Wednesday, February 29, 2012
I can't really describe what it feels like to find a great little bird like this, but it makes time stand still. The experience crowds out thoughts of anything else and thrusts me into the moment.
Eagerly studying the movement of the branches, I was rewarded this day when one of the last Red-eyed Vireos popped out in the open where I could see it.
This little bird wasn't as bright as others that I saw earlier. Perhaps it was due to the overcast day or perhaps it was just a normal part of its transitioning into winter. It isn't possible to see the red eye in these shots, and I understand that a juvenile does not yet have a red eye. That might also account for its dull colors.
For me, all of the questions do not pop into my head as I see the bird in a flash, but only come to me when I study the pictures after the fact. For sure, I will read up on this bird before the season next year so that I can attempt to identify young and old on the spot.
As the days lengthen, so does my anticipation of what is to come.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
When rarities are scarce, what's a birder supposed to do? Get out and enjoy what is here and enjoy the chase for the hard-to-find ones that are here.
I took a drive out to Cape Spear this morning and came across several flocks of A. Robins from New Cove Road to Shea Heights, to Blackhead to Cape Spear. Saw a great adult Bald Eagle filling up a tree top just before Blackhead Road.
I found this Song Sparrow in Maddox Cove. While I have seen four or five around during this winter, they are still scarce enough to grab my attention.
I struck out with the Red-bellied Woodpecker this morning as well as the Lincoln Sparrow. WhenI returned home, the snow had just started and my backyard activity picked up. I tossed out some feed and stood very still by my patio door and enjoyed a couple of Purple Finch and some Dark-eyed Juncos.
I really looked my backyard Junco's over closely today. There is a lot of brown on the female, much more than we realize when looking at them at a distance.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
As I reviewed these recent pictures, I realized that I may have lost the best opportunities to photograph gulls this year. Nevertheless, I will keep checking the lake over the next few weeks and hope I can salvage some of the remaining cold weather.
Sunday, February 19, 2012
Friday, February 17, 2012
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Tuesday, February 14, 2012
The days are getting longer, the sun is shining warmer and the birds that are around such as the American Goldfinch and Robin are beginning to brighten up and gradually transition into their breeding plumage. Can Spring be that far away?
I can already imagine myself wearing short sleeves, shorts and sunglasses strolling through the wooded areas and loving every minute of it.
Three or four Robins have been passing through in the early morning hours, too. Last year I was getting a lot of finches, including large flocks of Pine Siskins.
In the absence of all of these visitors this year, maybe I need a Stick Bird!
I wonder if this little Stick Bird attracts birds to this feeder. I think there are two important things that I need to add to yard this summer: hedges and a stick bird. Then, even if no birds show up, I can enjoy the cheer of always having a colorful little bird in my yard.
Time to top of the feeders to attract as many birds as possible for the Backyard Bird Count coming up this weekend. Great fun and contributes to science, too.
Sunday, February 12, 2012
When the treat was gone, they flew back up into the woods, only to return again when another biscuit appeared.
This was not our most rare bird of the day, but it was, indeed, our closest and most fun.
Note: Click on the image to enlarge it.
Thursday, February 9, 2012
Sometimes when a rare visitor shows up in one place, it will return to a nearby location in future years. For instance, last year a Northern Mockingbird showed up and stayed in a yard by Rennie's River for a long time last winter. This year a Northern Mockingbird showed up less than 5 minutes from that same location, but this one disappeared, only to reappear about six weeks later just a block or two away from the original sighting. This one continues to be on the move as it has not been seen in more than three weeks.
A similar series of events happened with the appearance of a Yellow-breasted Chat. One was spotted last year where it stayed at a feeder for quite a while before it disappeared. This year, only a five minute drive away, another one has appeared. This one, like the mockingbird, is restless and won't stay in one place very long.
Are these the same birds returning or are they new birds who just happened to land in a close location? All of these questions that I have make be think that banding and tracking is a great idea.
Not having all of the answers really adds to the appreciation birding.