Eagle Marsh has had a pretty great run of shorebirds since the last time I visited. We have counted American Avocet, Hudsonian Godwit, and Stilt Sandpipers among our numbers, so this morning I just couldn’t take it any more and had to try for something. That’s right. Shorebird FOMO got the best of me. If nothing else, I figured to grow my green list which hadn’t had a new addition since June.
I arrived just after sunrise, but the foggy, overcast morning left a lot to be desired in terms of viewing conditions. At least it was evident right away that the huge godwits seen the day before were not around, so I didn’t have to strain myself trying to pick through flocks of peeps with zero visibility looking for a non-existent target bird.
All of the birds were much more concerned with the circling eagles than with me, so I did manage to get pretty close to some Pectoral Sandpipers. A big flock of these ‘pipers, along with one Least and two Lesser Yellowlegs, gave me three new green birds to move up to 134 on the year.
On the way out I picked up one more year bird. Black-crowned Night-Heron lived up to its spooky sounding name as the mist swirled. This bird has been a state nemesis of mine. I have seen them in Florida, and in college my dorm was right next to one of their three nesting colonies in the state of Ohio (this skewed my early relationship with herons… I am pretty sure I saw BCNH before Great Egret). But it had eluded me in Indiana after repeated attempts to see one.
And I slew this nemesis hard, with three birds seen: two adults and a juvenile. The birds had been reported roosting with dozens of egrets in an inaccessible tree about 100 yards across water away from the road. If they had been in that tree, they would have stayed nemeses because visibility was so awful. But these birds were maybe half that distance away sitting on snags in the middle of the lake, which made them just barely viewable. Green bird #135. Three more to go to break last year’s count.
On another topic, some FOMO I definitely do not have is in regard to arthropods at my home.
The first visitor came in the form of a giant, hairy yellow caterpillar on the front porch. Some quick Googling tells me this is the caterpillar of the Ameican Dagger Moth, which is strong in both name and larval form. The adult, however, leaves a lot to be desired unless you are into the brown-and-gray tree-bark camo that like a million other moths have.
The scream coming from the basement this evening introduced the final entry. I have no idea what kind of spider this is, but it looks like a fishing spider? That would be weird since my basement is not a shallow pond, but this thing was huge. It was a worthy foe, and it took me several minutes to figure out how to maybe get it out of the house alive. But it was running around too much, and I ultimately had to murder it. With a hatchet. I realize this is counter to everything a nature-interested person should be promoting, but the consolation prize of +55 husband points was too big of a draw to risk scaring it under the washer for Jaime to find again later. Sorry.