Sunday, June 01, 2008

Summer Evening Birding

Summertime, and the birding is easy. Berries ripening And the Bluebird's so blue.
Birding is especially easy when you go to a new nature preserve (well, new to me at least) with the Beckham Bird Club. We had our annual summer picnic at Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve in Goshen, KY, beneath the shade of a maple tree that must have been at least 200 years old, everyone agreed. The breeze made the temperature perfect , and the birds flew right up to us. Next to our picnic area was a half dead tree - bare branches at the top and live ones at the bottom. Before we finished eating, in that tree alone we saw a Mocking Bird going for a singing endurance record, a Cooper's Hawk, and Starlings, while Bluebirds, Swallows and Robins circled overhead. After our hike, we returned to find Cedar Waxwings on the dead branches, more Starlings and Mocking Birds, and a Chipping Sparrow. Just stand in the yard, lift your binoculars, and turn in a slow circle. It's that easy!

The Cooper's Hawk soared against the cotton candy clouds. Then, chased by smaller birds with an attitude, it landed in the dead treetop, undismayed by the delay in supper. Scan the sky above, then scan the ground below. It's a Hawk's life. The hunt goes on.

Even birds must want a breath of fresh air, and a bird's eye view of the scenery once in a while. Instead of hiding in the branches, two incredibly bird birds came out into the open. It's a wonder the camera found their blue against the blue summer sky. An Indigo Bunting and an Eastern Bluebird posed for us. Several Blue Jays flew past, but none landed in the treetops for easy viewing. A Phoebe and an Eastern Towhee chose to remain in the brush, hiding and hopping around to stymie my attempts to get a good photograph once again.

Not be outdone by the blue birds, a Red Bellied Woodpecker showed off his red head and shining ladder back feathers in the evening sun, while a Cardinal made a distant spot of crimson among the green leaves. Tavia Cathcart, the new director at Creasey Mahan, joined our fun, and Dick knows her from Bernheim. I hope we can have many more pleasant hikes with her, so I can pump her for information on flowers and trees. Welcome Tavia!

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