Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Bonny July 2013 Part 2

The pancakes were surprisingly delicious. We put an apple in them since we forgot syrup.
We packed up our dinner supplies into the car and headed off to the other side of the reservoir to play some owl calls.
Grove by the campsite (photo by Austin Hess)

We started at the grove we'd hiked at earlier and played Eastern Screech, Barn and Great Horned but had no replies. It was still a bit light out so we weren't expecting much. We continued down the road stopping at places with thickets of willow or juniper. Our only productive sight was just outside another campsite. We started with the Great Horned and had a pretty immediate reply and then a second drawn out raspy reply...a Barn Owl! We then played the Barn Owl and got a few more answers from that guy as well. We saw a lonely great horned floating over the prairie to our left and we drove on. We drove all the way around the park playing at various places. The lack of owls was made up for by some other fun findings such as a calling poorwill, a grove filled with fireflies and large toads all over the road. We drove back to our campsite and crashed for the night.

We arose at 5:00AM the next morning to make a breakfast of instant mashed potatoes (delicious).
We decided to drive a little ways up the road and bird the grove we camped at more thoroughly. Common Nighthawks were still "peenting" in the trees and sky around us and we ventured into the grove. We were immediately met by a song that sounded very similar to the intro of a Ruby-crowned Kinglet's song. We searched trees and bushes to find it but couldn't quite keep up with it. We were distracted by others singing. Orioles, Yellow Warblers, Common Yellowthroats, Western Kingbirds and Warbling Vireos. Also singing in a loud vibrating chorus were cicadas. We'd come across a few at this point when they erupted in a loud explosive manner from the underbrush when we passed. Once in a while they'd become entangled in the grass allowing them to be caught. We found one and examined it thoroughly admiring its size and the incredible sound it continued to produce while we held it. It was almost earsplitting if he was held facing ones ears. We let it go and continued on into the grove to find an Orchard Oriole and a Bullock's X Baltimore Oriole foraging in the apsens above our heads. We again heard the Kinglet's intro and started to follow it again. It quickly disappeared again so we headed back to the car to carry on to a new place. We started to suspect at this point that maybe our "kinglet" was a Field Sparrow. We knew Kinglets didn't breed out on the plains and it was only singing the first two or three notes of its song. Upon returning to the car we pulled up the Field Sparrow song on the ipod and decided that's what is was. We were now determined to confirm that and find the bird.
Fledgling Western Kingbird

We drove around toward the first grove of trees we'd hiked in the day before. We rolled the windows down and drove slowly so we could hear our surroundings. As soon as we heard the Field Sparrow again we stopped and jumped out looking around on the tops of trees, bushes, yucca ect. We found it sitting in the left side of a nearby tree singing its song repeatedly. We pulled out a scope and set it up and watched it sing for several minutes non stop.

Fledgling Mourning Dove
We had one more spot to stop before we had to head home. The main campground (now closed) So far we'd missed the cuckoos. Couldn't find them anywhere. No calls, no songs, no glimpses nothing. So now we were determined to find our other target the Northern Cardinal. We'd already scoured many a thicket along the road looking and listening for their presence. The camp ground turned up almost nothing, a few Black-capped Chickadees (the first for the trip) and most exciting a glimpse of a Barn Owl flying low toward the forest. No Cardinals. We did happen upon the bones of a Common Porcupine which we collected and are donating to the DMNS for their collection.

Common Buckeye

It was about noon and piled back in the car begin the long drive home. Bellow is the list of birds we saw or heard birds with a * shows a confirmed breeding

  1. Wild Turkey* (fledged young)
  2. Northern Harrier
  3. Swainson's Hawk
  4. Red-tailed Hawk
  5. Killdeer
  6. Mourning Dove*(fledged young)
  7. Barn Owl
  8. Great Horned Owl
  9. Common Nighthawk
  10. Common Poorwill
  11. Chimney Swift
  12. Red-headed Woodpecker*(feeding fledglings)
  13. Downy Woodpecker
  14. "Yellow-shafted" Northern Flicker
  15. American Kestrel
  16. Western Wood-pewee
  17. Western Kingbird* (feeding fledglings)
  18. Eastern Kingbird* (feeding fledglings)
  19. Bell's Vireo
  20. Warbling Vireo
  21. Blue Jay
  22. Cliff Swallow
  23. Black-capped Chickadee
  24. White-breasted Nuthatch
  25. House Wren
  26. Eastern Bluebird
  27. American Robin
  28. Brown Thrasher
  29. Common Yellowthroat
  30. Yellow-breasted Chat
  31. Spotted Towhee
  32. Field Sparrow
  33. Lark Sparrow
  34. Song Sparrow
  35. Indigo Bunting
  36. Red-winged Blackbird
  37. Western Meadowlark
  38. Common Grackle
  39. Brown-headed Cowbird
  40. Orchard Oriole
  41. Bullock's X Baltimore Oriole
  42. House Finch
  43. American Goldfinch

Thanks for reading!


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