Saturday, July 30, 2016

THREE New Yard Birds within 16 Hours for Parc Perlière -- July 29-30, 2016!

Louisiana Waterthrush -- Parc Perlière, Charleston, SC -- Photo by Carl Miller

WOW!  Yes, it is true!  I am sort of dumbfounded by this.  Quite frankly, when your yard list already has 112 species on it, you do not really expect to be able to add 3 yard birds in a 16 hour time frame.   In fact, in 2014, we did not have any new yard species.  And yet, since yesterday 5 pm, we have indeed added 3 new yard birds to Parc Perlière's life list!  Thanks to late summer dispersal and the start of Fall migration!

It all began yesterday afternoon, Friday, July 29.  Carl had arrived home from work and found his access to the garage blocked by the cleaning crew who were loading their car to leave.  So Carl decided to park on the street and pass his time waiting by picking up pine cones in the yard.  He went to deposit the pine cones in a brush pile behind the house close to the creek and flushed this Louisiana Waterthrush (see photo above)!  He shot a few quick pictures and then came into the house to tell me.  We quickly looked up some websites that contrasted Louisiana and Northern Waterthrushes to make sure of the ID.   With that consistently thick, white supercilium line extending back from the eye and the pure white, unspotted chin, we were positive that we had a Louisiana:  Parc Perlière Yard Bird no. 113!

Louisiana Waterthrush -- Parc Perlière, Charleston, SC -- Photo by Carl Miller

We then went back outside so that I could find and observe the bird!  Carl was able to capture a few more pictures for us and I was able to get the scope on him to see some excellent, tail-bobbing action.  Louisiana Waterthrushes are one of the earliest migrating species.  They nest and feed alongside streams inland.  They do not breed in the SC Lowcountry so this one was passing through.  According to Birds of North America Online (an invaluable resource on the life histories of our North American species from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the American Ornothologists' Union) when they migrate, they still tend to gravitate towards water.  So they are often seen in migration along side ponds, ditches, wooded creek areas such as what we have in our backyard.  We were thrilled to be able to add him to our yard list.

Louisiana Waterthrush -- Parc Perlière, Charleston, SC -- Photo by Carl Miller

This morning, like many mornings this summer, I had my breakfast with the Bijou (our kitty) sitting on the swing on our back deck.  With these hot summer days, early morning & late evening are truly the only times of day when we can enjoy the deck.  I hoped that perhaps the Louisiana Waterthrush had hung around and that I might see him again.  Such was not the case.  However, as I was bringing the birding gear out on the deck, I looked up to see a flyover Barn Swallow!  I was pretty sure that we had never observed one in our yard before.  They tend to stay close to their nesting sites and I did not know of any nesting closeby.  I checked our eBird list for the yard and sure enough, this Barn Swallow was Parc Perlière Yard Bird no. 114!  Sadly, there is no photo to commemorate the sighting.

Being early, the birds were fairly active and thus, I decided to keep a stationary list.  Birds tend to come and go in waves.  I have been watching a young & clumsy Brown Thrasher trying to become a feeder bird.  This morning he succeeded in getting a nut.  I looked up to the live oak on the right when I heard the raspy European Starlings arrive.  Their calls announced another multi-species wave of birds.  And there, right above the starlings in excellent light sat a yellow Summer Tanager!  OMG!  I am pretty darn sure that we have never had a Summer Tanager in the yard!  I lifted the camera and began to adjust the settings and he/she was gone.  I saw this bird one more time before it became too hot to sit out on the deck.  I am not sure whether this bird was a female or a juvenile.  I checked our yard list to confirm that this was indeed a new species for our yard:  Parc Perlière Yard Bird no. 115!

This evening, when the high temperature begins to abate, I will go out and look for this Summer Tanager and the Louisiana Waterthrush again.  Perhaps I will get a photo ...  It would be nice to have a photo of the Summer Tanager for the record!

Who would have thought that our yard list would increase by three in a 16 hour period!  It just goes to show that you never know when you will be surprised by a bird or THREE!  

1 comment:

  1. Great luck and sightings! I hope you will capture one or both of the others on "film".