Wilson’s Snipe Photos – Finally

Don’t be fooled by the title. I have many Wilson’s Snipe photos. Just not Wilson’s Snipe photos from the local only marshy area. Snipe have been present for the last couple of years at the marsh. But never out in the open long enough for a photo. Until Sunday.

Saturday started out with Mike and me heading to Laura Hare Preserve at Blossom Hollow. With Mike’s help I spent much of the time learning to ID several trees from their bark. The birding was typical for the habitat and time of year, meaning it was quiet at times. We did hear two Louisiana Waterthrush and I saw my yearly Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.

Sunday morning I went to the marsh area with express purpose of checking on the Wilson’s Snipe and any other shorebirds/waterfowl present.

Within the first minute of walking upon the marsh a Wilson’s Snipe flew in and landed in an opening. If I would have been prepared I would have had a photo right off the bat. But it proceeded to walk into the thick grass and when I moved it flushed to the far side. So I began the process of checking all the open areas for snipe.

The cat and mouse game would proceed over the next couple hours with snipe flying in and out but never where I could photograph one.

In between hoping to see the snipe, an Eastern Meadowlark landed nearby.
A pair of Savannah Sparrows were buzzing around chasing each other with one eventually landing.

Finally Wilson’s Snipe Photos 

I kept watch on the far shore hoping a snipe would walk out in to the open. After a couple of hours one finally appeared.

First I was watching a Solitary Sandpiper move along the edge.
Then a movement in the tall grass. Could it be? Yes, a Wilson’s Snipe.
By luck they both ended up in the same photo.
Not the best of photos but it shows it’s definitely a Wilson’s Snipe.
Wilson's Snipe Photos
Probably the best photo on the day. It at least captures some of the snipe’s bright barring.

I’ll follow-up this post up using Wilson’s Snipe as an example of something I think is a bigger problem.

Black-bellied Plover – Weekend Highlights

I have struggled since I started this blog on getting out timely reports, mainly from the weekend, and creating a decent post. A post usually takes 2 hours with the sorting of photos, initial draft, proofreading, tags, etc. Going forward I’m going to try to post on Monday AM the weekend photos without creating “a story” which sets a blog apart from Facebook. This will be the initial test with BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER being the lead.

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The local wet field is perfect for shorebirds. Without rain it will probably be dry by next weekend. Last year it didn’t dry up until late October. Southern Marion County 8/6/16
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Most of the usual shorebirds were present with KILLDEER being around 100 in number. The highlight was a molting BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER. Southern Marion County 8/6/16
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It never lifted its wings but after watching it for a long time it just didn’t look like an American Golden Plover. Southern Marion County 8/7/16
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The bill seems too big for an American Golden and the vent area showed no signs of black. Southern Marion County 8/7/16
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I ran into Cary Floyd who pulled out a distant RUDDY DUCK from the mass of Mallards. Far and away my earliest Ruddy Duck for the area. Southern Marion County 8/6/16
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A CEDAR WAXWING posed nicely for a photo. Westside Park, Greenwood 8/6/16
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Grassland birds were extremely quiet this weekend. I happened to notice this DICKCISSEL with a meal. County Line Road, 8/6/16
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This long shot photo shows an EASTERN MEADOWLARK, lower left, in the field by Franklin HS. I flushed 10 walking the grass but never heard one calling in the hour I was there. 8/7/16
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Three SAVANNAH SPARROWS, which appear young, were on a fence at Franklin HS. 8/7/16
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How often does someone post a photo of a crow? I picked up my life Indiana list Fish Crow at Eagle Creek but this AMERICAN CROW was at Westside Park in Greenwood. 8/6/16

The Start to A Solid Saturday

The weather turned out to be better than expected last Saturday with just slight drizzle and overcast skies versus the rain for both Saturday and Sunday that was predicted.  But even with that and being on the road all week I wasn’t moving too fast Saturday morning. This meant I didn’t get out of the house until 10:30. Which just might be a record for the latest time getting out on a Saturday. But my wife was out-of-town so I wasn’t in any hurry to get home early. I spent the day hitting the usual haunts in Johnson County. Nothing fancy, just a solid day. One of those enjoyable days that’s good to be out.

