Friday, July 17, 2015

Vacation Day 6, The End

OK, today about did me in.  I am feeling DONE with birding for a while.

We got up at 4:00 again and drove to a national wildlife refuge about an hour away.  Our first trail was under 4 miles, and it wasn't hot--but it was extremely humid and the mosquitoes and biting flies were terrible to endure.  For example, I got bit on my back by a fly, through my shirt, which was very creepy.  Flies kept getting behind my glasses and freaking out right in my eyes, which...ugh.  Robert had about 20 flies on his cap at any given time.  The last mile or so of the trail was quite unpleasant and I could not wait to get back to the car and out of the bug onslaught.  We then drove the auto tour and stopped for another 0.75 miles of short trails along that route.  By the time we finished the auto tour, I was feeling a lot of eyestrain.  Something about concentrating hard visually for extended periods of time, days in a row, looking into the summer sun...I had a headache but something almost beyond a headache.  A kind of visual overload.  (One source of eyestrain: I had hoped to see or hear a rail or another bittern on the auto tour around the wetlands today so I looked hard for them but did not get lucky.)  It was a relief to put on my sunglasses and head home.

The birds were wonderful, though.  Robert found our target bird, the golden-winged warbler, which became my life bird #512.  He's so pretty!  We stood around at one stand of trees, just down from where we saw the golden-wings, for about 45 minutes with multiple birds visible at any time.  That was one of the most productive little birding areas I've been to.  I had been wanting to see a scarlet tanager (I hadn't seen one in a while) and a cooperative male ("among the most blindingly gorgeous birds in an eastern forest in summer") showed up in that stand of trees.  We also saw a lovely immature bay-breasted warbler that had a warm peach breast because he hadn't yet come into his full adult plumage.  (He appears to be a little bit south of his normal summer range, but not outrageously so.)

Other notable sightings included:

-A red-shouldered hawk (which I identified by call before seeing it) that was being harassed by a small bird--not only harassed, but actually ridden!  The small bird would fly above the hawk, then land on him for several seconds, fly away a bit...and repeat.  It was like watching some songbird engaging in xtreme sports for mortal stakes.
-Indigo buntings, female, immature, and male, all seen separately for maximum identification difficulty.
-A juvenile black-billed cuckoo, another tough ID because we've never lived anywhere that cuckoos breed.
-And our mammal of the day, a thirteen-lined ground squirrel--a real cutie.

Oh, and I also got attacked by a frog who almost gave me a fucking heart attack about a third of a mile into the first trail.  God.  Don't DO this to me, frog.

The full bird list (48 species):

Red-shouldered hawk
Sandhill crane
Mourning dove
American robin
Field sparrow
Song sparrow
Swamp sparrow
Gray catbird
Red-headed woodpecker
Eastern wood-pewee
Black-capped chickadee
Brown thrasher
Indigo bunting
Blue jay
Cedar waxwing
Common yellowthroat
Eastern towhee
American goldfinch
*Golden-winged warbler
Yellow warbler
Scarlet tanager
Yellow-rumped warbler
Downy woodpecker
Bay-breasted warbler
Blue-gray gnatcatcher
White-breasted nuthatch
Great-crested flycatcher
Eastern kingbird
Red-winged blackbird
Northern flicker
Common grackle
Black tern
American crow
Barn swallow
Black-billed cuckoo
Eastern phoebe
Brown-headed cowbird
Trumpeter swan
Green heron
Rock dove
Wood duck
Tree swallow
Bald eagle
Common loon
Canada goose
Pied-billed grebe
Belted kingfisher
Broad-winged hawk

Black and Aqua and Red All Over--Friday, 7/17/15

Over this vacation, I'm working my way through a set of tank tops I have no evidence of wearing (though I somehow doubt that I never wore them at all, I can't prove that to myself).  For the red one, I took this blogger's lead of wearing it with my aqua/red necklace.


I added my hiking skirt with the peplum hem for practicality.

*Red tank top (Hanes), $6.00/wear+
Black hiking skirt with peplum hem (Royal Robbins), $8.33/wear+
Aqua/red fan necklace (Target), $3.09/wear+
Brushstroke flats (Payless), $5.00/wear

The shoes are pure silliness that cannot be justified on any other terms.


rvman said...

We also saw a blue-winged warbler - it was uncertain 'in the field', but it is clear reviewing it with photos online.

mom said...

Such a productive birding day! Lucky you.