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? ;-)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Always keep your windows down when you're eating lunch at a Subway ...

On Thursday afternoon we finally made it back to Hailey after the 'un-stucking' of our vehicle and met up with Jack & Dave (who had been in the Albion Mountains and South Hills doing Flammulated Owl surveys on Tues & Wed nights). B/c Jack has been birding for years and knows his birds very well, I was gonna steal Jack for a couple days of point count surveys on a private ranch S of Hailey (collecting baseline bird data prior to an impressive restoration plan) and Dave was on his way back to Boise to get back to Long-billed Curlew surveys on Friday.

Before starting to prep for the next day's surveys, Heidi, Jack, & I all agreed that our hunger from our respective long days was in need of fixing (it was 3pm, after all) and we settled on a nearby Subway as a fast but moderately healthy option. Instead of racing off right away, I decided to eat at least some of my sandwich before starting to drive and soon we rolled the windows down b/c the sun was heating up the car. After a couple minutes, Jack said, "Jay, do you hear this warbler?" (that was singing out the side of the car that he & Heidi were sitting on) and then said something like, "... maybe it's just a funny-sounding Yellow but maybe not ...". I could hardly hear it (just a couple notes that I might have passed off as a Yellow) so after Jack continued to be fidgety about it, I got out to see what I could hear. I could see what Jack was saying ... Yellows often vary in their songs (i.e., they don't always do the perfect "Sweet, sweet, sweet I'm so sweet") but this had the potential to be something different. Jack wondered aloud about Magnolia or Chestnut-sided .... I said to Jack, "I'm not really familiar with Magnolia but do they have a 'wee-tee-o' at the end?", to which Jack said, "Yup!". After another minute, I finally spotted the songster singing from a Birch tree in the yard of a small apartment building. Meanwhile (I guess we were assuming it was just a funny-sounding Yellow), only Heidi had actually brought her binoculars from the car ... which she was nice enough to hand to me momentarily so I could ID the bird .... as Jack had suspected, a Magnolia Warbler!!

A male Magnolia Warbler in Hailey, ID on Thursday, June 18 (photo by Kathleen Cameron; to see more of her great photos, check out these links: http://www.majesticfeathers.com/ and www.gotacameron.com)

I quickly handed her binoculars back so Heidi could enjoy another lifer and then she passed them to Jack (who's from Ohio so still equally excited about our magpies as he is about seeing eastern vagrants out here!) and I started making phone calls. Within 20-30 minutes, the Wood River troops - Poo, Jean, Kathleen, and Larry (several others were out of town or at work) - had arrived. Poo, Jean, and Larry had all been very hospitable with their homes and/or time in the last few days and Kathleen has routinely welcomed other birders to her yard to view interesting birds visiting her feeders (including my lifer Brambling a few years ago!). Thus, I was especially excited to be able to return the favor with this find of an exciting bird in their "backyard" (even if it wasn't actually 'my' find ... but Jack was just as happy to share). Meanwhile, the bird continued to sing & forage about 10-20 meters from us in the Birch & Spruce trees in the yard over the next 45 minutes we were there.

Just to show you who 'Jack-the-rare-warbler-finder' is .... here's a shot of Jack, Jay, & Heidi putting our 'serious' faces on (a difficult task for Heidi ;-) the next afternoon b/c we were being rained out yet again - this time waiting out a passing shower under a protective Willow so that we could do some vegetation measurements in our bird survey areas.

Needless to say, not what we expected as we started eating our sandwiches but I'm glad we chose Subway and I'm glad Jack had his ears on! And, thanks to Kathleen for being willing to share her great photo of the bird.

Happy birding!


No comments:

Post a Comment