May 15, 2011

Attack of the Sparrows!

The weather here has decided to go all wonky on me again. Last week it was highs in the 90's and sunburns, this week it was rain, highs in the 50's followed by more rain. Tonight it's supposed to get down below 40, which is incredibly wrong for May, at least in my opinion. Hopefully all this fluctuating weather doesn't affect our birds too much. The Henslow's Sparrows have started nesting! We found two nests on Thursday and have a good idea of where another one might be. Last year they only found 11 nests, so we're hoping to find at least double that if not more.

First Henslow nest. The top of this nest is about as big around as a quarter.

Our Brown Thrasher nest hatched, they have little downy afros.
These are the Meadowlarks that hatched last week, getting cuter every day.
 My boss Levi and the other tech Keith are both obsessed with fishing. One of the other conservation areas has a small lake intended for sport fishing. About once a week now it we've started spending our lunch hour(s) out on the lake. While the boys go and fish I chill on the covered floating dock and read or take pictures.

Tree Swallow on one of the dead trees that litter the lake.

These Barn Swallows have a nest in the roof of the floating dock.

Papa swallow was watching me read.

While Mama swallow went and looked for tasty snacks.

 To entice the Henslow's Sparrows into defending their territory we have a callback player (an mp3 player with a portable speaker). We play the call of a male Henslow to get the bird we want to hop up on some grass and start calling back at us. Sometimes it scares the birds we're looking for, but other times we almost get attacked by some very brave little birds, like this one.

Can you spot the bird in this picture?

There he is! This Henslow was very offended by my callback player.

He got within about a foot of my boots, that black pole is the tripod for my scope.

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