Blog Birding #296


Birding can be rewarding for both its intensity and its solace, at 10,000 Birds Patrick O’Donnell seeks the second.

I told him I had seen an Ovenbird. He immediately said, “I was making cookies the other day and they got burned. So, so, you think that Ovenbird had something to do with it Pat?” His mother smiled, I probably did too, and we explained that, “No, this bird just has that name but it doesn’t really get involved with ovens, at least not the ones for cookies”. He said, “I like this forest Pat, I like being in the forest. It’s so beautiful in here, all green and beautiful. Right mom? Let’s stay here for a while and not go back yet, ok?”.

The flashy and charismatic American Kestrel is a favorite of many North American birders, and Linda Murdock is no different.

You can usually stop the vehicle and maybe raise the camera to the window before the bird flies. If you try to move closer, the bird flies. If you turn off the engine, the bird flies. If you get out of the vehicle, the bird flies. More opportunities are lost with Kestrels than any other bird, IMO. They seem to notice when the engine slows down and then bolt.

Birders in South Carolina have been keeping an eye out for “Old Man Plover”, who, at 14 years, is the oldest known Great Lakes Piping Plover. Read his story at the Great Lakes Piping Plover Recovery Effort Blog.

At the end of each summer he wings his way south to South Carolina where a different set of plover monitors wait for him. This fall was his 15th trip south! We don’t know exactly what route he takes, but if he flew directly from his summer territory at Sleeping Bear Dunes to his winter territory near Charleston, SC and back, he would have migrated 25,752 miles so far. (The circumference of the Earth is 24,901 miles)

Ron Dudley of Feathered Photography shares of dramatic series of photographs of Northern Harriers fighting over prey on a frozen lake.

This harrier was trying to protect its prize and gobble down bits of frozen Mallard at the same time – its protective threat posture and beak-full of feathers says it all. Other harriers were in the immediate vicinity and occasionally one or more would swoop down and compete for the duck.

While watching through my lens my field of view was extremely limited so I usually didn’t even know when something exciting was about to happen. About all I could do was watch the bird on the duck, try to read its behavior, and then hope my reflexes were quick enough when another bird came in and that’s something that happened often.

Finding one vagrant is a special thing, finding one nearly exactly 27 years later, as Bruce Mactavish of The Newfoundland Birding Blog did, even more so.

The alarms were sent from iPhone in the woods.  It was not seen again that day. Next day. After a struggle it was refound on nearby Cod Seine Road by Andrea Dicks.  In the end some 15 people saw it in that area. It took hours for most people get their glimpse.  Photo opts were near impossible. But it was indeed a Hermit Warbler. John Wells, Ken Knowles, Chris Brown and myself were the only people present that had also seen the 1989 bird.

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