Sunday, October 31, 2010

Yellow-Rumped Warblers - October in Review

Yellow-Rumped Warblers - October in Review

Saw my FOS Yellow-rumped Warblers here in Florida today on a visit to Six-Mile Cypress Slough.  But they were not actually the first that I saw this month, as these were the commonest warblers I encountered on my vacation to Eastern Washington and the Idaho Panhandle a few weeks ago. The vacation was new ground for me and offered a lot of opportunity for lifers like Common Ravens and Great White-Fronted Geese. Other lifers I was able to add included American Pipits, Black-billed Magpies, Western Meadowlark, Western Bluebird, Mountain Chickadee, California Quail, Western Grebe, Pygmy Nuthatch and Red-Breasted Nuthatch. I did not find all the targeted birds on my list like Baird's plover or horned lark, but I can't complain. My best sighting was the family of Trumpeter Swans living at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge near Cheney, Washington.  Beautiful birds and had a great show as they flew overhead in their vee formation

Had high hopes for a rewarding fall migration, but the pickings were slim in our corner of Florida. Few warblers, no thrushes or tanagers, and only the only oriole was an orchard oriole seen in September. The Hawk Watch event that was scheduled on October 17th as a kick-off for Ding Darling days on Sanibel Island was disappointing with low counts too.  Did have a few Kestrels, Merlins, Sharp-shined Hawks and a a couple of Northern Harriers. Though the hawks were few the Indigo Buntings, Painted Buntings, Blue Grosbeak and a Magnolia Warbler made up for it.

We also are watching in October for several of our wintering birds to arrive like House Wrens, Dunlins and Palm Warblers.  As noted at the start I had my first-of-season Yellow-rump warbler today and other birders I met at Six-mile cypress slough today reported seeing blue-headed vireo and a couple of ruby-crowned kinglets.  I did not see the vireo or kinglet, but they have arrived.

Following is a FOS listing for several species that winter in Lee County, Florida.
Belted Kingfisher  - July
Red Knot - September 27th
Palm Warbler - October 2nd
Blue-winged Teal - October 3rd
Gray catbird - October 5th
House Wren - October 17th
Northern Harrier - October 17th
Indigo Bunting - October 17th
Painted Bunting - October 17th
Eastern Phoebe - October 18th
Wilson's Snipe - October 21st
American Coot - October 23rd
Dunlin - October 25th
Yellow-rumped Warbler - October 31
Ruby-crowned kinglet - October 31st
Blue-headed Vireo - October 31st

Other species I am still waiting on include ring-billed gulls, herring gull, yellow-bellied sapsucker, savanna and grasshopper sparrows and several ducks.

