A (mostly) friendly competition between 2 avid birdwatchers that are also friends/co-workers. Who can observe more bird species in Idaho in 2009? Will they still be friends at year's end? ;-)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Thanks Heidi!

Would you believe that we could go birding for 6 hours on Sunday afternoon/evening and that Jay would see 3 'year' birds and Heidi none? Given her lifer rate of late, I would never have believed it myself - and I actually saw 4 year birds on Sunday, including a Lewis's Woodpecker flying over 13th & Grove in Boise early Sunday pm.

B/c we hadn't had our shorebird fix on Saturday (when we raced off to an isolated riparian draw on the NW side of the Owyhee Mountains in hot pursuit of a male Hermit Warbler found the day before by Nampa birder Jim Holcomb - we struck out but saw many great migrants and enjoyed birding in a great new spot), we joined up with Rob Miller for a quick trip to Indian Creek and Black's Creek reservoirs on Sunday afternoon before heading to the Boise River WMA to pull some field gear out of storage for our summer field work (well, and bird the riparian draw there).

I need to point out right off the bat that the 3 year birds I saw while birding with Heidi were all found by her and pointed out to me. Rob & I could see that she had mixed emotions about allowing me to catch up (by seeing some species she'd already seen this year) but she was nice about it ;-). After meeting at Heidi's place, the three of us walked up the road to see a male Black-chinned Hummingbird at a neighbor's feeder. Then, at Indian Creek Reservoir, soon after arriving Heidi scanned the shore and said something like, "Is that a godwit? ... oh man!..." and then started to waffle a bit about how much she wanted to share the info with me (since she'd seen Marbled Godwit the previous weekend but I was still waiting on my first of the year). Sure enough, a single godwit stood out among the BN Stilts and Wilson's Phalaropes that it was foraging near - cool! We saw many other shore & waterbirds there, including a snazzy Blue-winged Teal that posed next to a pair of Cinnamons.

A male Blue-winged Teal who had moved himself in between a pair of Cinnamon Teal (photo by Rob Miller)

At the Boise River WMA, Heidi kept catching glimpes of a hummingbird coming to a flowering currant bush and we finally spied a female Calliope Hummingbird! My 4th year bird of the day ... and the Yellow-breasted Chats that we were hoping for never sang or showed themselves (probably b/c the sun sunk behind the hills just as we arrived - not great timing for bird activity).

I should also point out that Rob also added 5 birds to his life list. Not sure what this was like for Heidi - who's accustomed to having the high lifer and/or year-bird total on each birding outing ;-). Oh well, I guess she'll just have to wait for another day for her next installment of lifers!

Happy spring!


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