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My birding habits are controlled by two intractable forces: my young kids and my work travel. So, I mostly blog about fun times birding/exploring with my family and about the cool birding hotspots I visit while travelling the US.
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My Best Day Birding (so far)

Posted Saturday 23rd June 2012 at 04:34 by Saltwater Cowboy
I recently travelled to Huntsville, Alabama, for work and couldnít pass up the chance to visit the famous Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge (http://www.fws.gov/wheeler/) on
the Tennessee River. So, when 5:00 rolled-around, I shed my work clothes, grabbed my birding travel pack (which consists of binos, Kaufmanís Field Guide, and an iPad loaded with iBird Pro, BirdsEye, and BirdLog apps) and hit the trail. Unfortunately, this was just one week before I bought my good camera, so I donít have any pics to share. The weather was 82 degrees, sunny, 56% humidity, and still.

I decided to try the Visitorís Center first and was immediately in the midst of a dozen stunning Goldfinches and a couple of Red-bellied Woodpeckers, both of which were lifers for me. Man, if thatís not a good way to start a hike! I went on to pick up 6 more lifers that evening. (Keep in mind that Iím still relatively new to birding and have only seen a little over 100 birds.)

The most entertaining scenes of the day both dealt with courtship rituals, including watching a pair if nesting Kestrels take turns flying from the nest and returning with food for their chicks, and a group of loud, hormone-crazed school kids on a field trip openly and obsessively flirting with each other. No Bird of Paradise ever put on a more impressive courtship display than these kids! But, unfortunately, they scared most of the birds away.

The dayís tally:

Canada Goose
Mallard
Great Blue Heron
American Kestrel
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Acadian Flycatcher
Blue Jay
Carolina Chickadee
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Kentucky Warbler
Northern Cardinal
Blue Grosbeak
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
House Finch
American Goldfinch

The next day, I flew to Albuquerque, New Mexico, for work and was able to catch the last 30 min at the Rio Grande Nature Center(http://www.emnrd.state.nm.us/PRD/RGNC.htm) before it closed at 5:00pm! Nothing
exciting, but I did get one lifer.

Canada Goose
Snow Goose
Wood Duck
Mallard
Black-chinned Hummingbird (L)
Summer Tanager

I also saw what I am almost certain was an American Bittern, but since heíd be pretty far out of his normal range for that time of year AND there was also a Black-crowned Night Heron in the same pond, I decided that my new-birder self should be conservative and assume it was a juvenile Heron. Dang.
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