Saturday, June 30, 2012

~A Few More Birds Added~

Well, it's been a while since we have gone birding. We did do a little birding when we were in Montana, we stopped at my favorite rest area which we have had luck there before. This time we did not see anything new but we did see about 15 Spotted Sandpipers along the riverside. I've never seen so many Spotted Sandpipers in one place before! We also saw the regulars Gray Catbird, Cedar Waxwing, Red-eyed Vireo, American Robin, Eastern Kingbird, Black-capped Chickadee, American Goldfinch, and a new bird to this location, but not to our year list; Western Tanager. I was hoping once again to add the American Dipper to our list, but no luck.

I have been going through some photos and found a few birds that never got identified. So I will be adding two birds to our big year list. Eastern Wood-Pewee and Yellow-throated Vireo. That brings our total to 332! Hopefully we will be getting some more birding in some!

Happy Birding!!!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Another Bust....

On our second day we headed up to Voyageur National Park in northern Minnesota. We found a boardwalk through a bog; Orr Bog Walk. On this walk we saw Red-eyed Vireo, Nashville Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, and Black-capped Chickadees. We didn't get any new birds there.

Next trail was Blind Ash Bay Trail. The lady at the visit center told us to be on the look out for bears, as one had been spotted on the trail and also the deer ticks would be really bad. That is an understatement! Throughout the entire day I pulled off roughly twenty ticks and Simon pulled off two. We walked on the same paths and he only gets two ticks on him. We headed to the trail and this trail was uphill and was lacking in birds. Why are we having such bad luck in Minnesota? We saw only a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and heard many calls, but we are unfamiliar with many calls. We did see bear scratches on the ground but no visual. Another no new bird trail.

Our last trail for the day was Beaver Pond Trail; a short .15 mile walk to the pond. This pond was a nice view but no ducks or birds. We did hear a call I was hoping was a grouse but we listened to calls and didn't match up. We did hear a bird calling from across the pond and we were hoping to match that up with a Northern Hawk Owl, but no dice. The call didn't match up with any of the other owls in the area either, then I thought I'd try the Northern Goshawk and it matched up!! Just one new bird.

Oh my, we really need to get some more birds! We hope to have better luck in South Dakota this week. Happy Birding!!!

Sax-Zim Bog. Sax-Zim Bust!

Alligator Snapping Turtle
Our first day in Minnesota was not as successful as we had hoped. With only four new birds; half of them we got at a rest area and other other at Sax-Zim Bog.

To start our day we decided to head to the Sax-Zim Bog. Well, its all roadside birding and there are no trails and no public bird feeders so we didn't do very well there. We saw a Gray Jay fly by and calling and as we were leaving we saw a Bobolink hovering over some grass and then dived into the grass. So, we were unable to get a photo of both of those.
Ruby-throated Hummingbird

We were headed back to our hotel room in Eveleth, when we saw a rest area. There were feeders there, no activity when we arrived, but soon a Ruby-throated Hummingbird arrived. There was a hummingbird feeders and three seed feeders. The next visitor was to the seed feeder; a female finch of some kind, but I wasn't sure until it's mate arrived and perched on top of the feeder. There he was in all his beautiful red colors,; Purple Finch. What a great find and addition to our list.

Purple Finch
Purple Finch

 We added four to our list for the year and still have a few unidentified and added three to our lifer list!!

Happy Birding!!!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

~Our Plans~

I have finally caught up on my entries and we are very pleased with the number of birds we got there; 34 new birds and 32 new lifers!! We will be starting our home time tomorrow. We plan to head to Minnesota tomorrow. First, heading to Duluth area, then to Sax-Zim Bog and may head up farther in the northeastern part of MN. By Monday through Thursday we will be doing some birding around Sioux Falls and also enjoying some family time. Friday and Saturday we will be busy with family and Sunday maybe hit some places in Nebraska.
Happy Birding!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

~Last Day of SE AZ~

Our last day in southeast Arizona brought us about an hour south of Tucson, in the Madera Canyon. It was much hotter there than it the other two days. We had half a jug of water and we headed to Bog Springs Trail. the trail was uphill most of the way and we stopped often so we could refuel with water and me with my asthma. After a few minutes we would start up the path again.  

