Thursday, August 5, 2010

I was a pretty lazy birder in 2008. I didn't go out that much, and I only got one life bird...though it was a very special life bird, the prothonotary warbler (the yellow bird with gray wings in the above photos, for those who aren't that into birding). I was told that I just couldn't miss it down in the Cache River State Wildlife Area. Those are words I hate to hear...because nine times out of ten, if you "just can't miss" something, I do! But luckily the warblers were in evidence, calling sweet sweet sweet as they flew over the swampy area.

Other birds we saw include pileated woodpecker and eastern bluebird. And then there was the Mystery Bird. As I walked around the scrub and the swamps, I kept hearing this bird call, very loudly, "Whiz BANG!" This happened so much that I started to feel like it was mocking me, for although I could hear it whiz-banging all over the place, I never (knowingly) got a sight of it.

And then last year, when I was really, really into birding and studied the songs of birds I hoped to see, I heard the song again on Cornell Lab of Ornithology's All About Birds website. It was the willow flycatcher, a member of a frustrating look-alike family distinguishable only by their songs. Apparently I am the only one who thinks he says "Whizz bang." Consensus in the birding world has it that he says "Fitz bew."

In any case, reviewing the photos that Greenturtle took from our trip, it looks like we saw one after all. I just didn't know what it was at the time.


  1. All of these photos are beautiful! You should try submitting some to contests. The snake eating a snake is really interesting (gross, but interesting.) I have a special place in my heart, always, for the "whizbang" bird. Swamps are of course ecologically important, but personally I feel they are better encountered in books than in person, anyway! Mom

  2. I never hear "potato chip" when listening the the American Goldfinch. I think the human words used to describe bird songs and calls are very subjective and we should all just go with what helps us as individuals identify the song/call/bird!