ankhanu (ankhanu) wrote in ankhanu2,

We can go to the point, where we can see the mergansers

I just wrapped up a 2wk contract with Parks doing road salt chloride monitoring and some other projects. Some of the work I got to do let me do a little bird watching as I worked! I haven't done a lot of bird watching in the past several years, so it was really cool to get into it again. I've been using the same Peterson's Field Guide and National Geographic guides since the 80s... they're great books, but Peterson's is a little worse for wear, and the National Geographic is a couple editions out of date... so I got myself a new guide!
Given that I've got an iPhone, I started looking into the options for guides on the phone (and was one of the things I intended to get on it before I actually got it). I've been deliberating on which bird guide app to use for nearly a year... None of them quite give me all the options I want in one app, but I finally decided to go with the one that offers the best search function and sounds over consistent art; I bit the bullet and paid the $30 for iBird Explorer Pro, and have been really pleased with it.

There's no pattern to the list order, it's just what I remembered as I remembered it :P

.: brown creeper (Certhia americana)
.: green-wing teal (Anas crecca)
.: yellow-rumped warbler (Dendroica coronata) (One of my photos)
.: black-and-white warbler (Mniotilta varia)
.: swamp sparrow (Melospiza georgiana)
.: northern harrier (Circus cyaneus)
.: American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) (One of my photos)
.: common raven (Corvus corax)
.: golden-crowned kinglet (Regulus satrapa) (One of my photos)
.: black-capped chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) (One of my photos)
.: ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus)
.: pine grosbeak (Pinicola enucleator)
.: American goldfinch (Spinus tristis)
.: dark-eyed junco (Junco hyemalis)
.: American black duck (Anas rubripes) (One of my photos)
.: ring-necked duck (Aythya collaris) (One of my photos)
.: Canada goose (Branta canadensis) (One of my photos)
.: northern gannet (Morus bassanus)
.: red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)
.: bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) (One of my photos)
.: herring gull (Larus argentatus)
.: great black backed gull (Larus marinus)
.: cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus or P. carbo)
.: white-throated sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)
.: common merganser (Mergus merganser)
.: common grackle (Quiscalus quiscula)
.: mourning dove (Zenaida macroura)
.: American robin (Turdus migratorius)
.: hermit thrush (Catharus guttatus)
.: belted kingfisher (Ceryle alcyon)
.: sharp-shinned hawk (Accipiter striatus)
.: red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)
.: red-breasted nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)
.: great blue heron (Ardea herodias)
.: greater yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca) (One of my photos)

The brown creeper was, perhaps, the most exciting sighting. I've never seen one before, and it's one I've always wanted to see. They're super awesome little birds.
The sharp-shinned hawk was pretty cool... not simply because it was what it is, but for how I saw it. I was behind the warden office getting a water sample and spotted a swamp sparrow. Wanting to get a closer look at it, I pulled out my phone and played the sparrow's call. Once the call played I caught movement in my peripheral vision, and I looked over; the hawk jumped up from a small bit of white spruce and perched on an alder about 20-25m away looking for the source of the sparrow call. It sat there for about 40sec looking at me, then returned to the trees. It was a really neat experience.
Notes on bird responses to bird calls: some birds are far more responsive to recorded calls than others. Golden-crowned kinglet, yellow-rumped warbler, red-breasted nuthatch, dark-eyed junco, and even the black-and-white warblers respond really well to bird call attraction. When I first tried the yellow-rumped warbler call, I got to watch one shoot all the way across a pond the second it heard me, from probably about 40+m away. Hermit thrush, on the other hand, pretty much ignores recorded songs :P

Making this post, I've gotta say, I've been pretty pleased with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology - All About Birds site. Great search bar, good info and well laid out. I haven't really had need to check out the online birding resources in quite a while and it's nice to see this sort of thing out there!

*Most of my photos of these birds are cropped shots... my lenses aren't up to the task of bird photography
Tags: birds
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