Planning and organization can be the keys to success in any endeavor. Achieving one’s goals often depends on carefully considering options, mapping out a strategy and following through until the objective has been reached. This approach, when applied to birding, makes good sense and could result in maximizing the total number of species and individual birds observed during any given trip.
So, we had no idea where we wanted to go birding and decided to head to the beach. After seeing a few birds and enjoying a waterside fresh seafood lunch, we drove inland, checked around a lake, found a sod field with a few migrant shorebirds and ended up in a hardwood area adjacent to a river. I don’t know. We didn’t do any planning for this trip but at the end of the day, it sure felt successful.
At the beach, we enjoyed gulls and terns diving for fish, a pair of Semipalmated Plovers chasing bugs, Ruddy Turnstones bathing in rain puddles and saw five young Yellow-crowned Night Herons in the space of a couple hundred yards.
The lake produced a Limpkin showing off his Apple Snail, a young Tricolored Heron resplendent in his chestnut-tinged plumage, an Anhinga drying his shiny black feathers and a loud Carolina Wren scolding the entire time.
Sod fields were dotted with migratory shorebirds, including numerous Killdeer, a couple hundred Least Sandpiper, a few dozen Pectoral Sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs, Short-billed Dowitchers and a Spotted Sandpiper. In a nearby field were hundreds of Barn Swallows performing their dizzying aerobatic show. The bird of the day was a Peregrine Falcon which flew directly overhead just as we were getting in the truck (and AFTER the camera was put away).
In the woods along the river we spotted five Red-headed Woodpeckers (including one juvenile), four Northern Parula, a White-eyed Vireo, Black and White Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and two Yellow-billed Cuckoo. A surprising find was a roosting Common Nighthawk on a tree branch.
All in all, a very satisfying day.
Here’s a sampling of encounters during our random wandering.
If you have an opportunity, plan carefully to increase the chances for a successful birding adventure. Or, go take a look hither and thither and see what may be waiting for you. Oh, and don’t forget yon – that’s where the really good birds are!
Enjoy your search for a natural place and come back for a visit!
See more birds at: Paying Ready Attention (Check out Wild Bird Wednesday.)