of the day at Universal Mines looking for waterfowl, raptors, and shrikes. The variety of waterfowl was decent but nowhere near my trip last year.
The number of CANADA GEESE was down considerably but the number or GREATER WHITE-FRONTED was large.
We timed our arrival with the geese coming from the fields and watched them come in.
Last year there were numerous Trumpeter Swans on the big lake, but only one MUTE SWAN this year. And it decided to fly right over us!
As I posted a couple of weeks ago, if you have never gone and seen large numbers of geese flying in and out, you need to. I really can’t describe it.
And the experience of a swan or group of swans flying over is just as unbeliveable. About the best way I can describe it is WHOOSH! WHOOSH! WHOOSH! I know a group of Canada Geese flying right over is loud but the noise from a swan is unbelievable.
We had pretty well scanned most of the area without any luck on a shrike when Becky spotted a distant bird on the top of a tree. NORTHERN SHRIKE? A quick look and yes it was. Don got out his spotting scope giving killer looks. None of us pocess a camera that would give the bird justice, but we did get a couple of “ID” photos.
From there it was time to head home again. A good end to a cold, dreary day. Perfect for birding.