Sunday, May 22, 2011

Birding in the Rain

Yellow Warbler
For the last week in the Salt Lake area of Utah it has been raining, almost non-stop.  In spite of the rain, or perhaps because of it, I added many first-of-year birds, more than a dozen species to my Utah life list, and even one new life bird.  It seems that when ever I go birding in the rain - during a drizzle, not a downpour - that I usually have pretty good luck with finding birds that are not normally seen during "prime" viewing conditions.  The weather for bird photography was less than ideal, but as long as it wasn't raining too hard, I took the camera along and got a few photos.

Audubon's Yellow-rumped Warbler

The yellow throat helps distinguish it from the Myrtle's Yellow-rumped Warblers which I have also seen a couple of times here in Utah.  But it looks like I'm not going to get an arm-chair life bird related to this species...yet!
Part of my lunch-hour birding trail flooded out by the Jordan River.

The snow pack in Utah is about 200% of normal and it has been raining a lot this spring.  Some areas of Utah have already experienced flooding, and there are great fears that we will go through floods similar to those experienced in 1983.  Even though I was only five years old, I remember visiting relatives in Utah after the flood of '83 and the image of piled up sandbags is still fresh in my mind.  It does seem that Utahan's in general are pretty good at living the Scout Motto of "Be Prepared", but you just never know what mother-nature might throw at us.
Red-winged Blackbird defending his territory.

 I've been watching him sing from the same location for a couple of weeks.  I recently saw two females nest-building in his territory, so he must be a good singer.
California Quail snoozing out of the rain under the protection of leaves.
American Robin - shaking off the rain
There was a moment when the clouds broke and we enjoyed some sunshine.  This male Bullock's Oriole took advantage of the sunshine to get out and sing for the ladies.
Thanks to Salt Lake birder Deedee O'Brien for allowing me to visit her home during my lunch hour to see the Band-tailed Pigeon's in her beautiful backyard.  This was a life bird for me!


  1. Very nice result of a week's birding. I really hope to see a Red-winged Blackbird this summer when I travel to the USa. Such stunning colours.

    Hope you keep your feet dry :-)

  2. ....oh no....I hope you don't have a repeat of 83! We are getting non-stop rain also, but we don't have a snowpack melt to contend with. Loved the shot of the California Quail.

  3. Everything here in California seems to be late because of the strange weather, especially nesting birds. You got a great group of birds on your "drizzly" jaunt Robert. I especially like the shot of the Red-winged Blackbird with his epaulets fully exposed.

  4. @gwendolen - Red-winged Blackbird should not be too hard to find in most places in the US. Best wishes in your North American birding adventure!

    @Kelly - the Quail looked like a little bowling ball huh? We are starting to get a lot of rock and mudslides like they did in '83 so folks are getting pretty nervous. I'm feeling bad for the folks in Missouri today who had that terrible tornado.

    @Larry - Thanks Larry. Spring does seem to be on delay this year.

  5. I saw my FOY Yellow Warbler in overcast conditions too and was grateful for the bright yellow adding color to a dreary day!

  6. great set of birds.

    Did you have that much snow? Our winter was long but not with that much snow. I hope you don´t get the big flood.

  7. @The Zen Birdfeeder - You got it! That bright yellow and cheery song is great to see and hear on an overcast and drizzly day.

    @NatureFootstep - Thx! The news people are now telling people that the flooding will come, so be ready for it. With all the natural disasters going on, I'm counting myself fortunate.