Monday, April 27, 2009

Smith’s Longspurs to Golden-crowned Sparrow

Sorry again for yet another lengthy delay. I have a lot of projects going on which makes it hard to find time to update my blog. Instead of going into detail on the past couple weeks; I’ll just give quick reports on my two new state birds.

Back on April 11th, a few Amish birders chased the Mountain Bluebird and continued to the Ohio/Indiana border to search for Smith’s Longspurs. Right away they discovered a male and female along Manley Road in Mercer County. Within a couple days, I took the four hour drive and was rewarded with great views of a few males as they flew over the road. As soon as they landed in the wheat field or corn stubble, they vanished. Up to 40 individuals were reported and a few are still being seen today.

On April 8th, a Golden-crowned Sparrow appeared at a feeder in Hancock County near Findlay. Due to access issues, it wasn’t chaseable. Eventually the owners allowed access but only on April 22nd and 23rd. Since it was a first state record, I left school early due to a serious case of ‘twitching’ and drove 2.5 hours. It was only a couple minutes before it popped out into the open and eventually making it to the feeder. I generally hate chasing birds coming to feeders but since it was an adult, it was worth it.

Golden-crowned Sparrow
Hancock County, Ohio - April 22, 2009

Friday, April 10, 2009

Mountain Bluebird in Ohio!

On April 5th, a birder came across what they believed was a Mountain Bluebird at Oak Openings Metropark near Toledo, Ohio. That evening I checked out the area but as soon as I arrived, it started to rain and nothing was found. Finally on April 7th a couple birders discovered and confirmed the Mountain Bluebird at the corner of Wilkins Road and Rt. 295 – Ohio’s second record. Since it would be a state bird for me, I tagged along with Jen Brumfield and her dad Wednesday to chase it. It wasn’t five minutes before we spotted it sitting in a small bush along the road. We continued watching it for the next 30 minutes as it activity fed ignoring the oncoming traffic. I attempted to get a few photos with my 55mm lens (my 70-300mm are being repaired) but they didn’t turn out at the distance I was taking them at. If you want to see some great pictures, check out

Mountain Bluebird

Friday, April 3, 2009

Panama - Part 1

No, I wasn’t captured by a rebel group or got lost in the Panamanian jungle – I’ve been so busy catching up with stuff, I haven’t had time to update my blog.

I left for Panama on March 16th and didn’t arrive at the Tocumen International Airport until the following evening due to delays and misfortune. This is where I met up with Ian Davies and Andrew Spencer who I was going to be birding with the rest of the trip. We left the airport around 8pm and drove east a couple hours to San Blas province. Since there weren’t any accommodations around, we pulled off the side of the road and slept in the car.

Day 1 – We birded Nusagandi, a 60,000 Ha reserve managed by the Kuna Indians. After getting permission from the locals, we headed down a few of the well-maintained trails. Some of the highlights include: Sapayoa, Black-and-yellow Tanager and an awesome ant swarm that attracted approximately 15 Chestnut-backed, 3 Dull-mantled, 20 Bicolored, 1 Spotted and 8 Ocellated Antbirds among others. After a great day, we headed back to Panama City and stayed at the Hostel Amador.

Near Nusagandi Reserve

Southern Lapwing

Day 2 – Unfortunately Ian got sick (which stayed with him for most of the trip) so he stayed in bed today while Andrew and I birded Pipeline Road. This 17km long road is one of the most famous birding localities in Central America. Located within the Soberania National Park, Pipeline Road is only 40 minutes from Panama City. You can only drive in so far so we parked the car and hiked 5 miles roundtrip finding a lot of great birds such as Yellow-green Tyrannulet (endemic), Spectacled Antpitta, Golden-winged Warbler, Cocoa Woodcreeper, Black-bellied Wren along with plentiful toucans, motmots, trogons etc. When birding hit the mid-day low, we headed back to Panama City. After dinner along the canal we stayed another night at the Hostel Amador.

Pipeline Road

White-whiskered Puffbird