17 de septiembre de 2019

7-3-19 Rockford Register Star building and Nicholas Conservatory

Today, my mom and I are joining our friend John Longhenry, ant the RRStar building to observe the peregrine falcons that have nested this year. The female Louise is returning for a second year of mating on the tower, and a new male Lil Kool has joined her. The male has much more pigmented feathers than the female, which is duller overall. Along with the peregrine falcons, we also saw these species at the RRStar building:

After observing the falcons with John, my mom and I headed to Nicholas Conservatory to see if there were any birds there by the river. We were greeted with several great bird species. There are two resident mute swans at the Sinnissippi Lagoon in the Conservatory. The swans are white with orange bills and black facial markings. This distinguishes then from trumpeter and tundra swans, which have mostly black bills. Even though these are owned by the conservatory, I always enjoy seeing them because they add so much majesty to the pond and surrounding area. After seeing the swans, I noticed some movement in the bushes, and a female mallard and her five chicks were walking in a single file line within arms reach of me! The juveniles have fluffy brown and yellow down all over their bodies, and the adult females are streaked brown and tan. There were also five males in the pond and surrounding the pond, which have an iridescent green head and brown body. Along with these species, we also saw:

Overall, I had a wonderful birding day. Getting to spend it with family and friends is one of my favorite parts of birding. The peregrine falcons were a lifer for me, and I got to see them with one of my closest birding friends. I could not have asked for a better day.
Gracie McMahon

Publicado el 17 de septiembre de 2019 a las 01:19 AM por sandbluff sandbluff | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

15 de septiembre de 2019

Horicon National Wildlife Refuge 9-3-19

Today my mother and I decided to take a drive up to Horicon National Wildlife Refuge. The previous weekend we had learned that several of our friends from Sand Bluff Bird Observatory were also driving up to Horicon, so we decided to go with. When we arrived, we drove around the 3-mile refuge loop. Here we met up with our friends on the boardwalk to go see some rails and other birds. The highlight of the boardwalk, in my opinion, was seeing a Virginia Rail very close to my feet. We did this by playing its call to lure it in closer. Then we went to the Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area where we walked on a boardwalk there. Here we saw wood ducks and blue-winged teals. Then we went to the car, ate lunch, and drove back to the NWR where we walked on the boardwalk there again. We were just about to turn around and go home when two Whooping Cranes flew in and landed near the boardwalk. I had a fabulous day today, and I hope to come back soon.
Species I saw-
50 Canada Geese
30 Trumpeter Swans
100 Blue-Winged Teal
50 Mallard
20 Mourning Doves
2 Virginia Rail
1 Sora
3 Common Gallinule
7 American Coot
4 Whooping Crane
2 Green Heron
1 Northern Harrier
1 Olive-Sided Flycatcher
1 Traill's Flycatcher
4 American Robin
1 Northern Cardinal
1 Rose-Breasted Grosbeak
1 Red-Eared Slider

Publicado el 15 de septiembre de 2019 a las 03:39 PM por sandbluff sandbluff | 4 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

19 de agosto de 2019

7-12-19 San Carlos Bunche Beach Preserve, preserve on Casa Ybel Road

Today is my birthday, which means that I get to decide what we do! And obviously, I chose to go birding!
The day before we were driving home from the Corkscrew Swamp, and I spotted a sign for San Carlos Bunche Beach Preserve. Then I looked on eBird and lots of shore birds were seen that day! I knew that that was where I wanted to go for my birthday! Right after lunch, we hopped in the car and drove over the bridge to the mainland to go to the beach! When I arrived, I immediately began looking for birds. There were masses of red seaweed washed up, which brought some tiny organisms for the birds to feed on. This causes there to be many plovers and sandpipers. There was also a Little Blue Heron further down the beach! In total I saw 10 species of bird, many of them lifers! Here is the complete list:
4 Dunlin
30 Semipalmated plovers
30 Laughing Gulls
10 Ruddy Turnstones
20 Willet
5 Snowy Egret
1 Little Blue Heron
5 Wilson's Plovers
4 Short-Billed Dowitchers
2 Western Sandpipers
After the already successful day, we decided to visit an SCCF Preserve on Casa Ybel Road (I forget the name of the preserve...) where I saw a lifer Common Gallinue! Unfortunately I did not have my camera, so we raced back to the hotel and grabbed it, and went straight back to the preserve. Fortunately the Gallinule was still there, and I was able to photograph it! After photographing the first one, I walked around the preserve a bit, and saw several adults and several chicks! This is the full list:
10 White Ibis
9 Common Gallinule
1 Great Blue Heron
2 Osprey
1 American Alligator
I hope to return to this park soon to see what other waterfowl will be found here.
Gracie McMahon

Publicado el 19 de agosto de 2019 a las 12:02 AM por sandbluff sandbluff | 4 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

