Saturday, August 8, 2009

Birding again!!

Princess and I have not been out birding much lately - July was a bit of drought (it can be a slow birding month where we live anwyay) and we've been busy with work, family and other responsibilities. Responsibilities?! Ugh.

So we jumped at the chance to head west Saturday with good friends Dan Haas of Nervous Birds, his wife Emery, Declan the Dec-man, and a special guest. We headed over to Washington County, Maryland, and immediately found our target bird, Loggerhead Shrike. LIFE BIRD for L and W!

Warren's camera was malfunctioning for a moment, of course, so no pics here of Mr. Shrike. But Dan got some. We had a lot of other nice birds in the county, which we have not birded much, including that handsome Grasshopper Sparrow up there.

Perhaps the oddest sighting of the day was a Belted Kingfisher found by Dan in a small pond, acting more like a loon or a grebe. We couldn't figure out if it was an injured bird or a fledgling that had somehow fallen into the water and was trying to get out.

We watched in struggle for about 15 minutes, looking like an avian swimmer doing the 200m butterfly. It moved away from us and close to the opposite shore. Two other kingfishers (parents?) flew from tree to tree around the pond edge. Sure hope the little guy or gal made it to safety before a Cooper's Hawk came by.

And here's the special guest, a birder-to-be due to join us in about a month. Congrats and best wishes Dan and Emery! Lisa is telling baby Haas about the difference between Loggerhead and Northern Shrikes:

Lisa made some really sweet Macro pictures while we searched in vain for a Yellow-Headed Blackbird. Check out this bumble bee on a thistle, and the lovely Monarch butterfly below.

It was a birds-and-bees type day.

P.S. - After posting this and having dinner, Lisa and I reviewed our life lists over a glass of wine or 2. Loggerhead Shrike was our 400th "Harmony Bird," the 400th species we both have on our North American list!


Chris Petrak said...

Grasshopper Sparrow is tough to see, let alone get it to hold still for a photo. Fascinating series on the kingfisher. Got to think it's a youngster still trying to get the hang of it. Glad to see you are trying to encourage the next generation of birders!

Dawn Fine said...

Grasshopper Sparrow ..would love to see that one!
Poor little Kingfisher! cool photos..very strange to see it looking like a loon.
Exciting birding times again..
Thanks for adding the BwBTC banner!