Woodcocks At Biggest Week

Part of the fun of birding at the Biggest Week is I get to see my friend Dale Forbes.  I met him a few years ago in Kazakhstan and since then he's moved on to working full time for Swarovski Optik as a products manager.  This is Dale's first time in North America...so you can imagine he's about to explode getting tons of colorful life birds. Jeff and Liz Gordon are also here pimping the American Birding Association and they tipped us off to some hot all woodcock action over at Maumee Bay State Park.  We hightailed it over there after one of my programs so Dale could get the full on woodcock lekking experience.

Before we started, we could hear an eastern screech-owl trilling outside their cabin. I of course had to experiment getting a shot of said owl with my iPhone.  Considering the only light was a flashlight, this wasn't too bad.

Dale got the full woodcock treatment.  The bird skydanced and timberdoodled several times.  He even landed so close at one point that there was no way for me to digiscope him--but what a thrill, we even heard the little crazy inhale sound before they explode out their peent.  Most of the time though he was in a position to not only get shots like the above with my iPhone and scope but also video:


Jeff also got a video of the woodcock and the sound quality is much better, though he was using an actual camera with video and not an iPhone...it now kind of makes me want to investigate mics that are available for the iPhone.

Woodcocks are all over, one has been found foraging near the boardwalk and appears to have a nest hidden in the leaves.  Some of us have tried to scope her but she's so well hidden, almost all you see is that eye.

So it's not just all about the warblers here at Biggest Week.