Sunday, October 30, 2011
A post on the Discussion Group announced that a Scarlet Tanager had been seen near Bauline East in Burnt Cove. That is only about 45 minutes away so why not jump in the car and try to find this great little bird. I have not seen one this year and never seen one in its Fall plumage.
On my walk back I flushed three Mourning Doves up from the side of the road. I wonder where they were when I first walked by. Mourning Doves seem to be everywhere these days. I have seen eight over the last two weeks.
My birding buddy had not had any more success than I did so we got in the car and headed back up the road. This time when we approached the location where the Scarlet Tanager was previously sighted, we saw some junco activity. We inched as close as possible in the car and sat and watched.
Then all of a sudden I heard my birding partner say she was on a bird. I struggled to see it with my binoculars because of the distance and the background color that was impacting visibility. Then finally I saw it and started getting pictures. I now must confess that we thought we had the Scarlet Tanager. Feeling quite proud of ourselves we thought we could head back home.
Well, we returned home and I began reviewing the pictures from the day. It wasn't long before I really began to doubt that we had the Scarlet Tanager. It was just too brown. I sent the picture to someone who would surely know and got word that it was an Indigo Bunting. What? How can it be that I didn't recognize an Indigo Bunting after I had just been studying them? There didn't seem to be even a tint of blue on it. Anyway, the best part of the story is that it turned out to be a "life" bird for my buddy.
For both of us we reflected on how "wishful thinking" can color one's vision.
Friday, October 28, 2011
This happens a lot. I go for a period of time that seems like forever not seeing a bird that I want to see. Then, once I see it the first time, I just keep seeing it again and again. This was the case with the Blue Grosbeak. I kept looking for that bird and now in a short span of time, I have seen it four times. Each time it looked different, but that is for another post.
I have now seen this bird twice and its behaviour was very different both times. I wonder how many times one has to see a bird to really develop an understanding of its habits. Fortunately, the field markings of this bird are so distinct that there was no mistaking it for anything other than what it was. Yet, if this had been one of those confusing fall warblers that look so much alike, I would have been convinced that it had to have been two different birds because of its location and behaviour.
I continued my walk up the hill and this great bird led the way for a long time until it finally branched off onto a secondary trail at the Cape.
Nope, I didn't see a Lapland Longspur and still look forward to that opportunity but my morning definitely was not dull.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
The "views" this month have exceeded all other months over the last 18 months, and I would like to thank the visitors who come to my site and hope you continue to find the pictures and the info interesting.
According to range maps they may have moved into the Northern Peninsula during breeding.
On October 17th I came across two small flocks of these small little birds on Blackhead Road while travelling from Cape Spear. What a welcome sight!
Then, all of a sudden, I began seeing them everywhere. What causes a common little bird to move around like this? They are here; they are gone and now they are back again enmasse.
Berries are also abundant this year when we had practically none last year. Folk lore has it that when there is a large Dogberry crop that we will have an equivalent abundance of snow. We all hope that this will not be the case!
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Sunday, October 23, 2011
This little Snow Bunting seemed to like us. It took its time but is began working its way toward us and was so close at times that it was impossible to get a clear picture with a telephoto lens. It was not bothered by our movement or talking. This is very unlike Snow Buntings that I have seen in a flock in Portugal Cove South but very similar to the behaviour of Snow Buntings that have gathered at Cape Spear. There, they can often be found on the boardwalk and will stay just feet ahead of walkers.
Friday, October 21, 2011
After several attempts to locate a flock of birds in the community of Blackhead, I finally came upon them. I set out to pick my way through the tall grass, bushes and fallen limbs. I couldn't really see what I was stepping into but we don't have any reptiles here so I was pretty brave. Then, squish! I was in the water. Two days in a row I was soaked up past my ankles. Oh, well, once wet there really is no reason to turn back. I kept inching my way toward the birds.
I saw what I thought was an Indigo Bunting and a Blue Grosbeak, confirmed several Red Crossbills, American Goldfinch and Juncos. I really didn't get any good pictures and I really wasn't sure what I had pictures of.
I was just about to give up when I noticed something small moving among the alders. I looked very closely and saw two little brown birds that seemed to have a white throat. I couldn't see them well and had no idea what they were.
Then, as quickly as they came, they left and I was unable to get one picture.
When I returned to my car to review the images, I was sure that I would be able to identify these birds from the pictures that I had and with a smile on my face I began my drive back.
I was able to inch my way up close to this little bird as it seemed intent on staying in the open.
There was a difference in the behaviour of these two birds. One was more bold and the other was more secretive. I came to the conclusion, maybe erroneously, that the one on the gravel was a female and the one hiding in the trees was a male. The bird that stayed hidden away in the trees had a very pale blue breast.
There is an amazing satisfaction associated with these kinds of birding experiences.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Saturday, October 15, 2011
This is a swoop in, grab the prey and fly away kind of guy. They just appear in front of you quickly in pursuit of a small bird and then they are gone. Sometimes they will lurk on a branch and just wait, usually somewhere near a feeder.