The Wrack

The Wrack is the Wells Reserve blog, our collective logbook on the web.

Posts tagged winged wednesday

  • Wondering Wednesday

    | June 3, 2015

    It's another winged Wednesday, but while bird banders await more birds, other wonders abound at this "place to discover."

    Coffee break

  • Wing'd XXXI: She's Got Legs

    | May 6, 2015

    One April long ago, my ornithology instructor took our class to Bowerman Basin to view an annual sandpiper spectacle he helped discover and document. Dr. Herman delivered us to an enormous flock of shorebirds and, as science students "seeking patterns in nature," charged us with tallying them.

    Western Sandpipers and Dunlins in Oregon. Photo by David B. Ledig and in the public domain.

    "How do we count such a huge flock of birds?" we asked the sage.

    "Count the legs and divide by two," was his wisdom.*

    Ever since, I've strived to get good looks at bird legs whenever I've got binoculars in hand. No, I'm not counting them; I'm checking them for bands. Steve also taught us the value of studying birds as individuals and as populations — and how both approaches are aided by a scientist's ability to identify specific birds reliably. To do that requires marking them and legs are the go-to appendage.

  • Wing'd XXX: Wednesday Walk Wrap

    | January 30, 2015

    European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris, licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia CommonsMy tight-timeframe Wednesday birding routine started in March and carried on through December. Over that span I missed 7 mid-week morning appointments with the birds, but still completed 33 checklists accounting for 61 species.

    Starlings were evident on 20 surveys, crows turned up on 19, and a handful of species appeared 11 times: robin, bluebird, a sparrow, and goldfinch.

  • Wing'd XXIX: Rare Flycatcher is One-day Wonder

    | June 11, 2014 | Filed under: Observations

    A scissor-tailed flycatcher spends a few hours along the Muskie Trail.

  • Wing'd XXVIII: The 2-Minute Bird Walk

    | April 2, 2014

    Mornings, driving in, Laudholm welcomes me. I loop in to park, take two bags in one hand and binoculars in the other, step out, push the car door shut, and lock it. Already I'm attuned, scanning, panning the landscape, listening for caws and chips.

    The entry walk, heading past the kiosk toward the big barn.Most days I'm rewarded. It's a long walk from the parking lot to the farmhouse door and the reserve is famously rich in bird life. With its grassy expanses, ancient hedgerows, mixed woodlands, and the estuaries just beyond them, it's a rare day when no bird moves or speaks during the pedestrian part of my commute.

    Four weeks ago, I added a twist to my routine. Every Wednesday, I'd measure my walk — both length and time — while logging each avian encounter. Then I'd submit my checklist to eBird, where it can be stored and shared.

  • Winged Wednesday XXVII: A Welcome Hydration

    | July 10, 2013

    Fog: welcome hydration after the heat wave. Lunch on the porch. Barn swallows, and a couple of trees, whip past incessantly. A vigilant starling keeps going to the gutter with a beakful of food and leaving without one. Two adolescent bluebirds perch on the sapling chestnut and its wire barrier, watching for bugs. I imagine it's their dad who stops while passing downhill, sporting colorful leg bands he probably got a few miles (not a few rods) away. A mockingbird moves in and out of the Sialia space without its typical confidence. To the west, somewhere along the swampy head of the Muskie Trail, cu-cu-cu, cu-cu-cu, cu-cu-cu, cu-cu-cu. The rain crow.

  • Winged Wednesday XXVI: Into the Wind

    | September 19, 2012

    Blue sky, two monarchs, two dragonfliesIn a post to the maine-birds group today, Jerry Kelly remarked about the "Disneyesque" crowd of monarchs staging at Fort Foster in Kittery around noon. He was estimating well over 500 at the time, but that number surely rose as the day wore on.

    I can be confident because when I stepped out for my own lunch-time bird walk the migrating monarchs were so mesmerizing I did a butterfly sit instead.

  • Winged Wednesday XXV: Salt Marsh

    | June 20, 2012

    I was out on the salt marsh this morning — the sun-baked, no-shade Little River marsh — to learn a bit about Jenn Dijkstra's research and couldn't help but notice a number of winged creatures. The mosquitoes weren't too bad (they were worse in the woods on the walk down), but as soon as I reached the research transect an early green-headed horse fly sortied to my left shin. The menacing tabanid maneuvered around my counter-strikes, making several quick attacks before succumbing to an overwhelming force. I usually think of greenheads as a July annoyance, so I was unpleasantly surprised to have to battle this one.

  • Winged Wednesday XXIV: A Barnacle

    | March 7, 2012

    Barnacle Goose by Brian HarrisThe Wells Reserve boundary stretches well beyond the familiar Laudholm campus, as our partnership with the USFWS Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge means the reserve includes most salt marsh habitats within the Town of Wells. So when birder Brian Harris photographed a Barnacle Goose (with Mallard and American Black Ducks) on the Moody marsh, he documented a new species for both the refuge and the reserve. For the reserve, this would be species number 265.

  • Winged Wednesday XXIII: 2011 Attempt at the 99 Common Birds

    | January 4, 2012

    I noted 132 species during 2011, but only 92 of the ones on our "99 common birds" checklist. These are the ones I missed:

    Red-breasted Nuthatch photo by Wolfgang Wander from Wikimedia Commons

    1. Lesser Yellowlegs
    2. Spotted Sandpiper
    3. American Woodcock
    4. Eastern Wood-Pewee
    5. Great Crested Flycatcher
    6. Red-breasted Nuthatch
    7. Rose-breasted Grosbeak