Notes From The Field

Fernald Preserve

As a birder who’s always on the lookout for new birds to chase to make them my latest addition to my life list, we as bird chasers know it can be a hit or miss situation. Sometimes you’re lucky, such is the case with the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, King Rail, and Northern Shrike, to name a few. And then there are days when you dip on your chase bird like the Yellow-headed Blackbird, Barn Owl, and Snow Buntings, and the bird today. The Ibises that were spotted at Fernald Preserve just a few days ago. My quest was to at least locate them and try to get a decent enough photograph to be able to make an accurite ID. And with the encouraging news of the pair being seen the evening before by 2 very reliable birders, I drove out this morning feeling confident.

The report from yesterday was that the Ibises were spooked by a Northern Harrier from the Southern portion of Lodge Pond. So that was my first stop. Nothing. I drove down to the parking lot at the Northern End and looked. Nothing. It was at this time a car pulls up and birding friend Gary Stegner walks up. For Gary, Fernald Preserve was like a second home when he was the site manager for a number of years. So this morning we’re hooking up to re-locate these Ibises.

Gary has a good reputation among the local birders and he’s very skilled in bird identification, plus he knows all the would be hiding places where these birds might be. Being the previous site manager he has a little more lee way when it comes to wandering off the public trails. And it’s these back ponds that we’re banking on. It’s these back ponds where the now famous Gargany was re-located.

So with 4 Advil on board we started our hike in search of our Ibises. We’d walk from one pond to the next, all the while getting to know each other a little better and looking for the elusive birds. We found plenty of Wood Ducks which were on pretty much every pond we visited except for a few.

One of a few drakes that held still for me long enough to get it’s picture.

We walked for several hours looking in as many ponds that we could access and still no Ibises. It wasn’t like we weren’t trying, and with the Sun rising and the day becoming warmer the Raptors started to make their appearance. Remember it was a Harrier that spooked them up the day before, and with our fingers crossed we were hoping for a repeat. So as we made our way back to the parking lot hope was fading that we would score on these birds. And as we crossed the foot bridge near the visitors center we noticed a small group of Palm Warblers feeding along a fence, as one hopped into a nearby tree.

It was time to go and we both dipped on this life bird, for me anyway. It was an enjoyable morning birding with good company, and I hope to do it again real soon.

Notable birds for the day include:

  1. Turkey Vulture
  2. Northern Harrier
  3. Red-tailed Hawk
  4. Palm Warbler
  5. American Kestrel
  6. Mallard
  7. Blue-winged Teal
  8. Wood Duck
  9. Great Blue Heron
  10. Green Heron
  11. Willow Flycatcher
  12. Song Sparrow
  13. Field Sparrow
  14. Canada Geese
  15. Pied-billed Grebe
  16. Gray Catbird
  17. Mourning Dove
  18. Rock Dove
  19. Blue Jay
  20. Eastern Meadowlark
  21. Belted Kingfisher
  22. Vesper Sparrow
  23. Barn Swallow
  24. Tree Swallow
  25. Northern Rough-winged Swallow
  26. White-eyed Vireo
  27. Downy Woodpecker
  28. Mute Swan
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