Since this is the first time that I am officially blogging, I thought I would open up with some of the birds that I saw this past weekend. (I want to clarify here that “this past weekend” was April 29, 2012, and that it has taken me a while to get the blog up and running). I spent my Saturday morning putting off the final study hours of my college career to pursue a rumor. Instead of slaving away in the basement corner of the library banging my head against my desk in frustration, I began my morning with a cup of coffee and a trip down to the bottoms. I arrived just in time to sneak up on a pair of Green Herons. They appeared to be stalking some marine prey in one of the shallow ponds. I had seen them a couple of times here before, but never out in the open such as this particular moment. I decided to kneel down on the opposite bank to observe them and amuse myself with the arguments of the many Red-winged Blackbirds futzing about in the tall reeds.
After walking my usual route, checking off a few phoebes and thrashers, I headed over to campus in order to pick up a couple of friends. One of them had seen a very peculiar bird for our area out at the five-acre lots of the Clemson University beef farm. After picking everyone up, I took off to see if we could lay eyes and lens upon the Scissor-tailed Flycatchers.
As soon as we pulled into the drive, we quickly spotted the pair sitting atop a power line. It is an extraordinary feeling seeing a rare bird, especially when you are shooting away at it with a camera. The pursuit of the perfect picture only adds to the excitement of birding and general observation of wildlife.
For the next hour and a half we gave chase to the pair across a field, onto a fence, through a pasture, and back to the power line where they were originally spotted. After a time, the male alighted upon some trees just long enough for me to get a couple of good shots. Having had their fill of being chased by three clumsy bipeds, the pair decided to put a hot fence and two-dozen 1200-pound steers between us. After some exciting talk amongst ourselves we decided to take a trip down to Townville to see what could be seen out there.
(Nothing of note was seen in Townville so I will digress from the point of return.)
After getting back from Townville and recharging on some chicken *irony*, we moved out to a spot behind the garrison. We traveled down to the lookout point of the waterfowl area, now dry, and decided to go into the barren field to see some edge species. We were able to catch an Indigo Bunting. After spending a good bit of time watching him we heard what sounded like a zipper. It frustrated us to no end because we were not able to figure out what species was making the noise. I guarded by camera and headed up into the brambles in search of the mystery bird.
A few cuts and curses later I managed to get on the other side of some nasty thorns and into the brush to see what was zipping. I happened across my very first Prairie Warbler! The little territorial terror was singing his heart out long enough for me to get feet away from him with my lens and capture the moment. I quickly yelled down to my companions, and told them what it was. They quickly followed me up to get a view of the tiny little devil before we headed out for the day.
On our way back to the truck we got one final farewell from what appeared to be a Great Crested Flycatcher. (You be the judge.)
What a day for birding!
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