My October List - (165)
  1. Greater White-fronted Goose - Idaho
  2. Canada Goose  - Washington & Idaho
  3. Trumpeter Swan - Washington
  4. Muscovy Duck (Domestic type) - Florida
  5. Wood Duck - Washington
  6. American Wigeon  - Washington & Idaho
  7. Mallard  - Washington & Idaho
  8. Mallard (Domestic type)  - Florida
  9. Mottled Duck  - Florida
  10. Blue-winged Teal  - Washington & Florida
  11. Northern Pintail  - Washington
  12. Canvasback  - Idaho
  13. Ring-necked Duck  - Washington & Idaho
  14. Lesser Scaup  - Washington & Idaho
  15. Bufflehead  - Washington & Idaho
  16. Common Merganser  - Idaho
  17. Ruddy Duck  - Washington & Idaho
  18. California Quail  - Idaho
  19. Ring-necked Pheasant  - Washington & Idaho
  20. Wild Turkey  - Washington
  21. Pied-billed Grebe  - Florida, Washington & Idaho
  22. Western Grebe  - Idaho
  23. Brown Pelican  - Florida
  24. Double-crested Cormorant  - Florida, Washington & Idaho
  25. Anhinga  - Florida
  26. Great Blue Heron  - Florida, Washington & Idaho
  27. Great Egret  - Florida
  28. Snowy Egret  - Florida
  29. Little Blue Heron  - Florida
  30. Tricolored Heron  - Florida
  31. Reddish Egret  - Florida
  32. Cattle Egret  - Florida
  33. Green Heron  - Florida
  34. Black-crowned Night-Heron  - Florida
  35. Yellow-crowned Night-Heron  - Florida
  36. White Ibis  - Florida
  37. Glossy Ibis  - Florida
  38. Roseate Spoonbill  - Florida
  39. Wood Stork  - Florida
  40. Black Vulture  - Florida  
  41. Turkey Vulture  - Florida
  42. Osprey  - Florida
  43. Snail Kite  - Florida
  44. Bald Eagle  - Florida
  45. Northern Harrier Florida,  - Washington & Idaho
  46. Sharp-shinned Hawk  - Idaho & Florida
  47. Cooper's Hawk  - Washington & Florida
  48. Red-shouldered Hawk  - Florida
  49. Red-tailed Hawk  - Florida, Washington & Idaho
  50. Crested Caracara  - Florida
  51. American Kestrel  - Florida, Washington & Idaho
  52. Merlin  - Florida
  53. Peregrine Falcon  - Florida
  54. Common Moorhen  - Florida, Washington & Idaho
  55. American Coot  - Florida, Washington & Idaho
  56. Limpkin  - Florida
  57. Sandhill Crane   - Florida
  58. Black-bellied Plover  - Florida
  59. Wilson's Plover  - Florida
  60. Semipalmated Plover  - Florida 
  61. Piping Plover  - Florida
  62. Killdeer  - Florida & Idaho
  63. American Oystercatcher  - Florida
  64. American Avocet  - Florida
  65. Spotted Sandpiper  - Florida
  66. Greater Yellowlegs  - Florida & Washington
  67. Willet  - Florida
  68. Lesser Yellowlegs  - Florida
  69. Marbled Godwit  - Florida
  70. Ruddy Turnstone  - Florida
  71. Red Knot  - Florida
  72. Sanderling  - Florida
  73. Western Sandpiper  - Florida
  74. Least Sandpiper  - Florida
  75. Dunlin  - Florida
  76. Short-billed Dowitcher - -Florida
  77. Long-billed Dowitcher  - Idaho
  78. Wilson's Snipe  - Florida
  79. Bonaparte's Gull  - Idaho
  80. Laughing Gull  - Florida
  81. Ring-billed Gull  - Idaho
  82. California Gull  - Idaho
  83. Common Tern  - Florida
  84. Forster's Tern  - Florida
  85. Royal Tern  - Florida
  86. Sandwich Tern  - Florida
  87. Black Skimmer  - Florida
  88. Rock Pigeon Florida,  - Washington & Idaho
  89. Eurasian Collared-Dove  - Florida
  90. Mourning Dove  - Florida, Washington & Idaho
  91. Common Ground-Dove  - Florida
  92. Monk Parakeet  - Florida
  93. Burrowing Owl  - Florida
  94. Barred Owl  - Florida
  95. Ruby-throated Hummingbird  - Florida
  96. Belted Kingfisher  - Florida & Idaho
  97. Red-headed Woodpecker  - Florida
  98. Red-bellied Woodpecker  - Florida
  99. Downy Woodpecker  - Florida & Washington
  100. Hairy Woodpecker  - Washington
  101. Red-cockaded Woodpecker  - Florida
  102. Northern Flicker  - Florida, Idaho & Washington
  103. Pileated Woodpecker  - Florida
  104. Eastern Phoebe  - Florida
  105. Say's Phoebe  - Idaho
  106. Great Crested Flycatcher  - Florida
  107. Loggerhead Shrike  - Florida
  108. Northern Shrike  - Washington
  109. White-eyed Vireo  - Florida
  110. Blue Jay  - Florida
  111. Florida Scrub-Jay  - Florida
  112. Black-billed Magpie  - Washington & Idaho
  113. American Crow  - Washington, Idaho & Florida
  114. Fish Crow  - Florida
  115. Common Raven  - Washington & Idaho
  116. Northern Rough-winged Swallow  - Florida
  117. Barn Swallow  - Florida
  118. Black-capped Chickadee  - Washington & Idaho
  119. Mountain Chickadee  - Washington
  120. Tufted Titmouse  - Florida
  121. Red-breasted Nuthatch  - Washington & Idaho
  122. Pygmy Nuthatch  - Washington
  123. Brown-headed Nuthatch  - Florida
  124. Carolina Wren  - Florida
  125. House Wren  - Florida
  126. Marsh Wren  - Washington
  127. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  - Florida
  128. Golden-crowned Kinglet  - Washington
  129. Ruby-crowned Kinglet  - Washington & Idaho
  130. Eastern Bluebird  - Florida
  131. Western Bluebird Washington & Idaho
  132. American Robin  - Washington & Idaho
  133. Gray Catbird  - Florida
  134. Northern Mockingbird  - Florida
  135. European Starling  - Washington, Idaho & Florida
  136. American Pipit  - Idaho
  137. Cedar Waxwing  - Idaho
  138. Northern Parula  - Florida
  139. Magnolia Warbler  - Florida
  140. Yellow-rumped Warbler  - Washington, Idaho & Florida
  141. Yellow-throated Warbler  - Florida
  142. Pine Warbler  - Florida
  143. Prairie Warbler  - Florida
  144. Palm Warbler  - Florida
  145. Black-and-white Warbler  - Florida
  146. American Redstart  - Florida
  147. Common Yellowthroat  - Florida
  148. Eastern Towhee  - Florida
  149. Chipping Sparrow  - Idaho
  150. Song Sparrow  - Idaho
  151. White-crowned Sparrow  - Washington & Idaho
  152. Dark-eyed Junco  - Washington & Idaho
  153. Northern Cardinal  - Florida
  154. Blue Grosbeak  - Florida
  155. Indigo Bunting  - Florida
  156. Painted Bunting  - Florida
  157. Red-winged Blackbird  - Washington & Florida
  158. Eastern Meadowlark  - Florida
  159. Western Meadowlark  - Washington
  160. Common Grackle  - Florida
  161. Boat-tailed Grackle  - Florida
  162. Brown-headed Cowbird  - Washington
  163. House Finch  - Washington
  164. American Goldfinch  - Idaho & Washington
  165. House Sparrow  - Washington & Florida

