Friday Field lab birds

I can think of no better way to start a Friday morning, any morning really, than to spend 2.5 -3 hours outside with a group of students, observing birds in their natural habitat.  Lucky for me, I get to do just that every week this semester.

Last week, we went to the Oconee Greenway, a public access trail along the Ocmulgee River, less than 5 minutes from campus.  We saw 22 different species!  IN JANUARY!  I’m sure I’ll get used to seeing so many birds at this time of year eventually, but for now I’m still in awe.  I’m used to seeing most of these birds only in summer or very briefly during migration.

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While every bird is special, the highlights for me were: Red-headed and Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Golden-crowned Kinglet, White-throated Sparrow, Tufted Titmouse, and so many beautiful Northern Cardinals!

Here’s my eBird checklist from that morning.

Today, we met at the East campus field station on Lake Laurel.


 I can’t wait to see the birds here in the summertime!

The rain from last night was over, but the clouds were still around, making birding rather challenging.  It was a good learning experience for the budding ornithologists, who learned how to identify birds using sillouettes, behaviors, and sound, which is hard for even experienced birders.  It was a quiet morning, but we still saw 18 species, while hiking a short trail that winds around the lake.

The highlights for today were a Belted Kingfisher (spotted by a student from about 150 meters across the lake!), a Great Blue Heron in flight, Pileated Woodpecker, and Pine Warbler.

Here’s the eBird checklist for the morning.

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Note: No alligators were seen.

I need to start bringing my camera in the field, so I can take better pictures than I can with my iPhone.  Until then, I’ll have to settle for using photos from Google images.  (Photos below from Cornell’s All About Birds.)

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I will be posting about our field days every week, so check back to hear about what we see!


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