First stop was the grasslands just over the Marion – Johnson county line which I blogged about back in December. This is an area off Interstate 65 that is going to be turned into a shopping area. The only thing hinting the project is still on was a sign stating Retail Space for Rent.  So we’ll see if and when it gets going.

The area held the usual grassland birds plus a FOX SPARROW in the hedge row. I only bring it up since, once again, I didn’t have my camera out of the car yet and the sparrow was right out in a photographic pose.  Just like last week. I now only have a couple more weekends for a Fox Sparrow photo since they are gone by mid-April.

The only bird allowing a photo was a KILLDEER.

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This Killdeer was trying to lead me away from what I assume was its future nesting area. Greenwood Retaining Ponds 3/19/16

The species with the biggest number on Lowes Pond in Franklin was AMERICAN COOT and there were only 22 of them. But there were 5 BUFFLEHEAD that are always nice to see.

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A Bufflehead pair that took off about .1 second AFTER this photo. Which is unusual since they usually take off .1 second BEFORE the photo. Lowe’s Pond 3/19/16

There were also a HOUSE FINCH pair which came in close for a photo-op. Come to think of it there were House Finches at most stops.

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This male House Finch really didn’t mind me being close. Getting tame?? Lowe’s Pond 3/19/16
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And his equally tame female friend. You can sure tell it was a dark day. Lowe’s Pond 3/19/16

At Franklin HS I once again flushed a WILSON’S SNIPE. Maybe I’ll still get a photo of one since they usually stay to early May.

In one of the little trees on the perimeter road were 3 SAVANNAH SPARROWS. And all 3 looked like they were freezing even though it was 45F.

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One of the apparently freezing Savannah Sparrows. Being my first of the year maybe they had just migrated from Florida? Franklin HS 3/19/16
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The numbers of Eastern Meadowlarks in the area is starting to pick up. Franklin HS 3/19/16
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And what I think is one of the least photographed local birds – Common Grackle. I just liked the way this one was sitting and calling in the tree. Note the large bill. Franklin HS 3/19/16

From there I headed to the country and then on to Atterbury.

But what happened on the way will be the topic of the next post.

Almost Time For This Year’s Adventure

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.

But here are a few photos from a week ago.

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Eastern Phoebe calling insistently above a creek and of course close to a bridge. Atterbury FWA 6/06/15
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One and only one guess as to this species. Getting a good look so I can compare it to an Ash-throated Flycatcher next week. Atterbury FWA 6/06/15 (Great Crested Flycatcher)
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Same thing here. Taking a long look at an Eastern Towhee so I can compare to a Spotted Towhee next week in Colorado. Atterbury FWA 6/06/15
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I heard numerous Yellow-breasted Chats on the day. Most were up and singing on territory. If you can call what they do singing. Atterbury FWA 6/06/15
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Same guy as above.
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I always find House Sparrows away from man interesting. But of course they really aren’t away from man because she is standing on a man-made bluebird house. FHS 6/06/15
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And the male house Sparrow wasn’t too far away. FHS 6/06/15
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There were several male Savannah Sparrows giving me their chip note to keep away. And I wasn’t even that close. I did learn their chip note though, which is a softer one than a Song Sparrow. FHS 6/06/15
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Same bird as above.
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A Yellow Warbler flew in and decided to take a quick bath. Johnson County Park 6/06/15
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And is there any doubt that the Northern Rough-winged Swallow was the prototype for every movie alien? Look at those eyes. East of Franklin – Johnson County
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Maybe movie producers used Mississippi Kites instead? Ferne Clyffe SP IL 6/19/10