Sunrise over lake Superior at WI point
Wow! I haven't posted in such a long time! I have sooo much to catch up on and I've been really busy lately.
Instead of doing separate posts and using up valuable time, here's a summary of everything that has happened since I last posted:
First off, music camp in NY this year was fun. The only drawback was that someone stole my digiscoping camera. Now I just have to rely on my DSLR til I get another one. (I'm glad I didn't take my DSLR along)
I did however get a new lens. I purchased the Canon EF 100-400mm IS L lens after much consideration. Now, with a camera with an effective focal length of 520mm, I can get some pretty decent and really sharp shots.
The Loggerhead Shrike that I last posted about hung around awhile longer after I had left. The two Shrikes were seen together several times and eventually a juvie Shrike was found which confirmed nesting. I believe this is the first nesting record for Richland County and only the 3rd or 4th nesting record for this part of the state.
As I was riding out to NY on the train, I received a call from Dan Jackson saying that he had found a BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING DUCK in one of the flooded fields ("Lakes") in the Spring Green area.
By that time, I was, unfortunately, several hours away and could not return. It was a great find though since this would be the 5th state record of this species if accepted. Judging by the photos, it will indeed be accepted. (Photos here: http://wsobirds.org/wso_rare_birds.html)
This fall, the Spring Green area has been the best shorebird spot in the state. With all the rain we had this summer, the water had nowhere to go and backed up in the farmers fields. The farmers weren't too happy. The birders (and birds) were delighted. A couple of the fields became "lakes" and supported more than just shorebirds. After I got back from music camp, in a single morning I found 4 species of ducks, 3 herons, 18 shorebirds and a pair of Kingfishers in that area. The 18 species of shorebirds included my latest lifer. Buff-breasted Sandpiper. Before Aug 2008, I had not seen a single Buffie. After Aug, I had seen more Buffies in one spot than anyone else was seeing in the entire state. In the past few weeks, the fields have dried up considerably and even one of the "lakes" almost completely evaporated.
Sept 18-21 I spent in Superior WI at the WSO annual field trip to WI point. I recorded 115 species for the weekend including 2 lifers. My 2 lifers were: 1 adult, almost full breeding plumage Red-throated Loon and 1 juvie Sabine's Gull. A couple other great birds at the point included 4 Parasitic Jaegers that provided close flybys and great views and a single Red-necked Phalarope that provided some spectacular photo ops. Migrants on the point were altogether rather slow with Harris's Sparrow being one of the notable misses.
I also somehow missed Philadelphia Vireo even though a few were seen during the trip.
Lately, the birding has been slow. At on point, almost all the migrants were Tennessee Warblers and nothing else. Now, they're all White-throated Sparrows and almost nothing else. All other migrants have been in 1s and 2s. Brown Creepers, YB Sapsuckers, Yellow-rumps (yes, in 1s, 2s, 3s, and 4s but no more), a few other species of warblers, a couple other sparrows, Golden and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, ect.
Even hawk migration has been slow. I have yet to see more than 8 birds of the same species at one time. species diversity has been decent though. N Harrier, Coopers, Sharpies, Broad-wings, Red-tails, Merlin, ect.
Otherwise, the birds are packing it south. It's been a pretty quiet fall so far throughout the state. No rarities to speak of at all and most birding rather slow.
I promise to post more often in the near future and maybe post some more trip photos when things get really slow. Til then, Happy Birding!