Bluewinged Teal - Harns Marsh

Blue-winged Teal - a visit to  Harn's Marsh
October 30th

A visit to Harn's Marsh this morning was rewarding with the the return of a number of wintering birds.  Came here specifically to see if any savanna sparrows had arrived yet.  No.  But did find that large numbers of Coots, Blue-winged Teal and Pied-billed Grebes had arrived. Counted about seventy teal, which is a large number for this location.  They probably had just flown-in as they barely stirred from head under wing slumber.  The coots were certainly on hand as I counted over a hundred and I had a count of twenty-two Pied-billed Grebes, which is also a high count. Had a number of Wilson's Snipe take flight from the muddy shore-line and a flock of twenty-two Killdeer were constantly wheeling about, also a large number.

Palm Warblers greeted me as I arrived at the marsh and a lone Yellow-throated Warbler was found.  Soon Yellow-rumped Warblers will be arriving.  Also found were a number of Gray Catbirds and a lone House Wren.

As I was heading back to my car I met up a Canadian birder here looking for Limpkins and Snail Kites .  The kites were very numerous.  I counted about ten and saw several Limpkins today too.

My day List - (25 )
Mottled Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Pied-billed Grebe, Anhinga, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, Cattle Egret, Green Heron, White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Snail Kite, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Limpkin, Killdeer, Wilson's Snipe, Belted Kingfisher, Eastern Phoebe, Gray Catbird, Yellow-throated Warbler, Palm Warbler, Red-winged Blackbird

Friday, October 22, 2010

American Avocet - Bunche Beach

American Avocet  -  
Bunche Beach
Tuesday October 19th

Made a quick check on Bunche Beach this morning with the idea to see if any dunlins have arrived from the north.  The tide was higher than I expected, but this was good as the shorebirds were concentrated in a small area. Dozens of Black Skimmers were rising just as I arrived and only a couple of Sandwich Terns were seen flying overhead. I came across Wes as he was leaving. His best bird was some Forster's Tern, which a lone individual remained my this time. But as we spoke a pair of American Avocets flew in to join the Semiplamated Plovers, Willets, Short-billed Dowithchers and Sanderlings. I was able to get a few pictures today as they were paitent and allowed close observation this morning. Always glad to find these interesting birds. So was delayed a bit to enjoy the avocets as well.

Other birds on sight included a lone Piping Plover, a trio of Wilson's Plover, a couple of Black-bellied Plovers, a roosting Osprey and a noisy House Wren. Plus a couple of Marbled Godwits and a lone Ruddy Turnstone. I did not stay lone myself. But you never know what you will find, if you don't go.

Black-bellied Plover

 My Bunche Beach List (25) -
Brown Pelican, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Tricolored Heron, White Ibis, Osprey, Black-bellied Plover, Wilson's Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Piping Plover, American Avocet, Willet, Marbled Godwit, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, Short-billed Dowitcher, Laughing Gull, Forster's Tern, Sandwich Tern, Black Skimmer, House Wren, Northern Mockingbird, Palm Warbler, Northern Cardinal

Raven - Mt Spokane State Park

Raven - Mt Spokane State Park
Monday, October 11th

After making an airport run to drop off my son, who needed to get back to his job in Washington DC, I headed north to Mt Spokane State Park.  This place is quite a contrast from the Palouse hills. Rising 58oo feet it is forested mountain, popular for winter sports like downhill and cross country skiing. I walked a  couple of these cross country skiing trails, no snow yet as the temperature was around 40 degrees, looking for my target birds of the conifers forests.

