Monday, November 23, 2009

I saw something really creepy at Ft. Ancient yesterday...

...a Brown Creeper--one of my favorite winter birds! I love the high-pitched peeping noises these tiny little pieces of moving bark make. Perfectly camouflaged, they are sometime hard to spot.

I am the tree...

Sunday, when Rick and Matty took off for hockey games in Columbus, I took off for Ft. Ancient. Hoping to catch a few new winter birds, I picked up the Mound Trail through the meadow by the bird blind. The leaf cover on the ground was heavy, and I had to slow down several times to inch my way across the ground because I was making more ruckus than one person should be able to make! At one point I came to a complete stop to just listen, and as I did, the woods seemed to come to life with the peeping of Brown Creepers. I would hear one to the right....another to the left...one far away...close...behind me....and on and on. It was as if 50 birds were hiding on 50 different trees, calling to each other and making sure they remained invisible to me. Finally I started seeing movement as a bird would leave one tree and fly down to the bottom of another. I was able to keep track of eight birds at this time, but one bird I couldn't find. He was very, very close, but I couldn't seem to track his call, then suddenly he appeared! The little wood chip materialized right in front of me and almost seemed to pause for the camera!

I don't often get a chance to photograph these masters of camouflage. They move up the tree so fast and jump from here to there. I usually just watch them through the binocs. I like how he's following the angle of the bark here.

I thought he might stop and look in the hole, but he didn't. He was too busy looking for bugs to bother with an empty hole...for heaven's sake...

...and it's a good thing he didn't because if you look closely, you can see a big fat bug in his bill, which he found and ate shortly after passing the hole. Eww...creepy!

Click here for one of my earliest posts. It's about a Brown Creeper and the info about him from my first "field guide" from 1968, "Teach Me About Birds--Flash Cards in Full Color!" (The cards are gorgeous, and have really cool facts. I loved them back then when I was just in the first grade. )

For posts about Fort Ancient, click here. Fort Ancient is located in Warren County in Ohio and is on a gorgeous wooded plateau perched 245 feet above the Little Miami River. It is the largest prehistoric earthen hilltop enclosure in the United States. Built 2000 years ago by Mound Builders, the earth walls stretch 3.5 miles, enclosing over 100 acres of hilltop. Mound Builders used small baskets to move more than 553,000 cubic yards of soil to form the earthen walls that reach from 4 to 23 feet in height. Amazingly, most of the earthworks are still visible and retain the same form they had over 2000 years ago! Archeologists estimate it took about 400 years (100BC – 290AD) to build the entire complex.

Check out Bird Photography Weekly to see birds from all over the world.

42 comments:

Glennis said...

They are amazingly hard to see on the tree trunk, very special birds.

Larry said...

Awesome Brown Creeper shots Kelly! I find them really tough to photograph. Like you said, they travel fast and many times are in dark locations.

I have found that one of the best ways to find birds when there doesn't seem to be many around is stop and gaze in one direction, looking for motion in the vegetation. Birds seem to pop out where there was nothing seen before.

Sue said...

I saw my first one of the season the other day.....and they are Masters of Disguise! Have to keep an eye out for the moving bark-LOL!

Greener Bangalore said...

yes Kelly....looks like we have to observe keenly to find this camouflaged birdy...wonderful snaps again....

Midmarsh John said...

Well spotted and great photos of the Brown Creper.

Elaine said...

Lovely photos of a bird I haven't seen. They are rare in Alaska so I'm glad you were able to share with us. As to that fat bug, he almost certainly thought he had scored a delicacy!

Tabib said...

Nice finding of this not so easy to capture Creeper.

Chris said...

Excellent Kelly.
With the common wren and goldcrest, this is probably one of the hardest bird to get pictures off! I saw the european tree-creeper this summer in France but never manage to get nice shots of it. It was hiding in branches and going up and down of trees but in shadow areas. I guess this is one of the trick, to know that they are going from the bottom to the top of a tree before changing to another one... But still really hard to get them... The only one I got was in Finland, and the shot is not that good.
So congrats on these pictures, because they are beautiful!

DK Miller said...

Nice Creeper. I'm sure that bug was a super tasty delicacy for him.

Diane Shields said...

We are so lucky to have Ft. Ancient nearby! Just so much more primitive and "quiet" than our other parks. Great shots of the little Brown Creeper!

Wren said...

Great photo essay, Kelly. I love the description you used, "these tiny little pieces of moving bark." Right on target.

Steve Borichevsky said...

Eve just posted a shot of a brown creeper in her yard! How cool is that. I haven't seen (or heard) one in years.

ShySongbird said...

What lovely captures Kelly, it looks very much like our Treecreeper. I have never seen one and it has been high on my list of 'wants' for some time. I'm glad you mentioned the bug in its beak, I might have missed that.

