Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Green-tailed Towhee

My friend, Iris and I made a New Year resolution that we want to get up early on New Year's day to see some cool birds! Thinking about this mysterious wondering bird, Green-tailed Towhee (Pipilo chlorurus) while stuck in traffic on my way back from Okefenokee NWR, my phone rang. We chit-chatted for a while and she asked me what does Linda have in mind on New Year's day. Without any hesitation, I told her I'm going to claim my lifer, the Green-tailed Towhee (GTTO)! She said "really?, Let's go then"! Most of local birders have being chasing this towhee since past two weeks when Rachel Cass spotted this bird during her Christmas Bird Count. Not me. Because my work obligation and less than perfect photographic condition, not seeing this bird, which reported to be last seen in 1953, made me suffered day in and day out. This towhee breeds in western part of United States and winters in Mexico. Few stray migrants have being spotted in the east coast occasionally. My best friend's call fulfilled my dream!

Green-tailed Towhee, 2nd state record
Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, GA

We met at 6:30 AM on New Year day and arrived Churchwell Rd near Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest (a birding hot spot)  at around 8:45. It was a cool and breezing morning, Iris worried about me not having enough cloth on. I told her I am not cold at all. I guessed the excitement of searching my lifer overriding my feeling of any discomfort. Iris was all covered up from head to toes, holding her binocular and camera and listening attentively for this strange catlike "mew" sound. I followed her instruction standing in front of this berry bush and did not dare to make any move. At the first, we heard few "mew" calls and we both got so excited and then it's gone. Iris pointed out a yellow feral cat passing though bushes where this towhee reported to be found. We both looked at each other and got upset a little.  For the next one hour, we saw and heard nothing but these two Carolina Wrens calling and yelling back and forth and cow's "mooo" from a far distance. I promise you I got nothing in my mind at that quiet early morning hour but searching for my GTTO. ...Finally, our patience was paid off. I claimed my lifer at 9:50 AM! As soon as he made a move and perched on a low bush, we both snapped and snapped non stopping. I am sure this bird knew I was waiting and wanting to see him so badly and he, in return, exhibited a perfect pose! Thanks to my best friend, Iris, you made my dream came true! This picture is dedicated to you, your friendship and all bird lovers :)  

The rewards for two super early birds are seeing 20 species in one hour, plus my lifer "GTTO", and the coolest reward bonus was witnessing a new born calf....freshly got out of his mother's womb!

Iris discovered him and can you see how fresh and young he is!  I love life!!
Baby calf started standing up but he still could barely walk :) Mom was right by his side ..I love this moment!
Though my friend brought me a lot of goodies to munching, we got so starving in the afternoon and we ended up having our best meal of the day at ...hahaha, guess where? We had 8 of them ... :DDDD

I hope you enjoy this post and now I have to get back to fix my broken website ..--Happy Birding! --Linda

2 comments:

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  1. Captain Snoopy dont know wut is Green Tailed Towhee..The only thing he knows is look like chickadee in size n maybe tis little green guy can swing like chickadee too.Maybe not.Snoopy glad tat u got a new lifer
    n he got a new lifer either, his woodstock ^^

    Captain Snoopy with woodstock ^^

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  2. Thanks Captain Snoopy n his woodstock. Towhees like to forage on ground ..much like sparrows. This one is bigger than a chickadee..it is about 6.25 inches ...the smallest towhee :)

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