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Mason Jarred

October 1, 2007
When I arrived at my favorite local birding site, Mason Farm, Saturday morning I found myself smack-dab in the middle of a BioBlitz. It was lighting, everybody was frightning. See what happened was that the man in the back said everyone attack and it turned into a BioBlitz. Then the girl in the corner said, “Boy, I wanna warn ya, it’ll turn into a BioBlitz.” Bi-o Blitz. Something like that. 

Actually it was an attempt by the North Carolina Botanical Society, who runs the place, to raise awareness of the facility by holding a 24 hour census of life at Mason Farm. Scientists from the university led walks for citizens on birds and bugs and trees and constellations (not when I was there though). I thought it was a pretty good idea actually, even though it did mean more people on my morning jaunt. Not so many as to keep all the birds away though.

I ran into a small flock of warblers as the sun was cresting the tops of the tallest trees that contained Black and White, Parula, Common Yellowthroat, Northern Waterthrush, Palm, Magnolia, Chestnut-sided, many many Redstarts, and my first Yellow-rump of the season. There was also a Swainson’s Thrush hanging around too. This was really the only action of the day though, other than that it was kind of a slow morning. 

Mason Farm is one of the last reliable places in the triangle for Red-headed Woodpeckers, whose reliance on dead snags has made it difficult for them to find a place elsewhere in the area, a by-product of extensive development. Even in my neighborhood they’ve done a number on snags, taking one out that has harbored nesting Eastern Bluebirds the last two years. In any case, the oak snags left at Mason make for perfect Red-head habitat and I always see at least one family group. I tried to snap a picture and it came out blurry and needing to be cropped, but what else would you expect from me?

Taking pictures of even common birds became my goal as the morning wound down. My greatest accomplishment and failure came when a Yellowthroat perched atop a bush for what seemed like an inordinantly long length of time. I did in fact get a photo of him… right when he turned his head. Curses! I don’t know how much quality I can really expect from my camera, but I was just so close to something really good. So to the left is the almost great photo of Yellowthroat. Looks like a good photo quiz bird though. It appropriately ended another morning at Mason Farm, where even when it’s comparatively bad it’s almost great.



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