Monday, July 8, 2013

A Birding Bust....

Made a quick trip to Blackwell Swamp at Wheeler this morning. It's been raining off and on, so I figured I'd see something at the very least. Unfortunately, birds were in short supply today.

The rain from previous days had filled the swamp, almost too much. I didn't see a single heron or egret at the north end. Lots of dragonflies, and tadpoles. Heard some Cooper's Hawks calling. Otherwise, it just seemed pretty dead.

Driving back through, I did see several snakes crossing the gravel road. Even saw a turtle which proceeded to RUN from me. I have never in my life seen a turtle move that quickly on dry ground. Who says they're slow?

Occasionally, I would spot a Carolina Wren or Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. Cardinals were singing their little hearts out, and in a field bordering the forest, I caught sight of a Blue Grosbeak pair. Indigo Buntings were not in short supply though, making up 90% of the birds I saw today.

However, getting to the south side of the swamp, I drove right up and was able to snap a few shots of this Prothonotary Warbler taking a bath in the road. She cooperated for a couple of minutes, then flew up into the trees.

On the south end, I saw one lone Great Egret; A far cry from the twenty-one Egrets that graced the swamp just days prior. I stayed for about 20 minutes, shooting dragonflies and keeping an eye out for any birds to make an appearance. None did. However, I did hear Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, and Common Yellowthroats singing around the swamp. 

Then, I heard an odd call... something I'd never heard before, so I walked through the brush to go investigate. As soon as I got close to it, the bird took off. It was a large bird- most likely a hawk or owl (my first impression was owl). I've seen Barred Owls several times at the swamp already, but it certainly didn't sound like any Barred Owl I'd ever heard. Once I can identify the call, I can identify the bird.  Though, I am a bit disappointed I couldn't get a better look before it took flight.

Other than a lone female Summer Tanager on the drive out of the swamp, that was pretty much all I saw. Next trip out, I think I'll hit the Beaverdam Swamp Boardwalk since water levels are up. 

Stay tuned.

Until next time....
Happy birding to all of you.

*Update* The bird calls I heard were chattering of a Great Horned Owl. I may go back and try to relocate the bird for photos sometime next week. 

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