Thursday, May 29, 2008

Birding & Hiking with my Sissy

Last week my Sissy invited me to come down to her place early on Saturday morning for birding and hiking. Even though she lives in town, she gets great birds in her yard.

Here's a little bird feasting on the grape jelly in her oriole feeder. Sissy says she's had these little ones coming for a couple of weeks, but the numbers have started to decline this week as migration continues.
She was calling them Ruby-Crowned Kinglets and that's kind of what I thought also, just because they were so tiny. But as I was posting these pictures to my blog tonight, and looking a little bit closer at this photo--
I don't think it's a kinglet at all--especially because of that white eyebrow, darker eye stripe and lack of any wingbars. So what is it? Anybody have any thoughts? I'm leaning towards Tennessee Warbler. I think the size and color are about right.

After enjoying the backyard birds for a while, Sissy and I headed off to the walking trails of nearby Bear Cave Park. As we were crossing the footbridge, I spotted this little bird fly over to a rock in the middle of the river. I'm even worse at shorebird ID than I am at warblers, but based on size, actions of the bird, and description from my Kaufmann Field Guide, I'm going with Spotted Sandpiper on this one.
Of course, the picture was taken into the sun and the bird was a distance away, so good field marks can't be seen, but I was still excited to see this bird--we just don't get many shorebirds in this area. If anyone else has any thoughts on this bird also, I'd appreciate your input.

Our walk through the woods didn't reveal as many warblers and other birds as we thought we'd see, but the scenery was quite beautiful.
We did hear and see the Red-Eyed Vireo and Cedar Waxwings, along with the usual wrens, robins, and crows.

As we followed the trail out of the woods, we came to an area that has been restored to native prairie. Sissy and I marveled at this as we didn't even know this area existed! We headed over to the viewing platform in the middle of this prairie and were treated to the sights of Tree Swallows, Eastern Bluebirds, and Indigo Buntings. In the farm fields beyond this prairie area, we heard and saw Eastern Wild Turkeys and the Ring-Necked Pheasant.

Soon it was time to head for home as Sissy had to get ready for work. But what a fun trip. I know Sissy and I will definitely bird these areas again since gas prices are keeping us all closer to home this summer.

I'll leave you with this picture of Mrs. Red-Bellied Woodpecker enjoying a suet treat from the log hanging in my Sissy's backyard.


Lisa at Greenbow said...

I would say that is a Tennessee too. I love the Red bellied WP photo too.

Anonymous said...

You two have birding areas so close to home, what a thrill. All you have to do is walk a little and you are in paradise.

me ann my camera said...

Finding the restore prairie area must have been wonderful.

We have Spotted Sandpipers along our river. When they are in their breeding phase their breasts are covered with spots; but later in the summer the spots disappear are their bredding status changes. Congratulations on your great sighting of one.

Jayne said...

How fun to be able to share that with your sissy. :c) Have no clue about the bird, but agree it looks like a warbler to me.

Julie Zickefoose said...

Tewtally with you on the Tennessee warbler and the spotted sandpiper ID's, Ruthie. I hereby bestow the Science Chimp Seal of Approval. Eee! Eee! Eee!

Marsha said...

Aren't those tennessee warblers cute? I was surprised to see them for my first time this year too. How wonderful that you and your sister have such a wonderful area to walk in and bird at the same time! Great shots!

RuthieJ said...

Thanks Lisa. I see others from Minnesota have posted TN warbler pics too, and they look exactly like this little one at my sissy's place.

Hi Mom,
We were amazed that living around here as long as we have, that neither of us have really taken the time to explore more. I guess there is some "advantage" to higher gas prices!

Thanks MAMC! The restored prairie was definitely a well-hidden treasure. Now that we know it's there, it will be fun to go back and see if bobolinks and dickcissels are summer residents too.

Hi Jayne,
You've had some good birding adventures with your sissy too, right? It's fun to get caught up on each other's lives in addition to seeing some cool birds.

Thank you Science Chimp! That's the cool thing about birding--spotting and ID'ing new birds, in addition to appreciating the ones I already know.

Hi Marsha,
When I looked at your blog post about the TN Warbler again this morning, your pics definitely confirmed that I had seen the same bird through my camera.

Julie said...

I really enjoyed the walk you and your sister took. You have so BLESSED my life and made it better. I am really enjoying learning about the birds, flowers and great trails we have in our area. They include something similar, I think, to this location you and your sister went on. I have pictures and intended to post them, but haven't yet. I don't have great bird pictures as I usually take Gus the dog along with me and he startles the birds before I can get any great pictures. I'll see if I can't post about that trail over the weekend. Julie

Anonymous said...

Hey Ruthie, I went to Marsha's blog to see her pics of the warbler and that's exactly what I had in my yard! Go figure. It never occurred to me that they were warblers because they are so tiny. I didn't know that warblers came that small! You learn something new every day. And to think, I had so many of them for awhile. I'll have to put the jelly out early every year....
I had a great time on our little hike. I'm still hearing that rooster pheasant but now I know where he's living :)
Thanks for the post. Your sissy

Mary said...

At first glance, I thought the sandpiper was perched on a whale head!

Beautiful scenery shot, Ruthie. I'd be the last person to ID a warbler correctly.

Nice to have a Sis to walk with.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Julie,
Thanks again for letting me know how much you enjoy my blog. It's nice to know that so many other people are enjoying birds and nature along with me, and that it inspires you and other folks to get outside to discover and enjoy what's going on out there. I'll be checking back to your blog for pictures and stories of your walkabouts. Good luck & have fun!

Hi Sissy,
I was pretty darn surprised about that TN Warbler too! And to think all along it was a kinglet, till I finally looked at the picture and realized it wasn't! Go figure is right!
When I get back from North Dakota, we'll have to head over to that prairie again and see if there are any bobolinks or dickcissels hanging out there.

Hi Mare,
While we were watching the sandpiper, we also got to witness from frog porn! I would have thought it was some kind of mutant 2-headed frog if it hadn't been for the frog-porn shots from your blog. It's nice that we can all learn from each other's blogs! LOL

Mary C said...

It's amazing what birds we can find so close to home, isn't it? Like most folks (especially us bloggers) I'm finding a number of places to visit close by -- either a walk on down the road or driving to a park nearby (within 10-15 miles).