Birder's Eye View

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Field Ornithology | Day 3

Okay, so I skipped a day of posting, but the birding today was way better than yesterday. Temperatures actually warmed up to close to 60 degrees today, and the birds seemed almost as happy about it as we were.

Homework today was to visit 5 ponds on campus for 10 minutes each and record the data on eBird. My hopes weren't too high as yesterday had been a pretty slow birding day, but when I arrived at the first pond I was wowed by a beautiful pair of Roseate Spoonbills.

Besides these and a small aligator sitting on the opposite bank, I also saw large numbers of Double-crested Cormorants, Mottled Ducks, a flyover Bald Eagle and 4 Blue-winged Teals, a species I haven't seen since last spring.

After a lengthy trudge across campus, I visited the remaining ponds where I found a Tricolored Heron that looked almost exactly like a Little Blue Heron (below) and other common wetland birds.

At my final pond, I ran into several other classmates who were also birding around campus. One of them pointed out something on a small island in the middle of the pond. I couldn't tell what he was indicating at first, but bringing my binoculars up, I realized there was a pair of otters romping around in the foliage!

Otters are not exactly mammals you see every day around here, so it's always exciting to see them once in a while. Unfortunately, I couldn't get any pictures, but I did manage to photograph a couple of Wood Storks who were also sharing the water.

It was a fun day. Warm, for once, and once I tallied up my list, I had seen a total of 22 birds at the ponds (not counting the various species I saw along the way).

Tomorrow we're headed out on a field trip to find ducks. I'll let you know what we see!

Until next time,

Happy birding!

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