Saturday, May 02, 2009

I Found My Thrill on Bobolink Hill

We drive up Sewell Mountain in a dense fog to reach the large open field which is home to Bobolinks and Meadow Larks. Some are in the trees, and others chase each other in circles around the field, burbbling and bubbling and calling loudly. The song is delightful, but it's difficult to see them clearly in the fog--black bodies, yellow at the back of the head and white wing patches when flying. We finally stalked one that landed in the grass for some closer photos. They remind me of Leopold Stowkowski conducting at Carnegie Hall in a tux and with a great mane of hair.

As the crew walked down the wet field to the van, I stayed behind for a bit. How can I capture this feeling? The song rises and falls and circles me with wonder. Listen to this video closely and see how many bird songs you can find. Then close your eyes and imagine yourself on the top of a fog shrouded hill, surrounded by magic singing birds.

Down in the rhododendron thickets in a creek bed we spot Common Yellow Throats, Louisiana Warblers and a brilliantly yellow Hooded Warbler. A Ruffed Grouse paces through the woods along the road as we drive slowly by. We heard one drumming earlier this week, and this makes the sighting complete.

Mother Broadwinged Hawk glares at us as we walk beneath her nest, but faithfully stays with her eggs, instead of trying to chase us away. I hear her muttering to herself, "Why are all these strange creatures coming to my home? Don't they have lives of their own?"

Other than the annoying rain, the week at New River has been perfect. If the sun had continued to shine like it did the first two days, my photos would have sparkled with the colorful warblers. As it is, everything looks a bit fuzzy, since the air itself was foggy and blurred. Our total for the week is 89 species and 19 new life birds, mostly warblers. I became quite adept at wiggling my way out of the back seat of the van, without getting stuck. Julie Zickefoose related some of her stories last night, and her orphan birds and the leucistic (white) Vulture had us misty eyed.

I hope we can join the Blogger Flock again. Black Swamp Bird Observatory and Magee Marsh sound like good possibilities both for their great diversity of birds and central location. Excellent speakers have pretty well convinced us to make a trip to the Galapagos Islands. Of course, Dick has always wanted to go, and now I'm looking forward to it too. Tonight is the last party, and it will be nice to NOT get up at 5:00 am tomorrow morning. But that's the life of a birder--get up before dawn, slog around in the rain on narrow gravel mountain roads, and add great new birds to your life list. I love it!


KatDoc said...

Denapple, how is it that you have TWO posts up already? I could barely manage one.

Great to meet you and Dick, and hope to see you on the trails soon.

Let's see: Bobolink, of course, and Eastern Meadowlark. Am I wrong, or was there an Eastern Towhee's abbreviated "t-whee" in there somewhere? And of course, in the background, the excited chatters of the NewRiverBirder-birds. Probbly others, but my ears of stuffed full of birdsong.

~one of the many Kathi's

KatDoc said...

You dirty bird - you have posts up from every day. Oh, that's right - you had WiFi at the Holiday Inn. Well, next time, I will pirate from you.

I will have to find time to sit and read every post.


Lynne said...

I think the Bobolink field was the top moment for me.

Kathiesbirds said...

I loved the Bobolinks! They were truly magical. Sounds like you thoroughly enjoyed yourself. I am so glad you came!