Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Pink-footed Goose!!!!

I couldn't believe it when I checked the MDOsprey Listserv on Monday night and saw that a Pink-footed Goose had been seen less than two hours away. I almost chased it on Tuesday morning but decided against it when I saw it was not seen later in the day. It was refound on Tuesday and since my only afternoon class was cancelled today I was able to chase it. I found it easily as there were several birders looking at it when I arrived. I got great scope views but it was rather far off so good photos would be difficult. Another birder was generous enough to let me use his 800mm lens, however, so I got some nice photos.
This Merlin was also a surprise.
I cant believe what a great February I have had for birds! Normally I see very little this time of year. Two first state records in less than a week is incredible!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Virginia's Warbler in MD!

Today Jacob Barkett and I chased Maryland's first state record Virginia's Warbler at the Pickering Creek Audubon Center. We arrived at 7:30 and the small parking lot was already nearly full. Despite the forty or so birders searching, the warbler had not been found yet and we spent the next hour an a half searching without success. Just after we had returned to the spot where most the people were searching after we had tried some other spots I heard a strange chip note in the bushes. When I saw a small grayish bird fly out of the bush a little bit later I knew this was probably the bird. I quickly called everyone over and we soon saw the bright yellow undertail coverts and confirmed that it was indeed the Virginia's Warbler! It quickly flitted from bush to bush for the next fifteen or so minutes before disappearing. I was not able to get any photos but Rob Ostrowski has generously allowed me to use one of his.
Virginia's Warbler 2012 Feb 18 Pickering Creek

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Greater White-fronted Goose & Trumpeter Swans

This morning I drove up to Sky Meadows State Park to see the Trumpeter Swans and I saw them on the fishing pond.
I checked for the Goldeneye on the other pond but didn't see it. When I drove past the fishing pond again on my way out I noticed the Mute Swan had joined the Trumpeters, it was not there when I first checked the pond. After about an hour at Blandy, where I didn't see much of note except for a Tree Sparrow, I decided to drive down to Stone Bridge Rd. so see if I could see the Shrike again. Before I left I took this photo of a Carolina Chickadee since I realized I didn't have any yet. As I was driving along Borden's Spring Rd. I noticed a large flock of 200 or so Canada Geese at the farm pond on the west side of the road so I stopped to look for Cackling Geese. As I was sorting through the geese all of a sudden I noticed a Greater White-fronted Goose right in the middle of the flock!This was definitely not a bird I was expecting and it is the first record for Clarke County on ebird.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Lark Sparrow

Last Sunday I drove down to Augusta county to do some birding with Gabriel Mapel. In spite of the cold mist for much of the morning we came up with several good birds. The highlight for me was the Lark Sparrow that has been near Stuart's Draft since it was found on a CBC last December.
This Savannah Sparrow was rather cooperative for a photo as well.After the Lark Sparrow we were able to refind a Rough-legged Hawk nearby and checked several local farm ponds for ducks and saw Shovelers, Gadwall, and a Coot. I also saw my first Red-headed Woodpeckers for the year along Badger Rd. We finished the day off with two Black-crowned Night-herons and an early Brown Thrasher flying across the road. My Virginia list continues to improve, I added seven more birds on this trip and am now at 156. This Loggerhead Shrike I saw on Saturday was also a great bird. It was only a few miles away from Christendom but it took me six tries to see it.