The oven is on here in the middle of Iowa. Over here celebrating the high school graduation of one of my many great nephews (-in-law this time). Good food, good drinks, good greets, good times and good god a lot of sweat. Have a hot trail run coming up in about four weeks, so the extra heat conditioning will definitely come in handy. For the record, Linda still thinks I’m thoroughly Cuckoo for trying to redeem myself at the Cry Me a River 50K (link here). Question is – would that be a Yellow-Billed or a Black-Billed!?!
Getting real used to Linda’s eye-rolls at my bad jokes now that we are both retired and spending extra time together. I will get more than an eye roll if I go down in the heat again so I better keep on her good side. To answer the question in regards to today’s featured feathered friend, it is a Yellow-Billed variety. Not a new bird to the blog as it was already featured first back in 2015 (link here) and again in 2018 (link here). For a bird I saw for the first time only 6 years ago, I am surprised how often I’ve encountered it this year. Wondering if I’m just getting lucky on our expeditions or if there is an explosion of sorts in their population. This particular series comes to you from Dauphin Island – went ahead and processed these when I saw them while working up the Fish Crows in the last post.
Hit the jump to see a few more shots from our brief encounter.
Linda was unable to get a spot at the Dauphin Island Park and Beach Board RV resort which is strategically located right next to the Audubon Bird Sanctuary. I don’t often like to point out the lowlights on our trips, but I’ll make an exception and say that resort needs to work on their customer appreciation skills. When Linda called to book a site she was met with a rather rude lady who basically told her “We don’t have anything open until May because it’s OUR spring break” and basically hung up on her without even bothering to verify. You would think in times of a pandemic they would be happy to have potential customers – even if it meant simply having someone willing to consider it for following years. Initially thought it might just be a bad day until Ron decided to give it a try for his needed campsite a few days later. “We don’t have tent sites” and hung up on him. Not just a bad day.. systemic. Congrats to them as I guess business is good even during these strange times.
Luckily, Linda found another small RV place on the island ran by very nice and accommodating people. Ron was even able to get a decent hotel room right behind it allowing him to simply walk over to start the day’s hunt. One of the great things you find out about Dauphin is you can experience great birding at the edge of any street. Just a block down from the RV site there was a small inlet and dock attached to a tiny park. Headed over there one morning with Ron to see if I could find the Louisiana Waterthrush seen there on a previous scout. No Warbler (ironically, they are not Thrushes), but while we were standing there this Yellow-Billed Cuckoo flew right past us and landed in a nearby bush. Apparently, Dauphin uses Y-B Cuckoos for their Walmart greeters. After Ron and I got past our immediate stuns we went about getting some shots in the tin. It stayed long enough to say “Welcome to Dauphin, have a birdy day” and then took off in search of more people wandering the streets while lugging cameras and binoculars. Although not a new bird for either of us, it was still a quality bird to start the day! You will read more about this cool bird when I get to our other many sightings this year.
Later everyone – stay cool out there!