[mou] Woodcock, Snipe and Thrushes? YRW
thomas at angelem.com
Mon Apr 14 13:45:52 CDT 2008
Just got back from a good two hours in the woods next to my
townhouse. After getting some very good comments on my recent
observations - this is how we learn - I decided that maybe the rust
was not fully off my 2007 birding skills soaking indoors for a full
winter - and went back out to confirm both the thrush types and the
woodcock - why not see them again anyway.
I did not refind the American Woodcock and began to doubt that it was
indeed that since I have never even seen a snipe. Well, lo and
behold!, while I stood for over 45 minutes in one spot in the woods,
letting Brown Creepers nearly use me as tree trunk, fox sparrows
nearly digging under my shoes, and both Ruby-Crowned and Golden-
Crowned Kinglets dance about my head, up walks a Common Snipe! My
first ever! The Muhammed Ali of birds if I ever saw one - bobbing and
weaving as it strode through the leaf litter and fallen wood near a
soggy bottom. It finally figured out I was something "un-natural" and
popped straight up and over behind a nearby log and stood motionless
watching me with one eye from over the log. Wow and amazing!
The Common Snipe (as I identified it) was different from the bird I
ID'd as a woodcock in that the other bird (American Woodcock) was
light colored on the breast and did not have horizontal markings
through the eyes - that were so apparent with the snipe. Plus they
were in different habitats - one hear soggy water and the other in the
woods with the soft, thawing soil. I tried to distinguish between
wing or vocalizations upon take off but the snipe made sounds too on
take off although but the other bird's (supposed woodcock) sound
lasted a bit longer. I could be totally wrong with the ID and have no
problem either way - and for now it goes down as a "have to see it
again to make sure" bird list. I will let you know.
As to the Swainson's Thrushes - I took books out with me and went over
the differing markings on the very numerous thrushes that are around.
The differences are subtle and in my mind could be variations within
the species or completely different birds. I clearly ID'd several
Hermit Thrushes with their red tails, brownish to olive green back,
bold spots and distinct eye ring. Some however, had less than clear
spots though not faded and had the eye rings but looked like whiter
areas that I could construe as spectacles - perhaps Swainson's. I
could be wrong. Plus their tails were not as red as the obvious
hermits - but tinged red nonetheless. Then I saw several that had
faded spots, appeared all red on their backs and had less than
distinct eyerings - Veery-ish.
My conclusion? How would I know? This is nature just messing with
me. Probably the same way I felt when I first tried to distinguish
the sparrows that I actually got pretty good at last year. I bet
there have to be some Graycheeks in this population of thrushes just
to keep me in the "I don't know" place in birding ID. It is easy to
be humble when you fumble.
Of additional note - Casually watching a Cooper's Hawk visit the tree
outside my window and noticed how the overly numerous Fox Sparrows
magically disappeared - and as I watched the remnants of the hawks
tail disappear over the neighbor's house, a wave of Yellow-Rumped
Warblers took over my wooded view and then they move on with a few
stragglers for confirmation. Warblers! Yeeehaaaaw! Plus some
outrageous Red-bellied Woodpecker behavior and what felt like the
Cooper's Hawk following me around as it seemed to show up in each area
I went as I backtracked home.
Angel Environmental Management, Inc.
Maple Grove, MN
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the mou-net