What a week. A bit of insomnia and a very long day of work on Monday afforded me an opportunity to head out Wednesday morning for some birding. The weather for Saturday was not looking good, and I was itchy to get out to look for migrants. After a long night of bad weather and tornadoes across the state Friday night, Saturday was cloudy with high winds. I stayed home. Sunday was beautiful, though, and I headed out to enjoy the sunshine and bids.
Both days, I headed over to Eagle Creek Park. Tuesday, I was there before sunrise. The morning was chilly, and I was hoping for a second chance at catching the Red-winged Blackbirds singing. It was not quite cold enough. The bird's breath was a bit faint. I shot some Tree Swallows as they vied for favorite nest boxes and then moved on. I had other migrants on my mind.
On Monday, Pine Warbler had been reported. I had looked for this bird the previous weekend and did not find it. I guess I was a day early. I pulled into the parking lot at Lilly Lake and listened. Nothing. On the way to the lake, I thought I had heard a Pine Warbler trilling but had written if off as a Chipping Sparrow. I suddenly had second thoughts. Doubling around to where I had heard the bird, I found some crows, a Winter Wren, and some juncos - no Pine Warbler.
Striking out here, I headed back to the lot at Lilly Lake. No joy. At this point, I figured it was a lost cause. I drove over to the Earth Discovery Center to look for a waterthrush that had been reported there. That area was quiet, too. Running out of time and unsure where to go, I headed back to Lilly Lake. Along the way, I finally heard the Pine Warbler trilling and pulled off the road. From there, I watched the bird fly across the road and land near the ground. I got out of the car and pished a bit where I had seen it disappear. The bird popped up in a beech tree for a few moments before settling back onto the ground to feed. I sat on the ground and watched as it moved closer to the road. It was feeding under a downed tree and kept disappearing, but it was definitely moving my way. Eventually, it popped out nearby, looked around a bit, and then hopped up on a bit of wood to sing. It was too close to photograph, and I had to scoot back out into the road to focus on the bird. I got a few shots before it hopped back into the trees and then flew off toward the lake. A pretty cool experience.
Sunday was not as much fun. At least the weather was nice. I started the day at Lilly Lake. Another birder was there, and he had the Pine Warbler up in a tree. High up. A Louisiana Waterthrush was singing nearby, and we headed over to look for it. We were hoping the bird was down in the creek. I could not locate the bird when we arrived. I knew it was close, but I just could not spot it. Some pishing solved the riddle. I was looking too low. The bird was 30' up in the trees. I watched and waited, but the bird was not moving. I headed back to look for the Pine Warbler. It was moving around a lot but still high. I was just thinking I was wasting my time and needed to bird elsewhere when the bird hopped down on the ground about 20 foot away. I got some quick shots before the bird moved around the back of the tree. I moved to get the bird back in sight. It saw me moving and bolted back up into the treetops.
I headed over to the skating pond and birded around a bit. Lots of kinglets calling. A couple more Winter Wren were singing. The bluebirds were fighting with the swallows for nesting boxes. A Fox Sparrow perched up briefly. Ring-necked Duck shared the pond with Pied-billed Grebe, and a couple Yellow-rumped Warbler bounced around the edge of the pond. I saw a beautiful breeding, male Yellow-rumped, but I did not get a photo. Instead, I got a photo of an unmolted, ratty one. Oh well, there will be plenty more.
That was pretty much my day. I birded around Lilly Lake a couple more times; hoping for a repeat of my earlier luck. It seems that I had used all my luck up, though. I packed up the camera and called it a weekend.
I am not sure what the next week will bring. Migration is picking up, and all the early migrants are filtering in. I look forward to doing some birding next weekend.
Thanks for reading,