Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Golden-crowned Kinglet Quest

Can you tell who this beautiful feather belongs to?

One of the most common woodland species during the winter in Indiana is the Golden-crowned Kinglet. The kinglet along with the Brown Creeper are some of the most interesting winter birds in my opinion. Both of these species join the chickadee/nuthatch/titmouse flocks to forage and give high pitched trills that usually give away their presence before you are able to see them.

White-breasted Nuthatch

Through the first 11 days of this year I had still not run across any Golden-crowned Kinglets. Fortunately I had seen a few creepers. Most years I see a kinglet on January 1st and on almost every day in January but for some reason there has been a shortage of them. So I thought I would give the kinglet another try now that I am back in Bloomington for school.

I started at Paynetown SRA on Lake Monroe and had seen both species of vultures before entering the park. The lake was completely frozen but the eagles put on a show. I was able to watch 7 Bald and 1 Golden Eagle on the ice eating, what I assume was, a goose. What was a feast for the Eagles quickly changed to a feast for a Coyote, that scared all the eagles away from the carcass.

After watching the eagles for a while I wandered into the woods and finally came across my first Golden-crowned Kinglet of the year. The kinglet was very cooperative and showed off his orange and yellow crown a few times.

School is good for something, Golden-crowned Kinglets.

After birding around the lake I drove north to Yellowwood State Forest to bird around Yellowwood Lake. I was able to watch more Golden-crowned Kinglets along with many other species but a Pileated Woodpecker stole the show. He was feeding just a few feet off the road and let me approach very closely.

Pileated Woodpecker in Yellowwood State Forest

Along the northern portion of the lake I was able to get two more species that were new for my year. The first was an Eastern Towhee that was calling "teee" to let me know that he was there. I was also able to see a Hermit Thrush that was foraging along an open creek.

So far in 2010 I have seen 98 species. My goal for the month was 100 which I don't think I have ever done. With only 2 species to go it should happen with plenty of time left in the month.

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