While all my schoolmates were in class, and my old colegues were at work, I was out birding!! One advantage of taking 4 labs this semester is that during dead week (this week), when most of my labs were done, it seemed like I have nothing to do. There is that research paper due, but I finished it weeks ago. I could start studying for next week's exams, but it just doesn't seem right (actually I did end up studying today). Birding was a much better idea.
Karyn and I headed out to our favorite spot, Hull's Grove. It's our favorite as we can walk from the house. It is about a 4 mile loop from the house, passing two wetland ponds and plenty great bird habitat.
The first stop was the "lower pond". Here we found the usual array of Red-winged Blackbirds, Mallards, an unusual group of Canada Geese, and one of the resident Pied-billed Grebes. There's a pair of Grebes in the pond, so we are hoping for chick photos soon. A narrow trail from here produced many of the day's highlights. A Macgillivray's Warbler, a Yellow Warbler, a Black-headed Grosbeak, and this Calliope Hummingbird. All first for the year!
Hiking past here up onto Chickadee Ridge we could see the Red-tailed Hawk chicks in the nest. There appears to only be two this year. It's possible there was a third one hidden in there. Bank Swallows were flying near our heads. They have definitely moved into the sand cliffs for the year. We stopped at the Cooper's Hawk nest that we discovered a few weeks ago (photos earlier on my blog and here). It looks like incubation is continuing. No sign of chicks at this time. We found the Great Horned Owl family happily in the trees above the "Owl's Roost" trail. Stories about their fledging can be found here and here).
We couldn't ignore the song of the House Wrens at the base of the owl tree.
Believe it or not, the House Wren is a life bird for me. Woo hoo! Last on the tour of nests was the American Robin nest back near the lower pond.
What a great day for a casual outing. One life bird (House Wren), and nine year birds (MacGillivray's Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Bank Swallow, House Wren, Calliope Hummingbird, Lesser Goldfinch, Bullock's Oriole, Black-headed Grosbeak, Lazuli Bunting).