Birding in Calhoun County and beyond
April ended up being a Big Month for me. Not sure if the trip to N.C. sparked things back up, or because the county was just having such great birds being sighted, was what got me out more. April 1st took of with 53 different birds in the county, and just seemed to look up from there, including first Blue-winged Teals for the county in 2017.
I managed to get a few decent pics of a very active Golden-crowned Kinglet at Woodland Park on the 1st. The second pic being how most of them turned out...only more out of focus and blurry action. I also managed a few nice snaps of Fox Sparrows. One of the tougher birds to photograph for me.
April 2nd brought the great rush to find a reported Common Raven reported at Memorial Gardens across from the airport. I had plenty of Crows, and weather cooperative enough to let the top down on the Jeep to allow for better viewing. There were no Ravens to be found, and ultimately the sighting was not confirmed on eBird. The only pictures that turned up were of an American Crow. I know eventually a Raven will be found, and I know it will likely end up being at the landfill. A consolation prize were FOY male Purple Finch at my feeder that day, and Yellow-rumped Warbler.
April 7th I decided to make a run up to Duck Lake as it had warmed up, but not warm enough to have the lake full. I was partially right on the second part. There were more than a few people getting boats in the water for the first launch of the year. My comment on the eBird checklist was "Has to be the most waterfowl have seen on this lake". Just an amazing number of birds out there, and they were flagging as rare or high counts. If memory serves me correctly the following were flagged on eBird:
The Bonaparte's Gull eventually were spooked enough to fly over where I was at on the North side of the lake. The first photo is an uncropped shot of the group in flight. They were sitting on the water prior allowing me an accurate count. I was also able to manage one of my better shots of a Common Loon.
The next day I had a very early Eastern Kingbird out at the airport. One had been reported here on the 1st. This is easily 2 weeks prior to their "normal" early arrival dates. This was seen prior to me leading my first Kellogg Bird Sanctuary Field Ornithology Class Field Trip of the year to Woodland Park. 40 species wasn't bad for early April. The Golden-crowned Kinglets put on quite the show for us. Many getting close enough to not require binoculars to ID them.
The following week I returned to Woodland Park and managed 43 species, including FOY Swamp Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and the Parks first Osprey as a flyover. I managed some of my best shots of Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Brown Creeper this day also. Including a shot, albeit not great, of one doing a full display of the "crown". That day was topped off with a FOY Vesper Sparrow at the Airport. I've had good luck catching this species there during migration.
Seeing as how April was such a big month, I will take a pause having reached the mid point of the month. A good place to stop also, as the 16th would turn out to be a big day for the birds in the county.
My exploits in my latest passion, Birding...not Bird-watching;-)