Saturday, July 19, 2014

Business Trip Birding

I thought I'd give a birding update because... well, I haven't been birding very often lately and I am on a business trip traveling around Mississippi for a couple weeks.  That means that there are some birds here that I won't have an opportunity to see back in Wisconsin, so of course I'm taking any opportunity I can to see them.

First new bird I got?  Northern Mockingbird, right away.  I've never seen a mockingbird of any sort before, but there's just something... mocking-bird-y about them, so despite not having really looked into it before I pretty much immediately knew what they were.

I took a walk and found some Muscovy Ducks.  These are likely domesticated and therefore inappropriate for a list, but I did take some pictures.  They also charged me, which was horrifying.  I have a feeling that, due to their location in a heavy-foot-traffic area, they thought I was going to feed them.

In fact, as I write this I think I'll add a mini-list to the end of my Life List for the domestics and domestic-wild hybrids.  Just because they're pretty neat.

I got some pictures of I believe two other birds I found around this time that are... odd.  One of them might be a European Starling, but the thing is, we have Starlings everywhere and these are just... off.  So I'll be posting them to a bird ID forum to see if they're something else.  The other might just be another Northern Mockingbird with poor lighting.

Today we drove two hours, most of which was in marshy, country area.  That said, I got a lot of "drive-by" birds.  I came up with a system for that.  When I'm driving alone, I'm prone to stopping and taking better looks, but I was unable to do that.  So instead of just assuming my drive-by IDs were right, I'd see a bird I knew was new, look it up in my guide, and then look for it again to confirm the ID.  I didn't get many pictures at all--practically none that would give me an appropriate ID--but I did see these birds:
  • Black Vulture
  • Mississippi Kite
  • Fish Crow
  • Summer Tanager
 Of which the only one I actually photographed was a Black Vulture because we were driving.  You have to admit, though, that this is an impressive picture for shooting out of a car going 70mph without actually taking time to aim: