Sunday, March 27, 2011

Late March Birding

Combining Saturday and Sunday, I spent over 8 hours birding at Pheasant Branch Conservancy this weekend - 47 bird species were found. Here are a few observation highlights:
  • First daytime American Woodcock I've ever seen at the corridor.
  • First-of-spring Great Blue Herons & Hermit Thrush.
  • Several hop-scratching Fox Sparrows.
  • Singing Winter Wrens.
I spent some time digiscoping Cedar Waxwings feeding on buckthorn berries:

You'll notice the shallow focal depth due to my close proximity to the birds. For over an hour, in groups of 10 to 20 individuals at a time, the waxwings cycled through roosting, eating, drinking, and occasionally bathing. While I was busy with the waxwings, an American Robin flew in and perched on a small stump close by:

On my way home on Saturday, I came across a Sandhill Crane foraging in one of the agricultural fields adjacent to the conservancy. Digiscoping from my car, it kept coming closer, and closer, until I gave up trying to get an image of the entire bird. Actually, I think the body shot shows wonderful texture and color:

Location: Pheasant Branch
Observation date: 3/26/11 & 3/27/11
Number of species: 47

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Northern Shoveler
Lesser Scaup
Pied-billed Grebe
Great Blue Heron
Turkey Vulture
Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Coot
Sandhill Crane
American Woodcock
Ring-billed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Great Horned Owl
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Blue Jay
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Winter Wren
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
American Tree Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Common Grackle
House Finch
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

All images © 2011 Mike McDowell


  1. The elegance of those waxwings just kills me. Great photos, Mike. Thanks!

  2. Awesome photos Mike! .. But were you in the moment? :)

  3. Thanks for the comments!

    @Dawn: Most def! :)


  4. Fabulous, as always, but I especially love the waxwings!