18 de agosto de 2019

7-11-19 Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, CREW Bird Rookery Swamp, Shady Hollow Blvd. Species List and Summery

Today I awoke with a spring in my step and adventure in my heart! My parents and I decided to go on a little road trip to go to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary! This is a large preserve with miles of trails that you can walk. They also have a "super" rare Ghost Orchid in bloom right now, so we were able to see that! One of the first birds we saw were White-Eyed Vireos bouncing around the tree tops. I also saw my lifer Carolina Wren here! We saw 2 and heard one. The two we saw seemed to be going back and forth to a nest carrying food (for young?) Our full list for the swamp is below:
2 White-Eyed Vireos
2 (+ 1 heard only) Carolina Wrens
1 Anhinga
1 White Ibis
1 Red-Shouldered Hawk
2 Northern Cardinals
1 Red-Bellied Woodpecker
On the way home in the car, speeding along a highway, I noticed a sign off to the right with an arrow that said "CREW Bird Rookery Swamp." We decided to turn the car around and go see what the place was like. I was expecting a rehabilitation center, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a small set of trails like the Bailey Tract. I was standing looking over the edge of a small stream when my mom told me that there was a Red-Shouldered Hawk on a post very close by. I was able to photograph it very easily. Here is the full list from CREW-
1 Red-Shouldered Hawk
1 Great Egret
On the way back to the highway on Shady Hollow Blvd. (the road CREW is on) we saw several different bird species. We were driving along the empty road, when all of a sudden I saw what I thought was a Northern Mockingbird on a barbed wire fence. I got out of the car with my camera, and at that moment I realized what I was looking at. My lifer Loggerhead Shrike! I told my mom this, and we both started madly taking photos. There were 2 other shrikes in various places along the barbed wire. The original one caught a fly, impaled it on the wire, and tore it apart slowly. I was lucky to get a photo of this at well! There was also a Black Vulture very close on the side of the road! I was able to get photos of this as well. This is our complete list from Shady Hollow Blvd-
3 Loggerhead Shrikes
6 Black Vultures
15 Great Egrets
2 Northern Mockingbirds
3 Mourning Doves
1 Great Blue Heron
I will definitely keep my eyes open on this road if I go to CREW again!
Gracie McMahon

Publicado el 18 de agosto de 2019 a las 07:12 PM por sandbluff sandbluff | 1 observación | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

7-10-19 J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge and Rabbit Road Species List and Summery

Today, after going to the beach, we decided to go to the National Wildlife Refuge again! We absolutely love it there because you never know what you will see! We were driving to the refuge on Rabbit Road, when I yelled," Wait! Turn around! There was a Pileated Woodpecker on that tree!" We turned the car around, and low and behold, there was a female Pileated Woodpecker feeding on insects in a tree in the Sanibel Health Club parking lot! After a few minutes of watching her, a male appeared also. The males and the females can be distinguished because the males have a red mustache, and the females have a black/gray one. This is called sexual dimorphism. We saw plenty of birds at the refuge! This is our complete list-
13 Great Egrets
6 Roseate Spoonbills
1 Green Heron
3 Tricolored Heron
2 Yellow-Crowned Night Herons
4 Brown Pelicans
1 Osprey
1 Anhinga
1 Great Blue Heron
I am so excited to come back here soon!
Gracie McMahon

Publicado el 18 de agosto de 2019 a las 03:37 PM por sandbluff sandbluff | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

7-9-19 J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge and Bailey Tract Species List and Summary

Today we decided to go back to the NWR to see if we could see as much as yesterday! We arrived here in the afternoon, to a short rain shower. This caused us to not see as much, but we still saw some rather interesting things. There were many Great Egrets in trees across the water; I could count 16, but there were most likely more. This is our entire NWR list:
16 Great Egrets
2 Great Blue Herons
1 Yellow-Crowned Night Heron
1 Northern Cardinal
1 Anhinga
1 Osprey
After the refuge, we decided to take a hike at the Bailey Tract, an extension of the refuge with several miles of trails. We hiked the American Alligator trail, as it is the best trail to see the black-necked stilts that are nesting on the sandbar! While we were walking, I got a very alligator "vibe" if you will, but alas, we saw no alligators. A short ways down the trail, we saw a very dark, bluish heron. I thought it was a dark morph Reddish Egret, but it turned out to just be a dark Little Blue Heron. It seemed too big for a little blue, but it did have the same coloration as most Little Blue Herons. Here is our complete list from the Bailey Tract:
1 Black-Necked Stilt
1 Little Blue Heron
4 Killdeer
1 Red-Bellied Woodpecker
I hope to return to the Bailey Tract and refuge soon!
Gracie McMahon

Publicado el 18 de agosto de 2019 a las 02:27 PM por sandbluff sandbluff | 4 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

7-8-19 J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge Species List and Summary

