Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Best Laid Plans

My intent this morning was to head out to Clay County to look for the tundra swans near Lake Arrowhead after I stopped in to care for my charges at Wild Bird Rescue. During the winter we don't have a lot of birds, but some good ones--currently, we have 2 screech owls, a barred owl, red-tailed hawk and of course, Missi, our educational Mississippi kite.

However, when I got up, the fog was thick--knowing the area the swans were reported is well back from the road, I knew there would be no chance of seeing the birds at that distance with this much fog, so a change in plans was needed.

When I got to Wild Bird Rescue, I decided to walk down to the little inlet and see just how bad the visibility was over the lake. I couldn't see more than about 15 yards with any clarity. In spite of that, the 5 minutes I spent there yielded some good birds, to include several hundred red-winged blackbirds coming up out of the reeds for the day, a Cooper's hawk, a couple of coots, a pied-billed grebe, a marsh wren, a belted kingfisher, and six great blue herons that were spaced every few yards along the bank.

I got very close to the Cooper's hawk. I think he was concentrating on the red-winged blackbirds and contemplating breakfast. He was fairly low in a tree along the bank, so I wasn't more than 5 yards from him and had a chance to get a good look before he decided to move to a taller tree across the inlet.

The marsh wren was a special treat. I hear them occasionally, but they tend to stay in the thick of the reeds and when they pop out, it is only for a second or two. This morning, the wren was scolding and hopping around on top of the reeds, then flew across the path, right in front of me, so I had the opportunity to get a good look.

All in all, a very fruitful 5-minute investment. Right now, I am keeping an eye out on my feeders for Project Feederwatch, waiting for the fog to burn off so I can head out on my swan quest. The little ruby-crowned kinglet as usual, cannot resist the suet cake.

Good birding!


Traveler Literary Gnome said...

A good five minutes indeed, even without the tundra swans!

Penny Miller said...

Got the swans this morning, though!