Monday, May 19, 2008

More From Eagle Lake

I made two trips to bird the west side of Eagle Lake last week. With Thomas' emailed directions I first went by myself. There's a freedom in exploring a new area for the first time by myself. Having no expectations, everything is new and it feels like every discovery belongs only to me.
Swamp sparrows (life bird) were plentiful.
I followed a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers through a stretch of woods, trying to get a good picture. They were foraging a lot on the ground
and it was hard to get a good look. I was so intent on catching up to them that I nearly got too close to a skunk. Luckily I smelled him before I got any closer. I was really excited to find this Marsh Wren (lifer). I've only ever seen House Wrens before so now I have a whopping TWO wrens on my life list!
I think I lost track of time watching a dozen or so Barn Swallows swooping over the cattails and under the foot bridge. After a while they didn't seem to mind my presence and I just stood there, turning slowly, watching them all around me. Speed and grace in a beautiful little package.
Eastern Wood Pewee? I'd heard it's call but don't think I can id it just by looking at it. Help please!
How about a snoozing Song Sparrow?

While walking through the woods Thomas and I could hear a White-breasted Nuthatch scolding nearby. The trees held many cavities and finally she shot out of this one.

Thomas, being very familiar with birding this area showed me a Cooper's Hawk's nest that he's been watching this spring. I could just make out a tail sticking over the edge. The hawk was sitting very low on the nest. Suddenly a Coop shot out of the woods chasing close after a Gray Catbird. They flew back and forth among the branches of a large flowering crab apple tree until the hawk gave up and flew back up to the nest. Thomas suggested we walk int to woods under the nest to see if we could spot the mate. Almost immediately we saw the mate in a tree with a red squirrel.
Thomas showed me that we could approach closer if we walked slowly with our heads down, not making eye contact and not walking in a straight line.

I must have taken fifty shots of this beautiful raptor. Finally after I got my fill watching, she gave a warning call and left- with her lunch!

Thanks again to Thomas for sharing this terrific birding location, along with his knowledge and tips!


Linda in Erie said...

wow! You have seen some great birds. You are getting great shots, too. I love the hawk shot leaving with its prey. Poor squirrel, though. Could that one be a yellow-bellied flycatcher?

nina said...

Wow, Lynne,
You certainly do get around!
Everything from warblers and flycatchers to raptors--in a week's time!
That's wonderful.

Ruth said...

Your pictures are amazing! I thought I had seen a swamp sparrow recently but realize from your picture that I didn't. Your picture is better than the one in my bird guide. The Pileated and Coopers!

Susan Gets Native said...

Woo Hoo! Coop!

Mary said...

Fabulous! Fabulous! Linne, you are getting BEAUTIFUL shots.
So glad you are out there and enjoying some free time with your camera. Makes ma heart swell for you :o)

Jayne said...

Oh wow Lynne! What wonderful shots of all the birds, esp. the hawk! Sounds like a great day all around!

RuthieJ said...

Cool birding story Lynne! You've seen lots of new birds this spring. I was excited hearing about your skunk sighting without consequences. Thanks for sharing this with us.

Richard said...

Great pictures as always. Yep, skunks have a way of getting in the way of birding. Hope I can get some good pictures like yours of the swallows. We have had a large hatch out of Mayflys and the swallows have arrived right on time.

Richard said...

Heaven knows I'm not a great bird ID'er on the little birds but I don't think it's a Pewee for 2 reasons. First, it has a eye ring which according to the guides a pewee doesn't have and second, the bill is too thick. My guess would be a Vireo but don't know which one.

dguzman said...

Wow wow wow. I'm with Richard on the bird ID--pewee bills are tiny and thin and sharp. I don't have my Stokes with me, but I'm going with some kind of vireo as well.

Anonymous said...

Wow, those shots of the hawks are amazing. The actual hunt is fascinating to watch.

Kathiesbirds said...

Lynee, what a productive walk! You saw some great birds! I love pileated woodpeckers. Congrats on the lifers. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I copied and pasted your comment into a duplicate post and then deleted the one you commented on because it didn't publish in the right sequence. I'm still learning here and made a mistake. LoL!

Anonymous said...

Lynne, I agree with Richard that it
is not a peewee. I do think though
that it is an empidonax. Linda may
be right, but it also could be an
Alder or Acadian in migration. Call
note is really important.
A Cooper's Hawk took a Lincoln's
Sparrow in my backyard the other
day, wish it could have been one of
the House Sparrows! Great photos!!
Hap in New Hope

Craig said...

Hey Lynne, you've really been getting some fun shots over the last weeks! Thanks for sharing.


Anonymous said...

More great photos! I am really impressed.

Minnesota Birdnerd said...

Lynne -

What wonderful photos! I am so jealous.

Larry said...

Gosh Lynne-you've really been busy with birding and blogging-I missed a lot.What a great shot of the Pileated.-I've never been able to get a photo of one that compares to that.-Great job!