Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Birding Failure...Yes and NO

Every trip looking for birds (any wildlife really) is an adrenaline rush. No matter how common the target species is, there is always the unexpected with a large dollop of expectation lurking in the background. So it was on January 11th, my target birds were Pine Grosbeak, Chestnut-backed Chickadee along Howard Creek (segment of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail) west of Lolo, MT. Temps were seasonal near 32F, calm winds and light snow. Aesthetics were off the charts:


I spent an hour and a half vainly searching...nada excepting 4 Mountain Chickadee and a couple of Red-breasted Nuthatch. A sign encountered on the way back (photo below) metaphorically described my chance of success...made me laugh. Birding is like all other sports, nobody bats/shoots/scores/succeeds 100% of the time. And yes, "it ain't over til the fat lady sings". That's right, there is the trip home at a minimum to find birds.

I remember my father pointing out Black-bellied Whistling Ducks flying by while driving the roads of southern Texas. In this case, no whistling duck, just a Golden Eagle. That's right, a road-killed deer was lunch for this magnificent raptor. Got some smudgy photos from inside of the car in a smart and safe manner. No matter, had success with a slightly different outcome. It seems most of my wildlife adventures have similar outcomes...try it and see if you can bat a 1000 :-)