Since I work Tuesday through Saturday, I view Sunday and Monday as my birding days. Naturally I try to pack a weeks worth of birding into these two days. Today was no different.
Today we headed out hoping to see birds of prey. Almost immediately we spotted a Cooper's Hawk along the highway. Woo Hoo! Off to a great start! Although we didn't count the number of Red-Tailed Hawks, it seemed like there were hundreds (one of which stayed still long enough to gake a pretty decent picture). Both of us were spotting RT Hawks left and right. One of the times I spotted a hawk soaring up high to the left of the highway. It only took a second to realize it had a dark tail band, dark "knuckles," and windows on the wings. I'm glad there wasn't much traffic because I'm sure I drifted into the other lane while gazing out the window. :) A quick check with the guide confirmed a Rough-legged Hawk. Excellent! A Lifer!
I've always been fascinated by the Loggerhead Shrike. I remember reading about them while riding in the back of my parents car on our way to visit family. I can honestly say I've been wanting to see one for over a decade. They'd become one of those birds to me...you know, the bird you never think you'll ever actually see.
So when I read that a local birder had seen one on his morning runs recently, I couldn't resist trying to see the bird. My hopes were not high, but I wouldn't see anything if I didn't look. Enroute I saw 10+ American Kestrals, even more Red-Tailed Hawks, and a Bald Eagle.
When we finally arrived at the park where the Shrike had been spotted, I got pulled over by a police officer patrolling the park. Arghhh!! :) I explained we were driving slowly and pausing often because were were looking at/for birds. He was friendly and allowed us to go about our business with a smile. Not too long after that we were watching a Red Tailed Hawk fly to a new perch and I happened to notice he displaced a small grey/white/black bird. My hand trembled just a bit as I reached for my binoculars. THE LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE!!!! We got a few minutes of acceptable viewing before a car pulled in front of us and wanted to know if we needed help.....just as the Shrike was flying to a new perch! I missed where it landed as I was explaining we were watching a bird to the inquisitive driver. Unfortunately I couldn't find the bird again.
I've never had trouble finding something to do...Cycling,tennis, creating something out of stained glass are a few things I enjoy. Recently I've added birding to the list and suspect it will become a lifelong hobby.