Sunday, April 4, 2010

April Field Trip to Buford Trout Hatchery

Grant McCreary led this early spring field trip orgainezed by Stan Chapman of Atlanta Audubon Society on April 3, 2010 at Buford Trout Hatchery (also known as Cumming Fish Hatchery). We had total 11 people showed up at 8 AM with 7 adults and 4 children. With not much expectation, we turned out to have spotted total 40 species in three hours including 4 species of swallows!




This "banded" Wood Duck photo (as shown to the left) was taken from attaching my point and shoot camera onto Grant's spotting scope. Many thanks to Grant McCreary!!

When I arrived at around 8 AM,  an birder, Ajay and his two boys (age 7 and 11) have already spotted a Red-Shouldered Hawk and her nest. Grant set up his spotting scope and I was able to have an excellent visual of this hawk enjoying her breakfast. However, not sure if she has any youngster in her nest. According to the on site DNR officer (I have visited this location previously), a pair of Red-Shouldered Hawk have nested here for the past three years. Now we find their nest and I am hoping to get some pictures of their young fledglings in coming days.


As we go through the Lincoln's trail (named after Lincoln's Sparrows were spotted here), wetland and swamp areas, Grant helped us to identify some Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, one of my lifers. Later I had a very clear visual of them and also heard their calls. We have also heard Fish Crow flying over our head. As we walked towards the pond, we saw newly returned Purple Martins were busy with their colony and two Northern Rough-winged Swallows. I took many pictures here.  Highlight of this trip was at the viewing platform near the wetland area: two male Wood Ducks and few Mallards were the first to come to our view, then two Barn Swallows, one Green Heron, one Osprey and one Swamp Sparrow. Stan Chapman said this Green Heron behaved like a Great Blue Heron and it just stood there for a long time without moving as much. All of us also got many good looks at some male Red-winged Blackbirds. I got super excited when I snapped a photo of one Red-winged Blackbird's red shoulder patch while this male purched on top of a tree about 10 feet from us.


When I talked to Ajay's 11 years old boy, I was overwhelmed with his knowledge in birds. After comparing our field guide books and we concluded that we should not trust the books in some ways, especially the colors. We should use these field guides only for the reference since the colors on some of the birds were just out of the range. Seeing these wildlife in their nature habitat with their stunning colors under the sun, the ways they fly and the gestures they catch insects or their prey are just breathtaking! I also think birding field trip is one of the great ways to teach our young children to protect and conserve wildlife's natural habitats. Without food, clean water, shelters and nesting ground, our future generations might not be able to see these beautiful creatures we have seen and taken for granted today.


Click the bottom right corner of this slide show to go to the picture album.
Any suggestion, question or comment? Please post it in the comments below. - Linda

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