Ray Lake 2

You can tell it’s finally summer when all the wildlife you see is birds!

This walk was a nice demonstration of this. The birds pretty much started right away, with the cowbird in the feature.

Sprinkled around the preserve are bird boxes. These were next to a viewing area and occupied by tree swallows.tree swallows 1There were two boxes next to each other; this one looked like it had a nest, guarded by a breeding pair. We watched as they took offense to a male house sparrow that had landed on the other box:

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After seeing off the interloper, they settled back on their home box, always alert:

It looked like one was looking after something inside the box-it kept landing like that

It seemed that there may have been something inside the box – one of the swallows kept landing on the front like that

It was also in this area that I saw a meadowlark for the first time. It was far away, so I can’t tell if it’s an eastern or western, but definitely a meadowlark:

He was singing beautifully, then a red-winged blackbird chased him off his perch. He ended up at the very top of a tree, further away, but I got a blurry photo of him there, too!

What we saw the most of, or at least, what I got the most photos of, were a lot of LABBs (little annoying brown birds) that turned out to be song sparrows.

The top one of these two actually has a grub or something in its beak. The second one appears larger, and I’m not 100% sure it is a song sparrow, but I don’t know what else it could be.

song sparrows

And we saw a lot of eastern bluebirds, too! This one was nice and sat for a while. Of course I couldn’t get it in focus! Boo!bluebirdLastly, I witnessed a behavior I’d only read about.

As we were walking up the path, we could hear a kildeer calling. It flew out of the grass and landed on the path ahead of us. It ran to the side and ducked down in the grass, popping its head up and down, watching us. We walked closer, and it would move off ahead. Then, from behind us, came a second one! Together they moved ahead of us. The hubby then said, “Hey, is that one fluttering its wing?”

Yep, the second one was flapping and flopping around! It would then get up and watch us, moving off as we got closer, and the other started the behavior on the other side of the path. I finally got a series of shots:

Look at me! I can’t fly! Something’s wrong with my wing!

The second one flew off when we got past a certain point, and the first one still led us on. Eventually, it flew off too, in success, nest protected!

Tomorrow, some final thoughts!

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