A ski trail
Jon Isacoff had recommended this location  for dusky grouse and pine grosbeak. And higher up on the bare areas below the summit we could have Arctic migrants like snow bunting, horned larks, mountain bluebirds and townsend's solitaire.

Summit of Mt Spokane
 I entered the park on the ever rising and winding two lane road.  I stopped several times in search of birds.  It was difficult to caught sight of many of them as they darted in and out of the concealment of the towering conifers. I was surprised to find a flock of about seven wild turkeys standing on the shoulder of the road.  As I stopped to attempt a photo, they did not seem to be very concerned about my presence.

The temperature was about 40 degrees and foggy in some locations
 I stopped at a couple of locations and walked the ski trails.  It was not very birdy but I managed to locate a mixed flock here or there. Here was my finial LIFER of the trip with a couple of Mountain Chickadees. Also several Yellow-Rumped Warblers, Dark-eyed Juncos and Red-Breasted Nuthatches were seen.  Saw and heard several Common Ravens and had a small flock of darting Ruby-Crowned and Golden-Crowned Kinglets.  Had not seen a golden-crowned kinglet since Starve Rock State Park in Illinois in 1973. Other birds that were seen lower down, before the mountain, included Western Bluebird and House Finches.

View from the ski lift area
 I never made it up to the highest elevation in search of the migrants and I could kick myself for it. But I had neglected to gas up before heading into the woods and was concerned about the possibility getting stranded..  I'll have to return someday and do it right.  I'd also like to join with someone who already knows the ground.  It saves on a lot of wasted time and offers a lot more success. Beside the migrants I was disappointed in not locating any stellers or gray jays. I understand that a lot of these species can be found in Maine as well.

Noticed a lot of mushrooms and fungus in the woods. In my attempt to try and identify these mushrooms, I found that Mt Spokane is a popular wild mushroom picking location and that there is a Spokane Mushroom Picking Club

Wild Turkeys
  My Mt Spokane List - (10)
Wild Turkey, Common Raven, Mountain Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Western Bluebird, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Dark-eyed Junco, House Finch

Instead of heading back to Mt Spokane, after finding a gas station, I elected to head over to nearby Coeur d'alene, Idaho as I had heard it was beautiful place. I drove around the area looking for a likely birding spot, as I was still interested in finding horned and eared grebes and was told red-necked grebes can be found here too. Ended up on the campus of Northern Idaho College which borders were the Spokane River becomes Lake Coeur d'alene. Found large masses of Canadian Geese and Ring-billed Gulls.  A large flock of American Crows on the campus as well.  A few Mallards were there and I spotted a Western Grebe.  From a distance I thought I had a ruddy duck, but a closer viewing reveled it as a grebe as it was fighting some swells to head out into the river. Lots of small birds high in the trees, but they remanded a mystery for another day.

A view of the Spokane River near Coeur d'alene, Idaho
This was the ending for my vacation to eastern Washington and Northern Idaho.  Would like return someday. The kids wedding on Saturday was a success and we will be following up with a much more causal wedding party in November for all or friends and relatives who could not travel the 3000 miles from Florida. As for my birding, I managed to locate about 15 lifers. Could have gotten more, but it gives a good reason to try again.

I again want to thank Terry Gray, Mike Mortensen, Chalres Swift and Jonathan Isacoff.  I have to thank Melissa and Robbie for dragging me here as well. Thanks kids.
The far shore had large numbers of Canadian Geese, Ring-billed Gulls, some Mallards and a lone Western Grebe
My Coeur D'alene List - (5)
Canada Goose, Mallard, Western Grebe, Ring-billed Gull, American Crow

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Oregan Juncos - Steptoe Butte, Whitman County, Washington

Oregan Juncos -
Steptoe Butte, Whitman County, Washington
Sunday, October 10th

A flushed pheasant wouldn't pose for a picture be the Llama was obliging
 One suggestion I received on possible birding sites in Washington was the Steptoe Butte State Park. Jon Iscoff had made a few suggestions for birding around Spokane and Steptoe Butte was one that was convenient to my travels between Spokane and Moscow. Due to its altitude there was possibilities for some Arctic migrants to be found.  Including horned lark, lapland longspur and snow bunting. So as a last minute decision I elected to stop here on my way back to Spokane from Lewiston.

Along the access road to the state park, I noticed a male Ring-necked Pheasant in a field on my right. And as I stopped to see if I could get a photo,  the pheasant elected not to pose. It flushed across the road to the llama farm on the left.  Well, the llamas were far more obliging.

