Tuesday, May 28, 2013

This Season's Goal - Prothonotary Warbler

Each year I set a goal for a particular bird that I hope to photograph.  This year it has been the Prothonotary Warbler.

I headed out early this morning but stopped before I got out of the drive.  Several deer were lazily  grazing at the side of the yard.  At first I thought they were does but after uploading the photos can see antlers growing.

Moving on to meet a friend we then headed out.  It was such a treat to so closely observe the bird hunting and feeding little ones.  It was a very good morning out.  By the time we left the temperatures were rising and clouds were racking up.  It won't surprise me for a late afternoon shower.

Juvenile Prothonotary

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Hooded Warbler

A friend and I went back down to the river today with intentions of trying for  better shots of a couple of warblers.  We really did not give any thought to it being a holiday weekend and absolutely the folks were flooding in.  A rather large group came in with about 10 canoes.

Too much activity to stay long.  We headed down the path in search of a side path to the river but went too far and lucked up on an area with several Hooded Warblers.  Most shots were in deep shade but I lucked up on a couple of shots in brighter light.

I think I will head out late this afternoon to try for some beaver shots.  Hopefully I can get a few.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Wonderful Morning

After days of rain, it was nice to get out this morning before more rain came in this afternoon.  I went with a friend and his wife to an area in the next county over.  It was a very isolated area and I don't think I would have gone by myself or at least would not have felt very comfortable.

As soon as the car door opened it was a symphony of bird songs.  I was excited as I began to identify what was there.  It was not long before what I hoped to see flew by.  The number of Prothonotary Warblers were a delight to the senses.

Continuing on down a path, there was a great flurry of activity among some American Redstarts.  Before long we spotted what they were upset about...a snake in the tree.  A group of 5 or 6 females began displaying and alarming in the tree where the snake was.  Not once did we ever see a male though.

On my way home, I did make a quick stop by my usual birding haunt and what do you know, I spotted a male Redstart!

A Yellow-throated Warbler was searching a tree and feeding a young one.

As we were leaving we spotted a White-eyed Vireo.  I really like these birds with their white eye.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Blackpoll Warbler

I went out for a bit this morning but it was very slow.  With a horrible case of the red bugs (chiggers), tick bites and poison ivy, I called it a day early.  Off and on the remainder of the day I would see a bird quickly come to the bath and leave just as quickly.  Late this afternoon it got the courage to come in.  A Blackpoll Warbler!  First time I can ever recall seeing one in the yard.

As I was watching it, I kept noticing another little bird wanting to come in but very skittish.  Finally when the warbler started bathing and a Chickadee also came in, the female Northern Parula came in.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Day Trip To Lake Mattamuskeet

I had planned to go yesterday but the car battery died late in the day and the running around to get a new one put me behind.  It was a spur of the moment decision early this morning to go ahead with the trip.  I guess I should have really checked the weather because the wind was gusting steadily all day.  But oh well.  The first thing I saw when I entered the refuge was a group of white pelicans.  It was pretty cool to see so many together but they sure were spooky.  If you tried to get close they would fly.

The osprey was steady on the hunt and had the ducks and geese fussing over their little ones.

The Indigo Buntings were everywhere.  This particular male was displaying like crazy.  I guess he was trying to find himself a sweet lady bird.

The Great Crested Flycatchers were numerous and steadily keeping a fuss, chasing each other and in general stirring up all the other birds.

I saw several groups of Wood Duck chicks.  In this particular group I counted 12 chicks.  Some had already gone by.  Their mortality rate is so high with falling victim to turtles, large fish and assorted birds of prey you can only hope that at least a third will make it to adulthood.  I watched this female for a while and she sure was a good mom.