Today is our first full day of vacation in Sanibel, Florida! We have gone before, but this year I want to bird even more than last year. Today we decided to go to our favorite place to bird without going onto the mainland, the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. We have seen wonderful egrets and herons here, so I hope that we will see even more in the days to come! The refuge covers the majority of Sanibel, and there is also an extension of the refuge, known as the Bailey Tract. The NWR has a 4 mile long loop known as Wildlife Drive, where you can see many different species of birds. We saw many different species; my favorites are Yellow-Crowned Night Herons because they look gorgeous and they are very bold and hang out on the drive near your can. You can get very close to them. This is our entire list for the day:
1 Reddish Egret
1 Anhinga
1 Red-Bellied Woodpecker
5 Yellow-Crowned Night Herons
2 Green Herons
4 Brown Pelicans
14 Great Egrets
1 Little Blue Heron
3 Osprey
1 Great Blue Heron
6 Double-Crested Cormorants
2 Laughing Gulls
1 Spotted Sandpiper
2 Tricolored Herons
I will come back here many times while I am in Florida! I love it so much!
Gracie McMahon

Publicado el 18 de agosto de 2019 a las 02:02 PM por sandbluff sandbluff | 2 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

6-28-19 MN Valley National Wildlife Refuge Species List and Summary

Today we are in MN for my cousin's wedding, which inevitably also turned into a birding trip. We decided to go to the NWR for the best chance to see water birds. Unfortunately, we didn't see many water birds, but we saw some others! We arrived at 10:30 AM and it was as humid and warm as ever, and it only got warmer as the day grew on. Almost the entire walk was in the woods, but it was still sweltering. We came across 2 White-Tailed Deer that weren't that scared of us, but were still very secretive. One of the first birds we saw was a beautiful male Indigo Bunting. It was in a tree that was visible from the refuge overlook. This is our entire list from the day:
3 Turkey Vultures
1 Red-Tailed Hawk
1 Red-Bellied Woodpecker
2 Downy Woodpeckers
1 Blue Jay
1 White-Breasted Nuthatch
1 House Wren
3 American Robins
8 Brown-Headed Cowbirds
2 Common Grackles
3 Indigo Buntings
9 House Sparrows
If I am ever in MN, I will definitely stop here again. I loved every minute of this trip.
Gracie McMahon

Publicado el 18 de agosto de 2019 a las 01:20 PM por sandbluff sandbluff | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

6-15-19 Deer Run Birding Bonanza Species List and Summary

Today was the Birding Bonanza at Deer Run Forest Preserve. The Winnebago County Forest Preserve Get Outside Program has this walk every year, where we go on a 2 hour hike to bird. Deer Run is mostly a prairie, so we did see a lot of prairie species. We arrived there to discover several other people waiting for them to start. It was cool at the beginning, around 65 degrees. The sun came out after about the first hour, and I had a wonderful time on this walk. I hope to come here again. Here is our full list-
1 Bald Eagle
2 Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks
3 Eastern Kingbirds
3 Eastern Meadowlarks
2 Common Yellowthroats
50 Tree Swallows
6 American Goldfinches
2 Baltimore Orioles
4 Dickcissels
1 Barn Swallow
2 Song Sparrows
1 unknown flycatcher
1 Sandhill Crane
1 Indigo Bunting (Heard only)
1 Red-Bellied Woodpecker (Heard only)
1 Blue Winged Warbler (Heard only)
I really hope to come back here again, as the birding was fantastic.
Gracie McMahon

Publicado el 18 de agosto de 2019 a las 01:11 PM por sandbluff sandbluff | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

5-19-19 Rock Cut State Park Species List and Summary

Today, my mom and I decided to take an early morning walk at Rock Cut State Park. Our birding friends out at Sand Bluff Bird Observatory call it "Warbler Nirvana" in the springtime, so we had to check it out. We arrived early at 10:00 AM to some foggy skies and about 70 degree weather. Our friend had told us that the Puree Path was the best place to see warblers, so we went there first. We ran into a man named Scott who set us on the hot spot for the birds. The air almost smelled like birds. We saw 6 species of warbler, and 8 other species! It was am amazing birding day, topped off with ice cream in the cafe watching rain pour down in sheets outside. Our total list includes-
2 Blackburnian Warblers
2 Blackpoll Warblers
3 Yellow Warblers
2 Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers
1 Yellow-Rumped Warbler
1 Magnolia Warbler
2 Scarlet Tanagers
3 Turkey Vultures
2 Wild Turkeys
1 Blue Jay
10 Canada Geese
1 Bay-Breasted Warbler
5 Brown-Headed Cowbirds
1 Song Sparrow
I had a great time today, and I will be back soon!
Gracie McMahon

Publicado el 18 de agosto de 2019 a las 01:02 PM por sandbluff sandbluff | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario