04 October 2009

Big Green Big Day / Fossil Fuels Find Flycatchers

This weekend, my friend John F. Garrett of Los Angeles, California and I decided to do Green Big Days in our respective areas. I have yet to hear of his final results, but have no doubt he got more than me. Regardless, I had an awesome day. Venturing out to the levee several times and wandering through the live oaks on campus produced several good birds, 56 species in all. Highlights are below:

Wood Duck: Presumably going towards a communal roost, the seemingly endless stream of Wood Ducks overhead around 6:45 PM totaled around 120, though I probably undercounted greatly.

Common Nighthawk: Not a bird I am used to seeing this late in the year, the five birds along the levee yesterday evening were fun to watch.

Eastern Wood-Pewee: A new campus bird for me, I was able to find three of these flycatchers around LSU.

Mourning Warbler: My year bird of this species was along the Mississippi River below the levee. My thanks go to Jason Beason for helping me ID this species. If not for a story he once told me about a bird he caught in eastern Colorado, I would not have realized what I was looking at!

Northern Parula: Pausing briefly at a construction site in front of one of my classes revealed this new campus bird for me. I later found another by one of the dining halls.

Canada Warbler: Taking the cake for the day, in my opinion, was a lone female Canada Warbler in a Chickadee flock in one of the most urbanized and worst-bird-habitat parts of campus: the Greek Row on Dalrymple.

Today, I took a break from my environmentally friendly attitude and drove down to Richfield Riversilt with Van Remsen, Amy Shutt, Josh Sylvest and some other (I'm sorry I'm bad with names). Overall, it was a pretty dead day with our best birds being Nashville Warbler and a flock of Wood Storks. however, as we were leaving, I saw the profile of a shirke-like bird with a long tail. I looked at it through my binoculars, and immediately got the others on it. It looked like Kingbird, but definitely not an Eastern Kingbird. Van took one look and was able to confirm that it was indeed not an Eastern Kingbird, but a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher! This was a new parish bird for me, and probably the only one I will see east of the Mississippi this year. Score one for fossil fuels finding the rarest bird of the weekend!

Until next time, take care!

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