This couple passed us as we were taking one of many breaks; they had two wiener dogs with them and one was trying so hard to sit down in the shade. They gave their dogs some water and managed to get the dog to start up again and away they went.

Ash-throated Flycatcher
We mostly saw birds we had already seen such as; Mexican Jays, Bridled Titmouse, and Ash-throated Flycatcher.

Once we had it to the fork in the road we took the left path that pointed to Bog Spring Trail and we had .8 of a mile to go and the trail only got steeper. At times I wasn't sure if I was going to make it to the top, but I did. The first bird we heard singing high on top of a snag was a Black-headed Grosbeak. Such a lovely call they have. They we made it to the end of the trail as we were gonna go and then we were hearing birds singing away. We were searching the trees hoping for a owl or nightjar. No luck there. 

We then spotted the female Western Tanager and a few minutes later we saw the male. The next new bird was Hammond's Flycatcher. What a nice surprise he was. Not the greatest picture but there he is. 

Hammond's Flycatcher

We also saw some Western Wood-Pewee, Olive-sided Flycatcher, and Greater Pewee. The next new bird we spotted was a Dusky-capped Flycatcher.

Dusky-capped Flycatcher
On our way back down the mountain we caught sight of the Black-throated Warbler; but got only one picture that turned out good enough of an ID.

Black-throated Gray Warbler
It took us a good three hours to get up that hill and probably about 30 minutes to get down it. Once back to the rental car we filed up on water and headed to the bird feeders! 

Acorn Woodpecker
At the feeders we saw Black-headed Grosbeaks, Lesser Goldfinch, Acorn Woodpeckers, and Blue Bunting. 

Acorn Woodpecker
While we were there watching the birds a man came in a sat on the bench next to us. His name was Steve and was from Phoenix. 

Simon and Steve were chatting and I asked if he knew of any places to see a Gray Hawk. He told us there was actually on right up the road from where we were at on a nest! So he said he would show us where it was and we headed down there. Once it spotted us it took flight and started calling and circling over her nest. We took some pictures and decided it was best to leave her and her young alone. Then Steve told us where to find a Painted Redstart; but we only heard that one. 
Gray Hawk
Arizona got us up to 324 and while we were in Washington state we caught sight of #325 Black Swift! It's only June and we are almost to our goal of 400! We don't plan to stop once we hit 400 but we also know we probably won't make it over 500. We must be realistic and we are stuck in a truck doing this big year, so we can't just pack up and head to TX or FL like we would love to do! 

Happy Birding and Good Luck to the other people doing their Big Year!!!!!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Carr Canyon and Miller Canyon

May 28th; second day of southeast Arizona! My feet already felt like they were gonna fall off! We got up at 5am and started our day; by 6am we were at the base of Carr Canyon starting the trail. The first think we saw was Bridled Titmouse. What a cute little bird.

Bridled Titmouse
The Bridled Titmice were all over! It was hard to get a decent photo of them since they hop all over hardly ever sitting still on the tree.

Then the Mexican Jay came into sight. We wedre so excited trying to get a picture of these jays; not knowing that we would see them all over for the rest of the day and the next day.

Mexican Jay
Rufous-crowned Sparrow
We made our way up the path some more and saw some more Bewick's Wrens, Mexican Jays, and Rufous-crowned Sparrow.

We decided we weren't seeing enough to continue on, so we turned back and headed for the car. Next to the rest rooms we heard some bird activity. We were looking around and saw our next new bird Acorn Woodpecker pair. The male perched about 10 feet from the ground on the tree branch and let me get pretty close too.

Acorn Woodpecker
After taking a bunch of pictures of that woodpecker we made our way to the car and then on up the road to the next trail. This next trail was a little tricky to walk on with all the rocks as we crossed the dry rock/river bed. But, once we got across that it was much easier. We then made it to the Carr Ruins which was neat and we saw some new birds there! Plumbeous Vireo and the Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher. Very nice birds!!

Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher

After we left that trail we headed for the top of Carr Canyon! Which if you ever go to Carr Canyon and want to drive to the top a word of advice is if you are afraid of heights you may want to rethink that. The road is right along the edge and at some points is a 50 to 100 ft drop. But, it is also very beautiful view! Once you get to the top it's a bit more rough of a road also.

