In my last post I ended by stating I’d use Wilson’s Snipe as an example of something I think is a bigger problem. That post isn’t ready yet but it will address the lack of fresh water marshes. Since I love marshes and I had Friday off, I headed to one of two I know locally. And I was rewarded with both a Sora calling and a Virginia Rail grunting.
Friday morning’s birding at Atterbury FWA was broken into two habitats, heavy woods and open grasslands walking to the marsh. Both areas are close together so in total I didn’t cover more than a mile in the whole morning.
The woods produced several FOY species but little in the way of photos. Though I heard numerous Yellow-throated Warblers none where ever out in the open. The surprise of the day was a Nashville Warbler in the brush as I was viewing a White-throated Sparrow.
Has happens every year I forget the call of the Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Luckily more than one was calling so I got to hear it often.
To access the marsh one must walk along woods and through a grassland area.
After exiting the woods I was momentarily stymied by a call. A simple loud call from the grass. It took a minute but it finally dawned it was a Henslow’s Sparrow. On the day I would hear six in the area.
The Wetland – Virginia Rail Grunting
I needed to check the rails since the next few weekends will have early Turkey Season and the off road areas are closed until after 1PM. I have only heard a couple Virginia Rails at this marsh so I wasn’t hopeful.
I arrived at the listening spot and played one Sora recording. Immediately a Sora replied with its descending call. And then it was time to wait. I have learned if a Virginia Rail is going to call it will take a few minutes after the recording. I learned this last year when they called as was leaving. Since then I wait 5-10 minutes and see what happens.
To capture the call I turned on the camera’s video/audio and waited. The following came at minute 6 of the recording, which shows how long it takes the Virginia Rail to respond. I was preparing to leave when I finally heard the call. So the static in the first few seconds are me preparing to walk.
Turn up your volume and listen. The Virginia Rail grunting starts at 8 seconds.
After lunch the temperature was approaching 80F and the birds were quieting down. A leisurely walk at Johnson County Park produced a couple of FOY birds.
I’m hoping for redemption today with a few photos from Sunday. Saturday the wind gusts were blowing at greater than 25MPH in the open areas which meant taking photos of grasslands birds tough. I still tried to take photos of distant birds though. And the photos from the woods weren’t any better with the overcast skies and light rains.
Sunday afternoon I went to the central part of Atterbury FWA. That part of Atterbury is closed daily until 1PM for Spring Turkey Season. So to see if it will be worth birding next Saturday on the IAS Big May Day Count I went bushwhacking after 1PM. I did come across several species that might be needed if not found in the morning Saturday. The lighting wasn’t much better with overcast skies but they weren’t the heavy clouds. I got a few photos which hopefully will redeem myself.
Let’s get right to it. Last Sunday during my Big Day I had some of my all-time best looks and photos of a YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO. Yesterday was no different with a BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO with one seen and two others heard on the day. Even in the poor light the one I watched sat like cuckoos will. So I stood and watched back.
One of the Black-billed Cuckoo called a couple of times, once doing the low “cuckle” call as I call it. Cool times.
And for fun here is last week’s Yellow-billed on the left and this week’s Black-billed on the right.
The day started off well with Mike and I at Northwest Park in Greenwood. The first bird on the day was a GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER that would never stop long enough for a photo.
At Atterbury we picked up some FOS species.
And in the afternoon after Mike had departed I saw a few more FOY including the before mentioned Black-billed Cuckoo.
You can tell it’s that time of year as I continue to see 10 or so FOY species each weekend.
Wish I had more to write about, but I don’t. Between sitting in a training class last week or driving to the training class, the creative juices weren’t flowing.
Plus what free time I have is going to learning the birds of Colorado. The western slope of the Rockies to be exact. I fly out next weekend for 6 days around the Grand Junction area. I plan on trying to make a daily post but that might be a little to ambitious. At that time I’ll go into more detail how I picked that area to see birds of the U.S. “Great Basin”.
NO photos from this weekend. Along with Mike and Karl we did the annual breeding census on the military side of Camp Atterbury. No cameras allowed on the military base, so no photos. Karl had done the east side on Friday which is mostly grasslands and had a good count of 35 Henslow’s Sparrows. We did the forested west side and some how came up with the same number of Hooded Warblers, Ovenbirds, and American Redstarts – 17. The count on the Hooded is the highest ever for this count. With the high temperatures the birds stopped calling early so we didn’t have as good of day as past years. Oh well.
I don’t exactly know what it is about the following photos but they really caught my attention. A week ago Saturday, April 20, Mike and I were checking for shorebirds at Atterbury FWA when I initially heard this Henslow’s Sparrow. After a couple of minutes we spotted him sitting out in the open.
REMEMBER TO CLICK ON THE PHOTOS FOR A LARGER VERSION
These aren’t the best photos I have ever taken, far from it. But the contrasting colors just struck me. Especially the next one, even with the head turned away. I had never really noticed the difference between the yellow-green head and the light-brown back.
Notice how the pattern on the light-brown back just stands out.
And the white eye-ring.
I guess if you take your time and look there is always something new and different to see. Especially with local birds.