My photo essay of my week's vacation has come to a close, with one exception: a list of the birds I saw. My best birding spots were the cabin area of Lake Hope State Park and Indigo Hill. Here's my trip list, Oct. 1-6, 2007. (FOS equals First of the Season, "best birds" are in italics.)
Eastern Screech Owl
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker FOS
Red-breasted Nuthatch FOS
Ruby-crowned Kinglet FOS
Cape May Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
White-throated Sparrow FOS
I added Killdeer, Canada Goose, and Mallard on the drive home.
51 species might be considered slow by many birders, but for me, it is not the number of birds I see, but the enjoyment I get out of seeing them. Calling in screech owls with my sister or sharing warbler ID's with Julie made it so much more fun than merely ticking birds on a list and hurrying to the next spot.
I rate my birding days by how many woodpecker species I see, and this week, I swept the woodpeckers, all 7 species, when we got the sapsucker at Indigo Hill. It was really fun to watch a juvenile Red-headed feeding on acorns at Lake Hope. He would land on the end of a branch, flailing about so that half the acorns fell to the ground before he could pluck one off. Pileateds are always a big deal, and they were everywhere at Lake Hope.
The Yellow-billed Cuckoo was a major thrill. I heard something thrashing about in the trees near the Red-headed and thought it might be an adult, but then the cuckoo came out and sat in plain view, bashing a caterpillar on a branch to tenderize it before dinner. I was excited to see the Ruby-crowned Kinglet at Indigo Hill, as I mostly see Golden-crowneds. The Lincoln's Sparrow viewed from the tower was a treat, as was the pair of Red-breasted Nuthatches at Julie's feeders.
Birding is not just about the birds, it is about the people and the places, too.