I am so behind again but have loved going through your lovely posts which I missed. The Wren is an incredibly beautiful photo and I have to mention your Common Loon painting, you really have a wonderful talent...I do wish I could do it!

Roy said...

Hmmmm... I'll have to keep my eye (and ear) out for this one. They look like they might be even tougher to shoot than Nuthatches!

Laure Ferlita said...

Incredible that you were able to get such a great shot as he's very difficult to see! Very cool!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Fort Ancient sounds like an incredible place, Kel.. We have a similar earthen fort near here (Old Stone Fort) which George and I have been to. Interesting.

Glad you saw and got some great pictures of the Brown Creeper.

Have a great Thanksgiving. We are headed out of town to do some hiking--after a big turkey dinner.
Hugs,
Betsy

Warren Baker said...

I know what you mean about those crunchy leaves Kelly.

Your brown creepers are the equivelent of our treecreeper, they have a high pithed call and a lovely descending song.

Susanna H. said...

Kelly, congratulations on your great Creeper photos! How cool to encounter several of them at once. And I love the look of the tree bark and moss - Perfect lighting.
I really should get out of my own yard more often! I haven't photographed anything in over a week now.

Roy said...

You have got some really great shots of this Brown Creeper Kelly.
They are extremely difficult to find and get a good shots of. Our Tree Creeper which looks just like the Brown is so difficult to get on camera.

Jenny said...

Realy great shots of such a difficult bird Kelly. Quite mouse like they way they move around a tree I think.

Gaina said...

I'm gob-smacked you managed to see them never mind get such lovely photos! Congratulations :)

Susan said...

One of my favourites too..I especially like how they climb up (as opposed to nuthatches)..and they're so tiny! Great shots Kelly.Again!

Susan said...

One of my favourites too..I especially like how they climb up (as opposed to nuthatches)..and they're so tiny! Great shots Kelly.Again!

JeniQ said...

Cool bird Kelly! Happy Thanksgiving!

holdingmoments said...

Great captures Kelly. They are so much like our Treecreeper over here; in looks and behaviour.

Carol said...

Great shots of the Brown Creeper! I can never get anything that good for I only ever see them in my forest... and it is too dark. I do so love these little birds though and enjoy them when in the wood.

mick said...

Great photos and I'm sure they would be hard to see with that perfect camouflage.

NicoleB said...

Awesome that you caught these little Beauties!
It's amazing how the woods come to Life when one simply stops and waits for a while, no?

Tina said...

I am very impressed with your wonderful shots of this bird..he is one hard birdee to find let alone to photograph. You did a wonderful job and I love the views you got of him! So glad you found him on your walk!!

NatureFootstep said...

What great images you have on that creeper. I have not been that lucky so far. I did not know they stayed over the winter. But now I know. I can still see them, maybe.

Heather said...

Congrats on finding and photographing the stealth Creeper, Kelly. I haven't seen or heard any in our neck of the woods yet this fall.
Happy Turkey Day to you and your family. Hope your feast is mahhhhvelous!

The Early Birder said...

WHOW Kelly, I'm very impressed. Super shots of a very difficult species to capture. Happy Thanksgiving to you and all the family. FAB & ARB.

Dave Lewis said...

...and all of the shots are from behind..great job!

Susan W. said...

I am in AWE of your birding and photography skills! I can't even find one - never mind taking a picture of one!

Kelly said...

...thanks everyone for all the kind comments. It sounds like we're all in the same boat. We love seeing this fellow (on both sides of the pond--Brown Creeper/Tree Creeper), but it's hard to see him sometimes. He really is a little wood chip!

It's now 12:04 a.m. -- officially Thanksgiving! Have a wonderful day, everyone.

Mary said...

Glad to see these great up-close photos. The couple times I've seen one of these they have been so far away and blended in with the tree trunk so well, I could barely see them.

eileeninmd said...

I love the Brown Creepers. Great photo and a great sighting.

E said...

Wonderful, Kelly, great pics, very artistic paints, big hugs.

Ladynred said...

I've never seen Brown Creeper before.it's beautiful!
http://ilovemyguineapigs.com/?p=408#comments

RuthieJ said...

I was sitting in the tree stand yesterday afternoon and a Brown Creeper landed on the tree branch not 2 feet away from me. It was so cool, but I was unable to pull my camera out of my pocket before it flew away.

Connie said...

Awesome photos Kelly. I saw a bluebird at the cabin this weekend with a housefly in it's beak. Yuck! I'm glad I saw it, but still yuck. I'm glad you got a photo of your bug in the beak.

Krista Meister said...

Kelly, I’ve left an award for you on my blog - Come and see!
-Krista
www.kristameister.com