Friday, April 23, 2010

Songbird Banding Season Begins

Songbird banding season has begun and I'm doing my best to get out to RIT's bird observatory 3 days a week and to 3BO (Braddock Bay Bird Observatory) twice a week. RITBO is located near some wetland habitat, so some of the species caught there differ from the ones we generally get at 3BO. So far at RITBO I've discovered just how grabby Red-winged Blackbirds are. Attempts are made to allow the bird to grab a pencil or a straw instead of the bander's finger/s, with varying levels of success (think Indiana Jones substituting the bag of sand for the idol in the often-parodied beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark). Earlier this week a male RWBL I was banding flung the pencil he was holding at us, and then promptly grabbed onto my fingers again.

Tonight BBRR's 22nd Annual Bird of Prey Days kicks off with a live program featuring Liberty the Bald Eagle at 7 pm. I'm excited for this weekend's events, although admittedly kind of bummed that this also happens to be the weekend a couple of friends are coming to town for a visit, haven't seen one of them in months! Sigh. Guess it's not such a horrible problem--having lots of things to look forward to all at once, just wish they didn't conflict with each other.

Daily summaries of the banding operations at 3BO can be found here
and event details for Bird of Prey Days can be found here!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Mom + Dad at the Hawkwatch

Mom and Dad drove out for a little visit this past weekend, and on Saturday I took them by the hawkwatch platform at Braddock Bay. I felt sure that Murphy's law would prevent me from showing them anything other than Turkey Vultures or Red-tailed Hawks, but it turned out to be a great flight day.
a kettle of Turkey Vultures

Monday, April 5, 2010

Birding with Friends

Thursdays are my birding days, since my schedule is wonderfully blank. :) A couple of weeks ago I spent the whole day birding and even brought a couple of friends along, one in the morning, one in the afternoon. Both were very good sports, although my afternoon buddy gets the gold for putting up with my ridiculousness as we wandered around looking for a ruffed grouse, but I'll get to that in a moment.

Rob very admirably left the comfort of bed behind and came to join me in the morning at the marina on the west shore of Braddock Bay.
I got to show him a good variety of ducks, then brought him to the hawkwatch for a visit before he had to head off to work. Next I met up with my friend Chris for some more birding.

As for the grouse (which we did not end up seeing, or hearing), I had looked it up on eBird the day before, and written down the name of the road, figuring I'd just get out my map since I knew the general area it was in, but according to my map, the road doesn't exist. After some wandering, we stopped at a gas station and asked for directions. We left with the BEST MAP EVER :P
(and yes, I kept it)
Chris had fun teasing me when I brought him to the hawkwatch.
Hawkwatch regular: "Now, this is a different guy than you had up here this morning, right?"
Chris (jokingly shocked): "How many guys do you bring up here?!"
Me: "I told you I brought Rob earlier!"

Such silliness. :P We ended the day with some good pizza.

Just 9 more days until we set up the mist nets for songbird banding season!

Take nothing but pictures (and maybe the trash of jerks who came before you), leave nothing but footprints.