I would now like to take a moment to interrupt your regularly scheduled program. I discovered a set of photos from my last solo bird walk of the Birdathon over a week ago. I suppose I was getting tired of posting bad pictures of birds and writing about bird walks, so maybe it was a Freudian slip?
In any case, on the last day of the Birdathon, I decided to take a drive over to Standifer Gap Marsh for the second time. It was a long shot given it was going to be about 1PM in the afternoon when I arrived (the worst time for birding) and it was hot and sunny out. But, needing 10 more species to get to my goal of 100, and knowing that the marsh is well known for Least Bitterns and Virginia Rails, I thought is was worth taking the chance.
Tisen and I arrived to discover a completely empty parking lot. We got out of the car and spotted our first bird–a Red-winged Blackbird. This was not very exciting since we see Red-winged Blackbirds every time we walk the park outside our building, but I did take a few shots of it. I managed to get one of it walking, which was kind of fun.
We walked slowing along the road that goes between two parts of the marsh, looking on either side to see if we could spot anything really exciting. The bad part about going birding some where new and hoping to see something even newer is that the odds of me feeling confident that I’ve correctly identified whatever it was are pretty slim, meaning I pretty much needed to get a good enough photo to identify it later and get confirmation from someone else. That’s a lot of pressure when you’re birding in the middle of the afternoon and walking a dog at the same time. Of course, that would have been a good problem to have.
As it was, I spotted a coot hanging out in broad daylight taking a nap on top of a broken off snag in the marsh, endless numbers of turtles, and a gaggle of Canada geese in the nearby soccer field before deciding we’d had enough sunshine and heading back into the wooded part of the park.
The woods were quite nice. Tisen got to walk off lead, exploring ahead and behind me while I cranked back my neck and looked for Warblers. I heard several different warblers, but am a bit rusty on my warbler songs, so I didn’t feel certain I could correctly identify them by song. The one I saw and then saw again and then saw some more until I was rather tired of seeing it was the Yellow-rumped Warbler. It makes me laugh how quickly we go from being amazed to annoyed when someone becomes overly familiar.
In the end, I found no new birds, but Tisen and I enjoyed our walk.