November 9, 2009

The Ups and Downs of October

October 2009 for me was a month of ups and downs. The birding was nice but the roll over accident that I was in wasn't so great (no I was not looking at birds!). I haven't been able to get to the computer much to blog as I have been busy birding and recovering from the accident. I am alright now and am back out birding.
Perhaps the non-bird birding highlight of the month was spending an afternoon birding with Jon Dunn, who is the author of the Peterson Reference Guide to Gulls, the Peterson Guide to Warblers, and he edited the National Geographic Guide to the Birds of North America. My friend Paul and I picked up Jon at the airport in Des Moines on our way to the Iowa Ornithologist Union Meeting at which he was going to be the one speaking. Although no particularly great birds were seen on the way we had a lot of fun birding with a world-renowned birdwatcher like Jon. We saw a few nice birds including a Blue-headed Vireo and several Herring Gulls. That day we saw a few birds on the way to picking up Jon Dunn including my lifer Northern Goshawk (#340) and my first for Iowa Tufted Titmouse both of which were near Saylorville Reservoir. A White-breasted Nuthatch (above) was at the same feeders as the titmice. At the meeting itself I saw some Bonaparte's Gulls, Common Terns, and Nelson's Sparrows long with many other less notable birds.
The day before we also saw some birds back near Sioux City at out regular birding spots. A White-faced Ibis and American Avocet. The three pictures below are of the birds I saw while birding at the local marshes in the early part of October (avocet, ibis, dowitcher) The American Avocet and White-faced Ibis (one of seven seen) were both photographed on a morning when it snowed and the temperature was in the 20's! Those birds looked cold as well as the 10 Great Egrets and 1 Black-crowned Night-Heron that were with them!
The real birding highlight of the month came in late October when several good birds showed up just ten minutes from my house. On the 25th after finding 104 Smith's and some Lapland Longspurs in a wet field I headed south from that field through the town of Luton. I glanced out my window and noticed a very strange bird sitting on a wire in town. With a long tail and salmon colored sides the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher that was sitting there was unmistakable and very hard to miss! It didn't take long for lots of birders to show up with their large and expensive cameras! This bird was the second one for the county that I found it in. They are pretty rare in Iowa with only a few records each year (only one for 2009). The same day I found a Northern Shrike which was the first of the fall. The bird stuck around until the next morning when it finally flew off. Of course I don't want to forget to talk about those 104 Smith's Longspurs! They are pretty awesome as well. Here is a photo of one in flight which is unfortunately the only one that I got.
Now I better not forget about the adult Northern Goshawk seen the next day. While looking for the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher my friend Paul spotted an adult goshawk in the vicinity where the flycatcher was at. I got to see it in a scope very well and was very excited to see such a hard to find bird being so cooperative for everyone there. I got one good photo but even the photo I got wasn't too great. I guess I'll label it a record shot.

Well that is a short summary of how my October went. Hopefully I will be able to blog some more this month and maybe I will be able to finish posting about my New Mexico trip that I took in July!

1 comment:

Jann said...

How awesome to see shrikes and scissor-tails! I'm jealous! Sounds like you saw many interesting birds. Am sorry about your accident, glad you're on the mend.