Steptoe Butte
 Found the drive to the top to be a uncomfortable trip with the narrow lane and sheer drop-off. Did not see any birdlife on the way up, but the views were cool. Did not see any birds at the top either. Returned to bottom and birded around the entrance. Were a pair of Cooper's Hawks were zipping through the trees and may have been after a flock of "Oregon" Dark-eyed Juncos. Maybe the Northern Flicker that joined them as well.

The Oregon subspecies of the dark-eyed junco is a beautifully bird featuring a dark hood whereas the dark-eyed juncos I recall from Illinois were called Slate-side Juncos.

Was able to add Brown-headed Cowbird after leaving the park when I observed a cowbird flew onto the rump of a horse in a nearby pasture. Understand that this is a common practise with this bird, just hadn't seen before.

View from the top

Another view from the top

Guard rails were not always were you'd like to see one on the drive to the top

I suppose I could have walked to the top

My List at Steptoe Butte - (7)
Ring-necked Pheasant, Cooper's Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, Northern Flicker, Dark-eyed Junco, Brown-headed Cowbird

Friday, October 15, 2010

Greater White-Fronted Geese - Mann Lake, Idaho

Greater White-Fronted Geese -
Mann Lake, Idaho - The Big Sit
Sunday October 10th

I had great expectations on my visit to Mann Lake, which is near to Lewiston, Idaho, as a potential for several more lifer birds such as the eared, western, horned and clark's grebes, common merganser and more.
Had followed Terry Gray from Palouse Audubon on his regular trip reports here and had contacted Terry and Charles Swift about birding Sunday the 10th at Mann Lake. Terry is leading weekly trips each Saturday during October. But my daughter's wedding was on Saturday.  So I contacted Charles Swift who was heading a "Big Sit' event there on Sunday. Perfect.

The wedding went well in Moscow on Saturday. The only birding I did was to observe a very busy flock of Cedar Waxwings working the bushes as the photographer was arranging her shots on the campus at the University of Idaho.

Cedar Waxwing on the campus of U of I, Moscow, Idaho
Rose early Sunday morning to make the two hour plus drive from our hotel in Spokane to the Lewiston, Idaho community on the Snake River. The terrain in eastern Washington is a rolling hill topography called palouse and is dominated by wheat farming. Few cattle are seen grazing, but around the small communities several llama farms are operating instead of cattle.  On the return trip I did catch sight of a coyote traveling across a hill.
California Quail seen in a Lewiston neighborhood
Observed several Red-tailed Hawks and a single Northern Harrier along the route. More Black-billed Magpies were seen, plus  large flocks of European Starling and lots of Red-winged Blackbirds. A lone American Robin was seen in a an urban area and some Rock Pigeons were seen around  grain silos. When passing through Lewiston, I came upon a flock of California Quail, which were  LIFERS for me, but are a very common bird here, even in urban areas.
A view of Mann Lake - The scrub here was full of sparrows

Mann Lake is an impoundment lake used for agricultural  irrigation. It is situated southeast of Lewiston and is a good place for seeking migrating waterfowl and other birds. First stopped at a site at the eastern end were the brush was very birdy with sparrows. I'm not good with sparrow id, but I did manage to find White-crowned and Chipping Sparrows. Canada Geese were flying in overhead and one flock I suspected maybe Greater White-fronted Geese. From this point I could make out a couple more LIFERs in several Common Mergansers and Western Grebes. Other waterfowl witnessed at this point were American Coots, Mallards and Buffleheads. Checked out the muddy shore for any sandpipers or plovers. Was interested in the possible sighting of an american golden plover or baird's sandpiper.  They are seen here, but not today.  Shorebirds were limited to Long-billed Dowitchers and Killdeers. Came on a flock of American Robins resting in a bare tree, but as I was attempting to get a photo they flew off in a hurry and was replaced in the tree with a Sharp-shinned Hawk.

California Gull
  I moved from this spot to find Charles who had set-up near the model airplane field. When I arrived at the parking lot I did find that that flock of geese were indeed Greater White-fronted Geese as they were grazing in an adjacent field.  LIFER!! You won't find these in Florida.

THE BIG SIT - Charles Swift and Joseph Brown
Caught up with Charles and Joseph Brown as they were conducting the "Big Sit' census. Just missing a bewick's wren. Did hear it a couple of times, but did not a viewing.  So I did not count it as a lifer. Same with some lesser goldfinches that Charles identified by call but did not see today. But we did find a Bonaparte's Gull, several Ring-billed Gulls and a LIFER in a California Gull. Other waterfowl seen included Lesser Scaups, Ring-necked Ducks, American Wigeon and Double Crested Cormorants. Had a Common Raven fly over head. Had wanted American Pipits, which had been active in the area earlier and were kind enough for a flock of about a dozen to fly in next to us. They too were LIFERS for me. They can be found in Florida in the winter, but not usually as far south as Ft Myers.
Long-billed Dowitchers
As we were heading back to the cars a flock of five Ring-necked Pheasants flushed for cover.  I had not seen any pheasant since leaving my home in Illinois in the early 1980's
Missed today were eared and horned grebes.  Some were sighted the day before but not today.  No clark's grebes among the many western grebes today either.

