[Birding (and more) in Calhoun County and beyond
This September continues to just push the numbers up with some great birding. Chaos ruled the week, and will continue to. So I am pushing on the weekend to try to get out and get some relief. 9/13 I got a bed-bird when an Eastern Screech-Owl decided to trill for about 15 seconds and wake the dogs, and me, up. Very fortuitous as I at least won't have to be trudging out into the snow and the dark to try to find one. Hopefully it didn't attract the attention of the neighborhood Great Horned Owl.
Once I was able to get out this weekend, both days were full of warblers. Woodland Park was very active on Saturday the 18th, and more so on the 19th. I was down to really 3, or more likely 2, warbler needed for the year still; Wilson's, Orange-crowned and less likely Hooded. I had just about wrapped up my day at Woodland Park when I made the decision to follow the Blue Jays racket, instead of trying to track down the War-blurs up in the trees. Turned out they had been harassing a Great Horned Owl. It never really gave good looks at its face, but look at those talons!!!
As I was watching warbler swarm all around the Owl, paying it very little attention I caught sight of a bold yellow bird. Eventually I was able to see the black cap on it and confirm FOY Wilson's Warbler for #204. All told I got 4 more September '21 birds as I moved closer to besting my high of 111. I also checked D DR S, but the water level is moving back down and could be rough to pick up anything else there without some more rain. I did manage a FOS Grey-cheeked Thrush as I looked out my bedroom window after getting back home.
This morning I got another late start. Long gone are the wake up at 4:30-5:30 it seems. Hit up Woodland once again, and it was crazy busy with birds. It was so crazy I ended up putting 20 birds as "warbler sp." since I just couldn't get views on all of them quick enough. I swear the trees were acting as a trans-dimensional wormhole. The birds would get into the trees...and just disappear. Very early on I was surprised by a pair of White-throated Sparrows on Juniper Trail. Looks like my previous early is 9/20. Shortly before that a singing Pine Warbler was a nice addition for the month and tied my high of 111.
After trying to sort through the birds I could see I started to head back to Hidden Loop. Ran into a couple of Brown Thrashers to get me to 112 this month halfway to the bridge. Not bad with another weekend to still get out. Woodland wasn't done though. Once I got back in Hidden Loop I ran into another sizable flock that was very hard to pick out birds to ID. I did manage to get an Orange-crowned Warbler that was just too colorful to be a Tennessee, and no white under tail! #205 for the year!!
It was so good at Woodland I was shocked when I looked and saw I still hadn't hit 50 birds, so decided to stick it out until I did. I managed to hear a Black-and-white Warbler sing, and catch a Philadelphia Vireo to get to 51 for the day. Really a good day, even if it was about an hour more than I planned to spend. Hit up D DR S again and the only thing of note was just a HUGE Greater Yellowlegs that I tried and tried to make into something else. It was so bad with the glare, field marks were worthless. It just looked too big, and I could have sworn I had other bird as Greater that were smaller than it. Eventually it flapped its wings and I just could not see any black under there to make it a Willet. I have one pic that looks like there are the small spots on its feathers. It just was a really big Greater Yellowlegs I guess. Can't get too greedy I guess.
The downside to the day was getting two e-mails on birds that I have had no luck on this year. Hooded Warbler seen by Christopher Peet at Woodland after I ran into him there, and Amy Lysski having a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher at O DR N pond. I have never had a fall Yellow-bellied Flycatcher. As I look at eBird I have only had 2 sightings of this pesky Empid!! Last one was over 4 years ago. Hooded was that very brief glimpse almost exactly 3 years ago now. Take good and the frustrating when it comes to birds though.
I'd like to think maybe I can snag one more FOY before this month ends to tie my high of 206. September year list birds though is at only 7 according to eBird Target Species!!
My exploits in my latest passion, Birding...not Bird-watching;-)