Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Birding With The Pro's

On July 15th I took a trip out to the Baseline and Meridian Wildlife Area, (also know as the B and M) with my friends Mr. Joe Ford, and Mr. Tommy DeBardeleben. Mr. Tommy was having trouble finding the Ridgway's Rails, as I was having trouble finding the Yellow-billed Cuckoos, so we decided to join forces and try to get them both. Mr. Ford however, had been on an out of state trip while these birds were being reported so he would be satisfied with any rails, bitterns, or cuckoos.We started out on the tall berm where we looked and listened for the clappers but came up empty, we then headed over to the Virginia Rail pond where we quickly found the young rail out in the open. The rail was to far for me to take any photos, so I just observed it through my binocs instead. A couple of Least Bitterns were also around the pond and one of them even gave us close up views!
                                                                        Least Bittern
While we were watching the bitterns Mr. Tommy and I heard the Yellow-billed Cuckoo call from behind us in the the thick forest of tamarisks, but once we walked over to the area where we heard the bird we had nothing notable except for a couple of male Lazuli Buntings.
                                                                      Lazuli Bunting
We then walked over to where the cuckoos used to be, near the north side of the river, but came up empty. But we did see a Lesser Nighthawk, a single Barn Owl, and many Blue Grosbeaks. We tried long and hard for those cuckoos but just could not find them. We then walked back to the Ridgway's Rail pond to look for the rails one more time. We sat down for about five minutes when Mr. Tommy and I both looked down at the same time and spied the rail. Can you find the bird in the following photo?
                                                              "Yuma" Ridgway's Rail
Once Mr. Tommy and I took a couple of shots we ran down to a small clearing in the reeds, but by the time we got down the tall berm and to the clearing Mr. Ford said he saw the bird pass the clearing. Mr. Tommy and I knelt down on the dead reeds where we waited for a good three minutes, we knew the bird should come back out at any time so we waited a bit longer, when we saw the bird come out right in front of us!! The rail was only about 18 feet from where we stood and our nerves took over, but the bird stayed out long enough for us to get a couple of decent shots.
                                                              "Yuma" Ridgway's Rail
All three of us were stoked! After the bird disappeared into the cattails it was a time of high-fives, fist-bumps, and fist-pumps. Thank you Mr. Tommy, and Mr. Ford for the awesome trip and memories, and congrats on getting your "B and M Big Five" Mr. Tommy.


  1. Hey Mr. Caleb!

    Awesome first post, I really enjoyed reading it. Thanks again for helping me find the elusive Clapper Rail, I couldn't have found it without your help! We had great birding that day too, nearly 50 different species, and some awesome ones in midst of that nice number. Not bad for a scorching hot day in the middle of July, huh?!

  2. Thanks Mr. Tommy
    That rail was awesome and just posed for photos. 50 species is great with having just about all of them being breeders, and it did get pretty hot. Hey you are my first official commenter!