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Another Day, Solitaire

1/23/2023


I had a bit of a so-so weekend. At least from a birding/photography perspective. On the plus side, I spent the entire day Saturday birding. Pretty much from sunrise to sunset. That is really hard to complain about. My only real issue was that I was not very productive. I did not see a lot of species, and I definitely did not photograph a lot of species.


As a matter of fact, I got poor photos of my target species - Winter Wren. I got up to what were supposed to be partly cloudy skies on Saturday and headed south. The partly cloudy(/mostly sunny?) skies were flat, leaden gray when I left, and they stayed that way until "sunset". I assume the sun went down, because it got slightly darker at the end of the day. Saturday morning, I was heading to Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve. I know it is a good area for Winter Wren, and it is an under-birded area. I pulled in and hit the boardwalk. Over the course of the next couple of hours, I found three Winter Wren. None of them were very cooperative for photos. One ignored me completely. The second pished out quickly and right in front of me but then ducked and hid away when I pointed the camera at him. The third taunted me from a distance. There were a number of sparrows in the area, as well. I had nearly as hard of a time photographing them as the wrens. There is just a lot of cover for the birds to duck into, hide behind, and to just really be in the way of getting a clear shot. The surprise of the morning was a pair of Purple Finch feeding high in a tree. Beautiful birds.


I left Beanblossom and headed west. Goose Pond FWA is an hour away. It has been a while since I have had the desire to get out and do a whole day of birding. Some days over the past couple of years, it has been impossible to even talk myself into getting out. It was nice to have some motivation, and I decided to go look for cranes. The cranes were easy to spot at GP. They were a bit of everywhere. They were not anywhere very photogenic, though. I ended up over at Farmhouse Rd. to check out the sparrow situation. Tons of beautiful American Tree Sparrows, but not much else. They would perch up in the furthest, highest tree they could find and stare at me mockingly while I attempted to tease them in with various pishing noises. No joy. It was pushing about 3:30 by now, and I decided to head over to Bear Run to finish out the day.


I really had been holding out hope that the sky would clear and grant us a partly sunny day. No joy there, either. While I was waiting, I did find some cooperative sparrows. Instead of mocking me from a distance, these birds pished right up outside the car into the scraggly bushes I had hoped they would land in. Sometimes, my plans work.

The owls were up around 4:30 or so. While I had hoped for flight shots in better light in my previous post, I settled for flight shots in poor light, again, this time. None of the owls were ever quite as close as I had hoped. I got some perched shots and some flight shots. I made the best of it and enjoyed my time there. They are my favorite owl. So it really did not matter that the lighting was poor. They are just fun to see.

I was not the last car to leave, but I was close to it. The drive home seemed long, and I was tired when I got back. All in all, I had a pretty good day; even if it was not as productive as I had hoped.


Sunday was pretty much a complete failure. I was on a half-hearted chase this day. A Townsend's Solitaire was being seen in a park about 30 minutes from my house. It is a great bird for the state. Townsend's Solitaire is a rare but annual visitor. The problem is that it was not being consistently found. So, I went expecting not to find it. That might have been the issue right there. It did not help that I was out the door late, my car dinged to tell me I was about out of gas about two miles from the park, and, when I got to the park and turned on my camera, it immediately informed me that my camera battery had failed to charge overnight. So, I was definitely feeling a bit pessimistic that morning. I walked the area for a while but only succeeded in finding other birders. We walked the park and found other birders. What we did not find was a solitaire; nor the bluebirds it was associating with. I eventually called it a day and headed home. Two minutes away from my house, I got a call that the bird had been found. Another day, solitaire... another day.


Thanks for reading,

Mike


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