Birder's Eye View

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Field Ornithology | Catching up

I have a bit of catching up to do on my posts... falling down on the job here! But for good reason -- Birding, class and work have all kept me busy these past few days.

After the cold snap, the birds were very happy. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for the thousands of dead fish that washed up on our shores, shocked to death by the sudden cooling of the gulf waters, but it certainly made for some very happy scavangers and shorebirds.

The top picture is of a Spotted Sandpiper I found on the seawall, a bird I have never seen here on campus before. The bay was also full of avifauna -- Roseate Spoonbills, Ibis, Cormorants, gulls, terns, and even a large flock of White Pelicans! The below picture is only a fraction of the flocks that were both circling overhead and floating placidly in the waves.

The next two days, our homework was to complete point counts in the on-campus palm hammock, which I found to be a whole lot of fun. It was kind of like a birding scavenger hunt. Our professor had set up 10 points in the preserve area that we were to stop at for 5 minutes each and record all the birds we could see and hear.

Technically the count should only have taken an hour, but of course I brought along my camera and spent about 15 minutes trying to get the perfect picture of these Palm Warblers that were flitting around one of the points. In the end, I managed to get some pretty cool shots, much to my own amazement.

Today was another big birding day. Class was spent at a local beach documenting the shorebirds for a SEANET (Seabird Ecological Assessment Network) survey. Despite the gorgeous weather, there wasn't much out. We concluded this was partially because the wrack line had been raked away to make for a more picturesque beach, for the tourists who stay in the quaint beach town on the other side of the dunes.

We did manage to see several different species however, including various gulls and the Black Skimmers above.

After class, I went birding for another hour at one of the ponds on campus and came back with a grand total of 25 species. My favorites for the day? The Prairie Warbler, pictured above, and a juvenile Bald Eagle! Based on Sibley's guide, I'm guessing it's a 2-year-old (although I'm no expert and could be completely wrong).

So that's the briefing on my week so far. I have to bird for 3 more hours this weekend so keep your fingers crossed that some cool birds show up!

Until next time,

Happy birding!



  • *fingers crossed* ;)
    Nice photos! Sounds like you're having fun! and keeping busy. lol
    IM me when you get a chance. I want to hear the details of your recent field trips. :D

    By Blogger Chris W, At January 15, 2010 at 11:17 AM  

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