Saturday, October 20, 2007

Vacation Trip List

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.)

Turkey Vulture
Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Eastern Screech Owl
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker FOS
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Eastern Wood-peewee
Eastern Phoebe
Blue Jay
American Crow
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Red-breasted Nuthatch FOS
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet FOS
Eastern Bluebird
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Cedar Waxwing
European Starling
Tennessee Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Palm Warbler
Scarlet Tanager
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow FOS
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

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.


Anonymous said...

I agree whole-heartedly. It's not the number of birds, it's the thrill of each one.

Yesterday, I saw a large bird settle on a branch outside my deck. Imagine my surprise when I realized it was a Northern Goshawk! Here in western NC! While I was delighted to see him, I hope he passes on through. There was no activity at the bird feeders for more than an hour after the sighting.

Lynne said...

Well I think that's an impressive list- many would be lifers for me. You're exactly right on birding being about the people and places. It's what anchors the memories. While it's always thrilling for me to see a new bird, what I like best is watching that bird's behavior- watching it be a bird.

Susan Gets Native said...

Are you SURE you saw a red-tail? Are you SURE it wasn't a red-shouldered?

: )

Good list. And you are right. It's the enjoyment of the chase and the visiting with other of my most fun bird trips was with you at the gravel pits. We saw JACK for birds, but the hilarity was fantastic.

KatDoc said...

Funny girl, Susan! Yes, Red-TAILED Hawk is one I am sure of, at least, when they soar overhead and I can see their big, red tails. I often screw up Red-shoulderd and Cooper's Hawks, for reasons not yet clear to me.

Glad you can remember the fun at the pits, not all the birds we missed.


Kathy said...

That is a wonderful list for a week of bird watching!

KGMom said...

I am most impressed with your list. I wouldn't know half the birds, so I could never accumulate such a list.
I will content myself with reading about successful birding trips.