The calendar isn’t totally accurate. Despite the fact that we are still technically in spring, the birds tell me that it is summer. Instead of a random assortment of migrating birds, my first birding outing in two weeks today brought me many summer residents who are here to stay for at least another couple of months (well, with one exception).
The first stop was at a very flooded Eagle Marsh for the first notable bird. I was alerted to it thanks to the always reliable IN-Bird-L email list: Bell’s Vireo. Having scanned through field guides, I guess I was aware that this is a bird, so it was not technically a brain bird for me (see definition), but I knew almost nothing about it. Not where it lives, not what it looks like, and not what it sounds like. The emails on the list-serve described “vigorous singing,” so I looked up its voice (you can too), and heard its distinct scratching-a-record call almost immediately on exiting my vehicle. It stayed well hidden in dense brush, and I only got two glimpses of it: once when it flew to another dense area of brush, and once when it popped its head up for about an eighth of a second. But I stayed and listened to him for almost half an hour, which is as good a field mark as any. Life bird #205 and year bird #122.
So enough about that Bell’s Vireo. Here is a pretty picture of another bird that I also saw at the marsh:
I also saw year bird #123 Common Yellowthroat, the only warbler of the entire day, on that stop. Several muskrats were also a highlight.
After Eagle Marsh, I headed to Franke Park, being turned away by flooded roads to Fox Island (common theme). The very first species of bird that I saw was this:
You know it’s a good birding day when there are pelicans acting like Canada Geese. These chaps must have been migrating and grounded by the storms that we had a few days ago, and they were making a holiday of it by staying at the park. This picture was taken from the window of my car, to give you an indication of how close they were. I have seen these elsewhere this year in both Greene and Marion Counties, but this was by far the best look I have ever had of this species.
I heard about a thousand Eastern Wood-Pewees while at Franke, and this one was good for year bird #124.
And while we’re talking about flycatchers, here is one of many of the Great Crested variety that were hanging around the frog pond.
I finished the day with distant looks (but great audio) from a Wood Thrush, year bird #125. I am exactly half way to my stated goal of 250, but I am pretty sure that I can save that number for another year. It will be nearly impossible with all of the spring migrants that I missed from being busy with first-time homeownership, that new job in a new city, and a baby due in two months. But if that is my tradeoff for less birding, I will gladly take it!