Monday, February 16, 2009

In Search of the Redpoll but get Mooned Instead

I wanted Monday to be a special day. A day with promise and perhaps a lifer to celebrate the extra day off from work. I decide to be proactive this time and not go to my usual spots. The first thing I did was search the Central Mass bird data base for bird sightings and was elated to read that over 100 redpolls were spotted the next town over from me at Flint Pond. I arrived there with giddy excitement imagining what they would look like with my own two eyes and what fantastic photos I would take to share on my blog. I get out of my car and listen intently for bird chatter and don't' hear much. I start searching the unfamiliar area and was delighted to see over a dozen evergreen trees so instinctively head over there.

There is no sign of any birds which has me mystified. There are literally hundreds of intact pine cones on the trees and ground so surely they have to be in the area with all of this available food. I decide to take a seat in a bed of soft pine needles and wait for these 100 redpolls to grace me with their presence. I waited, and waited, and waited and............ By the way, did you know that there are over 250 sumac berries on an average cluster of sumac? I found this out this morning because I counted a few of them while I waited.

Finally, I hear some bird chatter and better yet, bird chatter I didn't think I had ever heard before. I excitedly get up and start nervously adjusting my camera settings while looking frantically above the trees to see where the sound is coming from. Suddenly I see quite a few birds dashing from tree to tree in a manic sort of way. Woo hooo! I say to myself as I try and tiptoe around the hardened snow as to not scare them away before I can get a look at them. I search the trees, see movement and zoom in, only to have them go to the next tree. There are now quite a few more doing the same and I am getting flustered because all of this movement is ruining my concentration. Finally, I see movement, zoom in, and click, click, click goes my camera. I am taking pictures at a rapid pace because it's obvious this is going to be the only way I'm going to get a look at the redpolls based on the way they are moving. Sure enough, as quick as they fly into my view, they fly out of my view and go across the pond to an area I can't get to. Grrrrrrrr. Not what I had expected, but they will be back and now I know where to find them. HA!! Now time to see how the pictures turned out. I look at my view finder and have to zoom in and this is what I saw.

AAARRRRRGGGG! This my friends is a tufted titmouse butt in case you haven't figured that out yet on your own. I take one look at this and just want to cry. Hmmmm... Maybe it isn't really a tufted titmouse butt and is actually a redpoll butt. Yes, that's it. Let me see what the second picture looks like I think to myself.

Yup, it's a tufted titmouse allright and a lousy photo at that. It was just so hard for me to focus my camera with all of the movement they were doing. These birds were so quick I had no idea what kind of bird they were as I was furiously clicking away. HA!

I go away feeling foolish yet again for my high hopes and once again mistaken bird identity. Hmmmmm.....I know the tufted titmouse is a hyper bird, but even that was rare for them. If I didn't know any better, I would think that the winter has them bored and they wanted to have some mischievous fun on my behalf.................

Anyhow, I searched that area for a full three full hours and didn't see one redpoll. I find this unbelievable considering there were over 100 of them there yesterday. Just my luck I tell you!!!! I am going back next weekend though and in the meantime am going to practice taking rapid photos with a little less blur. I will see a redpoll this year, I can just feel it!!

THIS was the highlight of my day. Two mourning doves on a wire. Spring can't come soon enough for me people. I love my winter and year round birds, but need to see more, I am getting bored!! ;o)


Craig Glenn said...

LOL! Kallen

You tell the best stories! Always an exciting adventure. I have been trying to capture a tufted TM for months. I would love a good Tufted Tail shot!

Great story!


Shelly said...

Such a cute little butt though! I'm fond of those little birds. Great post.

Deborah Godin said...

Really funny. I love; the part about counting sumac berries out of sheer boredom - you aren't a Taurus by any chance?!

Kallen305 said...

Craig, I find I take the best titmouse photos in my car. I get close to an area of trees they are in and click like mad. For some reason they are not as skittish when you are in the car.

Shelly, I love the titmouse too. In fact, I give them their own coconut shell full of peanuts every morning. They are so comical you have to love them and this little episode makes me love them even more. LOL

Deborah, I am a Scorpio but a compulsive counter. In fact, I add up all of the prices of groceries in my head as I put them in the cart (I round the numbers), so that way I know how much I will spend when I get to checkout. It drives my kids crazy and they don't want to shop with me. ;o)

Kallen305 said...

Okay, if this doesn't take the cake nothing does. I just got off the phone with my neighbor and she says all matter of factly that she had two common redpolls at her feeder yesterday morning. Of course she had no idea that they are my bird of obsession this month and I am overjoyed at her discovery because that means they may come to my yard which is only about 4 houses away.

She told me she called me yesterday to come see them myself, but I was out. That was probably around the time I thought there was an egret at the river. Doh!!

Anyhow, she said they were eating the Nyjer under her feeder and not on the feeder itself. I have a question for those who have redpolls in their yard. Do they come to tube feeders? If so, I am going to hang up another tube feeder with more Nyjer seed so I have two of them out there. I want to make it as appealing to those birds as possible.

Thanks :o)

Shellmo said...

Well your first photo of those trees was stunning! I recognized that tufted titmouse's butt cuz that seems to be the only angle I see of them lately! LOL!

mon@rch said...

Tufted Titmice are soo cute!

dAwN said...

HA...funny story Kallen,
I always wondered how many berries were on a cluster of sumac..but didnt have the patience to count them.
thanks for counting...
nice birdie butts!

Anonymous said...

Oh have a great sense of humor..I am sorry you did see any redpolls..Maybe you need to take a book with you next time..LOL...

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Oh Kallen---this birding can get frustrating, can't it???? I didn't go out much today because it was so cold. BUT--I kept looking out to see what I could see.. NOTHING NEW (just my Pine Siskins, Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, Nuthatches, and Cardinals).. That's it, so no bird pictures from me today!!! Oh Well--there's always tomorrow.

Sorry you had a rough birding day.

Kelly said...

...I'm with Shelly, at least it was a cute little butt, and cool on the Sumac thing. I don't even think I would have thought to count them...impressive! I am now 0 for 4 on the redpolls. I hope you have better luck than I have had your next time out.

Rich said...

Great Story! I would have liked to have had the day off. Good Pictures of bird butts.

Anonymous said...

If you have a manual focus you can set it so you do the focus and not the camera. And then you can also set them so that it keeps things in depth through depth of field.

I am sorry you didn't get the bird you were after but you did get a couple of nice photographs.

Thanks for visiting My Birds Blog and for leaving a comment there.

Abraham Lincoln
Brookville Daily Photo

Anonymous said...

Good Morning, I am visiting you from Betsy's blog. I love this story of your search for the Redpoll. From my kitchen window lately, I have seen blue birds checking out my nesting box and also one of the largest hawks I've ever seen. Of course, when I get bundled up and go out with my camera, NOTHING! Oh well, we'll keep trying, huh?

Deborah Godin said...

p.s. thanks for the like to the Erie blog -cool stuff!!

Larry said...

I can relate to that story.I was searching for Redpolls last year because they were around the state.The problem is that they move around a lot.I finally ran into a few hundred in a place that no one reported them-I wasn't even rally looking for them on that day.
They say it's the thrill of the search.-Nice bit of trivia about the sumac berries.

Kathiesbirds said...

Very funny and entertaining story!


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