Black Vultures – You Just Never Know

I hadn’t expected anything exceptional to happen this past weekend given it’s late July and the heat index was headed to 110F. But I was sitting at 98 species for Johnson County in the IAS Summer Count and wanted to get to 100.

Not living in the county means I lose the opportunity to see several of the neighborhood species. Like COOPER’S HAWKS or RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS. Birds I see daily on my neighborhood walk in Marion County and I used to see daily when we lived in Johnson County.

But birders know you don’t what’s out there unless you look.

So off I went.

With the recent rainfall I thought my best bet to reach 100 was going to be shorebirds. I made a quick first stop at the Marion County site to see how the conditions looked. Good.

COOMBS LAKE (2)

The Combs Road wet area was turning into a good shorebird spot. Marion County 7/23/16

GREG (1)

There were numerous Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons at the location. Marion County 7/23/16

LESA (2)

Two Least Sandpipers appeared obvious in the field but looking at the photos I thought maybe they were Semipalmated. Until I saw the yellowish legs. Marion County 7/24/16

SPSA

One Spotted Sandpiper that wouldn’t stand still. Marion County 7/24/16

So I was hopeful for shorebirds in Johnson County.

But it was not to be. The shorebird sites had water and had either corn or beans or weeds also. This didn’t make for good shorebirding. Oh well. I would have to hope for other species for 100.

Do you know you can still see birds using the strategy of walking from one shade tree to the next? I used the strategy successfully all day starting at Driftwood following the disappointment at the shorebird sites.

It was still early enough in the day that I saw several species.

EAPH (3)

An Eastern Towhee on territory before the heat of the day. Driftwood SFA 7/23/16

YEWA (1)

A Yellow Warbler who will probably be heading south soon. Driftwood SFA 7/23/16

WIFL (2)

A Willow Flycatcher who called the whole time I was present. Driftwood SFA 7/23/16

RTHU (2)

And most importantly, a Ruby-throated Hummingbird fluttering around. #99 for the Summer Count. Driftwood SFA 7/23/16

Leaving Driftwood I saw three TURKEY VULTURES flying lazily to the north. I didn’t think much about them until I turned onto US31. Thier number was now seven and two immediately looked different.

BLACK VULTURES

Driving north a half mile I finally found a pull off and confirmed the ID. They drifted my way giving good views and a few photos.

BLVU (10)

Two Black Vultures looping lazily over the Big Blue River. 7/23/16

BLVU (5) Black Vultures

One eventually drifted overhead. 7/23/16

This is only my third sighting of Black Vultures in the county. Probably the 1st for the Johnson County Summer Count, and more importantly, #100 for this year’s count.

Like I said, you never know what’s out there unless you look. Even on a hot summer’s day.

This entry was posted in Johnson/Marion County and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *