Last weekend, millions of people devoted their full attention to football and the accouterments of Super Bowl festivities. This weekend, the annual Grammy awards along with the unscheduled and untimely demise of a pop icon ensured that music dominated wide interest. Do you think that any event in our lifetimes will ever focus so much positive attention and excitement on nature or birding? Not likely, right?
Still, we each know what we like and focus our faculties accordingly. Though Corey had a host of good birds to choose from (again) he has decided that his Best Bird of the Weekend was the one he found because he took the time to scope through a ginormous flock of Canada Geese: a diminutive Cackling Goose at Blue Chip Farm in southern Ulster County, New York. I found myself on the shore of Lake Ontario on the most bitter day of this mild winter to observe over 1,700 maniacs take a Polar Bear Plunge. I brought my bins expecting nothing more interesting than a Bonaparte’s Gull, but was pleasantly astonished when a Purple Sandpiper flew right in front of me to forage the slush-scummed surface of the lake.
Believe it or not, this icy tableau includes a Purple Sandpiper
What was your best bird of the weekend? Tell us in the comments section about the rarest, loveliest, or most fascinating bird you observed. If you’ve blogged about your weekend experience, you should include a link in your comment.
My best bird was a Song Sparrow at my feeders yesterday afternoon. I didn’t blog about it, but I did put up a post of some iPodscoped images I took last year. Feel free to check it out: http://wordsaboutbirds.com/2012/02/12/ipodscoping-2011/
The heart-warming attempts of the Short-toed Treecreepers at Heidelberg Zoo to make us humans forget the Siberian winter temperatures by singing their hearts out was certainly the highlight.
My best bird was a Townsend’s Warbler seen in Carlisle Pa. A beautiful bird and a lifer for me!
Being fortunately enough to live just one and a half hours from Linton, Indiana, I drove to the Beehunter Marsh and was among many birders who saw the HOODED CRANE. I arrived at just the right time and a friendly birder with a scope let me see it immediately. It stood out among many Sandhills with it white head and darker body. A life experience1
a Smew on my local patch, the first seen here in something like 30 years!
My BBOtW (and of the month, and probably the year so far) was completely unexpected. Driving up highway 94 toward Chicago, at around exit 66b there were a few Turkey Vultures coasting overhead … joined by a Bald Eagle. There is a pair that nests about 4 miles from this spot, so I’m thrilled I got a chance to see one of them. Just wish I hadn’t been driving, so I could have gotten a longer look!
We decided to go back to Granger Lake, east of Austin, Texas and look for the Whooping Cranes again. We didn’t see them, but did manage to see a Burrowing Owl, which was my bird of the weekend:
Some good birds out there. I had some top-notch species while guiding at Heliconias Lodge in Costa Rica. Among Crested Owl, Black-crested Coquette, and Gray-throated Leaftosser were great but the weekend award went to my lifer Keel-billed Motmot.
I had a wonderful time on Galveston Island birdwatching Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. Also went to Sheldon Lake State park and Huntsville state park along the way. I saw 47 species that I could identify, and 10 of them were lifters. There were many others I couldn’t identify because they wouldn’t hold still long enough for my shivering hands to hold the binoculars to (or because I’m not skilled enough in telling one sparrow from another, whichever). Highlights were many Brown Pelicans, 20 Sandhill Cranes, and a large pile of Black Skimmers. Oh, and my second ever Wood Duck. All that fun followed by a day with my grandbaby–life is good!
Definitely the Peregrine Falcon perched on the Osprey nest platform at Jamaica Bay
Boreal Chickadees. They’re all over the place along with the Gray Jays up in the Hudson Bay lowlands, and they come right into camp so not much effort needed to find them.
I saw a Hooded Merganser.
I carpool-birded Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe to net Ross’ Goose, Barred Owl and King Eider, all lifers:
Lucky you. Mild winter weather attracted a record crowd (of people) to the Hudson River EagleFest, but only a few eagles. I was lucky to see a few of the eagle.
?where is Exit 66 on I-94? When I lived in Chicago, we had to drive to the Mississippi River to see eagles.