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? ;-)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

We're off!

Our day of birding in the Owyhees warrants a longer post, cuz it was definitely awesome...
BUT tomorrow marks the day when Jay and I take off (along with Matt and Jack) to start our summer of field work! woohoo!! We're looking forward to it, but as I write this, Jay is spazzing out over all the stuff he has left to do before we leave (and I probably should be!)

Yesterday after a bird banding demonstration at Celebration Park along the Snake River (as a part of the Snake River Birds of Prey Festival) Jay and I headed to the Owyhees with buddy Gary to search again for Black-throated Sparrows. We spent some time on the rocky hillsides, and in some riparian draws; then made quick stops at Ted Trueblood WMA and Indian Creek Reservoirs. We didn't find the sparrows, but found yearbirds: a singing Yellow-breasted Chat and a pair of Lewis' Woodpeckers (first time I was able to see their colors! oh, and these were kindly pointed out by Jay....I guess we're even now :) heehee. thanks Jay!) and Lifers: a total of 4 Wilson's Warblers during the day and a singing Fox Sparrow (both pecies I'd banded but not seen in the 'wild'), Common Yellowthroats (got to hear one singing, and got good views of another one) AND Black-throated Gray Warblers!! Sweet! (we heard them singing for a long time before we finally couldn't take it any longer and decided to climb up the steep hillside above the road and track one down....and it was worth it! we got some awesome looks, and got to see him singing as well!) Other cool birds included a pair of baby Killdeer (hooray!), a cute Semi-palmated Plover, and some way-too-easy-to-find Blue-winged Teal.

As I mentioned, fieldwork starts tomorrow with surveys for Flammulated Owls, and continuing with songbird surveys later in the week. We hope we'll be seeing tons of awesome birds, but likely wont have much time to blog about it.
But not to fear, we have to return to civilization eventually for the occasional shower ;) so keep checking back!

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