Date: 1/10/18 6:13 pm From: 'Greg D. Jackson' <g_d_jackson...> [albirds] <albirds-noreply...> Subject: [ALBIRDS] Key Cave NWR this AM (10 Jan)
I went to NW AL this morning with the intention of doing some waterbirding (the CIA would never break me with that technique!), but on arrival realized that idea was going up in smoke (or rather fog) rather quickly. I started at Waterloo at dawn, but as I could only see the near shore, and even that marginally, spent just 30 minutes in the area before heading back east. What to do in that part of the state in winter when you can't see the water? Look for sparrows, of course! I headed to Key Cave NWR and spent the next couple of hours in that general area. Lots of birds were around, including a few interesting ones:
Sandhill Crane: one calling (but not seen in the fog) toward the south side of the NWR was unusual for NW AL in mid winter
Red-tailed Hawk: a melanistic adult (Western /calurus/) was nice at the NWR
Sedge Wren: an obliging bird at close range at the NWR was rare-but-regular in winter in the TV
Sparrows: Lots of sparrows were all over the area, with beautiful White-crowneds and Fox sparrows in good numbers (and the Fox Sparrows singing in many places -- beautiful song!). A pleasant surprise was getting great close looks at two LECONTE'S SPARROWS at the NWR on the main trail, both in the same bin view at one point (of course I'd left my camera in the car . . .).
Orange-crowned Warbler: One to the east of the refuge was rare-but-regular for the TV in winter
At this point I was getting low on time, so decided to scoot as quickly as possible to Wheeler Dam. Fog was still an issue through the late morning, so views were diminished, but I didn't see anything unusual in a quick visit. Town Creek Marsh had lots of RB Gulls and oddly, buried in the gull flock on a sandflat, a Snow Goose wearing blue jeans (or was that an intergrade Snow Goose exhibiting some Blue genes?). I ran to the Point and made a quick scan of the misty waters, not seeing any of the recent rarities but probably missing something in my rush.
Despite the fog and light mist, it was a fun morning. Making lemonade out of lemons . . .