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September 16, 2009

16th Birthday Birding

Today on my 16th birthday (my golden birthday) I got my driver's license and visited some of my favorite birding spots. Among these were a few wetlands and a couple dairy farm ponds in the Missouri River Valley.
Among the many birds I saw the most interesting were the first migrant warblers that I have seen so far this fall at a place called Owego Wetlands. A short hike in a small wooded area produced Northern Waterthrush, American Redstart, and Black-and-white Warbler. Many first of the fall migration Ruby-crowned Kinglets were flitting about in the trees. Not only was it the birds here that caught my attention but also the other animals and plants. A Monarch was feeding on some sort of flower when I first got there.
I found and photographed a couple flowers in the wooded area. I am not sure what they are but maybe someone reading this will. If you know please post a comment and let me know.

A tiny tree frog was sitting on a dogwood leaf when I was there. Does anybody know what species it is? As I was headed out of Owego, I found and photographed a female Blue Grosbeak.

At one of the stops I made a cooperative Killdeer allowed me to get a nice picture of it. Usually they fly off before I can get close enough for one but this one was not so shy.

At one wetland I found this Painted Turtle laying on the side of the road. Ten Great Egrets as well as 6 Great Blue Herons were at that wetland as well. Despite a lot of searching I could not find a Snowy Egret, a bird I have been wanting to find this year. A Great Horned Owl flew from a rather treeless area along the road onto a pole out in the middle of the place in broad daylight. I got a picture of him as he sat there watching me.
The view of the wetland I just mentioned was very nice from atop a dike which had a road on it. This road overlooks the marsh and makes it easier to view the birds there. At a drier part of the wetland a field was covered in goldenrod and Big Bluestem grass which made for a nice picture. The Loess Hills are in the background.
After birding I headed back home and had steak, crab, and much more at Outback Steakhouse with my dad which was a nice end to a very exciting but rather busy day.

4 comments:

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Happy birthday Tucker!

The Early Birder said...

A belated @Happy Birthday' Tucker.

dAwN said...

Belated Happy Birthday...to a wonderful young naturalist! I am impressed!

David Steen said...

Tucker,

Happy Birthday and neat find. It's either a gray tree frog, Hyla versicolor, or a Cope's gray tree frog, Hyla chrysoscelis. They're impossible to tell apart by sight, you have to hear it calling to know which species it is.