What I learned the week of 3/23 – Mean Moorhens

I’m a few days late on this. Out of town – North Carolina – for work. No birding if you can believe that.

1. The 7.5 Challenge

I see where Wisconsin Birders did a 7.5 mile radius challenge last year – The 2014 Wisconsin Local Patch Challenge.  As stated, “it’s a relatively green challenge, where birders try to find as many species as possible 7.5 miles or less from home.” Looks like Illinois might be doing it this year.

Of course for someone like me that is into finding uncommon species in my local area, this is right up my alley.  I think the real point of the challenge is finding new, local areas to bird.  Not for someone that lives on a lake that sits and counts all day.

2. No shorebirds yet locally

I keep checking my local flooded field (a  floodeld??).  But no shorebirds.  A nice assortment of waterfowl.  And yes, it is within 7.5 miles.

3. Very Angry Moorhen

I was reading about  “The very angry Moorhen” and it got me thinking about a Mad Moorhen (Common Gallinule) that I saw last year in Texas.  I was at The World Birding Center in South Padre (I think I need to blog about something that calls itself “The World” ) and was watching a family of Mottled Ducks.

Happy Mom and young ones out for a morning swim.
Then out of no where comes the Mad Moorhen.
The Mad Moorhen strikes.
Everyone scatters.
Mom goes one way, the young ones the other, and the Mad Moorhen another.
And it starts all over going the other way. This scenario would repeat several times that morning.

For some reason the Common Gallinule didn’t like them and kept attacking them.  This went on for a good hour. I never did figure out if there was nest nearby or it just had a bad disposition.

OK, I really didn’t hang around the whole hour just to watch their interaction.  There was a Clapper Rail that kept vocalizing and I was hoping it would walk out in the open.  Of course, like I posted back in July, 2014, I got tired of waiting and walked around the boardwalk, where a Clapper Rail was out in plain sight.

The rail is yelling, “Bob, I am right here.”

4. The size of shorebirds

I knew that the length of birds listed in field guides is from bill tip to tail tip.  But I really hadn’t thought what this meant until I read this post by Greg Gillson – Who’s bigger? I knew that plovers always “seem” larger than shorebirds and this post explains why.

2 Replies to “What I learned the week of 3/23 – Mean Moorhens”

  1. Cool you referenced the Wisconsin local patch challenge! I live in Wisconsin and participated – it’s a fun listing challenge. Although the first half of last year I was renting and half of my patch was Lake Winnebago.

    Good luck if you take up the patch challenge!

    1. I have always done something similar to the challenge. In Illinois long time birders of our area were always amazed at all these little areas that I kept turning up with some decent birds. One of the advantages of trying to not bird by car so much.

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