Our instructor uses a trick of playing a screech owl sound on her smart phone, putting the phone down on a low limb or on the forest edge, and then standing back to see who emerges. By playing the screech owl sound, for instance, it puts all the birds on high alert. There is definitely a lot of movement using raptor sounds. She encourages us to do this sparingly so as not to stress or agitate the birds too much. I saw my first hermit thrush using this method, and got photos of the eastern towhee and ruby-crowned kinglet with this same trick. I will be trying this occasionally on my own if I'm not seeing birds. There are apps with sound only, or spring for a full-fledged bird app like iBird, which is what I have.
I did not take my camera Saturday because 1) I go to Bluebonnet Swamp all the time; and 2) I wanted to learn and not be distracted with photography. Here is some of what I saw on Sunday.
Not the best image, but at least I have proof that I've seen him.
|Field of wildflowers|
I hope this helps some beginning birders out there. I can't wait for our field trip next weekend.