Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Rose-breasted Grosbeak, migrating Blue Jays

I don't have time for a full report on species seen on today's trip to the Indiana University cross country course, so here are a few highlights:

* There was a Rose-breasted Grosbeak singing (and then calling) in the trees on the far south edge of the IU XC course this AM. I wasn't quite sure about the song, since I haven't heard it since last year, but the "sneakers-on-the-basketball-court" calls were unmistakeable. BIGBY species #107 for the year. Ironically, I found my first-of-year Rose-breasted Grosbeak last year on this same date, in pretty much the same place.

* There were lots of apparently migrating Blue Jays moving from the south to the north this morning. I saw *at least* 200 Blue Jays flying by in flocks of 20-30 birds each. I think that's my highest personal count ever for Blue Jays for a single day. Nowhere near a state record, but it's still very cool from my perspective! Interestingly, the local resident Blue Jays didn't seem to pay a whole lot of attention to them.

* At one point a pair of Canada Geese flew overhead. They seem to fly over the XC course every morning. But this morning, for some reason, they were attacked (unsuccessfully) by a Cooper's Hawk. The geese barely noticed the Cooper's. The Cooper's seemed frustrated, like the little chicken hawk in the Warner Brothers "Foghorn Leghorn" cartoons. :-)

* On the way home I spotted a pair of Canada Geese and a pair of Mallards on the Fountain Park apartments pond along 10th Street. That would be an odd spot to nest. High traffic volume on 10th Street, plus many people coming and going from the bus stop right by the pond. I'll have to keep my eyes peeled there.

Finally, I heard some really cool sounds at 3:00 this morning (4/20). A Great Horned Owl was calling repeatedly from nearby in the neighborhood. And a coyote was howling in what sounded like almost my back yard...very close by!! I stayed awake for quite a while, listening to some of my favorite sounds of the wild.

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