Ring-billed Gull

Common Merganser

Long-billed Dowitchers, Common Merganser and Ring-billed Gull
About 10:30 the 'Big Sit' survey was over and I joined Charles and Joseph in birding another sight in town known as Idaho Fish & Game Habitat area in Lewiston Orchards. It was very birdy and I was able to add another California Quail, a Black-capped Chickadee, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Song Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrows and a Chipping Sparrow. Got to see my first Dark-eyed Juncos since leaving Illinois as well. These here were the Oregon subspecies though.  Beautiful bird. A very large flock American Pipits appeared across the road from the parking lot as we were leaving for the day. Missed was a possible spotted towhee, thought only offer a very brief glimpse. If it had called or showed itself I could of had another lifer.  Just leaves a reason to return someday.

Again a special thanks to Terry Gray, Charles Swift and Joseph Brown for all of there help and sharing of knowledge.
Charles Swift's report on the Mann Lake Big Sit 10/10/2010 on "Inland NW Birders" message board
Terry Gray's report on the Mann Lake visit 10/9/2020 on "Inland NW Birders" message board

My Mann Lake List - (37) 
Greater White-fronted Goose, Canada Goose, American Wigeon, Mallard, Canvasback, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Common Merganser, Ruddy Duck, Ring-necked Pheasant, Western Grebe, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Northern Harrier, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, American Coot, Killdeer, Long-billed Dowitcher, Bonaparte's Gull, Ring-billed Gull, California Gull, Mourning Dove, Belted Kingfisher, Northern Flicker, Say's Phoebe, Black-billed Magpie, Common Raven, American Robin, European Starling, American Pipit, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Chipping Sparrow, Song Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, American Goldfinch

My List at Idaho Fish and Game Habitat Area, Lewiston, Idaho -(12)

California Quail, Northern Flicker, Black-capped Chickadee, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, American Robin, American Pipit, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Chipping Sparrow, Song Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, American Goldfinch

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Trumpeter Swans - Turnbull NWR

Trumpeter Swans - Turnbull NWR
Cheney, Washington
Friday, October 8th

Left Florida for a vacation in America's Great Northwest, flying into Spokane, Washington late last Thursday.  Spokane was chosen because it was closest airport to the actual reason for flying some 3000 miles. It was to participate in my daughter Melissa' s wedding in nearby Moscow, Idaho on Saturday. Melissa and her fiancee Robbie elected to come back to Moscow for there wedding as they loved the area.  Robbie was a former student at the University of Idaho in Moscow, were the ceremony was held. But this trip offered me a great birding opportunity. One were I could find any number of lifers that would never be seen in Florida. So I planned birding trips in the area for Friday, Sunday and Monday. Eastern Washington and the Idaho panhandle offered several habitats for birding.  Most of the area is rolling hills covered in wheat fields. The area is known as the Palouse. My targeted birding locations included Turnbull NWR in Cheney, Wa; Mann Lake in Lewiston, Id; and Mt Spokane State park in Washington.
  At this point I would like to acknowledge the help and support of four great local birders. They were extremely helpful in where to look and what was realistic in seeking local specialities. The second weekend of October is not the best time as so many seasonal species have already left for warmer climates.
Robert Mortensen, of Idaho, whom I got to know through his blog BIRDING IS FUN.
Terry Gray, President of the Palouse Audubon Society of Moscow, Idaho
Charles Swift, also of Moscow, Idaho and the University of Idaho and
Jon Isacoff of the Spokane Audubon Society and a professor at Gonzaga University

Pines Lake
As we flew in late Thursday night to stay in Spokane, my first birds of Washington waited till dawn Friday. Of course they were your usual urban birds - House Sparrow, European Starling and American Crows.  But I soon hit my first lifer of the day with a pair of Black-Billed Magpies flying over the parking lot. After picking up my rental car and heading south to Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge found a couple of the very common Red-Tailed Hawks, more magpies and a Great Blue Heron.

A portion of the Headquarters Trail - Cheever Lake lies below the trail and meadows rises above
 Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge
Arrived at Turnbull Refuge about 9:45am. The refuge is a unique geological sight called a Channeled Scablands. The brochure describes the varying habitats to include wetlands, rock, ponderosa pine and aspen forests, grasslands and steppe. The weather for the day was chilly and overcast with a potential for some rain.

