Terrible Photos of Pretty Good Birds

First, I’d like to say that if anyone has traveled here thanks to the shout out that I got from 10,000 birds, thank you!

I went looking for migrants in Fort Wayne this weekend, but with all of the flooding that we have right now it wasn’t easy. I made a quick stop at Eagle Marsh looking for rails and warblers, but it was mostly inaccessible from high water so I didn’t find much beyond year bird #092 Barn Swallow (#091 Chimney Swift was seen earlier in the week at Lakeside Park).

Somewhat discouraged, I headed to Fox Island. But the road was flooded, so I had to turn around.

My next stop was Franke Park, where I had substantially better luck. New year birds were #093 Gray Catbird, #094 Winter Wren, and #095 Northern Rough-Winged Swallow. I did not get photographs of any of them.

Later in the day, a tip from IN-Bird-L let me know about a Cattle Egret close to Eagle Marsh, so Jaime and I went over again with a specific target bird on our list.

#096 Great Egret

#096 Great Egret

We were happy to see small white blobs in the distance at Eagle Marsh. They did not include a Cattle Egret, but Great Egrets were still a needed year bird for me, clocking in at #096.

#097 Cattle Egret

#097 Cattle Egret

A little further down the road, we hit paydirt. This is what a Cattle Egret looks like from about 200 yards away (he is the one up in the tree). If he was by himself, I would not have been positive on the ID. But thankfully he was hanging out with a Great Blue Heron and a few other Great Egrets for size comparison, and in this shot I was able to discern his short bill. Year bird #097, and my first viewing of this species in the Midwest.

#098 Peregrine Falcon

#098 Peregrine Falcon

After our successful Egret hunt, Jaime and I had dinner at Pint and Slice in downtown Fort Wayne. Birds were totally off of my radar until we both heard a strange screeching noise coming from directly above us. Looking 90 degrees straight up, we found one of the city’s resident Peregrine Falcons peeking out from over the top of the PNC Center. I had seen evidence of this fellow earlier in the week when I stumbled upon the disembodied wing of a Northern Flicker on the sidewalk in front of my office, so it was nice to see the perpetrator himself for year bird #098.

I have 9 days to find 2 more birds to meet my 100 bird deadline for the end of April. Hopefully, they can also be additions to a brand new yard list when we are moved into our new house!

#miami

Continuing with the year of travel, Jaime and I were fortunate enough to make it down to Miami for my sister’s graduation and to see the family, celebrate Christmas early, and all of those good things. Additionally, I am sure you would be disappointed if I didn’t spend considerable time chasing birds around and looking foolish in front of all of those gaudily-dressed scenesters, European ravers, and Jersey Shore cast members. Don’t worry, reader(s) behold:

Eurasian Collared Dove

Eurasian Collared Dove

The first significant bird was a life bird for me, the Eurasian Collared Dove. Much like most things in Miami, these birds do not originate in America. They supposedly can be found in Indiana too, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret

The Cattle Egret was also a life bird for me, though they are exceedingly common in Florida. They are infamous for expanding their range very rapidly during the 20th century, arriving in the US of their own accord and spreading out from there. Again, these can supposedly be found in Indiana, but I haven’t seen any proof yet.

Mitred Parakeet

Mitred Parakeet

Another life bird were these Mitred Parakeets that had taken their talents to South Beach. Originally from Ecuador or something, these birds are feral and thriving in their new digs. They are also closely related to the Red-Masked Parakeets of San Francisco (and this blog’s) fame, but the Mitred variety has an incompletely red face.

Muscovy Duck

Muscovy Duck

The provenance of waterfowl is frequently difficult to determine when they are unafraid of humans, and I was about ready to give up on the Muscovy Ducks that inhabit the University of Miami’s campus because they are endemic to Central America. However, one of these ugly bastards had a flock of ducklings with it, which let me know that they have indeed established themselves like the parrots above. Lifer.

Magnificent Frigatebird

Magnificent Frigatebird

The fifth and final lifer of the trip was this Magnificent Frigatebird that was wheeling around the bay outside of our 15th floor balcony. These guys have a truly crazy silhouette that looks like they should be in a Batman movie.

Palm Warbler

Palm Warbler

The award for most appropriately named bird of the trip goes to this Palm Warbler, which was sitting in a palm tree.

White Ibis

White Ibis

I do not know the scientific term for a group of White Ibis, so I will say that this herd of them was busy begging for bread crumbs at The U.

Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican

This Brown Pelican was photographed from our Duck Boat during the Duck Boat Tour of Biscayne Bay. It was not amused.

Laughing Gull

Laughing Gull

It was impossible to do anything without at least one Laughing Gull looking at you funny.

Unlikely Allies

Unlikely Allies

Even with all of the great birds that were seen in South Florida, perhaps the most unexpected was the Red-Bellied Woodpecker cavorting about with Monk Parakeets in a palm tree in the middle of a busy street. I guess this just goes to show you that what happens in Miami stays in Miami, unless you get photographed and put on the internet.