Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Year for the Birds

Well, there were definitely many birding highlights from 2010. From birding in Indiana to traveling through the Mexican countryside I saw more species this year than I had in any past years.

Some of the many highlights from the past year:

Green Jay-During spring break I was able to travel to the Rio Grande Valley with Rob and my Dad and see many beautiful Green Jays along with most other Texas specialties.

Greater Prairie-Chicken: In March I went to Illinois with the Indiana Audubon Society to see some displaying chickens. It was definitely one of the most interesting bird behaviors I have had the chance to watch.

Kentucky Warbler: During April and the start of May I was able to experience the warbler migration in Indiana. Through the short time I was in the state I saw over 30 species of warblers.

Clark's and Western Grebes: During parts of May and June I surveyed birds in North and South Dakota. On this incredibly windy day I was able to watch two grebe species from the car.

Chestnut-collared Longspur: One of the quintesential birds of the Dakota prairie. I saw many longspurs throughout the summer.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park: I spent 4-5 days in the park due to storms delaying the surveys that I had to complete . . . at least it is an awesome place.

Long-billed Curlew: One of the prairie nesting shorebirds in the Dakotas.

American Dipper: One of my favorite birds. This one was found in the Black Hills of South Dakota. I also did bird surveys in the Black Hills for a few weeks this summer.

Lewis's Woodpecker: An awesome woodpecker that can be found in the Black Hills.

Orange-billed Nightingale Thrush: One of the top 2 birding highlights of my year. I was lucky enough to find this third US record hundreds of miles away from its normal range in Mexico.

Five-striped Sparrow: One of the many birds that I was able to find in Arizona. This sparrow is only found in a few canyons in southeast Arizona.

Spotted Owl: One of the "must see" species on a trip to Arizona. Rob and I saw this pair within about 20 feet of the trail.

Red-faced Warbler: Another of the target birds for any trip to Arizona.

White-eared Hummingbird: A southeast Arizona specialty. There were a few coming to the Beatty's feeders in the Huachucas-one of the only reliable places to see them.

Eared Quetzal: One of the major highlights of a trip to Mexico. This "tough to see" species perched out in the open in the same tree as the rare Thick-billed Parrot.

Thick-billed Parrot: An amazing parrot-in the same tree as the above Eared Quetzal.

Tufted Jay: One of the crown jewels of Mexico. This endemic Jay is found along the Durango Highway and is one of the most stunning birds I've ever seen.

A couple of us took a boat out near Colima, Mexico. The highlights were Northern Potoo and Boat-billed Heron.

The year ended well in December with a couple of highlights. The first were these Short-eared Owls that showed up at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis. These constituted a first park record.

Long-tailed Duck-the other highlight came with a few birds that were found along the lakefront. These included great looks at Long-tailed Duck and Black-legged Kittiwakes and other birds such as Surf and Black Scoter and Glaucous Gull.

Now, off to look for a Slaty-backed Gull on Lake Michigan-only the second state record for Indiana.



Chad said...

What a year... where to start.. a Red-faced Warbler, I long for the day! Spotted Owl, Wow! White-eared Hummingbird - Wow! Actually almost every bird you posted I need! So much to look forward too! I must say, however, the Green Jay is the coolest bird!

Anonymous said...

Nice recap of a great year. How many species did you have? I have never been birding in the Dakotas or Arizona (or Mexico...) and would love to see the birds you did. Especially Red-faced Warbler.

Interesting picture of those SEOWs at Eagle Creek. It's weird to see them perched near a picnic table when I'm used to them in open reclaimed minelands.

Amy Kearns

Eric Ripma said...

Amy-I had about 600 species for the year. The area in Mexico that I birded has lots of endemics but you can't see 3-400 lifers like you can a little farther south.

It was a very interesting spot for the SEOWs. There is a small field near that spot but other than that it is all forest and lake.