Monday, January 19, 2009

A Good Start to a New Year

This past weekend I was able to bird in a few different places and see many species of birds including one lifer. On Saturday I went to the shores of Lake Michigan in Indiana with my brother Rob and another birder, Chad. After having a little difficulty finding the seed pile that a Varied Thrush and Spotted Towhee, both rare Indiana birds, had been visiting we quickly got very good looks at both species. It was the first time that any of us had ever seen a Varied Thrush. We continued birding along the lake with highlights being Common Redpoll, Great Black-backed Gull, Glaucous Gull, and many Red-headed Woodpeckers. The day was very windy and cold so we decided to move to an inland spot, we later learned that there had been a Harlequin Duck on the lake unfortunately we were already many miles from the lake. We continued to Kankakee Sands and Willow Slough. Kankakee is a large grassland/wetland. After searching unsuccesfully for Long-eared Owl we spotted a raptor flying low over a field. Once we caught up with this raptor it turned into a juvenile Golden Eagle but it was flying high out over a field. Within the next 5 minutes the Eagle slowly moved our way and ended up flying directly overhead at only 30 to 40 feet, what a look and a great way to end the day!

On Sunday I along with my brother, Rob and his wife, Stephanie, birded closer to home at Eagle Creek Park in central Indiana. Our highlight at the park was a Red-breasted Nuthatch while we were searching the pines for crossbills. We then headed over to some agricultural fields were I have seen flocks of Horned Larks, Lapland Longspurs, and Snow Buntings. We weren't dissapointed we had 100+ Snow Buntings, 300+ Horned Larks, and 25+ Lapland Longspurs, with great scope views of each species. We then made a quick trip to Holiday Park to look for crossbills. No crossbills but we did get a Pine Siskin.

On Monday I made a trip to Goose Pond FWA and some surrounding areas. With the recent freezing temps much of the area including almost all the water at Hawthorn Mines was frozen. On one small open area I was able to find a couple Greater White-fronted Geese, Tundra Swan, and a few species of ducks. At Goose Pond the sparrow numbers were very good with 200+ American Tree Sparrows.

Any day that I am able to get a life bird or a state bird in Indiana is very good. This weekend I was lucky enough to get Varied Thrush (lifer), and Spotted Towhee (state bird).

1 comment:

Kelly said...

Wow! That is some incredible birding!! Sounds like a lot of skill and little luck too. Thanks for the highlights.