Friday, March 30, 2012


Frog legs anyone?  I actually thought about it last night.  Bullfrog has taken up residence at the disappearing fountain out back.  Last night, it must have felt froggy because it croaked all night.  I got up twice, cut the outside light on and threw something at it (not intending to hurt it).  So here it is this afternoon; it waits, poised and ready with an almost a smug look of contentment;  ready for another night of croaking.  And speak of the devil, I hear it starting to warm up now.  Some frog legs might be pretty good after all!  Of course, I am just kidding.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thursday Menagerie

Absolutely beautiful weather today and I am home but feeling a bit under par to really enjoy it.  An unexpected spike in BP and resulting meds have given me the headache from hell.  I went out for a little while....for stress relief purposes of course.  I feel more at peace outside just walking around than anything else I can think of.  I was looking forward to the weekend until I checked the weather.  MORE RAIN!  Every darn weekend it seems,  rain!  Hopefully some time can be salvaged.

We are in a little bit of a birding lull.  The earliest birds have arrived and the winter birds are leaving.  Most of the year-round birds are busy starting to build nest which offers something to watch.  In about two weeks, birding should get outstanding.  From 15Apr - 15 May, there will be so many different types of birds passing through the area you almost get birding burnout from trying to make the most of the period.

Morning finds:  A really large snapping turtle (the photo does not do justice to the size); a Great Blue Heron perched in a favorite observation tree;  a field mouse that scurried to hide from a circling hawk; and grasshoppers galore.
Off to take the dog for a walk, then back to bake some brownie bites and then another training session with yellow bird. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wednesday Quick Stop

I stopped by the park on my way home this afternoon for a quick walk.  Early afternoon is not prime birding time but during the week, you take the time you get.  The muskrat was out sunning and searching for something to eat.  If you can get over the rat like tail, they are not so bad when they are out of the water and dry.

A female Towhee was flirting about.  I have noticed this year their numbers have increased.  At home is is not uncommon now to have 4-5 males and a couple of females scavaging under the feeder every afternoon.

 There are still some Yellow-Rumped Warblers around.  Their colors are beginning to change from the brownish hues of winter to more gray and black.  They usually depart around mid-April and will return in the fall.

Before I left work this afternoon I received an excited call from a fellow birder in the building.  He told me to quickly go out to the loading dock area and look towards the road.  There is was, a Merlin.  Oh for my camera.  So tomorrow, I will take it with me to work just in case.  We see a Kestrel every couple of days and now the Merlin.  As we were standing and watching it several people came up and asked what we were looking at.  They just could not understand what we were so excited about.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday Morning Walk

After the miserable rainy day yesterday I headed out early this morning.  Still overcast with the sun peeking out only now and then but no rain.  Arrival at the pond was greeted with an unexpected surprise of three Osprey that were stirring things up.  They were flying about, diving toward the pond and fussing with each other.  They come about this time each year and will stay around through April then move on to one of the larger lakes in the area.
Out on the pond I am not sure what Mr. Studly Bufflehead had going for him but he was the only drake with seven hens.  He was sure boasting about his harem of hens.

The Rough-winged Swallows have arrived and were busy swooping over the pond catching insects.  It will not be long now before the Tree and Barn Swallows arrive.  Eventually there will be so many they line the side of the bridge that goes over the pond.

The drake Woodduck was busy guarding the area around the nestbox.  The hen flew in while I was walking across the bridge so hopefully there will be some little woodies this year.  The box they nested in last year was invaded and all the eggs destroyed.  Very sad when you are hoping they will re-establish themselves at this location.

Walking on to the back side of the park I passed a pair of Ruby-Crowned Kinglets in a fast game of chase.  Sorry for the poor quality shot but this was in deep shade.  The ruby on one was standing high and was quite an eye catcher.

Arriving at the back marsh area, there were plenty of mallards and Canada geese searching the water for goodies.  The turtles are liking the dam the beavers built and form a line across the top to warm in the sun.

