Work took me to South Bend this week. That was lucky, because there just so happened to be a notable white goose hanging around in the river in neighboring Mishawaka.
Just kidding. It was a lifer Ross’s Goose.
I could make all kinds of awful birder jokes about this goose’s name (…But how do you know that hummingbird’s name is “Rufus”?), but I will spare you.
Nice to meet you, Ross.
I guess this was technically a “chase” even though it was only about three miles away from where I was going anyway and required literally zero effort to see: park car, step out of car, see goose, take photos, leave 15 minutes later and arrive early to 10:30 appointment. Nothing beats finding birds yourself, but it’s always nice to have a successful chase.
I haven’t gotten many new green entries recently, but the most recent and most notable addition to that list was this Bufflehead seen at Foster Park two weeks ago. This is the first green bird so far this year that I did not see on my 2015 list. Let’s keep them coming! (Towhee, anybody?)
On that note, Indiana’s towhee game is strong at the moment: Eastern, Spotted, and Green-tailed are all in the state as of this week. The latter two are a three- and five-hour drive away from me respectively, but still, that’s a good showing here.
Wednesday was my last day at my old job, and Thursday was a day devoted to packing up the house for the impending move. And birding. I had my best day of waterfowl so far at Eagle Creek, and spring migration is in full force for ducks and grebes.
A new duck for me, and year bird #066, was the Bufflehead. In addition to having an awesome name, these ducks are one of the smallest in North America. A large raft of them was easily visible from the viewing deck at the Eagle Creek Ornithology Center. Other first-of-the-year birds for me were #067 Pied-Billed Grebe and #068 (and lifer) Red-Breasted Merganser.
#069 Horned Grebe
Year bird #069 was this very cooperative Horned Grebe, a bird I had only seen one previous time several years ago outside of Wilmington, NC.
A duck that I already have on my year list but is great nonetheless is the Hooded Merganser. There were at least a dozen floating close to the observation deck, allowing for good photo ops.
Another sign of spring was this pair of flirting Belted Kingfishers. They kept chasing each other around and making their high-pitched rattling call. I believe the male is on the right. It was a good thing these two were so preoccupied with each other, because Kingfishers are usually not tolerant of a close approach.