|Finally! a Black-capped Chickadee photo I am happy with.|
Being home in the Boise area this weekend, Jason and I determined to get out and do a little birding together. The target bird was a Hooded Merganser, the male being one of the most showy and beautiful wintering waterfowl in this area and one that Jason has never seen before. I was happy to see a recent report of a Hoody on eBird in a nearby pond, so I felt our chances were good. Jason and I set out with a couple hours planned for a whirlwind tour of about two dozen Eagle, Idaho area ponds near the Boise River.
"I really want to see a Brown Creeper too," Jason tells me while hiking down a leaf strewn yellow trail.
"All right. I've seen them in this area before around this time of year. We need to find a big flock of chickadees. Creepers seem to hang out with them. While the chickadees bounce all around the branches I seem to find the creepers on the larger more mature tree trunks; either low to mid-way up the trunk," trying to sound as expert and experienced as possible.
A couple of stops later, we had a nice patch of woods, a mixed flock of about a dozen Black-capped Chickadees, a half-dozen Ruby-crowend Kinglets, and a nice male and female pair of Downy Woodpeckers all hanging out together. "This is the place!" I announced. "Start watching the trunks."
I thought I heard the high pitched sounds of a creeper, but I wasn't completly sure. We kept watching. We circled the little grove of trees and I thought I caught a glimpse of a creeper, but several birds flew out at once toward another tree.
"I think I see one!" Jason exclaimed. Sure enough, there zooming up the tree trunk was a Brown Creeper...a life bird for him. "Amazing how we found them just like you said," he commented to the utmost gratification of my pride in bird mentoring.
|Downy Woodpecker - male because of the red patch on the back of the head.|
|Downy Woodpecker - female because of the lack of red on the back of the head. |
Also cool because it shows the false-face on the back of the head.
We also spooked a Wilson's Snipe and got good looks at in flight to which Jason replied "After all those years in scouts trying to catch one in a gunny-sack in the middle of the night, I finally see one in real life!"
Sadly, we found two Tundra Swans recently shot and abandoned on the bank of one large pond. This was the area I could count on finding a pair of Tundra Swans every year in the late fall or winter. Jerks!!!
|Bathing or hunting?|
|Ruby-crowned Kinglet - one of my first pictures of the day before I realized my settings were off! I broke the cardinal rule of checking your settings before you go out.|
Helping Jason see and identify two life birds that morning was particularly fulfilling and fun. So, grab a friend and show them some new birds!