Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Birding Basics and Beyond!

By Alexandra Forsythe

Red-headed Woodpecker by Alex F.

We had a great crowd at Pokagon for the "Birding Basics and Beyond!" program! There were dozens of children and teens who were interested in birds, so hopefully we'll have several new members in the IYBC soon.
Mr. Velasquez gave an interesting presentation about the birds and other animals he's encountered on his adventures.  He inspired everyone to grab their passport and binoculars and head for the tropics!
Yellow-rumped Warbler by Alex F.
We took the attendees on a birding hike, and even though the weather was not ideal, we spotted a number of species, including Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker, Red-Headed Woodpecker, Yellow-rumped Warbler, and Golden-crowned Kinglet.
I'm certain everyone had fun and learned a lot - with Fred Wooley, Lauren Loffer, and John Velasquez, it was sure to be a hit!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Spotted Redshank at Goose Pond, IN

By Landon Neumann

Spotted Redshank, Goose Pond, IN.  Photo by Ryan Sanderson
A Spotted Redshank in Indiana was definitely not what I was expecting to happen this past week, but I guess there is never the impossible in the birding world.  After hearing about the Redshank on Thursday I quickly went into action to find a ride to be able to see this bird. Well, after finding a ride with Chicago young birders, Ethan and Aaron Gyllenhaal, and Ted Wolfe I was able to chase this mega-rarity on Saturday.

Spotted Redshank (right) at Goose Pond.  Photo by Ryan Sanderson
After a very long three hour drive through the great Indiana corn desert we arrived at Goose Pond FWA.  Right, as we pulled in the bird was actually viewable from the car! However, right as we were getting our stuff out the bird flew to the other field that it was feeding at, so we had to walk the ½ hike down the levee to get better look at it since we had only see it flying away.  During the walk we encountered over 100 birders along the levee. Some people were as far away as Massachusetts!  After a fifteen minute hike we reached where the bird was, so we set our scopes up to see the bird. Within a minute of searching we had found the bird in our scopes!  We were all overjoyed to get such great look at this bird.

After we had found the bird we observed the bird for the next hour or two.  It was neat to see the bird’s red legs, but also its red base that it had on its bill. While we were watching the redshank, it called for us a couple times and it was frequently chasing away Lesser Yellowlegs, who were feeding close to it.  The field that it was in was also filled with other birds. Some of the highlights that were in the field apart from Redshank were 23 American Golden Plovers, a Long Billed Dowitcher, and 3 Black Necked Stilts. The field was also jammed back with Green-winged and Blue-winged Teal, Pectoral Sandpipers, and both species of yellowlegs. Overall, it was a lot of fun birding along the levee.

I’m very thankful to see such a rare bird. It was one of the rarest birds I’ve ever seen in North America. If you haven’t seen it yet I would strongly recommend you go see it. It will be a while, if ever, before one shows up again in Indiana.