Saturday, May 1, 2010

A voice in the night woods

Apologies for the tiny print - google blogger is malfunctioning.

I visited my neighbors Julie Craves and Darrin O'Brien on Thursday evening to thank them for taking care of my cat, Seabiscuit, while I was in Florida. We chatted for a bit and Darrin commented that we should be listening for Whip-poor-will (Caprimulgus vociferous). A couple of years back he and Julie had heard one singing from their front yard on an evening about this time of year. I agreed that it would be nice to hear a Whip-poor-will again as I have not heard one since leaving Maryland. But, just between you and me, I also thought it highly unlikely.

We said goodbye and I walked home. On Friday evening I was ready for bed for an early morning wake time when I heard my phone ringing. Secondary to another concern, I dashed downstairs to answer the call. I was too late but saw (with relief) that it was Darrin calling. Hey, wait a minute, it's nearly dark. Why would Darrin be calling at this time? I called back. "There's a Whip-poor-will singing from the woods west of Enfield Lane."

I quickly dressed and ran down the street to hear the song of the Whip-poor-will. Talk about it one night, hear it the next.

This morning Rodolfo Palma and I got an early start enroute to birding Magee Marsh in Ohio. Earlier I had read that three Whips were seen at Magee on Friday. I did half allow myself to think that we might be able to see one.

Talk about Whip-poor-wills, hear a Whip-poor-will; think about Whip-poor-wills, see a Whip-poor-will. However, I think this only works for Whip-poor-wills.

With his long lens Sony camera, Rodolfo took the above photo and brings the bird in very close.  We were shooting between leaves and twigs.

On the drive down we watched lightening streak across the sky and it began to rain heavily. The rain continued even as we arrived to start birding. There were certainly birds around, but they were high up and difficult to see against the gray sky. Later they came a little lower and we had some nice looks at several.

Other notable birds included:
White-eyed Vireo (
Vireo griseus)
Cerulean Warbler (Dendroica cerulea)
Kentucky Warbler (
Oporornis formosus) - on Kentucky Derby day
Summer Tanager (
Piranga rubra), first year male
Scarlet Tanagers (
Piranga olivacea)
Rose-breasted Grosbeaks (
Pheucticus ludovicianus)
Other expected vireos, corvids, swallows, wrens, thrushes, warblers, etc. Curiously, we saw no orioles or buntings.

Other critters of note included:

I assisted this tiny Snapping Turtle (Macrochelys temminckii) across the busy Magee Marsh road

Closed wing butterfly

Wings open, Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

We went to Metzger Marsh and met my Belle Isle friend, Willie McHale, who was there with his new camera lens. The wind really picked up here. We saw one Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) and that's it. However, when we walked out on the dike we were greeted by an approximately four month old kitten. If you are looking at the photo below and saying, 'hey, that doesn't look like Metzger Marsh," you're right because this is the nameless, approximately four month old kitten scrunched down below a desk in my living room. Enough said.

As Rodolfo was the driver today, I thought it was very kind of him to allow me to bring her home with us. He wondered why people drop off unwanted pets in remote places. I have the same question and no answers. Overall, traveling with the kitten in the car was not a bad experience. And, this early in the season, it was a pretty good day of birding at Magee Marsh.


Linda Allen said...

I enjoy your blog and this entry especially. I shared it with my husband and he offered to give the kitty a home if you are unable to keep it. Both of our house cats were homeless in their early lives. Perhaps a good name for the kitty would be Gift of the Magee. Thanks for the great writing--Linda Allen

Anonymous said...

It's great to see a juvenile snapping turtle -- about how big was it?

Cathy Carroll said...


The shell was approximately 3-1/2 inches from head to tail. The one time I'm willing to pick up a snapping turtle. I thought it was great to see, too.

Cathy Carroll said...

To Linda Allen,

Thank you so much for the generous offer. So far the kitten is doing very well. If I cannot keep it I will definitely let you know. But, you did not send an email to contact you.

Thanks again,