Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Two days of rain, drizzle and gray skies have put a damper on birding with the birds being phenomenal.  In the middle of a storm yesterday I looked out the window several times and saw a Yellow Warbler, Northern Parula, Indigo Bunting, still lots of Black and White Warblers and Black-throated Blue Warblers.

Late this afternoon I stepped out on the deck because I could hear warblers near by.  The lighting was absolutely terrible but I gave it a try.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

White-eyed Vireo

The day turned out better than expected weather wise.  The clouds of the morning lifted and the remainder of the day was beautiful.  Clouds started coming late afternoon and we will probably have rain tomorrow and Monday but we do need it.

With rain projected, I spent an hour or so putting out some sunflower plants that I had started down on my cousins farm.  There is already fantastic birding there but the sunflowers seem to attract the birds.  I just hope they will survive the deer.

Since the White-eyed Vireos arrived, I have been trying to get a good shot but as soon as I could locate one from is calling, it would fly.  As I was giving up at one location to move to another I walked by a tree and there it was.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Summer Tanager

The Tanager couple has returned to the same area where they nested last year.  I caught a glimpse of the female but she was busy in the same general location of where the nest was built last year.  The male was flying out in the open singing away.  Hope for some better shots later in the season.  This was my nemesis bird last year as I could not get a decent shot of it to save my life.  While these were taken in low light, they are still better than anything taken last year so hope lives!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Black and White Warbler

The warblers are finally making an appearance.  I counted at least five Black and White Warblers searching the oak trees in front of the house for insects this afternoon.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

How a Snake Catches a Fish

As it was cool again this morning, I waited until late morning to go out.  There was quite a bit of activity on the  pond so I stood and watched for quite a while.  The Osprey was flying over, there were a pair of Kingfishers chasing each other, a Great Blue Heron was wading and hunting for fish and with all that, then the Green Heron came flying in.

I moved closer to the side of the pond where the GH had come in hoping for a better shot when a splash and quick movement caught my attention.  It took me a minute to figure out what I was seeing.  I knew this was going to happen so quickly and I didn't have time to make any adjustments on the camera or I would miss the shots.

The snake and fish were thrashing about.  I wish I had seen it from the beginning but I only caught it from once the snake had the fish.  After a bit of thrashing, the snake pulled the fish under.  The snake then swam around in circles for a bit.  It was odd seeing the top fin of the fish moving through the water like a mini jaws.

My first thought was a Red-bellied Watersnake however after looking closely at one of the shots, I see white under the jaw of the snake versus red.  Just not sure as I never got a really good look at the snake.  The snake finally made its way through the lily pads to the side of the pond.  I guess it slithered on land to settle down for its meal.

While on the subject of reptiles, this black snake was coiled up yesterday morning.  Temperatures had dropped down to upper 40's yesterday morning after a front that moved through late Friday.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Catching Up

The last week has been a whirlwind of craziness.  For some unknown reason, walking became almost impossible for several days last week.  Tests came back undetermined and almost as quickly as the problem came on, it left.  I got out for a bit this afternoon however walking is still a bit stiff but I figure the best thing is to keep moving.

The birds are really coming in now which makes for great fun.  One of my favorites, the Great Crested Flycatcher has been hanging around the yard over the last week.  It is very receptive to responding to imitations of its call.

The Blue Grosbeaks are in adding another blue to the landscape.  Good to have them back.

Nest building is in high gear.  This female Common Yellowthroat brought in many a piece of small grass building her nest.  The Cowbirds are busy too scoping out and watching who is building what.

As I was quietly walking down the path, a fox walked out of the wooded area.  We both stopped looking at each other.  Always a thrill to have a close encounter.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Another location, more Wood Ducks

For the last three weeks, I have had the occasion to see a pair of Wood Ducks at my cousins farm.  It has probably been 15 years since I have seen one in that location.  If I had to guess, I would say they are nesting somewhere.

I headed early this morning as I was only going to have a short opportunity for birding.  I had promised to help him in his garden center and with this being the first pretty weekend where the threat of a late frost has passed, he knew it would be busy.

Back to the ducks.  I was walking down the path and heard the familiar call of the ducks.  They circled several times and came to rest in a tree.  While they both landed on the same limb, the drake was closer to the trunk of the tree and the hen was further out.  The male weaved and bobbed its head and made some motions with the wings almost like a mating dance.  Very odd behavior to witness.

Hopefully seeing Wood Ducks now in three separate locations is a good sign that their numbers will be increasing locally.

Friday, April 12, 2013

After the Rain

After a night and morning of rain, the skies cleared to a beautiful late afternoon.  Patches of yellow, rain washed pollen marked the ground.  It did not take long this afternoon when the sun came out and the wind began to blow for a yellow haze to be present again.

It is really beginning to look like spring now with the azaleas, dogwoods and red buds blooming.

This week White-eyed Vireos and House Wrens have come in at the house.  The wrens have spent the day checking out any possible nesting location.  It is good to once again hear their melodic distinctive song.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Wood Ducks

I was pleased to see a group of Wood Ducks in this morning.  There were 5 drakes and 2 hens.  Of course they moved quickly in to the reeds but I was able to get a few shots.  Hopefully some successful nesting this year.

Clouds have move in today but we need the rain to wash over the yellow coating of pollen.  If you brush up against anything outside you get coated.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Barn Swallows

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Saturday Stuff

It was a beautiful day.  A bit windy and cool-ish in the shade but very nice.  A drive back over to where all the Palm Warblers were spotted several weeks ago and I believe there were even more in the area today.  They look quite different in their bolder colors.

As I was sitting watching them I caught something incoming to one of the trees.  I was surprised to see the eagle land.  It has been spotted rather frequently flying over the fields but today sat in one of the trees.  Despite their comeback and increase in numbers, it is still always a thrill to see one up close.  I hope the day never comes when that is not so.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Yellow-rumped Warblers

It has been a rainy cool day all day.  The last of the suet was gone by early morning and with the birds continually going to an empty basket I made another batch.

The Yellow-rumped Warblers were like a swarm of bees to honey.  They were buzzing me before I could get the cake in the basket and hung back up.

Monday, April 1, 2013

A Beautiful Day

At long last a very spring like day but it will be all too brief as a cold front is coming in tonight.  The trees exploded today with the warm weather.  Life is returning to the wetlands with activity everywhere.