Monday, July 10, 2017

blue jean baby, L.A. lady

Purple martin condo at Seven Islands State Birding Park

A blue grosbeak she wanted. And a blue grosbeak she'd get. Rachael Eliot, a.k.a. Starbuck, needed one for her life list. It would be bird number 149 and I kinda, sorta knew where we might find one this morning. And with those new L.A. movie star sunglasses how could I not "make it so," Jean-Luc?

And being that I am a professional interpretive naturalist and connecting people to nature is my sworn-for-life duty, and Starbuck is my best bird nerd student ever, blessed with hearing geared for the nuance of passerine chatter, our mission was set. 

Beautifully bucolic Seven Islands State Birding Park was our destination, because I knew that the former farmland is where the chunky blue birds with cardinal-like bills and chestnut wing bars like to hang out. 

Blue grosbeaks are wide spread in the southeast but not in great numbers. Nope. Their favored breeding sites are shrubby, old-fields and that probably is a habitat type on the decline. Blue grosbeaks have a husky warbling song and appear to be overgrown indigo buntings. We found one surprisingly with minimal effort at eye level along the dirt road that has been pushed through the meadow.

For a birder, finding your target bird is like winning the lottery. No, not the million dollar kind, that would be like finding an ivory-billed woodpecker, but like buying a winning $20 ticket at the corner Weigels

We also found numerous field sparrows, indigo buntings, chats, yellow-throats, purple martins, tree swallows, perhaps a juvenile summer tanager, or at least, that was our consensus, and a lackadaisical kettle of black vultures just getting airborne.

The most curious sighting of the morning? A wackadoo mockingbird chasing a bald eagle up and down the river. Was that a metaphor for our current executive branch of government, or what?


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