Monday, April 10, 2017

Turkey Day!

I picked up a new Breeding Bird Survey route in Archer County this year and wanted to scout the route. Most of the routes are in rural areas and the maps can be confusing. My husband agreed to go with me and drive while I tried to navigate. Road signs out on the county roads would be very helpful. There are poles where the signs used to be, but very few signs were on the poles. It took us three hours to drive out, map the route and drive home, but at least I am pretty sure of the route for the count.
Wild Turkey
Photo: Andy Reago and Chrissy McClarren
Wikimedia Commons

You see very different birds in the county than you do in town. Although birdwatching was not the purpose of the morning, I did a little bit anyway in between trying to figure out where we were and where we should be going.  The roads were mostly gravel and dirt. A couple were a little more dirt tracks than actual roads--it was obvious they were not heavily traveled. I am very happy my husband was with me. He must have said at least a dozen times, "This route is not one you want to do by yourself. If you can't find someone to go with you, be sure to wake me up and I will go." (He is not a birder and he isn't a morning person, so it's very sweet of him to go with me, which is about half of the surveys I do.)

I put the picture of a wild turkey on this blog because turkeys were a frequent sighting. I saw an even dozen all told. One was a male showing off for the ladies--always impressive.

I also saw several roadrunners and loggerhead shrikes. I saw two what-appeared-to-be prairie falcons, but they should be gone. They generally leave in early March. But they were too light to be peregrines and too large and light to be kestrels. I can't think of anything else that look like and fly like these birds other than prairie falcons, so I am going to call them that. Of course, I don't have pictures.

Birds seen were:

Blue-winged teal
Turkey vulture
Black vulture
Prairie falcon
Red-tailed hawk
American kestrel
Mourning dove
Wild turkey
Northern mockingbird
Scissor-tailed flycatcher
Loggerhead shrike
Eastern bluebird
Cliff swallow
European starling
American crow
Common grackle
Lark sparrow
Meadowlark (my bet is eastern, although they weren't singing)
House sparrow

I'll be looking forward to running the survey to see what birds I see when I am looking for them.

Good birding!

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