Monday, May 3, 2010

At the marsh

Thomas read in the paper that next weekend at the marsh near us should be the most spectacular birding opportunities of the season. The migratory birds will be passing through, along with the opportunity to see over 100 different species of birds!

We're not sure we'll be able to make it next weekend, so we decided to head up yesterday. Perhaps some of the birds will be early? And there are always our local birds in the marsh, which are fun to see.

On the trail, we ran into robins up to their usual tricks. These robins just kill us. I've probably mentioned this here before, but a male robin will be perching in the middle of the trail we're walking on. The robin sees us, and sees which way we're walking. Instead of flying off of the trail, he flies a little bit ahead to a point further up on the trail. And then we have to disturb him 5 seconds later!

Here is this guy, flying low to the ground, about to land in the middle of the trail!
We saw our first goslings of the season:
The sky was ominous, but that didn't stop us! We did get rained on during the last 10 minutes or so, but it was pleasant.
So many waterfowl! We definitely saw terns, grebes, coots, geese, and several types of ducks. We also heard frogs, and saw turtles, muskrats, and many other birds.
This barn swallow was actually still for a few seconds!
Going by some bird identification I've been trying to do on the web, this might be a European starling? (I am very bad at bird IDs!!!) Elizabeth thinks this might be a fox sparrow: (Elizabeth, I was definitely thinking of you at the marsh -- if you ever come out this way, I'll have to take you there as you would love it!) Corey has identified her as a female red-winged blackbird. Corey, thanks so much for your ID; that makes perfect sense since there were tons of males around. I am quite embarrassed at my poor bird identification skills. I will buy a birding book and strive to get better -- one of my goals for the year. You would never know that I volunteered at a wildlife rehabilitation center for a couple of years and am on the board of a local nature center's friends group!!!
There were so many birds perched in this tree!
This was a dead tree filled with holes where birds would go -- someone is sticking their head out of the bottom hole:
Hopefully we'll be able to go back next weekend; but even if that doesn't work out, I'm sure we'll be back there this year!


Elizabeth said...

You are so incredibly lucky to get a shot of that swallow!!! They're always flitting by me too fast for a picture.

Your unknown bird isn't a European Starling. I think it's a Fox Sparrow (, but I've never seen one in person so I can't be 100% sure.

Mary said...

Thanks for the bird ID help. As I just edited in the blog, I was thinking of you while we were out there and if you're ever in the area, I will have to take you out there. It's amazing!

I wasn't even sure what bird I'd gotten at first, so was very pleased when I got back to the computer and realized it was the swallow!

Elizabeth said...

As soon as I saw the word marsh in your previous post, I was excited. I love marshes! I will take you up on your offer someday. You're in the midwest, right? There are excellent birding opportunities up there. (I hope this isn't too much identifying information. I don't know your email. Mine is elizabeth at

corey said...

The mystery bird is a female Red-winged Blackbird.

Elizabeth said...

Whoops. I have got to get better at identifying common birds!

Mary said...

You know, though, I think those females might usually be hiding. I see the males all over in my neighborhood, but I can't really remember seeing females. I am going to keep an eye open, but I'm thinking the females might not be so common :)