Saturday, January 12, 2008


Maria and I went birding this a.m. with her new spotting scope. We were hoping to score some fun water birds at a nearby state park, but we didn't have much luck there.

Overall we did get 29 species, though. (Maria, you forgot to write down the grackles and crows!) Of those, there were several highlights. For one, we saw three, count them three bald eagles. We had a very good look at two of them; one was sitting on an osprey's nest, and the other was in a nearby tree. They were both juveniles, and hard as hell to identify. Juvie Bald Eagles are a mottled brown, with a brown head and a brown beak. These were mottled brown, with a brown head and a YELLOW beak. Eventually we decided they were second-year birds. Here's a photo that shows a second year bird. The other one was also a juvie, but it was in flight, so we didn't feel compelled to study it as closely.

Other fun birds we saw: red-headed woodpecker, a flicker, a brown creeper, probably 30-40 (or more!) great blue herons, and both the golden- and ruby-crowned kinglets. None of those is rare, but they were still cool. We also saw a heron rookery with 30 nests.

I had two lifers: 50 or so buffleheads at a water treatment facility and a swamp sparrow. We also saw a huge beaver chugging along in the swamp, barely off of the road. It was quite precious.

I'm exhausted!