Bird Species 92
There is a bird up there somewhere.
Let me zoom in for you.
This is very exciting — this is the 92nd species I have documented on our farm over the last 7 years!
I started seeing these birds last winter — they would flush up from the ground and fly 10 or 20 feet away, and then go back to ground. I could never sneak up on them because the sheep and the dogs would run ahead of me, unaware of the birds but still effectively chasing them off. I could tell they were bigger than quail, and brown with russet undertones. They made a soft twittering noise like doves, but they were too stocky to be doves and they didn’t fly into trees. I was at a loss as to their identity, but fortunately a local friend told me it was possible they were American Woodcocks. I then read somewhere that American Woodcocks are shorebirds that don’t really fit with their other family members — they don’t live at the shore; they are nocturnal, unsociable, and solitary.
This year several people in the area have seen them. The other day, I was literally three feet from one before it flushed, and it was right next to the path. I was even keeping an eye out for them! I have gotten a good look as one flies over, and seen its long probing bill. I also found out that the twittering sound is actually made by its wings. I am hoping to be able to notice one on the ground and get some better pictures.
Good shot considering how high it was. Are you any good at doing a belly crawl to sneak up on one?
I just need to go out without the sheep and dogs. I bet I could find one then, or at least when it flushed the first time, I wouldn’t keep chasing it until it went over the fence to the neighbor’s. If that fails, a belly crawl it is!