Sunday, June 1, 2008

I'm Back

I feel bad that I haven't posted anything for the last three days but it has been very busy both bird wise and with life in general. Busy also means interesting. I had the last day of my spring ornithology class on Friday and had the kids do a "Big Day" to see what we could find in the area. I get to be a team all by myself so I went out looking for stuff the kids probably wouldn't get. Much to my surprise, I found a very late Harris' Sparrow and a Black and White Warbler in my travels. It wasn't the best birding weather and I spent most of my time checking up on the groups in the field. I finished with about 59 species for the morning.

On Saturday, we did a banding program at Ritter Farm Park in Lakeville, MN and had a very good day. 18 birds of 11 species with the surprising catches being the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female and Mourning Warbler pictured above. We also had a late Northern Waterthrush. Lots of what we caught were showing breeding conditions like brood patches and swollen cloaca. We should be seeing young passerines very soon.
It's still pretty noisy in the early morning and last night I had a Barred Owl calling at about 12:30 am (I only know this because I was at the Twins/Yankees game and it went 12 innings before the Twins lost).

This morning was Mark's attempt for Bobolinks and as you can see from the pictures by Amber Burnette, Mark was successful. I got there after all the excitement but still got to hang out with the crew and do some scribing.

This fellow was a surprise for the crew and it appears that the area we were in this morning has a couple of pairs of Orchard Orioles on territory. I went years without seeing these guys and now it seems like they're all over. This is a second year male and can be confused with a Hooded Oriole if you're not careful.

Finally, some birds must actually like being banded. This male Brown-headed Cowbird just didn't want to leave Sue's hand even though we were done with him. He's probably checking out the new "bling" we put on his leg.

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