I got to work a little early to plow through some stuff so I could take some time away for lunch and then headed to Notre Dame Cemetery figuring that perhaps I could get a Belted Kingfisher there as I was striking out everywhere else and now this was getting personal ;-). As soon as I arrived I scanned the waters and could see three Wood Ducks and the two Canada Geese below who were wading in the river. I decided to do some walking when suddenly I could hear the unmistakable call of the Belted Kingfisher. I can tell it's flying by and I scan my eyes quickly using my ears as my guide which was hard to do because the river is narrow and it caused its call to echo someone which was mis- leading. Finally, after scanning for a while I see it perch and I try and get a little closer for a photo. As soon as I turn on my camera off it flies down the river so I was never able to get my first record shot of one for the year. STILL my nemesis as I wanted a photo to go with the sighting, but will take it just the same.
I continued to scan the river and would see 1 Mute Swan, two Mallards and two Black Ducks like the one in the picture above. Picture came out lousy but getting decent pictures here can be "iffy" with the vegetation that often gets in the way as you can see.
I am enjoying the day and looking for birds when suddenly I hear a call that I remembered from last year which was none other than some Killdeer!!! Once again I use my ears and my ears tell me to direct my eyes to the sky and low and behold there are two of them flying above. I get my camera and hope my hawk watching photography skills from last year as still good as I manage a lousy photo just like the old days!
And another just to mess with you all a little more. ;-). I was psyched at this point as I didn't even have this bird on my list of potential birds for the day so it made it even more sweet!
I continued my way along the river and toward the cat tails to look at the various blackbirds and would be followed by various sparrows who would pop up from thick brush and land on the ground for foraging. At first I would put my binoculars on all of them, just to see it was the same Song Sparrows as before so after a while I gave up. I saw more Wood Ducks in thick vegetation and was trying to get a count on them when suddenly another sparrow pops into view. I decide to check it out knowing it will once again be the same Song Sparrow as before but the first thing I notice is a tinge of yellow above the eyes and bill and I stop............It can't be I think.......Hmmmmm, this looks like a Savannah Sparrow to me but then see the dark central spot and doubt creeps in as I try and remember if a Savannah has one. I can't remember so then decide to go on the length of the tail.
The tail looks long to me but it's notched.............. I decide to stop using my binoculars and whip out my camera for some record shots so I could go home and compare them with my various guides. My gut tells me it's a Savannah, but logic tells me it's a Song Sparrow as I stare at the clock on occasion at work anxious to get home to check and kicking myself for not leaving a guide at work for emergencies such as the one I was experiencing at that point!
Both my Peterson's and Sibley's tell me it's a Savannah Sparrow and I couldn't be happier. Seriously one of my favorite birds and was so happy to get it when I wasn't expecting it. A very cool find for the month indeed!
I was running out of time so never had the chance to scan all of the blackbirds for ID, but did manage to get one photo of a Red-winged Blackbird like the one above.
As I headed back to my car, I would see a common site lately which was a Red-tailed Hawk soaring from above. Wish the weather would stay like this until May!!!
Take care all!