Monday, June 15, 2009

June 13 - youth and secret spot in Queensbury

I woke up depressed and tired on Saturday due to becoming recently unemployed. Well, my unhappiness was soon interrupted by constant alarm-calls coming from all over the backyard of the WFA house! I had no idea what was going on when I groggily stepped outside, till I saw a bunch of round little fledglings. They let me get close while making their machine-gun calls. Chipping Sparrows! It sounded like there were 10 of them. I really only counted about 5 or 6. They were enjoying the many feeders around the yard. They kept up quite a racket until I left the house in the evening.

I also checked the robin nest, and the 2 babies were still in there, but they grow SO quickly. They were resting one on the other and peeking out at me, staying quiet. The robin parents were right nearby and not all that happy, so I left them alone.

In the evening of Saturday I met up with my nature buddy Sue. We had delicious nachos and some beer and stimulating conversation about all sorts of stuff, which I greatly needed after such a hellish week! I really supremely appreciated it. We got quite the rainstorm that afternoon and we waited it out, and hit the road to go to the spot in Queensbury where she spotted Eastern Meadowlarks. Well, it rained right when we got there, and we were SOAKED by the time we were finished! I didn't care though. I wanted to see if I could catch a glimpse of a Meadowlark. It never happened (they seemed to be staying low in the tall grass due to rain), but we could hear two of them making various calls, including a rattle and another call that greatly resembled the 'peent' of the Woodcock. However, I had a blast! There were Bobolinks flying around! I've never seen a Bobolink before! It was interesting how they were silent while perched, but would call on lifting off. And they sound just like R2D2 (yes, I love Star Wars). Bobolinks just strike me as really bizarre birds, their head coloration makes no sense to me, and the call is, well, robot-like. So weird. I really like them. The female, however, was nothing to really look at, and the one I saw was keeping quiet while perched below the male.

There were also a bunch of Red-winged Blackbirds there. I never seem to write much about them, but they're one of my absolute faves. I love their colorations, their flights, and the multitude of calls. I also appreciate them being a massive source of confusion last summer when I kept hearing the males calling in a descending three-note minor key. No one believed me.

Also spotted was a completely unidentifiable sparrow. I've tried using multiple books and sites, and it's just a sparrow, there were so many conflicting markings and it was soaking wet when I saw it. The bird itself was soaking wet. I remembered seeing a grey chest with a black spot in the middle of the breast, and a yellow-and-black or yellow-and-brown necklace. Nothing matches. Seriously, it looked like a hybrid between an American Tree and something else. The call out of it's bill most closely matched a Savannah Sparrow, which would make sense habitat-wise. So who knows!

We also spotted a Great Blue Heron down the road in a stream; it was quite shy and likely wanted to stay out of the rain.

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