November 30, 2008

Owl on a Crane

Here is a neat photo I got of a Great Horned Owl the other night. He was sitting on top of a crane (no, not a sandhill crane) at Owego Wetlands. I was out looking for hunting Short-eared Owls but this was the only owl I saw.

Birding in the Snow

Looking out the window early in the morning I noticed big, fluffy snowflakes falling from the sky. I was to go birding in an hour or so and it was snowing fairly hard. Despite this I got dressed and ready and my dad and I were headed out the door. The reason I got up so early was the fact that a strange duck had been found at the Port Neal Flyash Ponds. The bird of note was a possible Mottled Duck that was seen there. I drove with Paul, a local birder, and we headed out to get there very early. We met up with two other birders there, also in search of the bird. After getting clearance to get in we drove into the area and started scoping the many ducks that were there.
After a couple hours of searching we found Ross's, Snow, Canada, Cackling and Greater White-fronted Goose, American Wigeon, Northern Pintail, Wood Duck, Common Goldeneye, Mallard, and more out in the water but nothing like a Mottled Duck was there. A few Ring-billed Gulls flew around there as well adding to the show. One unexpected sight was that of a Least Sandpiper that was foraging on the ice! After searching there for sometime we decided to go down to the river where we found few birds, with Great Blue Heron being the most interesting. After our fruitless search we headed over the Owego Wetlands. Birds of interest included eight Rough-legged Hawks and several Northern Harriers but not much else was out and about.
We then made our way up into the hills to look for sparrows and other interesting things that may be hanging out up there. We saw many of the usual birds as well as a few more Rough-legged Hawks, making our total for the day 12. After that we headed back to the river valley to finish our trip. Only a few birds were seen during this part of the trip. One interesting thing that we did see was a young Red-tailed Hawk perched in a tree with one wing open and placed (or stuck) on a branch. I took this photo just before he flew off. The day then came to an end and I went back home after a nice (not weather wise) day of birding.

November 27, 2008

Not So Happy Thanksgiving

Have a happy Thanksgiving! I hope you are having a better day than the turkeys.

November 26, 2008

Barrow's Goldeneye (pre-blog bird)

Just a week ago before I started this blog I found a great bird here in western Iowa. The bird was a Barrow's Goldeneye! This beautiful duck is an accidental bird here in Iowa and isn't seen often. This is the first time I have found an accidental bird-ever and this is life bird 293. This is just one more bird on my road to 300 life birds. If I counted right twelve people came to see it with two birders coming from across the state. The bird was at a stinking (literally!) cattle farm pond with lots of other ducks.

(the picture is bad but it is id-able)

The Barrow's Goldeneye left with a bang after being there for three days. Here is what the birder who last saw it recalled:

I saw the Barrow's yesterday, the 18th at 11.30 AM. However, what appeared to be 2 employees of the dairy farm drove out to the west end of the pond and fired a rifle over the water! This caused all the ducks to fly. They circled and lit when again the guys fired another round or two. The birds flushed again. After a minute or so the birds lit on the pond. This time the employees drove to the northeast end of the pond a fired a couple more rounds. This time the birds flew off and did not return!

Yes you heard it right, two guys went off and scared off the bird just for the fun of it. The next day we found out who did it. One birder contacted the cattle farm owner and got the details. The people who shot at the birds were not employees there they were construction workers who were doing something at the farm.

I thought that would be the last of him but he was one again seen several days later by a group of birders at a different location eight miles away. The Barrow's flew off and was not seen again.

First Post and a Broken Toe

Well, this is the first post on my new blog. I finally switched to blogger which has more features than the blog site I was on before. If you want to see any of my past posts on my old blog go to:

I don't have much to talk about now bird wise as I have been kept from any real birding for the past week as I have a broken pinky toe which isn't fun. It is not quite easy to get around to see any birds. As moms always says-DON'T RUN THROUGH THE HOUSE! I guess I understand why they say that. I broke it by hitting it on a table leg while running in the house. Ouch! I went to the doctor the next day and they said the bone was split down the middle so I have to be on crutches for two weeks so the bone doesn't move or else I'll have to get pins. That doesn't quite sound like fun. All this for one stupid pinky toe!

In good news, it looks like I may head up to Duluth, MN this January for a guided tour ($35) by Kim Eckert, a local birding expert. I really want to get some northern owls, woodpeckers, finches and other birds on my list. Besides who would pass up an opportunity to see a Great Gray and Northern Hawk Owl with someone who knows where to find them at! Now it is all up to my parents too decide if I can go (oh I wish I could drive).

Anyways, enjoy the blog and thanks for visiting!