Thursday, March 29, 2012

March Butterflies

This morning I decided to head out to Shenandoah River State Park in the hopes of finding a drumming Ruffed Grouse. While this search was unsuccessful I still had a very good morning. There was a flock of Golden-crowned and singing Ruby-crowned Kinglets at the picnic area and I saw this Louisiana Waterthrush along a nearby creek.

As I was walking along the Cottonwood Trail I was surprised to see this Black Rat Snake coming out of a hole in a juniper!
The real highlights of the day, however, were the butterflies. Zebra Swallowtails were everywhere, along with one Spicebush Swallowtail, a Falcate Orangetip, a Question Mark, and several duskywings which I think were Juvenal's.
As I was walking down by the river, I was stunned to see several Little Brown Myotis in between the plastic panel protecting a sign! I have never seen a bat perched before so I was pretty excited.
I finished off a great morning with my first Northern Rough-winged Swallows of the year near the RV Campground.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Indiana Monk Parakeets

I've been busy with midterms and other stuff lately so I haven't been able to update the blog much lately. During spring break in early March I had to be in Gary Indiana so I worked in a side trip to a nearby Monk Parakeet colony. Monk Parakeets have been established in the Chicago area for many years now and they are now expanding into Indiana. Like many Monk Parakeet colonies in the Chicago area, this one was at a power station, where the wires help keep the birds' bulky stick nest warm so they can survive the winter. As I was walking around the power station I noticed a group of sticks on the structure and soon I saw two Monk Parakeets looking back at me! They got excited and started calling and soon 8 birds flew off and landed in a tree across the street. I ran back to my car to go after them but then four more birds flew in from the opposite direction! I was able to get a few good shots of them here.
After this, I decided to see if I could relocate the birds that had flown across the street to photograph them in a more natural setting. I was able to find all eight birds perched in a small tree where I was able to get several photos I was very happy with.

This was definitely a very worthwhile detour and raised my life list up to 393.