Once we got to the top of the mountain; a good 30 minute 5 mile drive, we spotted some Pewees! Both lifers for us; Western Wood-Pewee and the Greater Pewee.
Greater Pewee

Western Wood-Pewee

We made our way to the end of the road where there was the Comfort Spring Trail. There was supposed to be a year round stream at the bottom. This trail dropped about 200 feet in elevation and on our way down to the bottom of the canyon we saw Acorn Woodpeckers, Mexican Jays, Bridled Titmice, and American Robins. Once down in the canyon we had thought we were at the end of the trail, so we rested for about 20 minutes and Simon thought we would go just a little bit further and the trail did go about 50 more ft and there it was; the stream, very little steam.

Black-headed Grosbeak
We then heard some people walking in the trees and then they came onto the trail and told us they had seen Red-faced Warbler and Painted Redstart; at that point my feet hurt so bad but also knew the Red-faced Warbler was an ABA code 2. So we went into the trees and waited about 30 minutes and finally saw the Red-faced Warbler. While waiting we spotted the Black-headed Grosbeak and either a Northern Flicker or a Gilded Flicker; I'm hoping its a Gilded!

Red-faced Warbler

After seeing the Red-faced Warbler we hoped to see the Painted Redstart later on on our trip. We headed up the hillside and very thirsty! I'm almost positive we got dehydrated at least a few times on this trip. Luckily we had water in the car!

After we got to the bottom of Carr Canyon we were starving, thirsty, and exhausted, so we needed to refuel with some food and a short nap.

Owl Sign!
We took a two hour nap and we were thinking of calling it a day, but really wanted to go to Beatty's and check out their hummingbird feeders at Miller Canyon. Then they told us that there was a Spotted Owl up in this pine tree and gave us directions to find it. It was around 5pm and we were down in the canyon, so the we didn't have the best light. Still we got within 15 ft of the owl and got some good pictures of it! Unlike the few owls we've seen this one didn't fly away!

Spotted Owl

Hepatic Tanager

After we saw the owl and got some pictures we thought we'd go up the trail a little bit more, we saw one new bird, a Hepatic Tanager. Then it was time to go to the hummingbird feeders with blisters on both my heels.

There was six or more hummingbird feeders and plenty of hummingbirds! The king of the feeders was defiantly the Magnificent Hummingbird. He would at times chase the other hummingbird from the feeders. It was so neat watching them all. We also managed to get a Blue-throated and Broad-tailed Hummingbirds.

Broad-tailed Hummingbird
Magnificent Hummingbird

Blue-throated Hummingbird

We still have one more day of pictures to go through and about 5 unidentified birds so I am unsure of our total bird number. Thank you for your patience.

Happy Birding!!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Experienced Birder

Our southeast Arizona trip was lots of fun and we are unsure of our exact number as we are still going through photos; but we met up with an experienced birder. Steven helped us get a few birds and told us a few places to go and try out; which we seemed to see him at also! He had been birding for 30 years and had a lifer list of over six hundred birds; it's always nice to speak to someone who has so much knowledge and that shares the same passion as we do. He told us we should pick up a book about Birding in SE AZ. That was a big help.

So on the first day we were down there we got Tropical Kingbird, Broad-billed Hummingbird, Dusky Flycatcher, Cordillarian Flycatcher, Yellow-breasted Chat, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Bewick's Wren, Western Wood-Pewee, Bell's Vireo,Varied Bunting, Common Ground-dove, Gray Flycatcher, Hepatic Tanager, and five more unidentified birds. So far we are very pleased with our southeastern Arizona trip.

We went to Patagonia Lake State Park; which I was not impressed with, but we got a nice number of new birds there! Then we went to Patagonia rest area and then we stopped off at a little cafe in town; which was wonderful. Two local ladies gave us a few spots to try which we did and about everywhere we went we got atleast one new bird. They said to try out the Arizona trail which the parking is across the road and we didn't see the trail head until we were pulling out to head back to the hotel. Oh well, we had a good first day.