Saturday, December 19, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
I'm preparation for the 2009 Christmas Bird Count at Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge, I went out this foggy morning to practice some strategies. I went to the Avimor entry bridge which gives me a good above-view of Spring Valley Creek. By pishing and playing a Northern Pygmy Owl hoot I was able to see Song Sparrows, American Goldfinch, and even a Downy Woodpecker stopped by to investigate.
I know we have wintering Spotted Towhees here at Avimor that will lurk in the thick underbrush because I had them last winter. I played its call, but no response. Then I got to thinkin'...there's another little winter bird that I've never seen before that this habitat should be perfect for; shaded, damp, and fallen trees. I've been reading about it a lot recently as it may be a species split between the western and eastern varieties. I played its call five times and then just listened and watched for 15 minutes. Dark-eyed Juncos and a Northern Flicker whizzed by, but still no sign of the little bird I hoped to see.
I gave up and started walking back toward my office...when I heard a faint keep-keep that was just different enough that I knew it wasn't a Song Sparrow. I went back to the bridge slowly and tried to track down with my eyes what I was hearing with my ears. There before my eyes was a cute little brown ball of joy. It reminded me of a mouse as it snuck stealthfully around the low brush and fallen cottonwoods.
I wonder now if the Winter Wren call I have in my Zune BirdJam is an eastern bird or a pacific bird? Well, whatever it was, I suppose it worked!
I probably won't be able to call this a "Winter" Wren for long. To read more about the portending species split of the Winter and Pacific Wren, click here.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
In flight dark/wht contrast pattern (on wings), Solitaire-like, Shrike-like, Big hook on bill, calls with kay-kay, About size of a Kestrel, head browner than body, Black line at eye level, slightly below - white at top/back of eye (the black arch I show on the drawing indicates boundary of white near the eye, not a dark mark on the bird), Black wings with white showing, Light tan/gray body, long tail white edges, faint wavy breast, other birds terrified of it, House Finch attacked it.
Other behavior notes - flew over head, perched on snag for several minutes, dove into large shrub after other birds, came back to perch for several minutes, dove into large shrub. I never saw it again.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Owing to recent reports of multiple Great Gray Owls being seen on Loomis Lane, south of Donnelly over the last month and a half, I just had to go for the chance to see a life bird. I loaded up the Mrs. and the kids in the minivan after dinner and took a very enjoyable drive up to the Cascade area. We stopped at Cascade Lake State Park and let the kids take a swim and tried a little unsuccessful fishing. Then about 8:15 pm we headed up to Donnelly. We drove slowly west on Loomis Lane glassing all of the fence posts. About two-thirds of the way west between Hwy 55 and Old State Highway we found one adult on the north side of the road, hunting from a fence post about 75 yards away. We watched it for several minutes and then proceeded west on Loomis Lane. My eight year old son first spotted the three juveniles perched on a parked fork-lift/tractor just 20 feet from the road, still on the north side. After a couple minutes the three juveniles flew south across the street into the grove of pine trees and perched on low branches still just yards from the road. Even the Mrs. and the kids were impressed. A great family outing and it was nice of the birds to be so conspicuous and not drive my family nuts with my usual searching.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
It turns out that the Northern Bobwhite is not considered "countable" in Idaho by the American Birding Association because they are not yet known to have a self-sustaining population. Hunting clubs and private individuals raise and release them into the wild. Many "introduced species" become countable when they establish themselves by successfully breeding in the wild, like California Quail.
eBird prevents sightings of this bird from being reported on a public level, but it does remain as bird #300 on my eBird personal life list.
Friday, May 29, 2009
I was initially surprised to find a Gray Catbird along the greenbelt at Avimor. Now that I know a little more about Gary Catbirds, our riparian corridor on Spring Valley Creek is ideal habitat. I am quite certain that we have had a least half a dozen mating pairs this year. So what once was a bird I had never seen is now a fairly regular bird I see. I saw four in one optic view down by the Avimor Water Reclamation building one morning.
They make all kinds of interesting sounds and are fun to watch.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Monday, January 19, 2009
The Southwest Idaho Birders Association had a field trip out to the Canyon Hill Cemetery in Caldwell, Idaho and they spotted a solitary White-winged Crossbill on Saturday. I was not able to attend, but their report brought birders from all over to see this rare winter visitor. I was able to go out there today, Martin Luther King Day, and met up with my father-in-law Lynn and a couple other prominent local birders.
Friday, January 2, 2009
I had read on the IBLE Yahoo Group that Gray-Crowned Rosy-Finches can be seen in the winter at the cliffs above Discovery Park near Lucky Peak dam just east of Boise. We finally made it out there today in spite of the chilly wind. I scanned the cliffs for a good hour and finally a half dozen of them came down over the top of the cliff and worked they way down the steep rocky ledge. I am told that they sleep in the cliff swallow caves. A red-tailed hawk sent the rosy-finches into the crevices, but I still got a good five to ten minutes to watch them.