Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A presentation on eBird by Jerry Amerson

eBird is a great tool currently used by more and more birders across the country and the world.
We have some members who need a refresher on this tool so Jerry Amerson gave us a great presentation at our November general meeting.
eBird is available for free.  A free app for smartphones can also be downloaded from both Google Play or iTunes.  Once you have the app on your phone, you can use eBird in the field while birding.
This amazing tool allows you to keep your records of bird species organized in a permanent place, accessible anywhere.  And you shouldn't lose your records again.  In addition to that, you can check what is been observed in your area or in an area where you are going to.  You can also check birds movements as been reported by other birders.
Can you set up alerts to get emails on reports of bird species you haven't seen yet in your area or any other area? Yes, you can! You can do even more than I'm mentioning here.  If you're not enjoying eBird now, you need to click one of the links here and check it out for your own benefit.
Our members asked many questions.  Little did we know this was such a valuable topic!
Oh, one more thing.  eBird has turned this quiet and laid back hobby into a competitive one.   You can now see the top 100 birders in a county, a State, the country, even the world! So, you want to go out and see more and more birds to improve your ranking.  Don't get discouraged when you make trips that do not yield the target birds.  Welcome to the club! It's simple but not easy.  Just keep birding! You'll see that "nemesis" bird soon enough.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Field Trip at Central City Park

Our March field trip found us at Central City Park with six birders.  It was nice and pleasant the whole time.  Springlike weather.  Birds have been active in nesting, courtship and matting behavior.
Eastern Bluebird preening
Some of our wintering sparrows have started to leave.  Our summer residents typically start coming down at this time.  We saw Northern Rough-winged Swallows that are here for the breeding season only and the White-eyed Vireos moved up to our area.  We still had a lot of wintering bird species.
Birding is usually more than then just birds.  The train in the above picture was interesting; so were Japanese and Chinese Privets.  These are trees.

A pair of Chipping Sparrows
We ended up the outing with 49 species in a relaxed birding trip.  It was notable to watch several birds fetching nesting material and singing to declare the limits of their newly established territories.
Did someone had a message for Ty, our veteran birder and photographer?
Come join us on the next field trip, it's fun!

Monday, September 21, 2015

OAS field trip at Wesleyan Arboretum

We met at Wesleyan College this past Saturday for one of our field trips this month.  Jim Ferrari led the field trip and we birded the Wesleyan Arboretum, fourteen (14) birders in total.
We've tallied 49 bird species including a handful of migrants such as Blue-winged, Magnolia, Chestnut-sided Warblers, and a Swainson's Thrush.
The group enjoyed the vireos and nuthatches we see more often just as much as the fall migrants.  When the Canada Geese came in for a perfect landing, everyone exclaimed in delight.
Partial group photo by Jim Gilreath
The Wesleyan Arboretum has gone through some improvements that was nice to appreciate since our last field trip there.  The College has also added a beautiful new chapel that served as an attractive architectural backdrop to the pond area.
Summer Tanager picture by Anne Armstrong
 Wesleyan College has large acres of wooded areas and we noticed several people enjoying the natural settings while we were there.
Jim Ferrari is well familiar with these surroundings and that helped navigate the trails and areas around the pond for the enjoyment of all.  Thank you, Jim.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Banding schedule with Charlie Muise

This is a good opportunity for bird banding with Charlie.

This is the schedule for the rest of the year.

Panola Mountain State Park in Rockdale County
Meet at the gate at the end of Alexander Lake Road, which is south of the park entrance, on SR 155

Saturday, September 12, 6:15
Sunday, September 20, 6:20

Sunday, October 4, 6:30 (if enough help!)
Saturday, October 24 6:50
Saturday, October 31, 6:50

Saturday, November 14, 6:00
Saturday, November 21, 6:00

Saturday, December 5, 6:30
Saturday, December 19, 6:30

Whigg Meadow banding August 29 – September (CMM there Aug 31 – Sept 7)
Charlie teaches banding class in Alabama September 28 - October 3
JIBS September 26 – October 9
GOS October 2-4

Monday, June 22, 2015

Field trip at the Lockerly Arboretum

The Lockerly Arboretum with its Rose Hill and beautiful gardens has served Milledgeville and the Middle Georgia area for over 50 years.

The Arboretum was the site for our field trip this past Saturday with eight birders and nature lovers.
 Katherine Cummings, the Executive Director of the facility, welcomed us at the beginning with a couple of her volunteers and off we went.
We took notice of various butterfly species, flowers and plants, and most importantly, bird species.

David, Dick, and Joe
Jerry Amerson, Ed Irwin, and Marie Amerson
Some in the group, Joe Mangum and David Evans, knew the grounds well and were helpful in the birding/nature walk. 
Jerry and Marie Amerson were the two most experienced birders in the group.  As usual, a group will notice more birds on a field trip when you have experienced birders around.  Jerry also helped identify the butterflies and some of the wildflowers on the walk.

All together, we have identified 36 different bird species on approximately one mile radius walk in two hours.  The highlights were the Black-and-white Warblers, the singing Orchard Oriole that we were able to see, the Yellow-billed Cuckoos, and a few Ruby-throated Hummingbirds.    

 There were a few nesting and fledgling Eastern Bluebirds that captured everyone's attention.  You never get tired of the pretty Bluebirds, right?  The little ones begging for food were fun to watch. 

We spent a decent amount of time admiring the various plants and wildflowers, trying to identify as many as we could.  
These are the butterflies we've observed: 
American Painted Lady 1
Red-spotted Purple 1
Hackberry Emperor 2
Common Buckeye 2
Hoary Edge 1 - 
Fiery Skipper 7
Sleepy Orange 1
Carolina Satyr 1

The temperature quickly rose to the high 90s and we had to cut short this otherwise pleasant walk.  There was a new water fountain beside the new bathrooms.  That was quite convenient. 

The Lockerly Arboretum truly offers a beautiful setting for anyone wanting to enjoy a nice birding walk or just stroll in nature with plenty of pleasant colors.  

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Central City Park Field Trip

Our first June field trip saw us the Central City Park where six birders from the Ocmulgee Audubon group met.
Ty pointing, and Andre updating the checklist.
Paul Johnson observed a Baltimore Oriole before everyone even got there.
We also got three Painted Buntings before the morning was over.
Painted Bunting
The first part of the field trip went on with lively music as a race was going on in a festive mood.
We enjoyed watching a little bit of the race too.  We were in Central City Park after all; where interesting activities happen.
We've observed 52 bird species but it's hard to tell if we stopped more for dragonflies and wildflowers or for birds.  Nature was calling everywhere with colors and life.  We heard more birds but saw more butterflies and pretty dragonflies.

Wildflowers are all around us this time of year.  It takes appreciating eyes to notice them.  And birders have appreciating eyes.

Some birders in the group were very interested in butterflies, dragonflies, wildflowers, and mushrooms.  That was great!

Let's take a closer look at the ... down there!
 We went down the levee all the way to the river, over the railroad tracks, and saw a deer starring at us.
You never know what you will encounter on a birding field trip.

Our next field trip will be at the Lockerly Arboretum.  Beside all the bird species, this field trip promises to yield even more butterflies, wildflowers, and pretty dragonflies.  The grounds of this arboretum are also gorgeous.  Don't miss it.
You can meet us there at 8:30 a.m. June 20th, (all info in the above link) or leave together in a car pool from Dr. Ty Ivey’s office at 1902 Forsyth Street, Macon.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Ocmulgee Audubon field trip to the Piedmont Wildlife Refuge

Ten members of our Ocmulgee Audubon chapter went to the Piedmont NR for one of our monthly field trips this past Saturday.

This field was unique in some regards.  Instead of our normal birds observation and tally, we spent the time appreciating birds, butterflies, wildflowers, and dragonflies.
 The Refuge contains 36,000 acres (according to one of the brochures) and we only checked a small portion of it.  It's a usual site for yearly butterfly counts, and many birders spend time there regularly.
We've submitted two checklists from our field trip with an observation of 42 different bird species in one location, Pond 2-A, and 61 species for the other portion of the Piedmont.  Some species are on both checklists.
Highlights include Northern Bobwhites calling, Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, Bachman's Sparrows, Red-spotted Purple (butterfly), various skippers and swallowtails (more butterflies).  Noteworthy was also a female Orchard Oriole going back and forth to her nest, feeding her young and removing sacs from the nest.  Her trips were quick as the male was in the field giving her food to carry back to the nest.
Orchard Oriole's nest
We were privileged to have some great birders in the group, Paul Johnson, Jerry Amerson, Trey McCuen, and some people familiar with their butterflies and wildflowers, Jim Gilreath, Paul Hoinowski, Jerry again, and Joe and Jane Mangum.
Beside our birding stop at Pond 2A, we made other stops at creeks, fords, a pond formerly known as the "children's pond", Falling Creek with the large rocks, and Lake Allisson where we saw a Broad-winged Hawk carrying a snake.  We were rewarded at each stop with the sight of wildflowers, pretty butterflies, Summer Tanagers interacting with their fledglings, pretty birds with yellow as in the Prairie Warblers, American Goldfinches, Yellow-throated Warblers, birds with blue as in the Indigo Buntings and Blue Grosbeaks.
It turned out to be a great field trip in pleasant weather.  Looking forward to the next one!

Jim Gilreath has provided several of the pictures for this post.  The pictures without a name on them are from me, Andre Coquerel.
Comments are welcome.