Wednesday, May 14, 2008

shorebirds and warblers

I was getting envious. Some folks on the Minnesota Ornithologist's Union listserv were going out and seeing fourteen species of warblers in their backyard and reporting shorebirds I've never even heard of from sewage ponds somewhere. It was time for action.

So this morning as I was pulling out of the driveway I noticed some activity across the road. Our neighbors have a wetland in their cow pasture which is really nothing more than a mudhole. In that mudhole, however, I saw two shorebirds. I was running late as usual, but I stopped, pulled out the binoculars, and identified two Lesser Yellowlegs, pretty much by their yellow legs and process of elimination from the bird guide. Tonight as I was waiting for the kids to be dropped off from their ride from church, I was ready. I had the binoculars, and I counted eight Lesser Yellowlegs actively foraging in that tiny mudhole of a pond. I guess this is a lifer for me, since I don't think I have positively ID'd Lesser Yellowlegs before, although I'm sure they have been here every year.

It was finally warm and sunny at noon, and I was in the office, not out pulling nets on a lake, so I decided to go for a walk around our fish rearing ponds. This is usually a pretty good bird walk; part of it is on a berm between one pond and the Grindstone River, and I have seen a Scarlet Tanager there. Sometimes there are even shorebirds. Today I saw what I think was a Northern waterthrush, although I don't remember enough for positive ID. Anyway, when I rounded the corner and came into a grove of pines and mature aspens, I was suddenly in warbler heaven. I saw lots of little birds flitting in the top branches of the trees, and they all looked different from each other. I'm pretty sure I saw a pair of Northern Parula warblers, and I definitely saw a Golden winged warbler. Both lifers for me.

These experiences remind me that it's all out there; you just gotta pay attention!


Sue said...

Yay for good bird days!

jan m said...

I agree - Sometimes I think it's just the same old birds coming to my backyard, but if I pull out the binoculars once in awhile, I am pleasantly surprised with a new visitor.

Floridacracker said...

Regarding the previous post: Super work Calvin and Starflower!

Hey Deb, you may be the one person to get the clue at the end of today's PF post ...with 11 comments, no one has figured it out.
I'm betting on a master birder like you.

Lynne said...

Sa-weet! Didn't you do a post about a Northern Waterthrush that you found near your work a while back? Northern Parulas!! Now THAT would be a cool thing to see.

my eyes are glazing over on the shore birds...i am so baaad at them...

I think I'm going to driv up to Hasty Brook Friday morning for a day without the family. I'll wave when I drive by! If you're in the neighborhood, stop over!

Deb said...

Sue- It was definitely a good bird day. And I didn't have to go far from work!

Jan M- And that is the best kind of discovery. Something new in your familiar territory.

FC- Thanks re the kids. And thanks for pointing me towards PF for reconsidering the puzzle. It took me a while to think about it!

Lynne- Yes, I did have a post about an unfortunately dead Northern Waterthrush a while back.

Aack, shorebirds. They're all peeps.

Have fun at Hasty Brook! I wish I had some extra time to meet you there!

Kell said...

I found you through our mutual admiration of David James Duncan - You have a great blog- my father is a birder too - and can frequently be caught slowly drifting off the road in his truck because he saw a white throttle nosed whatsit somewhere and couldn't pay attention to his prime directive...

I have many good memories of birding with my dad!

Deb said...

Kell- David James Duncan is definitely worth some mutual admiration.

Thanks- and lately, I have introduced my kids to the feeling of drifting off the road while I look at a bird, or coming to a quick stop to see one...good thing there's not much traffic here. :)