I was out walking along the edge of one of the canals when a big splash startled me.  I guess this gator was looking for a meal.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Lonicera sempervirens

Coral Honeysuckle, Trumpet Honeysuckle, Woodbine.  Unlike the invasive Japanese white and yellow honeysuckle, the Coral Honeysuckle is a native species and is not as aggressive as the Japanese invasive.  Good for attracting hummingbirds.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Eastern Wood-Pewee

An easily overlooked bird with the colorful birds that are arriving and moving through this time of year but their song captures your attention.  Their behavior is typical of other flycatchers so it is easy to get some good shots of them.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Prothonotary Warbler

A bright splash of yellow amid a sea of green.  I don't know what was going on between this bird and a Black-throated Blue Warbler but the Prothonotary chased it multiple times.  If the weather holds tomorrow, I am going back to try for some better shots.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Red-eyed Vireo

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Another Tanager Couple

What a beautiful day.  Clear blue skies and sunshine for a change.  Short lived as more rain tomorrow.  I went down to check on the Hooded Warblers and yes they were there but I got side tracked with a new pair of tanagers.

The male was a bit elusive but the female was something else.  I kept trying to get some distance between us but when I would move, she would fly to the next closest tree.  It was pretty cool having one not show any fear about being close.  It did however, make for difficult pictures.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

An Assortment of Activity

Hopefully the low pressure system that has kept us cool, rainy and skies gray will move on.  I am really sick of the yucky weather.  I went out a bit after lunch as things were improving.  A Red-bellied Brown Snake was out searching for a meal swimming among the lily pads and waiting to spring on an opportune meal.

Late yesterday afternoon as the sun peaked out for a bit, it was like opening the flood gate for Northern Parulas.  Their buzzing filled the trees.

Very late in the afternoon and clouds were coming back in, I happened by the window and to my surprise, a male Red-breasted Grosbeak.  I see a female come through almost every year but have never seen a male.  I wish it had been a little earlier in the day or not so much cloud cover.

If the weather is nice tomorrow, I am going to go and try to call out the Hooded Warbler.  Such cute little birds.  I checked yesterday and they are still in the same location as last year.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Outside the Kitchen Window

I have an amazing morning and never left the kitchen window.  It started early as I was washing up some breakfast dishes and noticed a bit of movement at the fountain.  It was not very light with the overcast skies and cover of the surrounding leaves but I thought I would give it a try.  This little hummingbird was bathing away.  I apologize for the quality but had to push the ISO up to around 3200 to get a shot at all and there is no depth of field.

It got to the very edge where water barely trickled over and way down and start splashing.  Most of the shots were too much of a blur as I could not get any speed.

The next visitor was a Northern Parula.  It splashed and splashed, flew off to a side tree and came back for more.

My biggest delight of the morning was when a Cape May Warbler and Black and White Warbler came up together.  I had spotted the Cape May a time or two but had not been able to get a shot of it.  Success this morning!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Veery vs Hermit Thrush

The day ended up better weather wise than the TV news folks predicted.  Rain is projected for the next several days so I needed to get the grass cut and do some other things in the yard.  During a break I walked down to the pond behind the house as I could hear lots of warblers.  A movement down low caught my attention however.  At first I thought is was a Hermit Thrush but the bird looked different.  The chest markings were not as pronounced as a Hermit Thrush's and the color was different.

Once back at the house I had to pull out the bird book and go back and look at some photos of a Hermit Thrush.  I believe I have my first Veery!  It may be just hoping and it end up being a very light colored Hermit Thrush.

Hermit Thrush
For comparison - a  Hermit Thrush

Friday, May 3, 2013

A Bit O' Sunshine

An all to brief break in the gray clouds today but it was so good to see some sunshine and blue sky.  Unfortunately more gray is on the way.   It seems like this year we have had more and longer stretches of overcast days.  Yuk!

I tried to take advantage of the day.  The morning started out seeing the Wood Duck couple on the pond.  Always a good first sighting.

The Red-Shouldered Hawk couple were out hunting.  I believe the eggs have hatched  now.  It was after 1200 by the time I went to check them out.

There are still a large number of Yellow-Rumped Warblers around.  With the temperatures running about 10 degrees below normal, I think they are staying around longer.

I have really enjoyed the Black-throated Blue Warblers this year.  Over the past three years, their numbers have increased each spring.

The Black-throated didn't know what to think about all the commotion the Yellow-rumps were making in the water.