Monday, June 02, 2008

If I hadn't turned back around...

Today most of my day was spent among the Populus snow at the Bauer Preserve. I say snow because the seeds are attatched to a white fluff and have been dropping like flurries. If I was a weather-woman I'd say that today we had temperatures in the low 80's with a 100% chance of Populus snow - 1 to 3 inches expected to coat the ground.

The "snow" covered ground.

Meanwhile very little bird activity was occuring. A Yellow Warbler or two down by the water and a stupid browin-ish bird that was unidentifyable. The highlight might have been the Wood Thrush that hopped right on a branch in front of me, but took off before I could reach for my camera.

I was disappointed not to get a second look at the Ruffed Grouse with chicks - last week it chased after two of us as we accidentialy came upon them which sent the group into a tizzy as the chicks were seperated from mom. Mom wasn't too happy and came at us feathers spread and beak wide open ready to attempt to take a chunk out of my ankle. "I'm glad you were behind me so you would have gotten attacked first" stated the company. And these are the people I'm working for!

Actually - it would sort of be awesome to say "Yeah - that there scar is from a Ruffed Grouse that attacked me".

Anyway - of course that all happened when I had forgotten my camera in the car... And today, camera in hand - no Grouse or Grouslings.

Dissapointed I headed back to the car to grab some keys to identify a few shrubs. I hoped to perhaps glimpse something by the water or stream on my way to the car but sure enough nothing popped up. Things were calling but nothing was responding. Discouraged, I continued and then within sight of the car popped up a Male Indigo Bunting. He flittered between a few trees and was light up perfectly by the sun. What a brilliantly colored bird!

The Indigo Bunting posing nicely

He dove into the bushes finally and then came that weird bird again - grrr it's throwing me for a loop but I'm pretty sure it is a Warbling Vireo.

In this location I also had a Black-Capped Chickadee - big surprise eh? Anyway he sat there nicely for me - so I was happy. And got an OK shot:

Black-capped Chickadee being very cooperative - food in mouth!

The final highlight of the day occured about a half hour later. I went back in search of my "Warbling Vireo" and found a female American Redstart. She entertained me for a while but was a little too high up for anything but a picture of her underside. I turned to check the water one more time in case a Yellow Warbler or Common Yellowthroat was by chance close enough for a stunning shot - but nothing was moving. I heard the Redstart calling again so I turned to look for her, chirped a bit, and tried to pshhh her out - then suddenly a Broad-winged Hawk swooped about 8 feet from my face. It landed on a tree and (of course) then realized how close it was to me, and took off. But wow! What a look at the hawk! Up close and personal right there! Anyway it was pretty awesome.

Warbling Vireo? Note the Dusky eyeline.

On a final note - the more I look at my poor shot - the more I think its a warbling vireo. The dusky eyeline is perfect and it definitely had yellow in it (not too visible in this picture because of the leaves) - the only question is if it was too much yellow. Seemed more than most I've seen and than most of the availiable pictures and drawings.

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