Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday Morning Birding

When I heard on the weather forecast that Friday was supposed to be a nice, sunny day, I rearranged my work schedule to have the day off. My plan was to wake up early and head out for a morning of birding in Fillmore County and hopefully check some warblers and other spring migrants off my list. It was a beautiful morning and since I had no schedule, I was able to stop and enjoy some non-bird sights during my journey.

Mammals always provide good photo opportunities because they don't move nearly as fast and are much larger and easier to capture with a camera than birds. I had to stop the car and turn around when I spotted these longhorn cattle in a small pasture. Cool, aren't they? Scroll down for closer looks..... What a beautiful animal. They're a little different than most of the cattle I see around here because they weren't the least bit curious about me and never approached the fence like most cattle would. Good thing my camera zooms!
I thought this one was so pretty -- looks like maybe a cross with White Park cattle (I'm basing that assumption on the black ears and nose). I noticed its left horn had some fuzzy stuff stuck on the end.....wonder if they use their horns to scratch their back and this was some fur??

In the field right across from the longhorns, there were some horses. It was a little chilly this morning, so you can see the steam from this horse's breath.

These horses came right up to the fence for me to pet and get a closer look at. I really like the way horses smell, don't you?

Here's another cute little mammal -- the red squirrel. It's not very often they sit still long enough for a photo, so I felt particularly lucky to get this picture.

Down at Mystery Cave State Park, this little bat (I think it's an Eastern Pipistrelle) was sleeping in a high corner outside of the visitor's center.

There were lots of spring wildflowers blooming at Forestville State Park. Flowers and plants are also much easier to photograph than birds, so I took advantage of that.

Wild Blue Phlox

Wood Anemone (Mayflower)

Wild Ginger

Virginia Bluebells

(I loved the way this picture turned out - backlit with the sun!)

And now finally, I've gotten to the birds! It was an amazing morning, filled with all kinds of birds and their beautiful songs. Thankfully, I remembered to bring my BirdJam and field guides along, and was able to identify almost every bird that I saw and heard. I spent most of the morning at Forestville State Park under the canopy of deciduous forest and along the river. It was a most perfect day for birding!

Eastern Meadowlark on a fencepost

Song Sparrow preens his feathers after taking a bath

And then interrupts his preening to sing a pretty song!

Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher

Green Heron (and reflection!)

I love their crazy yellow feet!

Here's a listing of the birds I saw this morning in Fillmore County -- a total of 60! I was pretty happy with this total for my 5-hour birding adventure.

Hope you get a chance to enjoy some good birding adventures this weekend too!


Kelly said...

...Wow! That was a great day of birding (60!), and everything else. I love that second photo. Those horns are too cool. Beautiful wildflowers. I love seeing them...

Gaelyn said...

Oh Ruthie, what a wonderful day. Nice weather is a great excuse to take a day off work and go play. Those longhorns look menacing. The horses friendly. You really did get in a lot of birds. Awesome.
I hope to see, and maybe take pics, of some birds tomorrow while at work.
Have a wonderful weekend.

stephen said...

That was an amazing day you had...thank you for sharing it with us and all the wonderful photographs. It always cheers me up when I visit your blog.
Hope you have a wonderful weekend filled with more adventures.

RuthieJ said...

Thanks Kelly. It was just so nice to be outside after the previous 4 cold & rainy days we had earlier in the week.

Thanks Gaelyn. Hope you have a good birding weekend too.

Thanks Stephen. Glad you enjoyed the trip with me. Hope you get a chance to enjoy our weekend of nice weather too. Today I hope to finish planting the vegetable garden before our next round of rainy days.

Anonymous said...

I won't have to go to the woods to see the birds. I can just look at your blog instead. It will be nice when the road to the Park is done and I don't have to go out of the way umpteen miles just to get there. Enjoyed your mammals you took pics of too.


troutbirder said...

Wow. How neat Ruthie. I was in Forestville on Wed. & walked up Canfield Creek to Big Springs on Wed. And didn't do half so well. My hope this summer is to see some vireos and cuckoos down there. Hope springs eternal!

Jayne said...

That's quite the list Ruthie! Love all the birds and mammals you got to capture.

Hey, I got my milkweed seed all planted, so we'll see if I am visited later in the summer by some Monarchs.

Mollie said...

I felt like I took a mini-vacation looking at all your great photos of animals, birds, wildflowers, and the squirrel--they're in a class of their own, right? ;-) But the red tail s/he had was beautiful. And reading your travelogue. And the song sparrow singing--adorable photo . . . great day!! Thanks for sharing. Mollie