[Birding (and more) in Calhoun County and beyond
Last 6 weeks have just been a train wreck for birding. After returning from N.C. my back took a couple of weeks to recover. This was followed by a week of having to go back into the office, which lead to catching the Wuhan Flu. That lead to 2 weeks of cold/flu, followed by 2 weeks, and counting, of a persistent cough. This thing definitely was not natural. I had 12 hours of minor fever, and then it was lots of symptoms moving from head to chest and back. Never had that with a flu or cold. It usually makes a steady progression, not act like a tennis match. Needless to say the birding has taken a huge hit. It was the weekend prior to going back in the office for a week, and the weekend prior to COVID fun that I managed some FOY birds.
Really wanted to target for Henslow's Sparrows, Grasshopper Sparrow and Dickcissel in June. Hit up my typical Henslow's spot on 9.5 Mile Road a few times with no luck. Grasshopper Sparrows were being reported from the Airport, so Herc and I headed there morning of 6/25. No luck again on that. We hit a few other spots with no luck. After returning home there was a report of Dickcissel near G DR N and 9.5 Mile. We headed there with no luck, but kept going down 10 Mile Road to keep checking for anything else. That was when I found a grass field and the unmistakeable song of multiple Dickcissels. I even managed a few shots as the sang from the telephone wires, and landed nearby. This spot is certainly closer than most other potential Dickcissels spots, so will have to keep trying this spot every year.
The morning of the 26th we headed back out to the airport. This time with some success as Merlin picked up Grasshopper Sparrow, and a short bit later I managed to hear it myself carried in the wind. I'm sure I'm getting closer to these birds being sight only birds. In addition there was an odd call coming from the swamp inside the fence. I thought that sure sounded like a Common Gallinule. Sure enough there was one tucked up in there calling pretty consistently. Another nice FOY bird. We then headed to Gordon Lake to try for Hooded Warbler, with no luck. Very frustrating bird for me in the county.
After this my next opportunity to feel up to birding wasn't until July 17th. Q DR S had Yellow-breasted Chat and Henslow's Sparrow reported weekend of July 4th. I had no such luck with either there. Just a ton of Bank Swallows flying around and up on the wires. We did go back out on July 23rd, but with not much really of note species wise. Experience-wise on the 23rd at Homer I spooked a Bald Eagle from right about my head. I also experienced an American Kestrel land on the algae sheet to pick off some kind of big chunky larvae. Shorebird spots are not looking good at all for this migration. Here are a few other shots I've managed in the few birding outings these past 6 weeks.
Due to all the Chaos the past 6 weeks I have gotten back into more of the wildlife closer to home. I was reminded about all the moth photography I used to do. I got some old school incandescent light bulbs to replace the LED in my porch lights and overnight was back to having a ton of moths show up. This has also led me down the rabbit hole of macro photography. I am the proud owner of a dedicated macro lens, and getting a few other things to try to take that to the next level. I've also focused on "listing" my moths similar to what I do for birds. Also trying to go back through old pics that need ID for moths. I've managed ~50 lifers so far this year (this assumes my ID's are correct), and am up to over 425 species seen. I know I posted Moth pics on here in the past, but honestly think I might do something a bit more dedicated, like a separate blog or pages to create on here.
My exploits in my latest passion, Birding...not Bird-watching;-)