Friday, February 2, 2018

New Patch!

Congratulations to the Winner of the ABA Big Year  Yve Morrell, who I have been following and for whom I have much admiration, finished with 814+4 Provisionals...just barely eking out the win. Check up on her by clicking  the Dancing Birder on the right sidebar.  Don't forget that many excellent birders are not into ebird, and they seek no fame for their skill, there are many birders out there who prefer to remain anonymous.   I have very little skill but I do it for sheer fun of being out in nature!! 

So here is something I'm doing....I have been planning to check this spot for a while now and finally I did.  It's a Wildlife Management Area. It's about 12 miles from my home.  It's maintained for hunting by the DNR (Dept of Natural Resources).  But you know what I think, hunting is not as prevalent in my area as it once was...thanks to the ATV craze! (silver lining?) I think it's gotta be hard to sneak up on any game riding one of those things, and again "techie" outdoors-men have changed the face of the game, just like in birding.  With the decline of quail and dove in our area, Wild Turkey has become the target game bird.  Waterfowl hunting seems to still be holding strong...but let's just give it some time...this place is signed NO ATV'S.  So it's walk in....and that is awesome.  It's 300 acres and it's open grass, shrubs, and forest.  I haven't walked the whole thing yet.  But I'm covering it in sections.  I already know where the Quail hang out.  AND....Seven species of sparrow so far!  They have great scrub cover. 

It was not listed on ebird, so I assume I'm the first person to bird there.  So far I've made 2 visits and logged 25 species.  As the season changes I hope to tally many more species.   

And now that I've put it on ebird more birders will come.  That excites me because I've asked for it to be designated as a hotspot.  I saw lots of deer tracks.  There is too much pine and not enough oak for Turkey.  Maybe I can drop a few acorns around next time I go I have plenty of acorns ...I'd love to see them plant some sunflower for the birds.  The DNR normally just plant corn, since they are baiting the game birds, in this case maybe I can drop some sunflower too. There is no water on the tract, but some nearby...and some low spots where rain water is slow to dry.  There is a lot of Wild Plum, and birds do love that...some Sumac, but I'd like to see more and I saw no thistle.  I did see American Goldfinch so I'm assuming there is something in this grass they want. 

                                                                      Savannah Sparrow

They do prescribed I will have to learn when they do that.  And I hope it's not smack in the middle of nesting...but it's very possible....Im not sure they take that into consideration when they plan a burn. 

                                                                         Song Sparrow

                                                   windblown Chipping Sparrow

White Throated Sparrow

my photos pretty much suck but this is what I got...

Fox Sparrow

That one is almost obscured, but I thought it was when I saw it a Fox and I still do...they are not as many of these around as what I used to see....also another bad photo.  They have plenty of cover here and that's why they're here!  This one I was happy to see...saw 3 on day one and 8 on day 2 they stayed together in a fairly tight flock. 

Field Sparrow  

Had 2 swamp sparrows on day one but none day 2 there is a small wetland about 1/10th a mile away so they probably were on their way over the bird flies it's probably just past the tree border, but as far as I can tell the wetland is on private land. 

As far as Raptors go I saw Red Shouldered Hawk, Red Tailed Hawk, Northern Harrier, Turkey Vulture, so far.  Along with Northern Flicker, and Red Bellied Woodpecker.  I feel I can find at least 4 and maybe 5 more Woodpecker species here in time.  Had Northern Cardinal, Blue Jay, Brown Headed Nuthatch also. 

                          Red Bellied Woodpecker with a Brown Headed Nuthatch up top

On my first visit I flushed about 10 Northern Bobwhite Quail and today I flushed up 5 more.  There was mourning dove also.  So I'ts a good bet they will nest there.   If I can get over there at least once a week I expect to find a lot more going on!  I hope for more sparrows, and soon more than just yellow rumped warblers!  
                              So I've got a brand new Patch to wander around in...

Every day is a new Adventure.


  1. I have never seen nor heard of a Fox Sparrow what a beauty! You sure have a treasure trove of birds there. All the Sparrows I have never seen before. So glad they do not allow those stinkin ATV's they kill everything and the the riders have no respect for out lands. I think your idea of dropping some acorns and sunflower seeds is a great idea. Have fun out there

    1. Thanks Jo, I used to have at least one Fox in my yard hopping around, scratching under the shrubs, but the past 4 years I haven't seen any. I am not a fan of ATV use. As you said it opens up the back country to people who have not developed long standing respect for the land.

  2. Hello, sounds like you found an awesome spot. Great for the Sparrows, I love the Fox Sparrow. I would like to see one Bobwhite, you were lucky to see 10. Wow! Enjoy your day and weekend! Happy Birding!

    1. I'm very excited about walking in the wooded areas, although it is not native trees I will see, but hopefully just the fact it is away from the paved road is what may work in the favor of birds. It's a long walk back there so I will take a lunch in a pack on my next walk..
      You remember how it used to be when you walked past a field and heard that rush of beating wings as hordes of bobwhites flushed off and all you could see is that flash of beating was good to see and hear that again. Cornell says loss of habitat and big AG is the reason for the decline...Around here in my area it is loss of old AG fields, now planted in yellow pine. All around me, used to be small farms one man and a tractor planting cotton, or soybean,,,,now all those fields are planted with Yellow Pine, a unhealthy forest. Even the Oven bird we used to hear and see in the "real forest" I have not seen or heard in many years.

  3. Wow you found a great spot! Good of you to share it in real life. As well as in blogland (I wish I could go there!)>

    1. It's a good work out as the ground is soft sand...I wonder what I'm going to see as the season moves on.


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