All seven of 'Solo's'  Trumpeter Swan family
 The refuge is home to a noted male Trumpter Swan named Solo who was head of a family of seven swans living here at Turnbull. I got the privilege getting a scoped viewing of the entire family from a refuge volunteer at the Pines Loop Trail head. Was fortunate to get a couple more viewings. One were the whole flock noisily flew overhead in a v-formation and later as they rested on a lake.
Found these American Red Squirrels to be very noisy
Hiked portions of the Pines Loop and Headquarters Trails. The wetlands offered a single Canada Goose, many Mallards and Coots.  A few American Wigeons, a lone male Wood Duck and a couple of Ruddy Ducks. Saw about three each of Double-crested Cormorants and Pied-billed Grebes. A great many Red-winged Blackbirds worked the cattails and several Marsh Wrens could be heard and was finally lucky to observe a couple of wrens as my second LIFER of the day.  Chipping Sparrows were busy in nearby grasses. Other birds found along the trails included  LIFERS of several Western Bluebirds and Red-breasted Nuthatchs, plus  Black-capped Chickadees, Ruby-crowned Kinglets,  Yellow-rumped Warblers, American Goldfinch, White-crowned Sparrows,  and Northern flickers.  Higher up in more grassy or steppe terrain I was able to find a pair of American Kestral and LIFERS in a Western Meadowlark and a Northern Shrike. Was able to added a LIFER of a Common Raven that flew overhead as I was returning to my car at the conclusion of the walk.

Wrapped up my visit here with the 5.5 mile auto tour trail. Was able to add Northern Pintail, Lesser Scaup, Ring-Necked Duck and a lone Great Blue Heron.  Found a pair Greater Yellowlegs working a muddy shoreline and a Hairy Woodpecker in the company of a flock of LIFER Pygmy Nuthatches.  Spent about three and half hours here and I could see that a springtime or September would yield a far greater variety of birdlife. I did miss on a few species on my list, but it was a good day especially the impressive swans.

Greater Yellowlegs

 While passing through Cheney on the way back to Spokane, noted a flock of Wild Turkeys in a backyard. Understand that wild turkeys are becoming very numerous in the area.
Wild Turkey outside of Cheney, Washington

The rest of the flock

My Day List - (37, 8 lifers ) Canada Goose, Trumpeter Swan, Wood Duck, American Wigeon, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Pied-billed Grebe, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Wild Turkey, Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, American Coot, Greater Yellowlegs, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Rock Pigeon, Northern Shrike, Black-billed Magpie, American Crow, Common Raven, European Starling, Black-capped Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Pygmy Nuthatch, Marsh Wren, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Western Bluebird, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Chipping Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, Western Meadowlark, American Goldfinch, House Sparrow

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Carolina Wrens

Carolina Wrens -
Some current birding
Monday Oct 4th

Inlet at Bunche Beach at Low Tide
Monday morning we planned on a visit to The Everglades and Key Largo to look for south Florida specialities like white-tailed kites, white-crowned pigeons and common mynas. May even have a gray kingbird still hanging around. Sometimes Swainson's hawks have already arrived by now.  But oops - when we went to take off at 5am, my car battery was dead. Maybe we can go later this month.

Later Monday afternoon, after resolving the mechanical problems, I checked out Bunche Beach and Six-Mile Cypress Slough. Arrived at Bunche Beach at a low tide. Found Barn Swallows working the beach and a Peregrine Falcon caused a big stir among the forging and resting flocks. A half dozen pink Roseate Spoonbills working the shallows at the north inlet with a pair of noisy Belted Kingfishers flying overhead.
Had a few Wilson's Plovers and a lone Piping Plover.  Lots of Semipalmated Plovers and Sanderlings. The American oystercatcher and the many Black Skimmers have a very comic appearance. Checked carefully for the red-necked phalarope that was seen last week, but has been missing lately. I think that this may have a first report of a red-necked phalarope in Lee County. A White-eyed Vireo could be heard in the scrub behind the beach. Had a total count here of 34 species

Roseate Spoonbill at Bunche Beach
Next I left the beach for the swamp. Arrived at Six-Mile Cypress Slough boardwalk. The White Ibis, Anhingas, Great Egreat and Cattle Egrets were already starting to assemble at the night rookery on the lake. Not much else was found here at this time.  Had a lot of Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers and Tufted Titmice., but the only warblers seen were a lone Black-and White and a lone Palm. Only eleven species here today.
Carolina Wren at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
Tuesday Oct 6th

