Saturday, July 26, 2008

Loggerhead Shrike

Remember that Loggerhead Shrike I was going on about a few days ago? Well I got him. I ran over to the spot late Fri afternoon.
I've had a bit a experience with Loggerhead Shrikes before so it didn't take long to spot him perched right where he should be. On the power line just above the hedgerow.

He was about 150 to 200 yds out so my 300mm lens was rather useless. All the pictures I took I had to digiscope with my DSLR because I had somehow left my digiscoping camera behind. 

It's quite obviously a Shrike though and it's pretty clear that it is indeed a Loggerhead. 
This was probably the best picture I got of him:

Then, I called my friend Barb and told her that the Shrike was still present. 
While I was talking to her, I got a big surprise. A SECOND Loggerhead Shrike hopped up on the power line next to the first one!!  Only 1 Shrike had originally been reported.  The presence of a second bird changed the whole situation. 

There they are.  I watched both of them hunt from the power line and from a post in the middle of the Soybean field.  WI does have 14 nesting records for this species so I watched them for about an hour and a half. They seemed to be a pair and they hung around the same area the entire time.  As I watched, they repeatedly brought food back to the same spot in the hedgerow. I did not however actually see young or see them feeding young. 

I will check again tomorrow on my way to Chicago. Hopefully, I'll be able to walk out there and look for a nest. If I find one, it would be a first nesting record for Southwest WI.  All the previous nesting records are from the Southeast part of the state. 

Keep in mind though, these are not regular WI summer birds. They are indeed rare birds and to find one is quite a find, much less finding two!  
I would think that finding 2 Loggerhead Shrikes this far north at this time of year makes it highly probable that they are nesting. Unfortunately, I am leaving again tomorrow so I will not be able to check them again after tomorrow.   

Also, BTW, after tomorrow, from Mon Jul 28 to either Aug 24 or Aug 28th, I will not have internet access so I will not be able to post at all between those dates. 
I may be able to work in one more post before the 28th but if I don't, I hope everyone is having fun reading my blog and I will certainly complete my trip reports when I return in Aug. 
Until we meet again, Happy Birding!!

Flame-colored Tanager pictures

Ok, I'm still stuck on that special day at Madera Canyon. I already told about how I found this bird so I'll just sit back and let you enjoy. The above photo is the very first time I saw the bird and the first look I got of it.

The rest of the pictures are from when we found the bird again.

It was one stunning bird and an awesome 500th lifer!!!!!!!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Home again. for a few days at least......

I really am going to report on Camp C and my CA trip. I promise. Just that with back to back trips, it's hard.

The above picture was a lucky one that I got at the San Pedro river inn at Camp C in AZ. That storm was pretty spectacular.
I haven't even counted all the lifers I got at Camp C. It was over 60. That much I know.
I spent this past week in Orange County CA with my friends Neil Gilbert and John Garrett. I added an extra 21 lifers to my list and a bunch more year birds. My year list is now somewhere over 450. I have no idea of the exact number though.

CA was fun. I got some awesome pictures of some great life and year birds.
Yesterday, we spent the afternoon at the beach. You can't go to CA without visiting it's famous beaches.
After looking once more for Sooty Shearwaters (without success) we went boogie boarding for most of the time at the beach.
What's Boogie boarding? I hadn't heard of it either. It's effectively half a surf board that you lie on and ride the waves in as they break on the beach. It's a blast! And as I found out first hand, it gets you quite a sunburn...... lol

I'll be home this evening and then I'll be home for about 3 days before I take off again.
Til next time. Happy Birding!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Rare birds back home

Ok, I don't know if anyone who reads this checks the bird lists besides me but while I'm out here in California, a few rarities have turned up back home.

First off was a Piping plover that turned up about 20 mins from my house last week. bir
Don't you just hate it when the good ones show up when you're not there?

Next, a Lewis's Woodpecker in Douglas county. Ok, it's a million miles from my house but definitely worth chasing. Too far to go after in the time I have at home when I get back. If I did though......

And lastly, Today, a Loggerhead Shrike turns up 15 mins from my house with no rhyme or reason to it. It just shows up.
Naturally, it will have gone by the time I get home on Thurs. That's just the way things are.....

Anyway, I'm currently in Orange county California. Birding with my friends John Garret and Neil Gilbert. I've added quite a few lifers so far including Black Turnstone and Oystercatchers, Brandt's Cormorant, Elegant Tern and Pin-tailed Wydah today.
The birding's fun and I'm seeing lots of stuff that I don't see at home. I'll hopefully catch up a little bit on my blog during the 3 days I have at home before I'm off to music camp in NY.

I am sooo far behind. besides posts, I have an article for write for the ABA's "Bird's eye view" newsletter about YBC and Camp C, Write something about my trips to British Columbia and Cali, chase that darn Loggerhead Shrike and catch up on Practicing my audition piece for Music camp.... and a few other things.

I call that swamped. oh well.... that can wait til I get home..... lol

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Madera Canyon

Ok, here's the followup I promised.

The day before yesterday, we went to Miller Canyon for a very special bird.
White-eared Hummingbirds are one of our rarest nesting hummers. There are perhaps only 10 individual birds in the USA. There are only 4 that we know of. At the feeders in Miller Canyon, we found exactly half of the known population of White-eareds in the USA. Both male. I'll post pictures after I get to California.

