A morning of many firsts…

Wow! What a “morning”, and I’m using scare quotes because I didn’t get home till 1pm, even though I headed out right after sunrise, at around 7:30. I must admit that some of that time was spent waiting out rain showers, under a roof if I could find one, or just under my umbrella if not, but there was also just so much to see.

I started out on campus, as I did yesterday, and I heard the green woodpecker again, but couldn’t spot it today. Instead, here’s an oyster catcher doing its best warrior III (virabhadrasana III) yoga pose to show us its pretty black-and-white wing and even a little bit of jewelry.


The fun really started, though, when I got out into the countryside. Just as I came to the first big, open field, I heard a call that reminded me of killdeer, so I immediately stopped to look for it. Instead of a killdeer, I saw a small blue flash that I was just barely able to track. It bounced a few times farther down the canal before I could finally get my camera on it, so this picture is not so great, but it will do to identify our very first common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis). Man, they are tiny compared to the belted kingfishers we have in Estabrook. At just 34–46 grams (1316–158 oz), they can easily perch on just a reed, compared to the 113178 grams (4.06.3 oz) plus a belt, which definitely requires a real branch.


Then, while I was waiting out a rain shower in one of the observation blinds on the edge of Ackerdijkse Plassen, I heard another familiar call. This one was a bit more distinctive, and loud as heck, so I got it right this time. It helped that I’ve heard it many times here last fall, although I have never managed to spot the bird before, until this morning. Here’s my first ever Cetti’s warbler (Cettia cetti) picture, and this one came out not too bad.


Once the shower was done, I pressed on to see who was out on the water, and came across another big surprise in a little package, yet another new bird for us, a water pipit (Anthus spinoletta). It was about as far away as the kingfisher, so the picture is about as good, but it’ll have to do for now. Some of you might be thinking, “haven’t we just seen a couple of pipits already?” Well, you’re right. We saw an American pipit on the Rio Grande in Texas, and then a meadow pipit on the Sečovlje Saltpans in Slovenia. For whatever reason, pipits have been popping up all over lately, and no one is more surprised than me.


Right in front of the pipit was another bird with a well-deserved reputation for hiding, which I’ve glimpsed once or twice, but never managed to photograph until now. Here’s our first picture of a common snipe (Gallinago gallinago), and yes, they are quite real, despite what you may have heard in your youth.


Finally, the lapwings are back in droves!

DSCF0541 (2)

Hundreds of them!


That’s enough excitement for one day. I’ll have some more pictures for you tomorrow.

Published by Andrew Dressel

Theoretical and Applied Bicycle Mechanic, and now, apparently, Amateur Naturalist. In any case, my day job is teaching mechanics at UWM.

5 thoughts on “A morning of many firsts…

    1. I use ebird.org. Their website is pretty nice, the phone app they have is pretty handing for logging sightings in the field, and it is free. Plus, if you post a picture, someone checks your identification, and they say “eBird data have been used in hundreds of conservation decisions and peer-reviewed papers, thousands of student projects, and help inform bird research worldwide.”


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: