Wednesday, July 9, 2008

"Allegany Nature Pilgrimage" (Birding and Bird Banding) 6-1-08

This is another 'catch up' post about the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage at the end of May. This post I put up pictures of birding hikes and the bird banding demonstration along with a video clip of the demo.
This was the very first nature hike I went on the whole weekend, it was led by birding expert Frank Gardner. We wound our way through some beautiful woods by a stream, to me it looked like a 'Faerie Haven'. It was considered an advanced bird walk because most of the identification was by bird song. We kept hearing a Blackburnian Warbler up in the trees...ok, this is one of those birds that I'm dying to see. If you remember I did a little painting of one in my sketchbook this winter, click here to see it. Well, I had to leave the hike a little early to catch another hike that was starting soon, guess what everyone in the entire group saw after I left? A Blackburnian Warbler came down to take a bath in the creek!! Oh boy...they teased me a bit because I made such a big deal out of wanting to see one!
This is the 'All Day Birding Hike' I took with Tim Baird as the leader. I was worried that we'd be hiking all day long and I wouldn't be able to do it, but it was actually very pleasant as we took several cars and drove to different locations in the park, then walked. This is a page from my sketchbook, click it too see all my notes on the different birds I saw or heard. I put a little dot in front of birds I heard, and a check mark for ones I saw too. I did a tiny sketch with water-soluble graphite of the lake and hills from where we stood by the lodge, Allegany Park's main office. The water-soluble pencils are by Derwendt and I just love them. You can do a simple sketch when you're in a hurry and just worry about the values, use a water-brush to wet it while you're standing there. In a later post I'll put up the sketch pages with complete lists of every bird and flower that I've seen here and in the Adirondack Mnts. Believe me it's long!!
This is at the bird banding demonstration on Sunday morning. If you've never seen a banding demo please make sure you try to some day, I had no idea it'd be so fascinating! The above picture shows Jerry blowing on the breast of a yellow warbler to expose the breast. It's a way they check for a brood patch or check the general weight of the bird for health.
To catch the birds they raise fine nets up in the early morning and leave them up, the birds fly into them and get tangled but not harmed.This is a hummingbird in the hand, amazing!
Here's a Chestnut Sided Warbler that Jerry is holding, it's amazing how they hold the bird by the upper legs, above the joint I think, and it doesn't hurt it. I've included a video clip, you'll see how casual they are about holding the birds, and get a good look at Bob McKinney holding a Yellow-Billed Cuckoo. Jerry is holding a Catbird, though he seems extremely casual about holding it, believe me they've done this thousands of times and no birds are injured. A funny trick Bob would do with the kids, when he was ready to release a bird, he'd carefully lay it on it's backside on top of someone's head. Then the bird would get it's bearings and fly was really neat! You'll see Bob measuring the bird, blowing on it's breast to look for a brood patch and then he unceremoniously plops it into a tumbler to put it on the scale for weighing. With smaller birds he used an empty pill bottle! Up above on my double sketch page you can see a tiny sketch I did of the Cuckoo in the tumbler. Enjoy the video!!

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