Sunday, May 25, 2014

WE Energies Grassland

Canada Warbler
The WE Energies Grassland is a birding hotspot just minutes from my home. I only found out about it a year or so ago. It attracts a variety of species, including prairie birds like Eastern Meadowlarks and sometimes Dickcissels.

Upon arrival, I checked a tree clump near a path that leads up to an embankment and was surprised to see and hear a male Mourning Warbler. Along with him were a Canada Warbler, Wilson's, Chesnut-sided, a few redstarts, and Common Yellowthroat female. Eastern Wood-Peewees sang, as did Red-eyed Vireos. A few Catbirds and gnatcatchers came out to show off as well.

 After I left the tree clump, I headed toward the prairie in hopes of finding a Dickcissel or rarer sparrow. I found neither, but enjoyed watching a pair of Eastern Kingbirds that perched low and allowed close views. I was standing on the side of one of the birds when it opened its beak quite wide. I thought that it was really going to start belting out a song. But it didn't. Instead, it coughed up a solid, roundish object. It reminded me of an owl coughing up a pellet! Do kingbirds expel pellets?

 WIDE OPEN...then....
 HACK! What the HECK is that?!
 Sitting calmly after relieving itself.

 Savannah Sparrows flew and sang, too. One perched on a pole that said HOT LINE, making for a cute photo opp.
 He knows he is hot, so he sings!
One of the kingbirds showed that it was a hottie, too.

Amidst the sparrow and kingbird action, I heard one or two Meadowlarks calling and singing. Sometimes one perched on a wire; other times, it sat low in the grass, making peent-like sounds.
A little while later, a pair of Turkey Vultures circled overhead, quite low. A Blue-gray Gnatcatcher flew into a nest high above me, and I saw a pair of Baltimore Orioles mating! In just over an hour, I witnessed all of this activity--time well spent!
Turkey Vulture
Eastern Meadowlark in flight
Male Baltimore Oriole not long after mating.

No comments:

Post a Comment