Saturday, June 30, 2012

Through The Dirty Windshield - Hawk?

I went out for a bit  early this morning.  It was as if the birds had already settled in for the day and gone to the deeply shaded areas  Temperatures rose quickly this morning and after drinking the last of the water and a headache setting in I went home. 

Late this afternoon when temperatures finally dropped to an even 100, I had stood all of the being inside that I could stand.  Re-hydration, a rare afternoon nap and aspirn had taken care of the headache so I decided to at least go change out the card in the trail camera and move it to another location.  There were quite a few shots showing two fawns with one very curious about the camera.  During daylight hours there is no flash so I guess it was just the presence of something different.

I didn't stay long before the heat started getting to me again so I headed home.  When I pulled in the driveway, a bird flew up.  I wished I had backed out and walked (hindsight is 20/20) but opted to cut the car off.  I had the camera in the car so I reach back and grabbed it.  Of all times to have a REALLY dirty windshield. .  Ocean mist along with dust from driving down dirt paths had left a film.  I got four shots before I attempted to ease the car door open for a better shot and it flew.

I first started seeing this bird back in the fall however it was quite a bit smaller and when I was lucky enough to get a quick glimpse, knew then it was a younger bird.  It will ocassionally come and sit nearby one of the feeders looking for an easy meal.  I am sure with the heat today it did not want to have to work for a meal.

I am not sure whether it is a Sharp-Shinned or a Coopers Hawk.  I was going with Sharp-Shinned first because of the smaller size but then I change to Coopers and back to Sharp-Shinned.  I can never get a good shot of it or have the opportunity to see it very long so I am just not sure.  Positive ID's are welcome.

Friday, June 29, 2012

104 in the Shade

I went down late this afternoon to change out the card in the trailcam.  I figured not much would be out but as I quietly eased up on the location, I could see a doe walking around.  I moved as quietly as possible waiting for her to bolt at any minute but to my surprise she didn't.

As I moved closer and closer she would stop and look up at me.  If I stood still, she would eventually go back to eating.  I was so busy looking at her then I noticed a little something laying down.  I knew immediately it was the fawn I saw a couple of days before.

I decided not to proceed forward as it was far too hot to make them run.  I eased back up to the car and waited a while and drank some water.  Eventually I decided I needed to do what I was going to do and get out of the heat.  Thankfully when I walked back down both were gone.

I couple of decent shots from the trailcam however I will move it tomorrow to a place with better lighting.  Sharp sunlight in some spots made for not prime photos.  But what can you really expect from a 5mp camera?

As I was looking through some of the night shots and was particularly amused by one buck.  I guess it was very curious at the faint red glow of the infrared light.  There were at least eight shots of it checking out the camera and some were so close all you could see was a nose.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Beating the Heat Day

With temperatures expected to reach 105 both Saturday and Sunday and with the heat index, feel like 112, I took a metal health day today to enjoy some time out.  Yesterday was one of the worst days I have ever had at work and simply could not deal with a carbon copy day today.

I left at 0500 this morning and arrived down at the coast by 0720.  A wonderful breeze was blowing and it was cool from a front that came through two days ago.  The ocean was very rough and no swinning signs were posted but it was pleasant to walk along the beach, hear the waves and feel the breeze.

I stood for the longest time watching a Dowitcher walking along, oblivious to several children nearby and walking within arms reach of them.  When it would go after something it would plunge at least half of its bill in the sand.

I then set out on my quest for a better shot of the Painted Bunting.  I can't believe out of all the shots I took today, one of the early morning shots was the best.  I have decided they photograph much better in indirect lighting.  Some shots this afternoon that I thought would be fantastic with the bird in bright sunlight ended up looking like the bird had been dipped in wax.  Well, at least I got one and can hopefully go back before they depart for fall migration.  I was very pleased to have witnessed a large number of them today which is good news after their numbers dipped low.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Boisterous Blue Jays

They can be loud, obnoxious and sometimes aggressive but they can also be fun to watch.  This morning a group of young Jays were stirring things up.  Games of chase and dive bombing were the main activities.

Occasionally, an adult would come in and despite being very close to the same size, one young one in particular would fly to the adult, assume a submissive posture and begin the wing flapping and squaking.  The adult would every now and then provide it a berry but most of the time leave quickly.

I am not sure what the berry is they were all so caught up in eating and will have to do some additional research.  The jays however were not the only birds trying to partake.  Whether it was all the commotion of the Jays or that the Brown Thrashers wanted their share of the berries, a group came in and chases followed.

A Blue Grosbeak sat watching the fray between the Jays and the Thrashers.  As one group would chase the other off, during the few minutes away, the Grosbeak would swoop in and get a berry.

