My Adventures in Birding

I have been a busy birder!

The first three months of 2018 have been productive. I’ve added over 140 species of birds to my Maryland birding list and every day I try to push the needle a bit more.

I’ve hit some roadblocks along the way due to illness (surprise, surprise, my heartburn is back), time, and life. But so far, my state year is going well.

Here’s just a snippet of what I’ve seen in the past 83 days.

Black-throated Gray Warbler

Black-throated Gray Warbler. Image Credit: Animal Perspectives.
Black-throated Gray Warbler. Image Credit: Animal Perspectives.

When a friend pinged me about “Black-throated Warbler” in Havre de Grace, Maryland, my first thought was, I’m not going to drive all the way out there for an early bird (a bird that’s arrived earlier than usual).

Well, as you can see from the photo above, I really miss understood the text. It wasn’t a Black-throated Blue Warbler, it was a Black-throated GRAY Warbler. Whoops! Well, lucky me, I realized my mistake and got out to Havre de Grace the next day.

The bird took a couple of hours to appear. As soon as it did, I confirmed the bird in my bins (binoculars), snapped a quick photo, and was off to chase the next bird. A King Rail.

Why was the Sighting Important?

The Black-throated Gray Warbler is a Western bird, so having a vagrant on the Eastern side of the United States is a lot to fuss about!

King Rail

Savannah Sparrow. Image Credit: Animal Perspectives.
Savannah Sparrow. Image Credit: Animal Perspectives.

Yeah. I know what you’re thinking. Girl, that’s not a King Rail. I know. I know. But since I didn’t get a photograph of the King Rail, this Savannah Sparrow will have to suffice in commemoration of the experience.

Alternatively, you can check out the video (you’ll need to boost the volume) that I took featuring the King Rail “clucking”.

Why was the Sighting Important?

While not a rare bird, it’s a good bird to add to a list when it’s around.

Orange-crowned Warbler

Orange-crowned Warbler. Image Credit: Animal Perspectives.
Orange-crowned Warbler. Image Credit: Animal Perspectives.

I didn’t think I’d have such a hard time adding an Orange-crowned Warbler to my list. Considering that I bird its habitat, daily, and for at least a few hours at a time, I expected to add it to my list without issue.

Well, I am very grateful that I was able to add this bird to my list and it happened via an invitation. An Orange-crowned Warbler became a regular visitor to a bird feeder in Baltimore.

Seriously. Charm City and at a feeder! Meanwhile, I’ve been walking through the rural forests of Western Maryland.

I totally underestimated this bird and I am very grateful to the homeowner for their hospitality.

Why was the Sighting Important?

While not a rare bird, it’s a good bird to add to a list when it’s around.

Trumpeter Swan “P95”

Trumpeter Swan "P95". Image Credit: Animal Perspectives.
Trumpeter Swan “P95”. Image Credit: Animal Perspectives.

It took a couple of tries before I was able to add this bird to my year list. When I finally added it to my list, it was in a storm drainage pond located on a cloverleaf. It wasn’t my favorite place to pull-over, but it was worth it.

The best part of seeing this bird, was being contacted via Twitter, by a person affiliated with the original bander.

Why was the Sighting Important?

Trumpeter Swans are Alaskan, Canadian, and Pacific Northwest residents. So having this bird in Maryland a real treat and great to add to a list!

Painted Bunting

Painted Bunting. Image Credit: Animal Perspectives.
Painted Bunting. Image Credit: Animal Perspectives.

When I arrived at Masonville Cove in Baltimore (Baltimore has all the birds, apparently, what’s in that bird food?), I was asked to sign in at the front desk. Meanwhile I could hear the “Oohs!” and “Ahhhs!” of the other birders marveling at the highly coveted Painted Bunting.

I signed my name so quickly in the guestbook that I misspelled it. My efforts to be quick made no difference because as soon as I crossed over the threshold into the viewing area, someone said, “You just missed it!”

I’m a patient person, or stubborn (depending on your perspective), and I waited a couple of hours, along with a few other birding friends in the warmth of the center. It was quite a luxury to bird indoors and with friends to pass the time.

When it appeared, I was too excited for words. It was all “Oohs!” and “Ahhhs!” from me.

Why was the Sighting Important?

Painted Buntings are Central American and Southern United States residents. Having one of these birds as far north as Maryland is a big deal!

The Hawk That Got Away

Tundra Swans. Image Credit: Animal Perspectives.
Tundra Swans. Image Credit: Animal Perspectives.

I photographed these Tundra Swans while waiting for a Rough-legged Hawk to appear.

Two states, three counties, several hours, and about 800 miles later — no hawk. At least, not enough evidence to satisfy me. This bird will be a life bird for me, so despite having crappy photos, even worse views, and other birders saying, “that’s it”. I need more to go on.

Perhaps I already had the bird, but all I can gather is that I have a hawk, light in color, with a lot of sunlight on it, and it was always in the company of other hawks (Red-tailed to be exact).

For now, I am hoping that I’ll see the bird in migration, but until then, I have a lot to look forward to this winter!

My Adventures in Birding continue!

Advertisements
Posted by:Animal Perspectives

Science writer with interest in the areas of ornithology and environmental science. With nearly a decade of experience as a technical writer and four years of experience as a science writer/blogger, AnimalPerspectives.Com was created with the belief that scientific information should be presented to the public in an easy to access format — information is for the many. O holds a B.A. and M.A. in world English literature and is currently earning an advanced degree in Environmental Biology. She maintains 71 bird nesting boxes for a local organic farm in Maryland, works with birds of prey at a raptor rehabilitation center, and birds daily. She is also an amateur nature photographer.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.