I wanted to check the status of the nesting tree where I watched the Brown-Headed Nuthatches and the take over attempt by the Chickadees.The nuthatches were going in and out of the hole and closely guarding their territory against the still lurking Chickadees.  They have now begun bringing in nesting material so it appears they are the victor.   Or are they?  While I was standing there sure enough the Chickadees tried again.  The nuthatches may be small but they have an attitude and quickly chased off the invaders.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Saturday Quick Birding

I went out for a very short time this morning to try and catch a bit of birding between rain showers. 
My intent was to just take a quick look about to see if any of the Bobolinks had arrived.  None yet.

I had parked along side the road just walking along listening and looking.  I thought earlier this week I had heard a Common Yellowthroat but never spotted it.  Bird songs from a season past take a bit to kick in for instant recognition.  Today I did spot several.  They are generally one of the first arriving seasonal birds.

As I was watching the Yellowthroat trying for a good shot, several Turkey Vultures came in resting atop fence posts. They spread their wings trying to dry from the morning showers. The skies were becoming increasingly overcast making color definition harder when another vulture flew in. I noticed this one appeared darker and was a bit different in body and beak shape. Indeed it was a Black Vulture. In the several years of birding at this particular area, this is the first Black Vulture I can recall seeing.

It seems as though there has been an increase in the presence of vultures in the area over the last year. Several of us at work were talking about this earlier this week as we watched a rather large group that had flown on the property where I work.

It use to be rare to see one at the house but now is a daily occurance with around five roosting in the trees behind the house

It looks as though we are going to have a brief break in the weather so I think I will run down the road a bit to see if I can spot the Redstarts.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spring Activity


Spring has finally arrived and all signs it is going to be a long, hot, summer if the first few days of spring are an indicator.  Leaves are exploding out and everything is covered with a fine coat of pollen.  Almost daily sporadic rain showers help a little with clearing the yellow coating.

Bird activity is high.  Lots of tweets, chirping and fussing.  On Monday, my friend and I stood and watch a pair of Brown Headed Nuthatches giving their all on a hole in a stump.  The pair would alternate work time and the one not working was always close by.

This afternoon, a pair of Carolina Chickadees attempted a takeover.  Lots of fighting resulting in a Chickadee hitting the water.

The frogs are out and begin their croaking just as the sun begins to lower beind the tree line.  More and more join in until their croaking syncs to a loud serendae.

A Muskrat was busy exploring the new water area made possible courtesy of the beavers.  It put on a show and did not seem to mind that several people were intently watching it.  Several children were so excited and couldn't understand the difference between it and a beaver and were sure it was the beaver.  But no, it is a muskrat. 

The Phoebes are numerous most busy announcing their name, building nests and swooping after insects. 

Lastly, yellow bird from the previous post seems to have settled in a bit.  I believe I am having a harder time excepting it being caged.  Just doesn't seem natural.  It however is so habituated that the poor thing just would not stand a chance on its own.  That is why I have a hard time with birds being sold as pets.  If someone now just tired of this bird and let it go then shame on them.  You can't habituate a bird to humans and then expect it to make it in the wild.  I am still uncertain on what the outcome will be. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Lost Yellow Bird

When I arrived home this afternoon I took the dog for her walk as usual.  Arriving back close to the house, a yellow bird swooped by almost landing on me then veered at the last minute up to the tree.  Of course, first thought was go get the camera.  The dog and I ran the remaining way home, I grabbed the camera and back out.

Well what do you know!  What I thought was possibly some wayward exotic wild visitor turned out to be a lost or set free parakeet.  Eventually it made its way to the house.  In a bit when I looked out the window, it was walking on the ground under the feeder finding seeds.

I eased out and it showed no fear and eventually after holding my hand out for a while, it flew to me.  What could I do?  It was waiting to fall victim to a cat or hawk.  I had a small cage and placed the bird in it.  Off to a local pet shop hoping for word of maybe someone who had lost a bird.  No luck.  Considered the SPCA but they were now closed.

