12/8/2018 - 12/9/2018
I had high hopes for photos this weekend. In the end, it turned out okay. The weekend did not start that way, though. Late Friday, a Gyrfalcon was reported near Goose Pond FWA. I'd planned to go to Mary Gray, but I decided to head to GP instead. If the falcon was still around, that would be great. If not, I could shoot raptors and cranes.
The morning got off to a weird start. I misread the time of sunrise and ended up in the area an hour before sunrise, on a cloudy morning. I napped for a half hour to the sounds of rousing cranes and the occasional volley of shotgun blasts. It appears it's still duck season. I drove around a bit and found some cranes before heading out to look for raptors. Raptors were plentiful; just not THE raptor. Not unexpected, though. My inability to find any raptor that wanted it's photo taken was not unexpected either. Not to be dismayed, I headed back into GP to photograph cranes. The field of 300-or-so cranes had dwindled to around 50. I did not have much luck locating any others. Finally, I headed over to Beehunter Marsh. I did have a nice flock of White-crowned Sparrow over there, but they were not overly interested in being photographed either. Dismayed, at last, I headed home.
The next morning, I had bold plans... and a timeline, which kind of worked against me. I arrived just outside Frankfort, IN at sunrise (having learned the appropriate time the hard way). An Evening Grosbeak was showing at a feeder in this area, and the homeowner is graciously allowing visitors. The bird was present and calling from atop a large evergreen tree when I arrived. It slowly worked it's way toward the feeders and then - BAM! All the House Sparrows spooked up and flushed the bird. I waited 2 hours and finally moved on without seeing the bird again. The bird was reported a half hour later. By then, I was well on my way to Portage, IN. A flock of Common Redpolls were being seen at the end of Ameriplex Rd. When I arrive, I ran into another birder. He pointed out the area he'd just seen some, and we were both on one pretty quickly after that. One popped up in some weeds, but it was a bit obstructed. It finally hopped into the open, and I got a brief series before if flew off. It was the only one I'd find in my half hour there. I finally decided to move on and head to South Bend. In South Bend, I met Mike Bourdon at Riverside Park, and he showed me where he likes to photograph ducks. The location and lighting is pretty amazing. I arrived at 2, and we pretty much shot duck photos for the next 2.5 hours. We did take a break to go look for an amazing blue morph Ross's Goose, but the bird was not present.
I was really happy with how the photos turned out, and photographic disaster was "ducked" for the weekend.
Thanks for reading,