Checked out Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Collier County this morning.  Place had very few visitors this morning, but the birding was okay. Had an abundance of active and noisy Carolina Wrens, FOS Gray Catbirds were everywhere and White-eyed Vireos were also very common. Encountered a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird in the butterfly garden at the entrance to Blair House. A painted bunting had recently been reported here, just as their arrival on the east coast are being reported. But I did not sight one today, but it won't be long. Not a large quantity of warblers but did get samplings of Black-and-White, Northern Parula, Prairie, Pine and American Redstarts.  These all represent species expected to be found here. No tropical migrants were present today.
One mixed flock of Tufted Titmice, Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers, American Redstart, Northern Parula and Great Crested Flycatchers seemed very agitated concerning a certain tree cavity in a grand old cypress tree. The commotion attracted a Red-Bellied Woodpecker who had to check out the hole too. No idea what the issue was all about. Maybe a snake was sleeping inside. Pileated Woodpeckers were seen several times, but only found a lone Downy Woodpecker. Black and Turkey Vultures soared overhead with an occasional Red-shouldered Hawk or Anhinga. Another soaring hawk appeared to be a Coopers Hawk. Total count here was 26
Month to date is 89.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Snail Kites - Harns Marsh

Playing with the idea of beating my October count of last year of 160 species. This was my second highest monthly count so far and was accomplished with some very good migration hits. To help this year is a trip this weekend to attend my daughters wedding in Idaho. Having never been to to the Northwest, and I am expecting opportunity for gaining a few lifers and counts on western species both in eastern Washington and the panhandle of Idaho. Still will need those migrants though.

To start things off, I hit a couple of hot spots after work Sunday morning.  Started with the Barred Owl at work and added Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, an Eastern Bluebird, Downy Woodpecker, Red-shouldered Hawk and White-eyed Vireo, along the access roads as I was leaving work.

Crested Caracara

Headed to Glades County were I was able to add Cattle Egrets, a Florida Scrub Jay several Sandhill Cranes, a lone Roseate Spoonbill, Snowy Egrets and Great Egrets.  Found a Bald Eagle resting in a snag, a couple of singing Eastern Meadowlarks, a dozen American Crows and three Crested Caracara. Had an American Kestral being harassed by an American Crow. Missed on wild turkeys though.

 Came back toward home through Alva, were I had a couple of Red-headed Woodpeckers, Loggerhead Shrike, a singing Eastern Meadowlark, a Fish Crow and several American Kestrals. Lots of Mourning Doves, but a search for a white-winged dove was a miss.

 My last stop was at Harns Marsh in Lehigh Acres, which is always a good spot for Snail Kites and Limpkins, to which I found six of each.  Both species relied on the Apple Snail populations in the marsh. Also found a family of Pied-billed Grebes with three youngsters, a trio of Mottled Ducks a pair of FOS Blue-winged Teal. The waders included Glossy Ibis, White Ibis, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Great Blue Heron, Little Blue Heron and Tricolred Herons.  Had a pair of Palm Warblers, Red-Bellied Woodpecker and a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. Hoped for a first-of season northern harrier, but seen yet.

No migrants of note seen on this trip. A day count was only 46 species, but saw several good local Florida specialities like the scrub jay, snail kites and limpkins. So to date have along way to go.

Snail Kite at Harns Marsh

Kite taking flight

Apple Snail Shell
My Day List - (46)
Mottled Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Pied-billed Grebe, Anhinga, Great Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, Cattle Egret, Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, Roseate Spoonbill, Tricolored Heron, White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Wood Stork, Red-shouldered Hawk, Osprey, Snail Kite, Black Vulture, Bald Eagle, Crested Caracara, American Kestrel, Common Moorhen, Limpkin, Sandhill Crane, Killdeer, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Barred Owl, Belted Kingfisher, Downy Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Red-headed Woodpecker, White-eyed Vireo, Blue Jay, Florida Scrub-Jay, Eastern Bluebird, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, American Crow, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Palm Warbler, Northern Cardinal, Common Grackle, Boat-tailed Grackle, Eastern Meadowlark, Red-winged Blackbird

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Forster's Tern - Bunche Beach

Bunche Beach
October 2nd

Checked Bunche Beach after work this morning arriving at a high tide. Not real birdy but a good variety.

Forster's Tern

A Marbled Godwit

A Reddish Egret, Short-billed Dowitcher and Willet

Northern Cardinals are very common at Bunche Beach. Heck they are common everywhere
 My List for Bunche Beach - (26)
Brown Pelican, Double-crested Cormorant, Anhinga, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, Reddish Egret, Green Heron, White Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Osprey, Black-bellied Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Piping Plover, Willet, Marbled Godwit, Sanderling, Short-billed Dowitcher, Laughing Gull, Forster's Tern, Sandwich Tern, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Northern Cardinal