Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Trip Weekend: Orange City, Iowa

It only seems right that I should have gotten my first Orange-Crowned Warbler in Orange City, Iowa this one showed up and was hopping around just outside the window.

In a rare bit of good timing this Ruby-crowned Kinglet showed up while I still had my camera ready, although he did not move to any non-screened windows. In a Glamour Shots way the screen probably helped to soften all those wet soaked looking feathers.

Much later in the day my Dad and I joined my Brother-in-law to head out looking for a reported Cooper's Hawk a few streets over.

The reports had a Cooper's nesting just off the road. We headed over and shortly found the nest, with a head and tail just visible. It wasn't tough to tell what we were doing in the mist with bins and a long telephoto lens, but even so four different people stopped to make sure we knew about and had found the local attraction. It was a nice bit of Americana, right down to the little girl who asked if we knew about the "Red-eyed Hawk" in the neighborhood.

We had spent our time maneuvering around the nest and had just started heading away when I heard what I called a "Rubber Duck" sound from the tree just across the street. I had been standing below it a few moments before getting shots of the nest.

Looking up I spotted a second Coop' a dozen feet off the ground.

It had a recent kill, and as I have read was more content to remain perched despite our close proximity. I fired away and despite the poor light got some fun closeups.

We continued on our short walk, and were rewarded a few minutes later with more distant looks at Junior. My brother in law, who knows his birds, was surprised that a presumable offspring would be in such close proximity to his parents, but regardless it was cool to get such close and varied looks at the whole family.
The next day my Dad and I braved an even colder wind to walk a bit of the "Puddle Jumper" Trail to see if we could track down any Harris Sparrows. The last bird I saw before the stiff breeze coming across a freshly manured field drove us back to the car and a warm house in town was this Harris.

Just in time!
The bit of birding I got to do was fun, but getting a few days with family was even better! It is always a treat to get to spend time with them.
That wraps up the trip. The return trip was posted out of order and is visible in prior posts. I am so glad I had a chance to do it, and will hope to do pieces of it again. If you get the chance, I recommend Northern Nebraska.

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