Sunday, October 12, 2008

Just Another Weekend of Interesting Birds

I'm not proud of this photo. But it's one of the only semi-respectable bird shots I got this weekend, despite seeing a pleasant assortment of birds, and getting three lifers. (Oh yes, and the photo is of a Barred Owl, trying in vain to get some peace and quiet at O'Leno State Park this morning, as our Alachua Audubon field trip group powered through in search of fall migrants.)

I've been in the throes of warbler lust since moving out here. My one consolation for being away from my home and family has been birds, especially all those amazing East Coast warblers. Every other birder here may be burnt out on the steady parade of Black-and-white and Yellow-throated Warblers and American Redstarts, but I still think they're pretty cool. And the rarer migrants are even cooler. And I was determined to get every single one of them.

Still, I have to remind myself, as I did back in California, not to allow myself to take common birds for granted. This morning at O'Leno, we were looking into some bushes and someone spotted some movement. I ID'ed its source, and said it was "just a Cardinal".

"You wouldn't be saying that if you'd never seen a Cardinal," one of the other birders scolded.

And she was right. Two months ago, a Northern Cardinal would have been an exotic treat (in both senses of the word--the one I actually did see a few times in SoCal was, indeed, an escapee.)

So I spent my weekend with my bins around my neck, relishing every bird out there. I went and bought a bird bath, which I hope will attract more visitors to The Exercise Yard. And I got three new birds—exciting to me, but business as usual for everyone else out there: a Veery, an Eastern Wood-Pewee, and a Chestnut-sided Warbler. (The latter was the only bird that got our group leader excited this morning, since it's the only one of these that's not a totally predictable migrant--but I was happy with all of them.)

Fall migration may be winding down, but I want to squeeze every bird out of it that I can.

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