Saturday, May 1, 2010

all the other birds

If you saw my previous blog post, you know I took a day off from work to drive hundreds of miles to see a rare Hooded Crane in the fields of Carey, Idaho. It was quite far away, and the weather was freezing cold with a bitter wind and occasional snow and rain, but it was still a fun adventure. And, even more fun was the long, rambling, leisurely drive home past three great areas to look at birds.

On the way back Cyndi and I visited the Centennial Marsh on the Camas Prairie, then drove to Featherville (Where else would birds be seen?), and lastly near sunset time visited the Mountain Home Reservoir.

There were other great birds seen at the same place the Hooded Crane was seen, across the road from the Carey Lake Wildlife Management Area. Water was pooled and flowing along the edges of agricultural fields. Here are some Blue-winged Teal feeding in the field.

I also saw a Virginia Rail, only the second time I've ever seen one of these.

The Centennial Marsh was brimming with water and the area that will soon be filled with wet fields of blooming camas flowers resembled shallow lakes. Wading birds and ducks were everywhere.

Here are a few of the Northern Pintail we saw.

This Sparrow, which I believe to be a Savannah Sparrow from the buffy color over the eye, was seen at the edge of the water.

The first Willets of the season had arrived and they were wading in the water.

I saw some sort of hawk or something by the side of the road and stopped the car to view it. I took a couple of photos, but it sure didn't look much like any hawk I was familiar with. It has some sort of half-eaten rodent or something in its claws. When I got home Cyndi took one look at the photo and exclaimed, "That's a Merlin!" I think she's correct about that.

We then went on to Featherville, past the Anderson Dam Reservoir and saw lots of great birds there. There were Common Loon on the water, but too far away for a photo. We saw flocks of Cassin's Finches. This next photo shows just one of them.

It took us a long time to figure out the next one. The white outer tail feathers were very obvious, but it wasn't until I saw the little buffy patch on the wing that I realized that I was seeing a group of Townsend's Solitaires. With a name like Solitaire, I would not expect to find a group of them together, but they were in a group today ... maybe it has to do with breeding season or something.

During a snow squall Cyndi spotted this large bird by the roadside. A Dusky Grouse.

And, in a band of perhaps as many as 36 birds, these Clark's Nutcrackers were working on all the seeds to be found in the cones now exposed after the winter snows melted from the ground. We also saw a dozen or so Steller's Jays.

Our final stop of the day, on the way home, was the Mountain Home Reservoir. We saw Eared Grebe and I noticed that there were also Horned Grebe out there. This final photo is one of the Horned Grebe.

1 comment:

Cynthia said...

It was a great opportunity to see the Hooded Crane and I'm glad we took the day off work to search for it -- those who came a day or two later missed it, it seems. Even though it was too distant for a "great" photo with our cameras, it was interesting to watch it through the wind-blown scope and see how it moved with the Sandhill Cranes. Compared with the muted tones of the Sandhills, its black and white coloration -- suitable for blending into its native Siberian habitat (brrr! I'm sure it felt right at home that morning!) -- made the Hooded Crane distinctive.

It was my first sighting of a Sora, too, and though many other species made this a memorable day of birding, the Hooded Crane stands out. Thanks, jonathan, for the remarkable journey!