Sunday, September 23, 2007

Kinda gross, but...

Recently at the Hummingbird and Butterfly festival, the speaker explained that butterflies that congregate on mudholes to glean minerals they need to reproduce. While birding at a place on the river, I came across these butterflies doing what I assume was the same kind of gleaning on some coyote scat. Kinda gross but interesting...

Back to the river...

Went back to the river to another location...also a sand/silt place but farther down toward St. Gabriel. Birding friend Sue Broussard knows the owner. It's a large property, quite overgrown at the moment as it's not a working dirt concern at the moment. Roads were hard to find at times, overgrown with grasses. It was also pretty muddy from the previous day's rain--and let me tell you, river silt makes a really sticky mud! We thought the birding would be excellent as there has been little human intervention in months, but it was rather slow. We had a nice group of Wood Storks - I think we counted 32 in all. Also came across a Nashville Warbler and a group of a dozen or so Yellow Warblers. Lots of Indigo Buntings in their drab brown fall garb, and lots of Painted Buntings, but no males today to ooh and ah over. Sue did have her hair parted by a Barred Owl, so that was kind of exciting!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Ever wonder how a hummingbird takes a bath?

I've created a hummer perch outside my kitchen window for the hummingbirds to sit on and guard the nearby feeders. Today it rained a bit as the fizzling tropical depression passed over. I looked out and saw this hummer bathing in the rain as it perched on the twig -- it sure looked like it was enjoying itself!

Hum Bathing

(sorry about the football soundtrack in the background...the LSU game was on, what can I say??)

Local birding @ Richfield Riversilt

Decided to try for migrant warblers on the river front this morning. Not much luck. Best birds were 6 WOOD STORKS flying over and a beautiful male Painted Bunting (obviously video wasn't taken today, but I can't pass up an opportunity to show it off :-)). Ruby-throats fighting over lantana! South end of property has lots of standing water -- enough that a couple of fisherman were trying their luck. Few shorebirds present. North end of property was VERY overgrown. I pushed through the giant ragweed and emerged covered in yellow pollen--definitely not recommended for those with allergies! Got a nice video of a Northern Waterthrush -- Sibley's Eastern Field Guide nailed this
description. It was seen foraging near standing water and its tail was pumping to beat the band: Long version or Shorter version

Took Ben Hur on the way home. Had another Wood Stork flyover there. Also observed 3 Am. Crows lunching on what appeared to be a juv. Bluebird :-(

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Hawks vs the Crows

So my thought was that I'd start a website and maintain that instead of updating this blog. However, what I've found is that even tho I like the website and want to have for basically static information, I still need an easy way to give updates. Blogger is easier than the website update process. So...I think I'll maintain this blog and link the two together.

On that note...there's no way I can catch up with all the birding events of the past 5 or 6 months. Instead, I'll just start fresh.

Last weekend I went to Hooper Road park in Baton Rouge (a BREC park in Central, which is in north Baton Rouge near the Airport). The park has horse trails! I don't think they're used much, but it was neat to see. Also has bike trails and one labeled walking trail but I really couldn't find that one. The park also has a rec center and a couple of baseball or softball diamonds. I bet they're used, but not at 7am on a Sat. When I emerged from a trail in the woods, I noticed movement near the ball fields. The ball fields are back to back with bleachers that are back to back as well. On one side of the bleachers sat a half dozen crows. On the other bleachers sat two best guess is young Cooper's Hawks. They weren't quite as large as the crows....but they decided they wanted to eat crow! The'd fly over into the mess of crows, who would barely dodge out of the way, occasionally flying up in small circles to avoid the hawks. The hawk would land, sometimes right to the crows, and then try again. If I can anthromorphize a bit, the crows looked either bored or patronizingly amused at the effort of the hawks....and there were no feathers flying! The young hawks caught sight of a fox squirrel, and oh boy they're on it. It managed to elude them first by going to the back side of a telephone pole (where did he go? where did he go?) and when it got back on the ground, it went on teh other side of the chain link fence of the ball field. The hawks flew into and landed on the face of the fence a couple of times trying to figure out how to get to the squirrel. They finally gave up and went back to harrassing the crows. An adult Red-Shouldered Hawk came in at one point to see what was going made a lazy pass at the crows once or twice and then gave up and moved on.

I did take video, but I was some distance away so I'm not sure what you'll be able to tell. I didn't get too close for fear of upsetting the interaction. It was an amusing exchange and certainly made my day!