June 15, 2009

Birding at Pilot Knob and Eagle Marsh

*Make sure look at the previous posts I made, I have been putting out quite a few these past few days to catch up and don't want you to miss them.

Back on June 1 I took the 3 hour journey up to Pilot Know State Park in north central Iowa with Paul to look for a Hooded Warbler and other warblers that were being seen there. The park is named after the hill there which is the second highest point in Iowa. We got started a little bit late but we still saw some nice birds. The first bird on our list of things to find was the Connecticut Warbler. We looked and played a tape right where it was seen the day before but we were unsuccessful in finding it.

The Hooded Warbler was next and we found the bird fairly easily. It posed very nicely at sometimes but it would often move as you brought up your camera to take a picture. Despite that I got this nice picture of my 308th life bird. He decided to sing just as I took it.

Here is another picture of the same bird.

The Hooded Warbler is quite the rarity this far north in Iowa. They usually hang out in the southern and eastern areas of the state.

The other bird we were wanting to find was a Cerulean Warbler. We found one of these stunning blue birds and I got a great photo of it. The natural lighting was great, plus I added the flash to make the eye and the underside stand out. Obviously I had the settings just right when I took that photo. It turned out great, and the eye showed up which really added to the photo!

When we were done with looking for warblers we went off in search of other woodland birds around the park. We heard a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher while driving and walking around. Another thing that we found was a family of Eastern Phoebes. The young ones were all squished tightly into the nest which was under a picnic shelter's roof.

On the way home we stopped by Eagle Lake (marsh). There were lots of cattails and plenty of deep water for marsh birds to reside in. When we first got there I easily discovered a Red-necked Grebe and a Western Grebe. Since the discovery I made, the local birders have been monitoring these birds which are still there. Ruddy Duck, Sora, Northern Harrier, Marsh Wren, and Swamp Sparrow were also there on the marsh. We heard an Alder Flycatcher there and on the way out we picked up five Olive-sided Flycatchers.

We had a great day of birding and I got one life bird as well as four year birds. That concludes my birding adventure to the second highest point in Iowa.


The Early Birder said...

Cracking Warbler shots. Well done Tucker.

Chris Petrak said...

wonderful photos & great variety

Tucker L said...

Thanks for the comments and compliments. I was suprised to get such nice photos of warblers which seem to always move around alot.