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Ah, the weekend....

First of all, Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there! Especially my dad, and my brother, who is celebrating his first Father's Day with Valerie and little Charlie. :)

It's hard to know what to do here on the weekend. I guess what makes my days off so special at home is having my good friends (Julie, Lindsey, Tommy, etc.) to hang out with. But I don't have them here. So I slept a lot this weekend. I'd get up, eat something, then go back to bed. I need a hobby. HA!
But Holly, you might say, you HAVE a hobby--birding!!!.

Indeed, I do. Luckily, the pest control guy came yesterday around 12:30 to spray the house for cockroaches (GROSS) and we all had to leave the house for about half an hour. This made me get out and do some birding. It wasn't quite the best time of the day for birding, but I was determined. I took my backpack with good ol' Sibley, my binoculars, mosquito repellent and sunscreen, my camera, and my wallet, and set off for the river downtown. I walked and walked, seeing a few Chipping Sparrows and a lot of Robins along the way. The Robins are spread all over the city, with juveniles hanging out along with their parents. They hop around and sing all over. Anyhow, I really should have put on sunscreen, as it was the worst time of the day to be out, or at LEAST put on my hat, but I didn't feel like it. Instead I tried to stay in shady areas.

Finally I reached the river. However, to my disappointment, there was no river path like there is back home. I did find some new Iowa birds: Black-capped Chickadees and Cedar Waxwings. :) I also saw an adult Chipping Sparrow feeding a young Chipping Sparrow.
I walked and walked. There were trees planted all over, rising tall into the sky. But the grass was mowed and the real habitat for birds was along the river. I could get within about 10 feet of it, but then there was a lot of brushy stuff, and a steep slope down to the actual river. I walked and walked. I'll have to take pictures next time. Anyhow, then I saw a bird across the river fly into a tree. It looked light it was reddish, which made me automatically think, "Cardinal". I like Cardinals; we don't have them in Oregon, and they are so cheery and bright. Anyway, I looked at this bird, and saw that it was no Cardinal; it was a flycatcher! A Myarchus flycatcher, to be exact. I wondered what kinds they had here. I looked it up in my book and determined that the only species of Myarchus flycatcher here would be a LIFE bird for me: Great Crested Flycatcher. But I had not gotten a good look. Not a life look, at least. I noticed that on the other side of the river, there seemed to be more brushy stuff, more bird habitat. I decided to go over there. So I did, and I found the best birding habitat ever!!! Oh, I forgot to mention, I was hearing a "suh-REE-yer" call that I suspected was that of the flycatcher, from across the river, and I really, really wanted a better look.

Across the river it was brushy, and a small path wound through the woods. I knew my mom would not think it was safe for me, a single woman, to be birding here alone. But it was such good habitat! Here's what I saw:

Gray Catbird
Downy Woodpeckers (lots of them!)
White-breasted Nuthatch
heard Common Yellowthroat
heard Song Sparrow
Baltimore Oriole
singing Indigo Bunting; I got to see his beak move as he sang his "fire, fire, where, where?" song--so cool!!!!
Common Grackles
Robins up the wazoo

but no flycatcher.

I did have to apply mosquito repellent though, as the little black flies were really getting to me. It was really humid in the forest. I walked back out of the forest, to a more open area, and looked up. There was my Myarchus flycatcher! I knew I shouldn't take my bins off of him, but I wanted a better look. I slowly walked over to the grass and sat down, looking up with my elbows propped up on my knees. There he was! I had prayed for this. He was quite yellow underneath. But he wasn't so dark rufous as the book said in his tail... Then, to my delight, he fluttered from the branch high in the tree across the path, showing rich rufous in his tail, and alighted not fifteen feet above me, giving his distinctive "que-EEP!" call that I had looked up in the book (I still don't know who was making the other call). I noticed another Great Crested Flycatcher nearby him, with something in his mouth. It looked like part of a small brushy stick. Then, making me even happier, the 2nd flycatcher hopped inside a hollow in an old snag in the tree. They must be nesting there! I took lots of pictures, which I unfortunately cannot post until I get home, because my camera cord is there.

It was so, so awesome!! I was so excited. Then I went to Casey's general store and bought a Gatorade, and walked home.

So exciting! I didn't do much the rest of the day, or today, really. But I had to write about my birding adventure. :D Thanks, God!!!! I had prayed I would see that Myarchus again, and I got amazing looks at him!


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 22nd, 2009 12:30 am (UTC)
Jun. 24th, 2009 12:31 am (UTC)
Thanks for sharing such an interesting day-by-day journal, Holly. It's fun to read. It was nice to talk with you Sunday also. Brook and I had a nice Fathers Day even though you weren't here to celebrate along with us.

I enjoyed reading your entries, especially the Sunday account of how you tracked down the flycatcher! I don't know if you will end up with your degree in zoology or some other major, but I do believe you will be doing some aspect of birding in your career. You are an amazing and very enthusiastic birder! (as if you didn't already know that).

Keep it coming, and I know you will make the most of this summer experience, just like all your others. Love, Dad
Jun. 26th, 2009 10:24 pm (UTC)
Well done finding the Myarchus, Holly! That's awesome. I'm enjoying all your story details so far. Might I suggest some summer reading to make up for lost friend time? Otherwise, God's always with you, and he's got a very creative spirit so don't be discouraged.

: ) tommy
Jul. 25th, 2009 05:05 pm (UTC)
(This is Katie V. btw :D)

Male indigo buntings are SO pretty! Lucky! And I love Orioles...

So exciting that you got to see your bird! :D That was like my family on our Yellowstone trip. We prayed for a moose and got to see one near the end of our trip in Wyoming. :D
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )