Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Birders Field Trip

On February 19 I headed west with some members of our local bird club to spend a few days birding in west central Indiana. We spent Saturday and Sunday exploring the areas of Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area and Greene-Sullivan State Forest in Linton, IN.

One our first sightings of the trip were Snow Geese. The ones we spotted were Blue Phase (their coloring). First time I had seen these beauties. The next day we would see some in White Phase.

Someones quick eye noticed something rustling in the ditch along one of the drives. We paused and witnessed 8 Bobwhite crossing in front of us. I was only quick enough to catch one of them.
This hawk perched long enough for us to get a good look at him. Possibly a Red tailed Hawk.

It was a surprise to see the following and I was thrilled to witness it. Sandhill Cranes were migrating in by the dozens. I had never seen this bird before. After this trip I can happily say I say hundreds if not thousands of them.

A very pretty bird. Mostly grayish with a red patch on it's head. At night they rest in the water but during the day we saw them feeding and flirting in the fields. You will notice the one bird towards the left is hunched down a bit - he was "dancing" to impress a potential mate. This was fascinating to watch.

The weekend we were there two of the volunteers for the area were there counting birds - tracking the species migrating through. They recorded 7,200 Sandhill Cranes on one day. Another species they were counting were the geese. Below a group of mixed geese were spotted. I forget how many hundred are in this picture.
It is mix of Snow Geese, White Fronted Geese, and Canada Geese.
This beautiful pair of Mute Swan flew in while we were watching some ducks and geese.
Across the lake is a Bald Eagle perched in it's nest. This picture is not very good - but for the distance it turned out decent. With the eagle's head being white it's hard to see - but you can barely make out the 'shoulders' and head.
In a different area there is an abandoned Bald Eagle nest.
This nest was built and used 3 years ago. It has been abandoned since. It's somewhat close to the road and attracted too much attention. Spooked the pair from returning the following year.
We came along a resting deer. I wish this had turned out clearer - it's definitely a Kodak moment. We saw many deer during our trip.
During our two day trip at Goose Pond and the Forest we saw approximately 50 species of birds. Between our drive there, two days there, one day around Indianapolis for our drive back, and our drive home we saw 64 species. Many of which were new to me. It was a fascinating and refreshing weekend.

The end