May 14, 2009 [LINK / comment]

Return to Trimble Mountain

Last weekend, Jacqueline and I went on our first major hike of the year, climbing Trimble Mountain in northern Augusta County. It was about 900 feet gain in elevation, covering four miles altogether. Boy, did I need the exercise! The last time we were there was in July 2003; time flies. At several points we came across noisy groups of birds, but most of them remained hidden amidst the now-thick foliage. At the top of the mountain, interestingly, the trees were still partly bare. Here are the highlights of the birds we saw:

We also heard some Great-crested flycatchers, Black-throated green warblers, Blue-headed vireos, and a Pileated woodpecker.

McCormick's Mill

On Wednesday I joined Jo King on an Augusta Bird Club field trip to McCormick's Mill, and we had a pretty good day. As soon as I arrived, I heard the loud singing of a Warbling vireo not twenty feet away from me. It is aptly named, and I don't recall hearing one of them sing before. They make up for their plain appearance with rich musical tones. Later I saw its (presumed) mate as well. The highlights:

That's a hearty meal

My brother John encountered quite a photo op while driving to work this morning. He took this great shot of an American Bittern, at the very moment of catching its prey. The hapless amphibian "was eventually swallowed whole," John reports.

Bittern eating salamander

American Bittern eating a salamander, somewhere in southeastern South Dakota. (Courtesy of John Clem.)