Forsythe Meet-up

Had a good time getting out to Forsythe NWR and meeting some of the folks on Flickr (many of whom are also on here). Though the weather was changing constantly throughout the day (overcast gave way to sunny, which then became very windy, then turned sunny again, etc.), it was a really nice day of birding.

I got there at about 7:30 am, and immediately stated the wildlife loop during a chilly, breezy period. Soon after I got onto the drive, though, the sun came out and cast its beautiful light on everything. The normal cast of characters was out: gulls, Forster’s terns, black ducks, Canada geese, numerous peeps, etc, but there were some highlights, too.

Bittern, Interrupted

Had 70 species today – my highest count in over a year. Highlights included a face-to-face with an American Bittern, some GREAT looks at an immature eagle (and seeing two eagles fight over some food), and watching the mating dances of some willets. Oh – that and listening to the willets and ospreys yelling at each other. I never thought about how similar their calls were until they were shouting back and forth. Some of the other highlights

  • Getting to see an American bittern close up for the first time (although it might have been sick or injured, though I hope not)
  • Watching a Common Yellowthroat singing away with the morning sun
  • Seeing the wild dances of mating willets, as they battled for the females’ attention
  • The cacophony those willets made when they got agitated – and then hearing a pair of osprey responding with their own calls (I’d never thought about how similar the calls were).
  • Seeing a third- year bald eagle swoop in to steal the lunch of a much larger adult…
  • … then having that same eagle fly right over me
  • Having a young black rat snake ‘rattle’ at me
  • My first- of- year sightings of: blue grosbeak, whimbrels, black and golden plovers and more

Snake in the Grass Master of the Dance Belt it out

The full list:

^ = first of year
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Glossy Ibis
American Bittern^
Mute Swan^
Snow Goose^
Canada Goose
Green-winged Teal^
Blue-winged Teal^
American Black Duck
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle^
Red-tailed Hawk
Clapper Rail^
Black-bellied Plover^
American Golden Plover^
Semipalmated Plover^
American Oystercatcher^
Greater Yellowlegs^
Lesser Yellowlegs^
Semipalmated Sandpiper^
Least Sandpiper^
Short-billed Dowitcher
Long-billed Dowitcher
Laughing Gull
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Forster’s Tern^
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Downy Woodpecker
Eastern Kingbird^
Purple Martin
Barn Swallow
Tree Swallow
Blue Jay
American Crow
Fish Crow
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
House Wren
Eastern Bluebird^
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher^
White-eyed Vireo^
Yellow Warbler
Black-and-White Warbler
Common Yellowthroat^
Northern Cardinal
Indigo Bunting^
Blue Grosbeak^
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Song Sparrow
House Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole^
Orchard Oriole^

Eastern Comma
Pearl Crescent^
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Black Swallowtail
Cabbage White
American Lady^

Blue Colonel^
Common Green Darner^
Common Whitetail^
Eastern Forktail

Painted Turtle^
Black rat snake^


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