Back To BushWhacking

Early Sunday morning I checked the Lowes/Walmart pond for waterfowl.  Most of the 800+ Canada Geese and 2 Greater White-Fronted Geese were gone.  But there were still a couple of Common Mergansers and American Black Ducks, both uncommon for this area.  And speaking of uncommon I posted that there was only one previous record of Greater White-Fronted Geese in the county.  I got an email from Tom who lives in the SW corner of the county that he had one at his place on January 27, 2008.  Thanks for the info Tom.

American Black Duck with friends. Walmart/Lowes 02/02/14

American Black Duck with friends.
Walmart/Lowes 02/02/14

With the end of most of the hunting seasons on January 31  I can get back to what I like to do best in winter.  Get out looking for uncommon winter owls and exploring new areas for habitat that might be good during migration.  In other words BushWhacking.

So Sunday afternoon I drove to Johnson County Park and proceeded to walk the next 3 hours checking pine trees for owl roosting areas.  It is a mixture of slow going through brush and then faster pace walking to the next area.  I didn’t find any roosting sites but did find a few spots that looked like they might have been used by birds on a couple of occasions.  And as usual on these winter jaunts, I didn’t see another soul in the entire 3 hours.

Bird wise it was slow except for an obliging Red-shouldered Hawk.

It wouldn't turn it's head my direction.  To intent on watching something. Red-shouldered Hawk - Atterbury FWA 02/02/14

It wouldn’t turn it’s head my direction. To intent on watching something.
Red-shouldered Hawk – Atterbury FWA 02/02/14

There was also a Northern Harrier being harassed by crows and a Red-tailed flew over.  Otherwise a flock of White-crowned and White-throated sparrows along with some Northern Cardinals and a Northern Mockingbird were all I came across.

Seems to be telling me "Nothing to see here.  Move along". Northern Mockingbird - Johnson County Park 02/02/14

Seems to be telling me “Nothing to see here. Move along”.
Northern Mockingbird – Johnson County Park 02/02/14

And as the walk was concluding a gun went off in the distance.  This started a Barred Owl calling in the woods ahead of me.  It kept calling for the last 10 minutes of the walk.  A good way to end the day.

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