Sunday, July 08, 2012

Rediscovering Monks

More than 5 years ago I was given directions to a Monk Parakeet nest not too far from home. Right after I got my new lens at Christmas I wanted to find them again, if I could, for better photos. Problem was, I could not remember the place I saw them.

Some days, during my rounds of bird counts, I would take a quick detour in the direction I thought they were but I never found any familiar landmarks so I had to give up and think harder. It never worked. I was beginning to think I was going crazy, though I had photos to prove I was there before! I just never wrote down the spot.

The other day, I wanted to explore the boundaries of my assigned area for the Breeding Bird Atlas. I printed out a map and drove the edges as best I could. Then it appeared! There on the southeast corner of my area I found the substation and convenience store etched in my mind from years ago. Better yet, I heard Monk Parakeets! Not (completely) crazy after all!!

That first rediscovery was during a rainy evening so photos were not so good. Today was full of sunshine. I returned and heard a lot of squawking. I pulled in and bought a soda (I find purchasing something helps if I plan on taking up a parking space for a few minutes) and scanned the wires. The first bird came out into the open.

Monk Parakeet

Another soon joined it. The light was harsh at midday but I needed to get some positive IDs for the record.

Monk Parakeet

A short time later, I heard squawking from the oaks across the street from the power station. A quick walk down the sidewalk lead me to a spot in the shade where it was the noisiest. It took me a couple minutes to pick out the shapes among the branches but there were a few birds moving trough.

Monk Parakeet

The Monks were picking at the moss and leaves and were never out in the open as much as I would have liked but it was a relief to finally know where I could find them on future visits.

Monk Parakeet

Up in the communications tower over the substation I could see a nest. This colony has survived here for quite some time. Now they can be added to confirmed breeders in my block!

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