Saturday, March 6, 2010

8 Miles of Trails and 2 New Birds to add to my year list

I decided to stay very local today (as in keep the car in the driveway and head off by foot local) and wanted to see how much of my local area I could cover with as little pavement as possible so I mapped out all of the local trails in my area and how I could connect to them. I started off and the first thing that struck me was how much bird song there was which has been the norm the past week or so. Besides the Northern Cardinal, it seems as if the Song Sparrow is the most vocal like the one above who was singing his little heart out as I ran by and stopped for a photo.
I finally made my way to a new trail I discovered a couple of weeks ago and now on of my favorites and was delighted to see many sparrows including this lone Field Sparrow which is a first of the year bird for me. Sweet!!
I continued on and ran the trails which are some of the most narrow and windy I have come across ever which made it quite the challenge and a lot of fun. Everywhere you turned there would be a sharp turn which was like a winding maze of sorts so not only were you working your legs, but your reflexes as well. I finally got out of the maze and onto a clean trail when suddenly I could hear "Who Cooks for you, Who Cooks for youuuuuuuuuu. I am in the zone at this point and the only thing I think of is "Hey that's Alan's Ipod", and then it clicks and I stop dead in my tracks knowing that what I am hearing aint no Ipod, but the real deal. My heart is racing as I am silent praying that the owl will call again and sure enough it does, so back in the maze I go doing loops trying to get a 10-4 on the owl. Sad to say I never saw it, but it was clearly a Barred Owl by that call. Seriously, one of the nicest sounds I have ever heard in the woods and that's saying a lot because there are so many birds I enjoy hearing under wooded tree cover, but this one takes the cake. Another bird to put on the list!
I finally made my way onto some powerlines that were still covered in snow and low and behold there were flocks of Dark-eyed Juncos around and they really seemed to like the snow and spent their time foraging around in it like the one above..

I finally leave that area and head onto other trails closer to home where I see many chipmunks like the one above who has gotten the 411 that spring is drawing near and decided to check it out for himself!

The ground is just starting to thaw at this point and I my senses are alive as I can smell autumn in the air due to the leaves that are still fragrant as I run along the path which was very hilly in places and made it very challenging.
As I was running quietly, I could see a Red-tailed Hawk appear out of nowhere and I stop dead in my tracks trying to get my camera on and it disappears into some thick tree cover. The Blue Jays see it too and off they go to stalk the hawk! I searched for a while using the frantic calls of the Blue Jays as my guide, but gave up after a while as they were too deep in the woods.
There was also a Red-bellied Woodpecker in the same locality which was nice to see and the 2nd I would see today. Love their call and they were both quite vocal today
I continue on my run and hear another familiar and very much missed call which is that of the Northern Flicker, above. Now I don't know about any of you, but I find Flickers to be tough birds to photograph as they are rather camera shy. Not this one though who was so absorbed in eating that it didn't pay any attention to me as I took some photos.

All in all, it was 8.15 miles of running and it was fabulous. I am really liking this birding by foot and find that it can be rather productive at times, just like today. Which made it ever more satisfying is that it's all close to home. A great day indeed.

Take care all!


Ruth's Photo Blog said...

The signs of spring are very evident in your area.The Blue Jay is a neat picture.

Rich said...

Sure looking like spring. It is getting there.

NCmountainwoman said...

Great post. Beautiful birds and trails.

A Scattering said...

There are a LOT of us bird nerds around, it never ceases to amaze me. My cousin from Toronto is looking forward to the New River Nature and Birding Festival, she's sent her payment and is counting down the weeks. I finally got a so-so shot of a Belted Kingfisher that's been mocking me all winter - it's evil I tell you, evil! Have a great week Kim!

Biju.P.B said...

hi nice blog... am delighted to see so many never seen birds before.. I belong to the extreme south of Indian sub-continent and do a bit of birding in week ends with my camera.. And I do visualize your enthusiasm .. TFS..


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