Wednesday, May 13, 2009

'09 Birdathon & A Swainson's Warbler Quest

David Brinkman and I participated as a team in the '09 Birdathon last weekend. The Birdathon goes from 5pm Friday to 5pm Saturday, and just like clockwork, it started to rain right at 5 on Friday. We had a Ruffed Grouse drumming and a turkey gobbling before the start and then the rain came (we later got turkey, but no grouse). I got soaked as we continued to hike in the pouring rain and lightning. Dave jumped a Chuck-wills-widow up in the rain at Lynx Prairie in Adams Co. I did not see it. It rained all evening. The only owl we got was a nest rule Barn Owl (the hardest owl to get).

We tried to get a hotel, but they were all full for the East Fork Regatta. Camping in the mud and rain - no good (plus cost too much). We ended up sleeping in the car at the Miami Whitewater Wetlands parking lot. Our team total was 115 species, the winning team was in the 140's. I am way too much out of practice with my sounds and birding in general.

A Swainson's Warbler quest

On Tuesday, May 15th, David Brinkman and I went down to try for a Swainson's Warbler at the Red River Gorge in Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky. Swainson's Warbler would be a life bird for the both of us. Dave had old records of locations where they had been found in 1988.

As soon as we turned on the road that was marked on the old map as a potential SWWA spot, Dave heard one singing. We parked the car and walked down the road a bit to the spot the bird was singing from. We looked and looked, but I only caught a glimpse of the bird, Dave did not see it.

I decided to briefly play an audio lure to get a glimpse of the bird. Shortly after it started playing, the bird jumped up to exposed perches and started singing. It was very fast and agitated, flying around in circles around us. I got good looks, but all were brief - this bird wouldn't stop moving for nothing. I almost got a pic, but my camera was giving me all kinds of hell (it does weird things
often). Even with a good camera, it would have been hard to get a shot in the dark woods. It almost seemed too easy for a life bird. It was the only SWWA we had for the day.

We had many good warblers, many spished to a few feet of us. They are not afraid of people down there. My camera was giving me hell all day, couldn't get any good shots. I need a new job
so that I can get a new camera - job offers and camera donations accepted.

Black and white and Yellow-throated. My camera takes too long to focus!

No comments:

Post a Comment