Tuesday, March 24, 2009

twitching in washtenaw county

I confess, I sinned.

And not only once


I am quite ashamed, I have to admit.

The first time happen last week. "Surf Scooter at textile road". How could I resist? Textile Road is basically in my back yard, barely 5 minutes with my car. Oh, and the Surf Scooter is the last Scooter missing on my list, after the very good Black Scooter of last December, and the not so uncommon White Winged Scooter I have seen during my initiatic birding year.
So here we went after dinner, and added a little tick on my life list (and county list). Sure enough, I would have feel better if I could have seen this bird at a cost of a one week trek though the Borneo forest (or, say, the Ann Arbor Arboretum, although I have a hard time to visualize such an extensive expedition in a park that is probably less than 10 acres), my body covered of mosquito (and why not, Tigers?) bites.
But this time, a little drive, and the bird was mine (north american # 315). Ridiculously easy. I felt quite ashamed.

Surf Scooter at Textile Road, digiscoped

My self esteem had barely recovered from the Surf Scooter episode that Greater White-fronted Geese were spotted on the other side of the county. Pretty nice bird for michigan, and obviously still missing on my life list (it was my north american bird # 316). So here I went last Sunday. Nice outing, all things considered, with some very nice waterfowl present in some of the ponds I scanned. Lesser Scaups, Ringed Neck Duck, Snow Geese, American Wigeon, Pintail (county bird!) and Common Loon were spotted during this afternoon, and a Northern Harrier and about 50 Sandhill Cranes was a rather nice add the the day list. But the highlight of the trip was obviously the 5 geese I was able to spot from the top of a hill (a quarter mile away).

Greater White-fronted Geese (Oie Rieuse), Canada Geese and Juvenile Trumpeter Swan, digiscoped at a distance

I needed time to recover from this week, I think. So I decided to bird in my backyard, and do a little bit more experiments with my digiscoping technique. A cardinal was there and did pose for me for quite a long time. That was nice and relaxing. Why am I bothering with all these fancy birds, while I could just enjoye some very cool and colorfull ones in my backyard?

No more twitching, I promise, I swear.

At least for a month.

Unless a very very cool bird shows up, of course. Say a red throated or even pacific loon.....I wonder how long the Ross Goose that has been seen in Kensington Park last week end is going to stay there....

Northern Cardinal, digiscoped


Jochen said...

Go for the Ross's man, go for it!!!

Congrats, and a Snow Goose would be a lifer for me, so stop mentioning it casually, it hurts!

Cheers, my friend, happy birding trails and many greetings to Diane!

Laurent said...

wow, I did not know that! Naively, I thought the snow geese could be found in Europe too. These were white morph, btw, and I was lucky enough to see the blue morph last year. Much cuter, I think. I am hoping for an unlikely split now....

Any chance that your job might send you sometimes in the US?

Jochen said...

Well, they can be found in Europe as vagrants from North America, but they are so very common in zoos and private collections that there is no real way of knowing wether any/most/some of those Snow Geese that turn up in Europe are wild or not.
The Snow Goose was one of the most painful misses during my year in Ann Arbor, but there weren't many around in the winter of 2007/08, less than this (last) winter.

Cheers, and happy birding trails!!

Mel said...

Hey! those would make it to my very sad and poor lifelist!
Awesome! I have to get out and try some digibinning soon :)