4/2/2022 - 4/3/2022
Spring is blooming and the early migrants have returned. I spent a morning chasing birds around Eagle Creek Park and the other morning shooting some backyard favorites.
I had a few goals when I headed out to Eagle Creek Park on Saturday. I wanted to get some Red-winged Blackbird shots. The wind was dead calm, it was very chilly, and the skies were clear. Yeah, I was going to try for some cliché breath shots. Cliché or not, they are pretty cool, and I do not have that many shots of them anyway. I also wanted some Tree Swallow shots. They are beautiful birds, and it is easy to focus on them right now; as there are not a lot of other migrants back yet. Pine Warbler had also been reported at the park. That was my plan. The birds did not care.
The Tree Swallows were quite cold and not moving much. This made photos easy. I did not want to disturb them much, though. It was too cold to make them spend energy on me. Soon after the sun hit them, they were in the air and on the move, though. One goal down. The blackbirds were around, but they were all perched in the tops of the trees and not in the cattails. When one did come down, it would hide down in the reeds and then disappear. Jerks.... Another time, then.
Before it go too late, I wanted to go look for Pine Warbler. In years past, I have been lucky to find them foraging on the ground early in the morning. With high hopes, I headed over to Lilly Lake to scout around. The place was silent when I arrived. That was a bad sign. My search over the next couple of hours confirmed what I initially heard. There was not a Pine Warbler in the area. I did have a good number of other migrants, though. Pied-billed Grebe were swimming on the lake. Eastern Phoebe were calling everywhere. They are as cooperative as the Red-winged Blackbirds, though. As I walked the edge of the lake, I heard several loud, bright chip calls. Shortly afterwards, a plain warbler-like bird landed about 50 feet from me and started pumping its tail as it walked the shore. Like that, I had my first Louisiana Waterthrush of the year. As quickly as it arrived, it left. I heard it several more times throughout the morning, but it never came close, again. The largest number of a species I saw belonged to the smallest one I saw. Golden-crowned Kinglets were everywhere, and they were eye-level. At times they were no more than 4 foot away. It is times like this that I miss having a smaller lens. Trying to shoot a kinglet bouncing through the bushes like a kid on a sugar rush is not easy. I got like two shots in focus. In the end, I decided that neither one was worth sharing. You can chalk my Brown Creeper shots up the same. In focus, but just - meh. It is a bit unnerving the way they will fly down, look at you, and then scoot around to the back of the tree. You can try to guess which tree they are going to next, but it is always two trees away from where you guess. Maybe I should have just titled this post "Jerk Birds". I have several to dedicate it to. Jerk birds aside, I had a good morning. It was nice to get out.
I was a bit torn about what to do Sunday morning. Trip south for waterthrush? Head back to the park to try more jerk bird shots? Head out to The Burn to look for Smith's Longspur and chase the reported Cinnamon Teal? Stay home and get things done around the house? I probably should have chased the teal. Instead, I compromised and stayed home and shot photos in the backyard. Spring is hear. Flowers are blooming, and I thought it might be nice to get some backyard bird shots. Nothing unusual, and a little bit of everything stopped by. It was a relaxing day. Hard to complain.
Thanks for reading,