What I learned the Week of 3/30 – The Internet and Audio Files

I didn’t learn a lot this week except Charlotte’s traffic is worse than Indianapolis. Enough said.

1. I was in North Carolina the week for work.  Picked up the rental car in Charlotte and drove two hours to the country town where we have a plant.  Immediately getting out of the car I heard a Fish Crow.

There is no mistaken the call of a Fish Crow.

I have thought this before when I birded in southern Illinois. To me it isn’t even close to an American Crow‘s call.  I have read how people have confused the two calls, something I just don’t understand.  About 5 minutes later an American Crow flew by and it was completely different.

A comparison on the 2 calls from Xeno-canto.

2. Non-birding but relevant to this post.  Different web browsers support different audio formats. Which makes it a real pain when I want to post some audio I recorded. So unless  I want to pay a royalty for patents I will have to post 2 different audio files.

Audio Files
Listed are the different types of audio files used on which browsers. It is a couple years old but is still correct. You can see that there isn’t one audio type used on all browsers. Unless you want to pay big money. From Scirra website.

3. Following is a recording I made of Common Loons calling at Driftwood last week.  I hadn’t heard them calling since I was young and we went to Northern Minnesota in the summers.  They called every few minutes for the 3+ hours I was at Driftwood.

One of the two following should work. You will probably have to turn up your volume.

4. Speaking of Driftwood, after the Bonaparte’s Gulls were there the previous weekend, I played the odds that more gulls would be there last weekend. And as luck would have it, 2 Ring-billed Gulls spent the afternoon flying.  Not a rare bird but uncommon for Johnson County.

Funny how “common” birds are a treat to watch when you don’t see them often. Ring-billed Gulls and a Red-breasted Merganser. Driftwood SFA 04/04/15
A little closer view.
And keeping with the recent theme of showing birds with a fish, here is one of the gulls getting ready to eat.

And a few more pictures from the weekend.

A Red-breasted Merganser leading a group of Ruddy Ducks. Driftwood SFA 04/04/15
This Field Sparrow was singing well into the afternoon. Driftwood SFA 04/04/15
Just a photo to show how numerous Pied-billed Grebes were last Saturday. On every small pond there were several of them with at least eight on this one. Who is hiding in the shadows? Atterbury FWA 04/04/15
Not sure I have ever seen a Great Blue Heron this well hid in the brush. Must have been enjoying the afternoon sun. Greenwood Retention Pond 04/05/15




Driftwood SFA – Loons, Gulls, and a Swallow

I had already planned to check Driftwood Saturday, but after reading Don Gorney’s post on IN-Bird about the large numbers of Common Loons and Horned Grebes at Eagle Creek, I knew I would have to check out Driftwood.

I arrived a little after 10AM and spent the next 4 hours picking up two new county birds and basically just having a good time observing birds I hardly get to see.   The species aren’t that uncommon for the state, but they are uncommon for Johnson  County since it doesn’t have a large lake or river.

On the day I observed 7 Common Loons (personal high count for the county), 18 Horned Grebes (personal high count for the county), 3 Red-breasted Mergansers (new county bird), 120 Tree Swallows (which eBird flagged as a high count), a Barn Swallow (which eBird flagged as rare this time of year), FOY Brown Thrasher, and a species I thought I might not ever see in the county – 4 Bonaparte’s Gulls (needles to say new county bird).

Knowing that Mike needed a few of this birds for his county list, I gave him a call and he showed up for the remainder of the day.

A cropped photo of a Bald Eagle to start the day.


The loons came close several times.
I never did figure out of the loons were paired up or not.


Several times the loons would get low and start calling. Not sure why so  I will check on it but if you know please leave a comment.

Tuesday I will post some audio I got of the loons calling. And post some things I have learned about audio and Internet browsers.

The Tree Swallows were all huddled together in the cold in one tree.  Some would then go out and forage. Click to enlarge and see if you can spot the one Barn Swallow.

Where is the Barn Swallow?
TRES 3 I actually got one flying low on the lake!


Brrrrr. Cold.
As above.
Not a good photo, but good enough to document my first Red-breasted Merganser in the county.

A series of photos of Horned Grebes.


I didn’t take the time to get a good photo of this Brown Thrasher. Too busy watching the Bonaparte’s Gulls.

And now for a series of photos of the Bonaparte’s Gulls.  Distant photos but I enjoy watching the light and bouncy way they fly.  I immediately new them from that flight pattern. A real treat for a county where I have yet to see a Ring-billed Gull yet this year.




A cropped photo of a Bonaparte’s that came close.
Driftwood SFA
A beautiful, if cold day, to be watching the loons and gulls.