Splotchy McBuntingbird staked his claim to this tree in front of the Lilly Nature Center a few months ago and he’s been there singing almost every day since. Oops, I forgot, he doesn’t like to be called that. He prefers immature, no no, ALMOST adult Indigo Bunting!
Leave it to a beaver to build a dam and flood the Celery Bog. Several of my lucky birding locations are under water right now, including my favorite phoebe spot. Imagine my surprise then, when I was peeking through a small opening in the trees near there, and an Eastern Phoebe plopped down right in front of me!
I watched in amusement as several freshly fledged Tree Swallows Jockeyed for position in a small tree. It was pretty clear that the desired spots for maximum food consumption were the highest and the closest to the ends of the branches. I spent most of thirty minutes enjoying this hilarious fledge fighting, which would cease immediately and mouths would open wide whenever an adult flew by!
I fully expected this grumpy old Great Blue Heron to shoo the dragonfly away, but he seemed to be as interested in it as I was. At one point he tilted his head skyward like a far-sighted old bird trying to focus on his fascinating new insect pal. After a few minutes the dragonfly flew and he went back to fishing.
Checking in at number 157 on Superdan’s Big Boggy Bird List is the smooth flying stylings of a Caspian Tern. My first one at the Celery Bog went zipping past yesterday and Casey Kasem’s top 40 countdown voice popped into my head. I know what you’re thinking and I don’t know what’s the matter with me either, but what a neat bird!
My primary camera has been at the repair shop for the past week so I’ve been tip-toeing around the Celery Bog with my crummy, beat up, duct taped, dusty, wires hanging out old backup camera, hoping I don’t have to try and photograph anything too amazing. It’s been a little slow at the bog lately so my plan was working… until today. I came upon the friendliest American Goldfinch in the pristinest light; my absolute best opportunity ever to photograph one of these spectacular little finches! I gently pressed the red and green wires together; they’re the only two wires coming out of the hole in my camera where the shutter button once resided, aaaaand… click! It worked! I think. I’ll keep shooting just in case and sort it out later. Wait, is that an electric shock coming from my camera!?! Click, ow, click, ow, click, ow…
It’s hard to believe that just a few short years ago this was my nemesis bird. We were bestest buds this spring. BFF’s forever and ever! Everywhere I turned there was my Great Crested Flycatcher pal patiently waiting to be photographed. He likes me! He really likes me! Or… it might be that there was a massive influx of great cresteds at the Celery Bog this year, but really, what’s the most likely scenario? The second one? Rats.
What’s wrong little buddy? Ahh, I see. I don’t know why they named you “Common” Yellowthroat either. Well, let’s see if we can turn that frown upside down with a little renaming session. How about we call you… Splendid Banditbird! You like it? He likes it! Behold the Splendid Banditbird!!!
I usually spend all summer chasing the Eastern Wood-Pewee before he finally gives up a shot, but I got him in May this year. Why do I invest so much time in a plain old, block-headed little bird? It’s the taunting. All summer long he sits up there, out of sight, with his name calling. Pee wee! Pee WEE! PEE wee!!! Also, he’s a pretty cute little block-head.
I paused briefly to contemplate something profound, and when I turned to continue my journey there was a rabbit on the trail ahead scratching on the ground. Then he plopped down and started flopping around! I haven’t seen a dust bunny that big since last week when I looked under my couch!
I watched as my Red-bellied Woodpecker pal twisted and turned and gyrated wildly, and I was just about to tell him he’s doing it wrong when, “Pop!” he uncorked his tongue from that tree limb and his prize was attached! Good job buddy, I knew you could do it!
It was dark and gloomy, rain was looming, and I almost didn’t go. I would have missed a sweet little goodbye from one of my last spring warblers, the magnificent Magnolia Warbler. See you in the fall little buddy, fly safe!
Mommy said stay put or I won’t get any dessert, but that giant guy is really scary. Maybe if I cover my eyes he won’t see me. Ahh yes, baby birds! Meanwhile, fifty yards down the trail, another Field Sparrow is putting the finishing touches on a new nest.
Here’s a fun fact about how the Rose-breasted Grosbeak was named: it’s because they’re messy eaters! No? You’re right, it probably has more to do with the French word gros, meaning great or large, and that beak really is great!
They say that opposites attract and it couldn’t be more true than with a pair of American Redstarts. He’s bold, black-and-orange, and she’s a conservative gray and yellow. He won’t sit still ever; no interest in meeting new people whatsoever, especially photographers. She, on the other hand, always seems genuinely interested in my photography, and willing to help out any way she can, usually by posing nicely and as closely as possible.
This is our local celebrity, the Mississippi Kite. He lives in a nice little neighborhood in West Lafayette, Indiana. If only he would follow my trail of crunchy, delicious locusts to the Celery Bog so I could add him to my bog list. I guess it’s okay though, the bog isn’t big enough for two huge celebrities. Me! I’m the other one! No? Rats.
The first brave act for this baby Song Sparrow was to chirp at a complete stranger while his proud parents watched nearby. Well, second brave act if you count breaking out of his shell a few weeks ago and into a whole new world. Next on his tiny to-do list: be the singingest bird ever!
It was a brief encounter; he only stopped by for a real quick peek. I know, I know, places to be and foods to eat. I did get a portrait though, it’s pretty sweet. Maybe next time you could stay a while longer, please? Sorry, I get a little sappy around one of my all-time favorites, the Red-eyed Vireo.