Summer is Here

What follows is a pretty lame travelog type report from my birding Saturday morning.  I didn’t see any migrants or anything else uncommon this past weekend, though the Great Horned Owl was cool, so I’m going to assume that summer is officially here.  I did check a couple of spots for a White-rumped Sandpiper, usually the last of the migrants, but no shorebirds of any type were seen, not even a Spotted.  The ponds where I saw Spotted last year are very high from the recent rains.  Hopefully Spotted Sandpipers were just quiet sitting on nests and haven’t moved elsewhere.

But as usual I still had a good time this weekend.  After reading Roger Hedge’s report Friday on IN-BIRD about a Black-billed Cuckoo in Boone county, I decided to start on the west side of Atterbury in a spot I have head one call at dawn each of the last 2 years.  On the way out Saturday I came across a Great Horned Owl just south of Franklin.  This is probably the same bird that was my first bird of the year.

Great Horned Owl at dawn Saturday


Also on the way to Atterbury I stopped by a freshly cut hay field where I heard Grasshopper and Savannah Sparrows.  Which was a good thing since later that morning I found out that the field that holds Bobolinks had been cut. Not sure where I will see one for the IAS Summer Count.

On the west side of Atterbury there wasn’t a Black-billed Cuckoo but plenty of high, wet, grass to walk through.


Did I say wet? My clothes finally dried out when I got home a little after noon.  Anyway I got good looks at Barn and Tree Swallows and a Willow Flycatcher at the parking lot when I returned from my walk through the tall, wet, unproductive grass.

Barn Swallows


Tree Swallow


Willow Flycatcher – giving the “fitz-bew” call the whole time.


From there I moved on to the  previously mentioned Bobolink field.  On the way a Henslow’s Sparrow was given good, if distant, looks.

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From there I spent the remainder of the morning at Driftwood SFA watching the comings and goings of Baltimore and Orchard Orioles, Warbling Vireos, Willow Flycatchers, American Robins and a host of other birds.

Another Willow Flycatcher showing it’s yellowish lower mandible.


Mother Kingbird on nest. This was a distant shot so I wouldn’t upset her.


Orchard Oriole nest.  It was fun to watch the parents return and the young ones head pop out for food. Someday my photo skills will improve so I can catch that moment.


And I went out for a while Sunday after the rain and checked a couple of spots for breeding Blue-winged Teal.  No luck but I about lost my head from a couple of Tree Swallows that didn’t like me getting with 30-40 meters of their nest in a bluebird box. They were constantly diving within an inch or two of my head which kept me moving at a pretty fast pace.  The only bird that poised for a picture was an Eastern Phoebe who didn’t call or pump it’s tail much.

Eastern Phoebe – I think it was getting tired of me taking notes and watching it flycatch for a half hour. Thus the hard stare in my direction.


Not much else to report since I have been spending most of my free time getting ready for my first trip to The Rio Grande area later this month.  You’ve gotta love a bird named Plain Chachalaca.

Roger Hedge
Roger Hedge

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