Saturday, February 21, 2009

Study Break Birding

After one of the most difficult weeks in any of my college careers, Karyn and I took some time off to search for birds.

It has been exam time at Boise State University. I had an Ornithology test last Friday, Biology Tuesday night, and Ecology and Chemistry on Wednesday. The Ornithology test was quite difficult. I received a low B on it. Not what I was hoping for. I don't have grades back yet on the others, but expect A's on both Ecology and Biology. Chemistry is another matter. I was not able to finish the exam in the allotted time. The professor indicated that he did not necessarily expect us too. As a result, I have no idea how it will be graded. Anyway, on to the fun stuff.

A few weeks ago one of our local bird nerds discovered what was believed to be a Red-breasted Sapsucker in a park near the university. This would be an extremely rare appearance in Idaho. Only one or two have ever been reported in the state. After all of the local experts were able to observe the bird, the leading conclusion is that it is a hybrid between a Red-breasted Sapsucker and a Red-naped Sapsucker. The later more common in Idaho. Since the location is near my route to school, I have stopped on a number of occasions to see if I could find the bird. No luck. On Thursday, Karyn and I were out birding in another park and decided to swing by for a look. There it was, and we had a camera! Here are a couple of the shots.

From Hybrid Sapsucker
From Hybrid Sapsucker

As you can tell it is a beautiful bird. We watched for about 20 minutes before he/she flew off.

Friday afternoon was another beautiful day in Boise, sunny with highs in the 50's. We couldn't resist getting out for a hike. This time we headed into our local reserve, Hull's Grove, which is within walking distance from the house. We saw the usual species, including the Great-horned Owl. On the way back we caught this male American Kestrel eating a vole in a tree. It was interesting to watch him remove the fur and spit it out, preferring the juicy red meat instead. At one point he removed what appeared to be the large intestine and dropped it to the ground. Definitely a picky eater. It was also impressive to watch his crop enlarge as more and more of the vole was consumed. At one point he appeared to call for his mate, but she did not arrive.

From Blogger Pictures

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