Today was my first birding trip of the new school year. It was quite a large group, since many of the Master Naturalist students were there as well as the regulars from the bird club. Unfortunately, it was quite humid and foggy, making the surrounding habitat look monotone and gray. It also had the unfortunate effect of silhouetting birds against the gray sky, making colors and patterns harder to identify. We actually ended up seeing some more cool bugs than birds, but it was enjoyable all the same. Here's a list of what we saw:
Female Indigo Bunting
Juvenile Cedar Waxwings (and then a whole flock of them, they were gorgeous)
2 House Wrens
2 Downy Woodpeckers
Cooper's Hawk (an excellent view of a young male surveying the land from a silo)
Ruby Throated Hummingbird
and we heard a Brown Thrasher
we also saw you basic robins, crows, mockingbirds, starlings, etc. but you know....whatever.
The most exciting part of the day, ironically, was when I went to drop off my boyfriend, and noticed a flycatcher sitting on the fence nearby. It turned out to just be an Eastern Phoebe, but it was still the most exciting bird of the day. It had more yellow on it than I've ever seen on a Phoebe before, and it was bobbing its tail like mad. Ah well, we did see some AWESOME garden spiders
and a Monarch Caterpillar (we also found a chrysalis). Then we saw some grasshoppers and praying mantises doing the nasty. Another cherry on the top of a delightful day.
The most exciting news, however, came when I found out that the group leader, who teaches ornithology at my school, is going to be holding "Bird Tuesdays" in a classroom. Basically he's just going to be showing movies about birds (this week's is Raptor Force). I'm so there. My life is wonderful. I also found out that the park we were at was a great location to find Loggerhead Shrikes, so I'll be going back there regularly until I find one. It's my goal for the year to see a Shrike in action. I think they're fascinating birds.
That's about it for today, but I'll keep you updated on the Shrike hunt and Bird Tuesdays :)