Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Allegany Nature Pilgrimage, Night One, Day Two Part I

Friday night we attended an owl prowl, which is something I have been wanting to do forever.

Talk about amazing! Within minutes our talented owl-calling guide had three screech owls conversing with him. One of them even flew onto a branch directly in front of me and I was able to get a great look at him. I swear he looked right into my eyes. What a treat! He (she?) was so much smaller than I was expecting, even though I know they are a small owl, it still was a shock to see how little he looked on that branch.
Off we all went to another site in the park, near the Bridal Veil Falls area, where we all just parked along the dark roadside and stood along the edge of the woods while our guide called for the barred owl. He warned us it may take a while to get them to respond. I didn't mind-it was just neat to be standing there in the pitch dark, until it started to rain, that is. Bummer. Our guide explained the chances of the owl coming now were slim to none, due to the rain, so we all headed back to our cars. And then! What was that? Could it be?! Yes! A response - a pair of barred owls had come in and were out of sight, but not out of earshot. What a delight! I never ever in a million years would have expected these vocalizations from an owl. It literally sounded like a troupe of monkeys in the canopy. I so wish I had an audio recorder with me!
Before heading back to our cabin, we stopped over to check out what was on the lighted sheet - nothing too spectacular, but about a zillion dance flies. Handfuls of them were pooled at the bottom of the sheet. A bit creepy, but fascinating all the same. My camera was, once again, deciding not to focus, so I only got a few pics.
So mad my camera wouldn't focus! This moth was GoRGeOUs!

Up early the next morning to join the 6 a.m. birdwalk. It had rained over night and was a bit foggy and dull, but with the help of the guide and others on the walk, we were able to spot a few. It was nice that the guide provided us with not only a checklist of all the birds we could expect to see this time of year in the park, but also a listing of bird calls too.

Next, we headed to the 7 a.m. birdbanding. Again, something I had never seen before and I was blown away by the whole process. After being gently caught in nets, the birds are placed into bags and brought to the banding station.

To be that close to these birds was beyond delightful - I was in awe the whole time. The birds themselves were so calm (other than the pecky chickadee) during their measuring and weighing.

The suspense of what was in the bags was killing me!

Keeping track of all the data was no easy task!

Here's who showed up for the party:

Song sparrow preparing to be weighed


Common Yellow Throat

Magnolia Warbler - female (I think! let me know if I'm wrong)

Yellow Warbler

Cedar Waxwing

American Redstart

Magnolia Warbler Male

Gray Catbird

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Blackburnian Warbler

Ruby Throated Hummingbird, wasn't banded as our 'bander' does not have a permit to do so. Can you believe how tiny he is???!!!

Red-eyed vireo

Indigo Bunting

I hope I got their names right. I've never seen most of these birds, and I was trying to pay attention the best I could, but ya know, sometimes, I just don't catch all the details accurately.
Whew, all this excitement before 9 a.m. What more could a girl ask for?


  1. Lynn, pics are great!!! How exciting you got to see these beautiful creatures and take part in this weekend!! We had an Indigo Bunting at our house the 1st two years were moved here...none since that we've seen...

  2. Lucky you!
    Cedarwaxings nest in my back yard but we rarely see them when they leave the nest. Too bad they don't eat seed. But I have a section of the back yard that I leave go to weed and plant bird seed in every year and there is always lots of activity. We get quite a variety throughout the year.

    Thanks for the up close pics!!

  3. The photos and birds are gorgeous! I think the Indigo Bunting is my favorite--what a blue! Thanks for mentioning this on your other blog!

  4. omg...i just love love love all the beautiful photo's on this blog. What an AMAZING trip! I would have loved to have been there, though i must say you did an amazing job of taking me there through your word and photo's.

    Thank you so much for sharing this experience!