Monday, May 2, 2011

Spring Festival and the Hunt for a Gargany

May is already off to a fast start and there is no slowing down in sight! This past weekend was the Indiana Audubon Society's Spring Festival at Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary in Connersville, Indiana. We had about 75 people come out for the event. I led bird hikes on both Saturday and Sunday morning and found many good birds! Some of the highlights were Blackpoll, Cerulean, Hooded, and Kentucky Warblers, Yellow-breasted Chat, and Yellow-billed Cuckoo. Over the course of the weekend, about 100 species were seen!

Rose-breasted Grosbeak - Photo by Stephanie Ripma

On Friday, a Gargany was reported in Cincinnati, not too far from Indianapolis. Since I was at the festival all weekend, today was the first chance I had to chase the bird. My birding friends Ted, Cindy, and Landon joined me for the hunt. Since I had to work this morning, we were not able to leave until 2pm and finally arrived at Fernald Preserve at 4:15. It was raining when we got there but we were hopefully due to a group of birders that we could see from the parking area that appeared to be looking at something in the pond. when we reached the birders, we found out that the Gargany had been seen 15 minutes prior to our arrival but had since disappeared into the reeds.

Over the next 1.5 hours, we searched for the bird in the rain mainly looking in the place that it had last been seen. Landon decided that he was going to put on some knee high rubber boots and head off around the marsh to see if he could find the bird from another angle. Soon after he headed out, a ton of birds flushed and we all scrambled to get on as many birds in flight as we could. As I followed two Blue-winged Teal another bird burst into my binocular view. I only had about five seconds to view the bird but it was clearly the Gargany.

Unfortunately, none of the others were able to get on the bird. Landon had turned around and was looking at a group of shorebirds and even though he was responsible for having originally flushed the bird, he never did get to see it. I do not know whether the bird landed somewhere out of sight or if it flew on to another pond somewhere on the property.

Now onto more May birding and a trip to Magee Marsh next week!


1 comment:

Michael said...

Sorry your view was so fleeting - I was there Sun 2-4 pm and it was easily seen. Good luck at Magee - I've yet to get up there but maybe next year.
Mike Clay, Greenwood IN