Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Our First Week Off To A Good Start!

We may not have the freedom of planning out where we are going but ever chance we get we go birding. On our first day we were driving through Montana and stopped at McCammon, Idaho for the night. We saw 12 birds on our first day and got a new lifer for us, the Great Horned Owl. The owl was quiet a surprise, as we were pulling into a parking spot at Flying J the owl was sitting on a telephone pole! And got a couple good picture of him.

Great Horned Owl
We saw six birds on our second day but no lifers. On our third day we got another lifer. We stopped off at a Pilot in California and saw the California Gull. January 4th we got a Western Scrub Jay another lifer along with a Green Heron and Brewer's Blackbird. Still driving across California on our fifth day we saw the Western Meadowlark, Killdeer, White-crowned Sparrow, Loggerhead Shrike, Sage Sparrow, Hutton's Vireo, Anna's Hummingbird and Savannah Sparrow with the vireo and hummingbird being lifers for us.  We got lucky with the Anna's Hummingbird when I saw Murphy's Fruit Market on highway 58 and suggested we stop there.

Our sixth day of our big year was a exciting day in Flagstaff, Arizona with Common Grackles, Western Bluebirds, Dark-eyed Juncos (both pink-sided group and slate-sided group), Great Blue Heron, Mallards, Mountain Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, Pygmy Nuthatch, Pied-billed Grebe, Ring-billed Teal, and a female House Finch. We took a two hour walk into a wooded area behind a truck stop. We found a pond with all the ducks and got 3 lifers! That was quiet a hike but totally worth it!

On our next day we were driving through New Mexico and stopped at Santa Rosa. Their we got 7 birds  and three more down the road in Oklahoma. In Santa Rosa we saw a pond with a lot of American Coots, some Ring-necked Duck and Lesser Scaup. We were walking along near the end of the pond and saw a bunch of White-crowned Sparrows and a beautiful American Robin.
American Robin
In Oklahoma we saw a water treatment pond and we saw a bunch of ducks Coots, Northern Shoveler, Gadwall, and Redhead all lifers! That's 4 lifers!! Wow!
January 8th we stopped off at a rest area before we headed to find the Eurasian Tree Sparrow in the St. Louis area, and at first only saw three Blue Jays. We were about to leave when a Hairy Woodpecker caught my eye so we stopped, got out and saw five birds Northern Cardinal, Tufted Titmouse, Downy Woodpecker, and another lifer Carolina Chickadee. Along with those countable birds we saw a domestic Mallard.
Northern Cardinal
Tufted Titmouse

Domestic Mallard

Red-winged Blackbird
Once we left the rest area we looked into spots in St. Louis, MO to find the Eurasian Tree Sparrow. We looked online and found out an area that was looking like a fairly easy to get to park. But to no avail we did not find the Eurasian Tree Sparrow. We saw some Red-winged Blackbird and a Belted Kingfisher. The whole day was overcast and not the best for pictures but it was a good birding day.

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