Right on Time

I know I said in the last post I would continue last week’s story, but I thought I’d report on yesterday’s birds first.

Living here three years I have learned there is basically a two week window to see COMMON LOONS, HORNED GREBES, and BONAPARTE’S GULLS in Johnson County. So I thought I had better take advantage of a day off Friday to check the local water. I wasn’t disappointed.

The shorebird spot was still devoid of shorebirds. Maybe tomorrow.

BWTE (2)
But there was a Blue-winged Teal showing nicely by the road. Rural Johnson County 3/25/16

I then headed to Driftwood SWA to check on loons and grebes. NOTHING but a distant PIED-BILLED GREBE. Once again no waterfowl. Or no fisherman for that fact.

But for the second year in a row at Driftwood I had an early BARN SWALLOW mixed in with the TREE SWALLOWS.

BARS (8)
An early season Barn Swallow with one of the hundred+ Tree Swallows. Driftwood SWA 3/25/16
BARS (20)
Looking a little colder here. And it was cold, only in the 30’s. Driftwood SWA 3/25/16

I wasn’t surprised but both the Barn Swallow and the count on the Tree Swallows – 110 – were flagged by eBird. The Barn Swallow was 3 days earlier than the one I wrote about last year.  And the number of Tree Swallows wasn’t unusual for this time of year.

TRES (3)
The Tree Swallows kept coming in off the lake to preen in this tree. Driftwood SWA 3/25/16
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If you look close you can see 10 or more Tree Swallows feeding over the lake. Driftwood SWA 3/25/16

But no loons was troublesome since I’m not sure I’ll have an opportunity to check for them in the next 2 weeks and Driftwood is the only location I have seen them in Johnson County.

FISP (5)
A Field Sparrow calling right at noon. Telling me to eat lunch? Driftwood SWA 3/25/16
BRTH (3)
And a Brown Thrasher replying. (Not really) Driftwood SWA 3/25/16

On to Atterbury FWA to check for other waterfowl. Stopping at Honker Haven (you have to love the names the DNR has assigned to the small ponds) for waterfowl, I immediately see a COMMON LOON on the water.

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This Common Loon is still showing beautifully even in the bad lighting. Atterbury FWA 3/25/16
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And on the down low. Atterbury FWA 3/25/16

As stated above, a county first for me outside of Driftwood. It didn’t move around or dive which wasn’t unusual since this isn’t a very deep pond. In summer it doesn’t take long for it to develop into shorebird habitat. I also saw a GADWALL which I was missing off the county list.

GADW (2)
Finally a Gadwall for my 2016 county list.Would have hated to miss it. Atterbury FWA 3/25/16

My last stop was Lowe’s Pond in Franklin for a possible HORNED GREBE.

Walking down to the water and looking around the brush one pops up about 20 feet from me. What luck!

HOGR (18)
A Horned Grebe that actually stayed for a few minutes and didn’t dive away. Lowe’s Pond – Franklin – 3/25/16

And it didn’t get spooked for a minute actually giving some good photos. But it finally noticed me and took off to the far end to be with the LESSER SCAUP, BUFFLEHEAD, and RING-NECKED DUCKS.

HOGR (20)
Now swimming away. Lowe’s Pond – Franklin – 3/25/16

So all in all a good day. Missed the Bonaparte’s but I have only seen  them once in the county.

4 Replies to “Right on Time”

    1. It’s just like looking through any flock, large or small, just take your time and you might find something different. Of course I need to do it more often myself…

  1. Thanks for the tips! Finally checked out Atterbury for my first time on Monday, which is a shame since it’s only about 10 minutes from my house. It was wonderful! I will be returning often. Thanks to your tips we found the loon on Honker Haven! Then today I checked out Driftwood and there are 2 loons on the big main lake. That was also thanks to your tip, I thought you’d like to know they are definitely back! 🙂 And thanks so much!!

    1. You’re welcome and thanks for letting me know the loons at Driftwood. I won’t be around the next couple weekends to check so it was good to hear. Atterbury has a few spots that I try to cover but for the most part there isn’t a lot of good habitat. But enough spots to make it interesting.

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