Spring Count

I had a great time birding on Saturday morning for the Spring count.  My list for the day, from just before sunrise to about 2 PM.

60 species

Eastern Bluebird

Wild Turkey  4
Turkey Vulture  7
Red-shouldered Hawk  1
Mourning Dove  2
Yellow-billed Cuckoo  2
Chuck-will’s-widow  1
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  2
Red-headed Woodpecker  2
Red-bellied Woodpecker  4
Downy Woodpecker  3
Northern Flicker  1
Pileated Woodpecker  6
Eastern Wood-Pewee  16
Eastern Phoebe  1
Great Crested Flycatcher  3
White-eyed Vireo  5
Red-eyed Vireo  30
Blue Jay  5

Nashville Warbler

American Crow  19
Cliff Swallow  6
Carolina Chickadee  12
Tufted Titmouse  8
White-breasted Nuthatch  1
Carolina Wren  11
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  13
Eastern Bluebird  3
Swainson’s Thrush  2
Wood Thrush  16
American Robin  7
Gray Catbird  1
Brown Thrasher  4
European Starling  10
Ovenbird  24
Blue-winged Warbler  4
Black-and-white Warbler  5
Nashville Warbler  3
Common Yellowthroat  6
Hooded Warbler  24
American Redstart  5

Ovenbird

Northern Parula  2
Magnolia Warbler  1
Blackburnian Warbler  1
Yellow Warbler  2
Chestnut-sided Warbler  5
Pine Warbler  1
Yellow-throated Warbler  1
Prairie Warbler  6
Wilson’s Warbler  1
Yellow-breasted Chat  10
Eastern Towhee  9
Chipping Sparrow  7
Song Sparrow  8
Scarlet Tanager  5
Northern Cardinal  19
Rose-breasted Grosbeak  4
Indigo Bunting  18
Red-winged Blackbird  5
Brown-headed Cowbird  3
Baltimore Oriole  4
American Goldfinch  2

The Groundhog is Out of Work…

At least here in KY, because we haven’t really seen the dead of winter yet.  And I’m not complaining one bit.  In the 50s all this week.  I wonder what will happen in late March, when the daffodils are supposed to bloom?  Or is this just the longest spring ever?

So Wrong…But So Nice

January Dandelion

This is so wrong – but so nice.  I dislike winter  and so there is no complaining coming from me about this unusual weather.  But I do wonder about the consequences.  For instance, will we have enough water this spring – without the snowmelt?  I don’t pretend to know all of the effects this non-winter may have on the environment,  but I’m certain there will some side effects.  I’m guessing we’re going to have a heavy bug season this spring and summer.

January Daffodils

My daffodils should be hibernating in the dirt under last fall’s leaf litter, instead of pushing up through, about ready to bloom.  It’s a little weird.  But nice.

Chem Trails in the Sky

I’m not usually one to believe in a lot of conspiracy theories and stuff like that, but this theory of chem trails rings a little more true for me since I actually observed the tic-tac-toe grid being formed last week and watched some interesting documentaries on the subject.

Basically, “they” are seeding our atmosphere with aluminum and barium particles, among other things.  It doesn’t take a degree in rocket science to figure out that can not be a good thing.

Everyone knows that high-flying jets sometimes leave contrails – those billowy white cloud lines – but contrails disperse quickly and disappear.  Chemtrails are usually laid in a grid, and don’t disappear.  Instead they slowly spread and cover a blue sky with a cloudy haze.

Why would “they” do this?  Some theories say it’s to stop global warming.  Others say it’s to control weather patterns.  Others say “they” are trying to eventually kill us off and reduce the population.  I don’t know why, but I know I don’t like what I saw and what I’m hearing about this.  Don’t take my word for it, research it for yourself.  As with everything, there are some weird theories and sites on this, but here are a couple to get you started.  Of course if you just Google ‘chem trails’ that will work too.

Chemtrail Central

Aircrap.org

I’m still researching too, but I do think that something is definitely rotten in the sky.

What I Learned Today

That you don’t watch a documentary on the Kentucky Bigfoot the night before you go banding alone before sunrise in a foggy misty field.  That squirrels cutting walnuts from trees are potentially dangerous monsters.  That howling coyotes and vocalizing barred owls are creepy when it’s dark and foggy.  That you have to have a sense of humor and real dedication to be doing this…or be a little bit nuts.

The day warmed quickly and more birds started moving after the fog lifted.  A new species for me was this lovely yellow-throated vireo.

Also banded a nice hermit thrush, easily separated from other thrushes by the noticeably reddish tail.

The colors are beginning to show and I’m enjoying the changes taking place in the field where I’m banding.  I set up the feeders at home and I’m getting the first regulars – Carolina chickadees, white and red breasted nuthatches, tufted titmice, and red-bellied woodpeckers.  Waiting for the goldfinches.  They are in the fields, but haven’t hit the feeders yet.

Fall Colors

Giant Swallowtail

photo credit: US F&W Service

This has been a phenomenal summer for butterflies.  In late August, there were hundreds along the road through the forest to the main road – mostly mourning cloaks, monarchs, fritillaries, and swallowtails.  One species I saw several times – including having one inside my studio at the window – was the giant swallowtail.

There is no mistaking this one when you see it – it looks about twice the size of the tiger swallowtail and had a heavy, labored-looking flight. The ones we saw around here seem to have wider brownish bands on them.  Simply beautiful.

There’s a rock cliff near our home that locals say was a salt quarry during the Civil War.  This place seemed to be a mecca for all sorts of butterflies.  They were obviously drinking up something on the ground and especially after a rain when there were puddles – but very often they would congregate in the dry gravel as well.  I have no idea what they were looking for – or finding.  Did I take the camera down there and get photos?  Of course not – at least not in August when the butterflies were numerous.  I did go yesterday, and there are still groups of mourning cloaks congregating there:

The field across from my banding nets is tall with wildflowers and grasses now, except for about a 6 foot wide path mowed by one of the neighbors – probably to allow the deer to wander through and be more visible to the hunters…ah well.

Anyway, I did manage to find this red admiral, looking a bit tired and tattered, but still very colorful.

I think I’m developing a new interest in butterflies.  I’m even considering tagging monarchs next year -something we did at the first RRBO back in the late 70s and early 80s.

In the meantime – back to the birdies.

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