Saturday, November 7, 2015

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Two More Lifebirds!

    I've been birding for nearly five years now, so it's very uncommon for me to get a liferbird here in my home state of Tennessee. The other day, though, I got not one but two!
    My Dad, my youngest brother (Matthias), and I chased a juvenile Common Gallinule that had been staying at Lake Hiawatha in Crossville for several days. We arrived at around 10:45 AM on Wednesday, October 28. It had been raining continually the day before, and today was no different. My scope was drenched within a few minutes. I was worried that the drizzle might harm the viewing conditions, but fortunately there was no problem. I was excited to see my first wintering waterfowl of the season: American Wigeons, Ring-necked Ducks, and Ruddy Ducks. There were several coots as well, and my heart stopped every time one of these - quite similar to a gallinule - swam through the scope. 
    I would have completely missed the gallinule if the white of its flanks hadn't flashed when the bird spun in the water. I excitedly sprinted to my "sidekicks" in the car and tripped in the process (I have a bruise to show for it). Dad came to see the bird while lil' bro stayed in the car. It was a new one for both of us! 
    Since we were short on time, we hurried to our next locations. I wanted to scan Lake Tansi to look for a Surf Scoter that was reported recently, but when we got there, the gate was locked. I forgot to bring my atlas to help us navigate to a different viewing spot, and the scoter wouldn't have been a lifer anyway, so we moved on.
    Barn Owls are frequently found hiding in the silo at the Bridgestone/Firestone Centennial Wilderness WMA in White County, and having never seen one before, we thought it wise to check since we were in the area. After entering the WMA, a couple of rangers stopped us. "Y'all ain't supposed to be here," ranger #1 said. "It's deer huntin' season." Fortunately, I'm hard to turn down, so they kindly let us (me) check the silo anyway.
    Dad stepped inside the silo first, and then I followed. We looked up and two pairs of beady black eyes peered back down at us. I shivered. Barn Owls do look creepy, but what an awesome lifer! As you might expected I tried to take the best photo that I could:  

Barn Owls, lifebird #336

I love seeing new species and traveling to new places and making memories!