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Close Encounters of the Bird Kind

We spent another amazing Saturday morning at Carden Alvar.  The weather was simply perfect and the birds were everywhere.  Our day began with a bang - a close encounter with a Savannah Sparrow who was singing its heart out.

We then parked the car near nesting boxes 9/10 and spent some time walking around.  This is when we saw and heard a Brown Thrasher; only our third sighting ever!!  The Brown Thrasher is a Mimid bird, classified as such due to its ability to mimic the call of other birds.  We spent quite a bit of time watching and listening to it.  When it mimics another birds call, it does so twice in a row before moving onto the next call.  This bird must have mimicked well over a dozen calls, some of which we didn't even recognize.

We also got some greats looks at a small group of Eastern Phoebes and finally heard the call that is their namesake - FeeBee! 

And, of course, there were many Tree Swallows about.  They have so much personality which is good because the camera loves them. :)

Other hightlights from the alvar include spotting an Eastern Towee, (which Nathan has seen before but for me - a lifer!!!) Common Snipes in flight, and many Swamp Sparrows down in the marsh portion of Wylie Road.

The wildflowers are just starting to appear within the alvar.  We saw some Prairie Smoke just beginning to bud, Barren Strawberry and Marsh Marigolds.  When the flowers start popping up, the butterflies start coming out, which is exciting!  Nathan was able to photograph the gorgeous Black Swallowtail below.

We left the alvar around noon and headed up Highway 12 towards the nesting Ospreys on Muley Point Road and along the way we had a very close encounter with a Juvi Red-tailled Hawk.  Nathan spotted the hawk on a fence post beside the road so I turned the car around to see if we could get close.  Usually in these types of situations we try to get close but NEVER do.  But this time....this time it felt like the bird was inviting us in.  I pulled up, about 15 feet away from it and it didn't even flinch.  Nathan was even able to get out of the car and walk towards felt surreal.  It's definately a moment that we will remember for the rest of our lives.....AWESOME!!!!!!!

 Hope you all had a great weekend as well....happy birding!