Cancelled

The Corona Virus is effecting everyone in some form or another. Myself and my children and loving wife are doing fine and are taking all necessary precautions. And as the rest of the country follow suit it came as no surprise that the Southwest Wings Spring Fling Birding Festival cancelled. Of all the places I’ve been anxiously wanting to visit, it’s this part of the country.

The only reservations I had to cancel were my hotel room and contact the festival to ask for a refund. I was glad that cancelling my hotel room was a easy process, with me getting a full refund. The festival itself has a $15.00 processing fee if you cancel prior to a given date. The date to receive a 90% refund was extended due to the virus, which was a good thing. But it still saddens me to go another year waiting to go. I was lucky not to have made my airline or car reservations yet, so it’s one less thing to bother with.

On the bright side this now gives me more time to study up and listen to calls and songs of the birds of Southeast Arizona, so I won’t be going out looking like a complete rookie.

To all my reader, stay safe and wash your hands.

Burrowing Owl

Yesterday I drove 4 1/2 hours for this 1st ever recorded Burrowing Owl for Kentucky. Being present for almost 2 weeks this bird has drawn a lot of attention. What’s so unusual about this owl is where it’s hiding. Not in the usual burrow as you might think, but in a crack of asphalt on top of a road culvert.

 

Time clicked away as the Owl sit in it’s crack, always scanning. It was about the time I was leaving when a farmer on his ATV drove by that the bird spooked out of it’s hole.  It returned to the road before hopping into it’s crack when I got a few more photos.

Southwest Wings Spring Fling: Update

With it only being the 13th of January, preparations are moving along pretty well for my forth coming trip to Southeast Arizona.

My hotel reservation has been made for the 5 nights I’ll be there. I made them with a reputable chain that I’ve used many times in the past, and the total price is under $300.00. For me that’s a win. It’s everything I need, a place to sleep, shower, and work on pictures and writing updates for the blog.

On January 1st. registration opened up for the Spring festival and that’s when I registered myself. Prior to finalizing the field trips I wanted to go on, I had to do some serious homework. Much like what I did before heading down to the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival 5 years ago, I wanted to make sure the field trips I choose gave me the possibility of checking off more birds.

Here’s a list of the field trips I selected.

  1. Huachuca Canyon and Fort
  2. Owls of the Huachuca Mountains
  3. Ramsey and Brown Canyons
  4. Ash and Miller Canyons
  5. Madera and Box Canyon

Now most of these field trip, excluding the Owl one, end late afternoon. This leaves me with hours of birding left in the day. With the sun setting just after 7 pm, I should be able to fill my time with some constructive birding. Some of the places I’m thinking about, but not written in stone are:

  1. Escapule wash and San Pedro River
  2. Hunter Canyon
  3. Paton Center For Hummingbirds ( this one is written in stone)

If any of my readers have any suggestions to visit other places just drop me a line in the comments section. I will get back with a reply. All help will be appreciated.

 

Photographic Nemesis

For a number of years now, at least since I’ve started taking pictures of birds, the American Kestrel has been one of those birds I’ve not had a lot of luck with. The smallest of the North Americas falcon species I see them all the time. Around where I live you’ll see them on electrical lines overlooking farm land. Now it’s one thing to see them from the quiet confines of your car, and it’s another to sneak up on foot to get a picture. They typically fly away if anyone gets close.

Today I was visiting Fernald Preserve to check out the ponds for waterfowl. And while I was driving through the preserve I noticed a American kestrel teed up on a small tree with the sun hitting it almost perfectly. So I pulled my car over and crept closer trying to get a good angle on the Kestrel. Now if I was on foot I never would have been able to get close, but being in a car awarded me with some really good looks.

2019: A Year In Review

Let me first start out this year in review with an apology to all my readers. I’ve not been a very good blogger and have lagged behind in posting anything of interest. Some of this was due to my broken ankle at the end of Spring and lasting through the Summer. Those weeks that I was laid up kept me both from birding and blogging. Compounding this was a couple bouts of having the cold, which as a member of the senior population takes longer to get over. With that being said lets put this year behind us and hope that 2020 is a better year both for you personally, and birding.

For myself 2019 was a pretty good year for birds. I was able to add 11 new birds to my life list, with the latest being a Prairie Falcon that’s been hanging out in the flat farm land west of Bowling Green Ohio. I picked up that bird yesterday.

Below are 6 of the 11 new birds spotted in 2019, and if it wasn’t for our family vacation to Maine my yearly number would be significantly lower.

  • Common Eider
  • Sooty Shearwater
  • Great Shearwater
  • Atlantic Puffin
  • Northern Fulmer
  • Black Guillemot
  • Great Cormorant

For the greatest distance driven by car to tick off a new bird lies with the now famous Tufted Duck of Fennville Michigan.

back on April 28th I drove one way 335 miles to check this bird off my life list. Did this seem excessive driving just for 1 bird? Sure it was. However it was worth the drive to see a bird that I’ll probably never see again.

Most satisfying Bird of 2019: Well that honor goes to the Red Phalarope that I was able to check off the old Life List on November 3rd. Now I’m finally able to check off all North American Phalarope species with this beautiful bird that was spotted at Brookville Lake in Indiana.

For the 2 most surprising new birds of 2019 would have to be the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper and the Prairie Falcon. Even though I don’t have any photos of these birds, they are without a doubt the most surprising birds that I never would expect to see this year.

As I reflect on 2019 I can’t help but to look forward to 2020, which will prove to be the most “birdiest” year to date. In the past I’ve had some very good years for birds but this coming year should put me past a personal milestone of 500 ABA birds.

In the next few weeks I’ll start making plans on going to the Southwest Wings Spring Fling in Sierra Vista Arizona. Long have I wanted to visit Arizona for their abundance of great birds. Like my trip to the Rio Grande Birding Festival, this trip should push me past the 500 mark for total birds.

If for some reason I don’t reach 500 by the end of that trip, I have yet another trip that will tip it into my favor. My eldest son is getting married on Oahu Hawaii in November. I’ll be there for 2 weeks. I can only imagine the birds I’ll be seeing.

These two trips have my brain on overdrive. After the holidays are over then I can start to concentrate on the task at hand. Study the birds and their songs and calls. I need to prepare. And it’s this preparation that makes us better birders.

With 2019 almost in the past, let us look forward to a better 2020, and better birds.

Happy New Year to you all.

 

Notes From The Field

While at Caesar Creek State Park yesterday I was scanning the lake from various locations to see if any waterfowl was starting to show up. For the most part all the action was centered around all the Bonaparte’s Gulls as they hovered over the lake as Common Loons stirred up all the little bait fish.

My last stop was a boat ramp and what caught my eye were all the American Pipits feeding along the edge. I was able to pull close with my car and snap off a few pretty nice shots.