Yesterday, on our way back to Tuscon, we stopped at Madera Canyon as our last stop. Madera canyon is quite a birding mecca for most birders. It's birding is fantastic and some of the species found there can be found only in a few other places.
Madera is especially famous for the rare birds it sometimes attracts. In the past, it has attracted such rarities as Plain-capped Starthroat, Crescent-chested Warbler and several others. This year, it was 3 Berylline Hummingbirds. A bird that can be found almost nowhere else in the USA. They were reported to be coming to the feeders at the gift shop at Madera Kubo.
On this trip however, we had a chance at a double rarity. There was also a resident male Flame-colored Tanager present in the same area as the hummers.

We pulled into the canyon and quickly got ourselves set up at the feeders. The guys quickly picked out a singing Plumbeous Vireo as well as several species of hummers. I had just seen my 499th life bird that morning at Patagonia rest stop in the form of a Thick-billed Kingbird. Naturally, I was rather loathe to hang around for an ABA code 3 hummer to add as my 500th. I was much more interested in the Tanager.

Suspecting that the Plumbeous Vireo wasn't really "Plumbeous", I wandered up the road in search of the bird in question.
I quickly located the source of the song to be near a house about 100yds up the road. As I was searching for the bird, the Adult male FLAME-COLORED TANAGER hopped up on an open, dead branch and sang the same song that we had been hearing and had IDed as Mr Plumbeous. I instantly yelled to Dave Jasper that I had the bird. It was a full 30 seconds before I even thought of reaching for my camera. I managed to squeeze off a couple badly underexposed shots before the bird flew.
I was literally shaking with excitement!! I had just found my 500th life bird on my own without anyone else!!!!!!!!!
I very rarely find life birds without someone else along and they usually spot it first so it was a big treat for me to find this one.

We quickly relocated the bird and Trey spotted the bird so that we could get everyone else on it. We had absolutely spectacular views of the bird and I managed to get off a few more decent pictures!!

It was absolutely amazing!!!

On the way down the Canyon, we stopped and picked up my lifer #501. Rufus-winged Sparrow!!!
So that's what I'm at now.

I'm currently sitting in Phoenix Airport waiting for my flight to California. The birding at Camp C has been great and the birding in Cali will be!!!

Happy Birding!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Camp Chiricahua update

Camp Chiricahua has been fantastic!!! Dave Jasper is an awesome guide and Rob Day is an awesome cook!!!!!!!

I wish I had time right now to upload some pictures but I'm swamped.

Today, we headed back to Tuscon after spending 3 days at the San Pedro river inn. The highlights there were an Adult male Varied bunting, Gray Hawk, Gilded Flicker and Common Ground-dove!!!

On the way back to Tuscon today, we stopped at the fabled Madera Canyon. Our target birds were Rufus-winged Sparrow, Berylline Hummingbird and Flame-colored Tanager. (more on that later)

It's been quite a time down here. We've braved heat, wind, rain, cold, Scorpions, Tarantulas, Snakes and many other critters to find the many wonderful birds of southeast AZ.

I'm currently behind on posting and probably will be for some time. Hope I catch up soon.

Happy Birding!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Elegant Trogon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Today I added a very special bird to my life list. So far it's the highlight of Camp Chiricahua. The spectacular Elegant Trogon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Also added 46 other birds to my life list!!!!!!

My year list also broke 400 this morning. As near as I can figure, the 400th was Yellow-eyed Junco!!!!!!!

That's all for now. Internet is limited down here and cell service is almost non-existent.

The birds are fantastic though!!!!!!! I've added more owls in the past two days than I see in a week in WI.
Many more species too with excellent looks.

We also got a bird that hasn't been seen at Camp C for several years. N (Mountain) Pygmy Owl!!!!!! Heard only.

The weather here is great! It has yet to go above 95 degrees and usually stays in the upper 80s. It's fantastic!!!!!

Anyway, gotta go to a late lunch. Happy Birding!!!!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

more pictures!

Here's the link to the 2nd part of 3 albums from my trip to Canada:,_days_4-6%29%3A_Jasper_NP.html

I'll post part 3 as soon as I get a chance.

For now, I'll be pretty busy. I'm currently in Minneapolis MN where I'll be flying out of early tomorrow morning.
My flight leaves at 0700. I'm headed for Southeast AZ this time to attend VENT's (Victor Emmanuel Nature Tours) Youth Camp Chiricahua. Some of the birds recently reported are: Berylline Hummer, Yellow Grosbeak, Crescent-chested Warbler and Black-capped Gnatcatcher!!!!
Here's the link:

Camp C will be from Jul 6 to the 17th. Then, I'll be in CA from the 17th to the 24th.

So, until next time, Happy Birding!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Canada trip pictures

I just posted the first part of my Canada trip pictures:,_Days_1-3%29%3A_Banff,_Jasper,_Kootenay,_Waterton,_Glacier_NPs.html

I had some really good photo ops out there. It was fun! The best birds were definitely: 1 VERY cooperative adult male Harlequin Duck, 1 rather cooperative Grey-crowned Rosy Finch and 2 Kingbirds. 1 Eastern and 1 Western that sat still long enough to get a tack sharp picture. It was nice to see them side by side too.

Also, at YBC, among other things, we were given a photo quiz to complete. We could use whatever resources we could find but we had to answer it by the 4th day. Included in the answer, we could get more points if we could say how old the bird was and whether it was male or female. interestingly, there were 3 photos that the entire group got wrong. I guess we talked to much.... ;) lol

Here's the quiz:
10 photos to ID. 2 of the birds do not occur in WI but the rest do. Good luck!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Pictures from YBC

I just got caught up on posting pictures from the ABA's fantastic Young Birder's Conference in Minot ND from Jun 17-22.
Check it out:

All pictures are in chronological order.

Happy Birding!