Sunday, September 27, 2015

White Rock Lake(Sunset Bay Area)

Last few days I have been reading JR Compton's blog in which he mentioned the sightings of Belted Kingfisher in White Rock Lake sunset bay area. This is the only Kingfisher seen across US and not so common too. Have been wondering if I would ever get a chance to look at this bird before I head back to India. But today I got lucky.

I thought I would try the Sunset bay area this week to try my luck with Belted Kingfisher, Green Heron and the Mandarin duck. But I did get lucky with 2 of those birds from the list.

I reached the lake around 6:20 and it was still dark. But by 6:40 lot of ducks started flying in and most of the ducks in the group were Wood Ducks. I had never seen so many wood ducks before. It was crazy. Lot of the local geese were a little inside lake so these wood ducks did venture into the land for a while to feast on the food which was placed carefully at different places near the shore. You could see Wood ducks, Coots, Mallards and Pigeons try to feast on this food.

Wood Duck

But by 7:30 most of these wood ducks retreated into the streams bar few. After this I joined other birders who were watching the pelicans and other ducks on the lake. We saw 5 pelicans try to play round robin for a place on the log. It was interesting to see the birds taking turns to get a seat on the log and that involved a little fighting too.

American White Pelican

Close to the shore we saw few geese trying to find food and there couple of Great egrets and Snowy Egrets trying to find their Breakfast. There were couple of Killdeers who were calling throughout the morning. We also got to saw a Green Heron close by. My first sighting of this fellow was last year May during my first bird walk in US. Since then he had been evading me :-)

Green Heron

Another interesting observation of the morning was the hunting pattern of Great Egret and Snowy Egret. They both have complete different approaches for catching the prey. The Great Egret is a little more patient and doesn't take too many dips whereas the Snowy Egret kept running around the water and kept trying to catch the fish. Most of its tries were unsuccessful but the Great Egret's success rate was much much higher. He had his fill very soon and did take some rest once the sun came out. It was an interesting behavior which I never got a chance to observe. It would be interesting to observe Little Egrets approach for catching it's prey once I go back to India.

Great Egret

Snowy Egret

Apart from this I did see few Great Blue Herons. And one of the Heron was walking with its wing open. I don't if it was a courtship display or if it was trick to catch the fish which is usually seen with tri-colored herons. It was another interesting observation for the morning.

Great Blue Heron

And during the day I started hearing King fishers call and I was hoping he would come out in the open. And he did come out after sometime. He flew right over us, did hover for few seconds and flew away. I could not get any photos of the bird but thankfully some of the co-birders did manage to get some photos. On one side I was happy to have seen the bird but on the other I was hoping to get atleast a record photograph of this bird. I thought I still had lot of time before I head back to India to get a record photograph of this bird. But after a while we got lucky and one more kingfisher did come out and sat on a branch far away from us. Could not believe my luck :-) And atlast managed to get some record shots of this hovering bird :-)

Belted Kingfisher

Kill Deer


Since it was getting hot I decided to make a quick stop at the fish hatchery area and head back home. Near the fish hatchery area I did see lot of least sandpipers and spotted sandpipers. There were egrets and Killdeer too along with few Mallards. Apart from that I saw few Red Eared slider turtles. But did get lucky with a sighting of  Pallid spiny Softshell Turtle :-) There are always surprises. I ended the day on a happy note :-)

Red Eared Slider

Spiny softshell Turtle

WRL is indeed a very god birding area with so many different habitats :-)

ebird :

  1. Wood Duck  
  2. Mallard  
  3. Mallard (Domestic type)  
  4. American White Pelican  
  5. Great Blue Heron  
  6. Great Egret  
  7. Snowy Egret  
  8. Green Heron  
  9. American Coot  
  10. Killdeer  
  11. Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  
  12. Mourning Dove  
  13. Belted Kingfisher  
  14. Red-bellied Woodpecker  
  15. Downy Woodpecker  
  16. Blue Jay  
  17. European Starling 
  18. Northern Cardinal  
  19. Great-tailed Grackle  

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Bird photos taken during last couple of months

Last few months have been tough for birding but have tried to take some time out every now and then. Summer has been tough with so much heat. Can't wait for winter to start.

Below are some photos taken in Bob Wood Ruff park. Have seen some cliff swallows flying around but never got a chance to take a photo. But this time we saw their roosting and for the first time saw these cute birds. Also seen were Painted Bunting and other birds.

Cliff Swallow

Painted Bunting

Eastern Wood Pewee

Painted Bunting(Female)

Couple of weeks back made a trip to White Rock Lake. This time I made it to the Fish Hatchery area for the first time. Reached at around 7 in the morning and saw the area buzzing with lot of birds already. Only after reaching the area I realized why this place is famous for birding. Its a very good place to watch the waders and shorebirds. But the good thing is we get to watch the warblers and other woodland birds too. Had a very good time down here.

Got to see Least Sandpiper for the first time. I was able to see some of returning summer migrant warblers like Wilson's warbler and Nashville Warbler. I was also reading about the presence of Monk Parakeets till now but got a chance to have a look at them for the first time. Also got to see White eyed vireos and Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher.

Least Sandpiper

Spotted Sandpiper

Snowy Egret

Red Bellied Woodpecker

Tufted Titmouse

Brown Thrasher

Black Crowned Night heron(Juv)


Wilson's Warbler

Monk Parakeet

White eyed Vireo

Ble Gray Gnatcatcher

Wood duck(Female)