Notes From The Field

With Kathy out of town visiting Laura in Michigan this weekend, it certainly has left me with a lot of free time to go birding. So after getting off work I left for home to let the dog out for a while and gather my gear for some birding up at Caesar Creek.

I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the first day of Autumn, than to spend it outdoors. The weather started to clear up after some morning showers, and I actually thought I saw the sun come out as I made my way to the park. First stop on the way was to be the beach. With it being cooler, and wet I knew I would have the place to myself, if only the birds would cooperate.

Every once in a while I get lucky at the beach in terms of bird action. I kept my fingers crossed as I walked towards the water, only to be disappointed by finding only some Canadian Geese and the usual mob of Ring-billed Gulls.

Before I go any further along with this blog post, I just want to let you know that Kathy took her camera with her this weekend, which left me with my Canon. Which isn’t a bad thing, however I can’t digiscope any of these birds. Which leads me to the only solution, buy a new camera just so I can digiscope.

After leaving the beach I made my way over to the mudflats off of Mounds Road. This is where I really wanted to go in the first place. The last time I was here it was pretty good. So my hopes were high for some good birds this evening.

A pretty unflappable Great Blue Heron. I was very surprised that I didn’t scare him off when I approached. He never moved the entire time I was there.

I spent about an hour scanning the mudflats to pick out all the little peeps and other stuff wading around. All told I didn’t find too much out of the ordinary other than the Great Horned Owl and a Black-crowned Night Heron.

The Black-crowned Night Heron was a real surprise. First I noticed a Sharp-shinned Hawk light in the top of a dead tree. Some Blue Jays were sounding the alarm when the Sharpie dove down towards another tree in a feint dive. As he pulled up that’s when I noticed he dove towards the heron just sitting as still as can be in this tree.

You can barely see him in this picture which is zoomed all the way out using the optical zoom. The next picture, (which looks like crap) is when I used the digital zoom to get closer. If I only had my digiscope rig with me, it would had been a great shot.

I was happy anyway. This was my first Black-crowned Night Heron at Caesar Creek. It was a beautiful evening for birding, I’m so glad I went.

Notable birds for the day include:

  1. American Crow
  2. Canada Goose
  3. Killdeer
  4. Ring-billed Gull
  5. Turkey Vulture
  6. Great Blue Heron
  7. Great Egret
  8. Black-crowned Night Heron
  9. Lesser Yellowleg
  10. Solitary Sandpiper
  11. Least Sandpiper
  12. Semipalmated Sandpiper
  13. Semipalmated Plover
  14. Sharp-shinned Hawk
  15. Cooper’s Hawk
  16. Turkey Vulture
  17. Cedar waxwing
  18. American Robin
  19. Northern Flicker
  20. Downy Woodpecker
  21. Belted Kingfisher
  22. Blue Jay
  23. Great Horned Owl
  24. Wood Duck

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