So, back to the pet shop, buy a larger cage, some food, etc.  Bird is resting comfortably after a rather eventful day.  A little challenge getting it from one cage to the other that resulted in two free flights.   I guess until I can either find it a good home, or become attached (whichever comes first), I have a new guest.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Bit o' Gold and Green

Not too much going on today.  I went out for a bit this morning but not for any serious birding.  I was feeling a bit guilty for not taking my dog out to run in a while so we went for a long walk in the woods.

 Always though I have the camera with me and and as I was getting the dog settled in the car to come home, a large flock of 100+ Cedar Waxwings came in.  Their yellow bellies reflected in the morning sun looking like a large pot of flying gold.  Maybe this was the gold at the end of the rainbow?

After arriving home, the dog needed a bath,  She had played in the creek followed by tromping through the field while still wet and was now coated with mud.  Fun stuff.  While I was getting everything together out on the deck there was a Goldfinch in a nearby tree singing its heart out.  They are molting getting their summer gold so was this my gold at the end of the rainbow?  I guess I just need to keep looking to find the real thing.

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Let Sleeping Doves Lie

Skipping spring?  With high in the mid 80's today it felt like summer and spring has not yet arrived.  I was sitting out on the deck for a bit this afternoon listening to the birds singing when a dove flew in and perched on top of the pergola.  Before long, its eyes began shutting, fighting open every now and then for a check about.  Despite my being so close, it obviously felt safe and drifted to a light state of rest.  Such a little sweetie.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


The morning started a bit cool with a breeze off of the water but by noon, a simply beautiful day.  The eagles were fairly quiet today but the Osprey were active, vocal and put on a show.  I have so many photos to go through but that will be fun.  I took the scope out to practice some digiscoping and as soon as the battery charges so I can get them off of the camera, I hope for some good shots.  These are a few of one of the Osprey bringing a fish back to the nest.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

What's Out Saturday

Coolish today with a fair breeze so my plans to go see the eagles is off until tomorrow.  After my 12 day work week, it was just nice to be outside and enjoy some nature.  I was very anxious to see any new arrivals.  The first thing I heard was the fast chipping then I finally spotted the bird.  The Chipping Sparrows have arrived.  Always a sign spring is almost here.  Their fast chipping seems to have confused the Pine Warblers who would reply back after a string of chipping.  On several occasions I would see a Pine Warbler fly close by to where a Chipping Sparrow was calling out as if to check out the newcomer.

Courtship looked to be the activity of the day.  Pairs seen together today inlcuded Northern Flickers, Red-Bellied Woodpeckers, Downy Woodpeckers, Blue Jays (the largest gathering of Jay's, around a dozen, I have ever seen), Pine Warblers, Cardinals, Eastern Bluebirds, Red-tailed Hawks and Pileated Woodpeckers. 

A pair of Pileated Woodpeckers were intent on working on a cavity tree.  One was increasing the size of the already existing hole and the other was standing off to the side and would occasionally fly in and look in the hole.They were so intent on their activity I was able to ease up very close to watch them.

One of my purposes at the location I went today was to see if the Redstarts had arrived.  I finally spotted the female then the male.  I stood for some time hoping for a chance to get a good shot however they were hunting deep within some brush and all the shots were very poor.  The entire time I stood in that location, a Brown Thrasher serenaded me.  They have a beautiful and varied medley.

Moving on as I was walking across a large expanse of field, a pair of Red-Tailed Hawks followed overhead.  From time to time they would come down fairly low.  I expect they were watching for a field mice I might stir up.

I am looking forward to meeting my friend tomorrow for some eagle and osprey watching. Hope to have some good shots for tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Love is in the Air

Spring is right around the corner and mate selection is fully underway.  Over the last week, the Titmice and Chickadee's have been actively trying to impress their counterparts.  Out for a quick walk about this afternoon to see what was out.  This pair of Titmice were chirping away and doing a lot of prancing and dancing around each other.  When one would fly, the other followed.