Complacency in Birding

After leaving Franklin High School a week ago Saturday I headed south towards Atterbury but first stopping by the flooded field spot. It’s the same road I always take to Atterbury and the following happened earlier this year.

This past winter I happened to find another GREAT BLUE HERON Rookery in Johnson County. And it got me wondering about a few things.

I wouldn’t have found this one except I was watching a pair of BALD EAGLES flying low over a distant tree line. And while watching them glide I noticed a large nest in one of the trees. And then another. Turned out there are approximately 20 nests in 3 different trees.

Heron Rookery (4)
The view from over a half mile away. The same view when I first noticed the rookery. Rural Johnson County 3/25/16
Heron Rookery (3)
The same view with higher magnification. Rural Johnson County 3/25/16

Now I would have normally chalked this up to just missing the nests previously, but it’s on the road I frequently travel when I bird. It’s the VESPER SPARROW road and if there’s been rain, a little farther east, a flooded field that might have shorebirds. And I actually first saw the rookery from the road I always take to Atterbury FWA.

A road I have driven hundreds of times.

Now granted, this rookery is hard to see and if you aren’t looking, you’ll miss it. But I always thought I did a good job of scanning trees for hawks or flying birds.

Heron Rookery (16)
The rookery is obviously active as seen by the herons on nests and standing on limbs. Rural Johnson County 3/25/16
Heron Rookery (19)
This photo shows 7 or 8 herons in the main tree. Rural Johnson County 3/25/16

So how have I missed it? And if I missed this one, besides other rookeries, what else am I missing?

A tough question and I’m not sure I have an answer. Complacency is all I can answer.

I’m pretty sure it isn’t a new colony. I just think I get in a mind-set to get to Atterbury as fast as possible and since I have driven the road a hundred times before I’m not looking for anything new. And that’s obviously a mistake.

Because the Bald Eagles I saw were new for the area. And the heron rookery was new. And who knows what else is new?

Maybe just once in a while I need to revisit those areas I have written off as being void of birds. And pay more attention to the often birded areas.

Who knows what I’ll find!

RUBL 031619 (1)
Maybe a Rusty Blackbird? Atterbury FWA 3/19/16

Have you ever felt you have been complacent in birding?

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