20 December 2009

CBC's, etc - 20 Dec. 09

Again, it's been quite a while since my last blog update. With finishing up the semester, I haven't had too much time to bird. Regardless, here are a few pictures from the last week or two.

In driving some backroads, LAPLAND LONGSPURS were pretty easy to come by. We easily tallied over 150+ birds. Here is a distant shot of one on the ground:

... and it flying away:

Also on that drive, we found a COOPER'S HAWK munching on what-was-left of a starling. Here is the hawk taking the meal somewhere else:

Torre and I hit up the Red Rock CBC on the 19th. It was a fun count despite no record-breaking numbers or unusual birds. Some of our personal highlights included:

2 Barred Owls
2 Eastern Screech-Owls
2 Common Grackles
6+ Red-breasted Nuthatches
500+ Dark-eyed Juncos. Yes, 500!

Some notable misses for us in our area included Golden-crowned Kinglet, Belted Kingfisher, Northern Shrike, Rough-legged Hawk, Horned Lark, etc.

On the 20th, Ashley and I participated in the Saylorville CBC. Again, it was a fun morning out with quite an interesting variety of birds. Some highlights for us included:

1 Eastern Screech-Owl (with visual)
6 American Robins (1 came early when we freaked it out while owling)
100+ Cedar Waxwings
1 Pileated Woodpecker (a rather tough bird in this area)
5+ Brown Creepers
1 Common Grackle
1 Gray Catbird:

Another good bird for the count included this RED-SHOULDERED HAWK sitting conveniently along a road during a snowy part of the morning:
Some notable misses in our area this morning included Long-eared Owl, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Purple Finch, and Sharp-shinned Hawk.

Ash and I will be headed to the northeast for the holidays. Perhaps you'll see a post from there next!

12 December 2009

Saturday birding

Torre and I headed out for some birding today. Not too much to report except for 2 different NORTHERN SHRIKES:

This intermediate RED-TAILED HAWK caught our attention as well:

... and then there is this junco at my feeders in Ames. Approaching "Oregon"?

09 December 2009

Sea ducks

I recently made a quick run to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to check out some previously reported diving ducks. I wasn't disappointed! It was a chilly morning (my hands stopped working pretty quickly) with poor light but I tried to make the best of it.


... and a BLACK SCOTER:

... and a SURF SCOTER:

Here is the SURF SCOTER diving:

... and getting feisty towards one of the Mallards:

I was thinking back... and I'm sure that haven't been closer to these 3 species as I was that morning! It was a real treat.