Mockingbirds came in for a look however they preferred the offerings of a nearby Persimmon tree.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Blue Saturday - The Color, Not the Mood

Summer has definitely arrived with the heat and humidity. Afternoon thunderstorms have been the norm over the past week. Out for a little bit this morning. To match the color of the toe I broke again this morning, today's color is Blue!

Asiatic Dayflower - even the most simple of flowers that most consider weeds have beauty if you look closely.

Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly (shy one tail)

I am definitely not up on my dragonfly species but I believe that this is a Blue Dasher.  One of the more common dragonflies and the green eyes are usually an indicator.  I guess I need to put a field guide on my list of books to get.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day

Male Indigo feeding Cowbird chick
Whether it is bringing home food for the family (and sometimes caring for other than your own),  or watching over the youngsters to keep them safe, "Dad's" are an integral part of the family.  Happy Father's Day to all you gents out there who are Dad's.

To my own father, you have been there for me all of my life and I love you dearly. 
Red-Headed Woodpecker bringing food back to nest
Male Blue Grosbeak watching over young ones feeding

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Beautiful Saturday

The weather was simply amazing today for the middle of June.  Coolish this morning with a clear blue sky.  I expected birding to be fantastic this morning but was back home within about 1 1/2 hours disappointed.

I jumped in and starting cutting grass and cleaning limbs and weeds out of the natural areas in the yard.  I ended up also cutting my neighbors yard as she has had recent surgery and was unable to do much.    After cooling down I decided to go down to my cousins farm.  The birds have been quiet amazing and for whatever reason, seems best between 2-5.

I was not disappointed.  The pair of Summer Tanagers were active yet the female always seem to stay in the shadows.  Best shot is looking up at her.  The male prefers Pine Trees and generally is up high but at least he is usually in good light.

Over the last week I kept hearing a couple of Yellow-Billed Cuckoo's.  Finally today, I got to see both of them together.  I found the area where they like to hang out so will definitely revisit.  Something about these birds is jsut so cool.

I have also been watching a pair of Red-Headed Woodpeckers.  This is the first year that I have ever seen them on the farm and was absolutely thrilled when I found their nesting tree.  I was a bit surprised that it appeared to be an active nest with the adults going in and out.  I am judging that on the basis of observing that the Red-Bellied Woodpecker young are already out. 

The Great Crested Flycatchers were active, vocal and keeping all the other birds stirred up. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Female Indigo Bunting

She was busy this morning searching for insects and flying back and forth to the nest.  I have a suspicion that the bird being feed was a Cowbird.  I could not get closer to the nest to verify but a quick glimpse of the one bird I saw was far too big for a young Indigo.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Early Morning Warbler

My plans to go down east early this morning fell through so I opted for a little early morning birding near the house.  I really only intended to go check the trailcam but took the camera along.  Lots of activity in the very shaded areas which of course makes a decent photo challenging.

I was surprised to find a group of Hooded Warblers still in the area but there they were with some little ones too.  I plan to go back out this afternoon when the sun is a little further west and try for better lighting.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

It's Bunny Time!

The last three days a very young rabbit has been hanging out under the Japanese Maple in front of the house.  It darts out occasionally to grab a bite to eat.  This is one reason I do not use chemicals.  What do a few out of place weeds in the landscape hurt compared to spraying chemicals?

It found a flower that had self seeded out in the gravel path and took a liking to the leaves. I laughed because the leaf was almost as large as the little bunny.  The ticks on its ears are an indicator of how bad they are this year.  The warm winter boosted their population.

I hope the little fellow makes it.  You could cup both hands together and hold it.  Between the hawks and the foxes, it will have to learn quickly. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Red-Shouldered Hawk

After an absolutely horrendous day at work, I felt the need for some alone time when I arrived home this afternoon.  I didn't want to hear anyone talking or phones ringing.  After quickly feeding and walking the dog, I grabbed the camera and headed out.

Sweet peace and quiet.  I first spotted the hawk as I was watching a pair of Indigo Buntings hunting.  I could not get a good shot of it then and figured I had lost my chance.  As I continued down the path, the hawk flew in behind and over me coming to rest in a tree.  Too hidden by the foliage, no shot.  I kept walking and before to long, once again it flew over and came to rest in a tree.  I ever so carefully eased up on it moving very slowly expecting it to fly.  To my delight, it sat and allowed me to get fairly close.  By now it was close to 1730 and lighting was not optimal but I gave it a go.

Not too bad for hand holding with an ISO between 640 to 800 and a slow shutter speed.  After already witnessing a failed attempt at a dove, I left the hawk to hopefully find a meal for the evening.