Thursday, July 5, 2007

Assignment Completed

Here's my report from Larry's birding challenge of last week. I'm calling it, "Birding @ IBM."

As you may (or may not) know, I work for Manpower as a vendor at IBM in Rochester. IBM is trying to become more "green" at their facility. Several years ago, they added a large prairie area with a little pond in the center. There's a walking path all the way around it. Larry's instructions were to find a place I've never birded before and also it should not be a place that is known by other birders. I've never birded here before other than watching out the car window as we drive into the parking lot and I've never heard any other birders I know talk about the great birds they saw out at IBM, so this seemed to be the perfect place for completing my assignment.

To give you some additional background as to why this really isn't an ideal birding location, IBM is located just off Highway 52 which is the main north/south corridor (6 lanes) through Rochester. It's a very busy area with shopping centers located to the north and east. There's still a cornfield/ undeveloped area to the south, but this prairie area is between the main IBM facility and US 52, so it's kind of an oasis for any birds that can find it.

Rick came along with me on this trip, not because he's that interested in birds, but probably to make sure this adventure didn't last too long (since I'm a bit of a diddler when it comes to birding).

This post is going to be very visual, so I'll try to keep the captions short. In addition to birds, I've also included some flowers (since this is a prairie area, I thought it would be appropriate).

Here's one of the new bluebird houses they put up this spring--this is right next to the parking lot (I saw a Tree Swallow go inside).

Here's one of the Dickcissels we hear every morning; I'm amazed to see these birds right in town.

OK, let's head down this path and see what we can find.

Ooh, lots of white sweet clover and brown-eyed Susans blooming

Our first good look at the pond (I was wearing my badge so I figured that gave me permission to trespass in case a security guard should stop by and question my motives--BTW, they didn't).

Lots of Red-Winged Blackbirds down by the pond--here's a male and female in the top of a willow tree at the pond edge.


A nice patch of False Sunflower

A Cedar Waxwing on a fencepost--I was amazed at the large number of Cedar Waxwings in this area.

Swamp Milkweed

Blue Vervain

There were 2 Mama Mallards with at least 10 babies between the 2 of them--CUTE!

Another view of the pond with the IBM main plant in the background (that long, low blue building)

I'm unsure what these plants are, but my best guesses are Hoary Vervain and Hoary Alyssum

This baby Barn Swallow was being fed on fly-bys from its mom.
Parking lot Killdeer--there was one family group of 5 and several other individuals patrolling the parking lot. During the week, this lot is almost full of cars, so I'm not sure where these killdeer go on weekdays.

Here's a list of all the birds that were seen and/or heard.
American Goldfinch
Barn Swallow
Tree Swallow
Northern Rough-Winged Swallow
Cedar Waxwing
Red-Winged Blackbird
Common Yellowthroat
House Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Song Sparrow
House Finch
European Starling
Eastern Bluebird

This was a great assignment, Larry. Thanks for giving me a good reason to bird this area and to everyone else for letting me share this trip with you. Hope you enjoyed it.


Anonymous said...

Loved the assignment, never dreamed that there was a place like that so close to IBM. The walking paths are NICELY PAVED and I could't believe all the birds that you saw and the wild flowers in the prairie grass. I knew they had a park for picnics and ballgames but it is a bit of wild in an urban setting. Thanks again for the nature walk.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mom,
I was amazed by this area myself. It's north of the picnic park and ballfields. The frontage road from 19th Street runs right past it. The plant was closed yesterday, so we had to badge in through the gates. To get close to the pond, I had to walk off the path, but it was all mowed and fairly easy walking.

KGMom said...

What a wonderful post--I saw Larry's challenge, but I stick to song lyrics. I don't know enough birds to do this.
But you certainly found an amazing number in an unusual location. And the photos are the perfect way to tell it!

Mary C said...

Great job, Ruthie. Well, at least you saw some birds. My outing wasn't as fruitful, and I have yet to post it. I hope to get around to posting it some time tomorrow morning.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Nice post Ruthie! You have a couple of birds there that would be lifers for me. I'm going to try to do Larry's assignment this weekend (unless it's too hot!)

Robin (Bumblebee) said...

Hi Ruthie,

I think little nooks of nature carved out of wherever can be a wonderful sanctuary for someone. How nice to have one near the office.

Love your bio! And thanks for visiting Bumblebee and including me on your blog list.

See you online!

Robin (Bumblebee)

RuthieJ said...

Hi Donna,
I'm much better at birds than identifying many of Larry's songs, but it's still a fun game. I always learn something new working on these assignments.

Hi Mary C,
I'm looking forward to your post. I'm sure you will have some good sightings to share with us 'Easterners.'

Hi Lynne,
It sounds like we're all going to fry this weekend. Hopefully it will be cooler yet early in the morning....good luck. I'll be anxious to see what you find on your assignment.

Hi Robin,
As a workplace, I'm happy they're at least making an effort. In my opinion, there's still far too many acres of mowed grass and they still use too many chemicals on that grass, but it's hard to change the mindset that's been in place for so many years.

Larry said...

Ruthiej-I'm glad you went through with this.-It is much more interesting for me to see what is at new area than it is to see what's at a tried and true area.-

A Dickcissel is a bird that I've tried to see many times but have failed to do so.-Nice post,-I really enjoyed reading your results-thanks-Larry

RuthieJ said...

Hi Larry,
Thanks for the assignment. The hardest part was figuring out where to go because I've already birded a lot of places around here.
I saw my first Dickcissel only 2 years ago. I understand their numbers are declining due to habitat loss, but they seem to have adapted well around here.
Looking forward to your next challenge....

Mary said...

Ruthie, great job! Larry's exercise paid off, didn't it? I wanted to participate but, you know what our climate is like.

Do you think you will visit again? I certainly would!

Jayne said...

Well now, you just never know, do you? Amazing that this area was just teeming with plants and wild birds. Thanks for taking us along Ruthie!

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mary,
We were out there birding around 11:30 a.m. and it was hot pretty darn hot for this full-figured gal! I don't think I'd be able to survive in your climate! I will probably visit there again, but would like to go earlier in the morning when it's cooler and there's not so much traffic whizzing by.

Hi Jayne,
I was truly surprised at the abundance of wildlife in this area. We saw baby foxes in this same area in May and June, but their mom must have moved them to someplace a little more isolated (I hope).