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Nature in it's glory

Nature in it's glory

Aug 24, 2012

Fall migration: A storm delivers some lifers

Pine Siskin

Tuesday night we had a very stormy night, with strong winds, lots of thunder and lighting, and tons of rain.  Normally a good storm has the power to put me to sleep instantly, if I'm not at the window watching the lightning show, that is.  Only this time that didn't happen.  A couple of times, as I was trying to sleep, I heard birds calling, which is very unusual.  So I made up my mind to head out early, to see what the weather had delivered up.

American Goldfinch and Pine Siskin

American Goldfinch

Early morning found me heading out the door dressed in my oldest jeans and shoes, and very much encouraged by the birdsong all around.  The very first birds I saw was a flock of Pine Siskin at the top of a tall pine, a lifer for me.   Not soon after, and only because he seemed to be flying with the Siskins, I spotted my very first American Gold finch.

Orange crowned warbler
Yellow- rumped warbler

I also saw, and was delighted by the Orange crowned warblers,  Yellow-rumped warbler, and  Oven-bird. 

I had placed myself just under the branches of a tree, next to some low bush.  Here I tried not to do much more than move my arms to work the camera, so I wouldn't cause the birds to fly off into another part of the forest.  This is a strategy that works for me more often than not, if I really want to capture some images of wildlife or birds, since I shoot hand-held and the range on my lens isn't great.

Oven bird
Bell's Vireo-a lifer

I was soon literally surrounded by birds, and for a while I wasn't sure where to point my camera.  But once over my initial excitement and delight, I concentrated on capturing as many birds on camera as I could.  I was both relaxed and enjoying my self immensely.  Time seemed to stand still, like it always does when I'm out visiting with nature.

It wasn't long however, before I realized that although some of the birds I was seeing seemed familiar, there was something about them that was different.  Since I wasn't certain and wouldn't be until I had a closer look at my photos later, I dismissed the thought.  So I really had no idea that I already had more than two new lifers on my memory card.

Cape-May warbler female-another lifer
The real excitement came when I caught sight of a large bird, that I just knew I had never seen or even heard of before. A new discovery.  This is the point during my bird watching where I really start to look forward to doing some serious research, something that I truly enjoy doing in a case like this.

Philadelphia Vireo-my first
Canada Warbler 1- another first
Canada Warbler 2
What was the fuss all about you ask?   It took several hours, but I finally found her, and not on-line where expected, but in one of my bird books.  The bird you see below is either a female or juvenile Rose-breasted Grosbeak. Although a part of me insists she is female.  She is larger than the Pine-Grosbeak I discovered last year.  When I began my search, I really had no true idea where to start, due to her size.  It was only the shape of her bill that gave me a starting point.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak female or juvenile
Rose-breasted Grosbeak

But the very best part of bird watching for me, is the joy of discovery and learning, with the occasional bit of mystery thrown in the mix.  I will never get tired of it.

Enjoy, Susan

1 comment:

  1. Susan, how terrific to see so many lifers in one day! Big, big congrats!