Monday, September 29, 2014

Cape May Warbler, female, fall

I finished putting down the new floor in the kitchen today less the shoe molding.  It took me about four hours Saturday to cut the vinyl.    I just took my time and it came out pretty darn good.  Beats the heck out of the $400+ estimates I had.  Today I put down the adhesive and rolled the vinyl to secure.  My body aches in places tonight I didn't know I had!  A couple of ibuprofen and a hot shower and I should be good to go tomorrow.

During one of my resting periods today I noticed two birds coming in to the bath.  I had to pull out the book tonight to make my decision on what they were.  The females particularly when in their fall coloration can be difficult.

I have finally decided that this is an adult female in her fall colors.  The bird with her was a younger 1st year female and she stayed hidden most of the time in some leaves.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Warbler Surprise

From 1300-1400 today, the bird activity was just amazing.  I stood at the kitchen window with it open and just watched in amazement.  Sadly at that time, the sun had not yet made its appearance.  Late this afternoon it finally came out so I am hoping for an amazing day tomorrow.

The Hooded Warbler has come off and on most of the day.  I watched it around 1830 and was just sick it was too dark.  I tried with an ISO of 3200 but the shots looked horrible.  The best I got today was this one.  Still lots of fun to watch it.  At about this same time, an Ovenbird came in for a quick bath.  I hope it will return tomorrow.

The big surprise of the day was when the female Chestnut-sided Warbler showed up and another also came in beside her.  What a thrill!

Two female Summer Tanagers showed up at the same time too!  I wish they would have sat together but one was in the bath and the other waited her turn.  I really get a kick out of just how much they love the water.  The one in this photo just sat in the bath for the longest time.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Busy Bird Week

Worm-eating Warbler
It has been a fairly busy week trying to get the kitchen ready for the new flooring to go down.  I am so ready to wrap up all the house projects and the end is in sight now.  The new flooring in the kitchen and laundry room are the last two big projects.

With the exception of a couple of days of sunshine, gray skies seem to be the rule.  Very disappointing with the number of birds coming through and the number of missed or poor shots due to low light.

Northern parula
I was so disappointed on Tuesday when I kept missing shots of a Hooded Warbler that dropped by several times.  Late this afternoon (almost 1730), I happened to walk by the kitchen window and saw an unfamiliar bird.  I have been keeping the camera on the kitchen cabinet to try and catch things coming through.  I quickly grabbed a couple of shots before it flew off.  What a thrill!  A Worm-eating Warbler.  This is the first one I have ever seen here at the house.

Just a few minutes before it came by, I had just spotted a Northern Parula stopping by to get some water.

female Summer Tanager

Earlier a female Summer Tanager dropped by for a bath but I believe this is a younger bird than the other female Tanager that has been coming by every afternoon.  The look was completely different than the older bird.

Eastern Wood Peewee

I have been hearing an Eastern Wood Peewee over the last several days and finally this afternoon with all the bird activity, it could not resist coming in for a look.

The American Redstarts have been great for the last two weeks.  The bright orange of the male's catches your eye so quickly.  I have really enjoyed seeing them.

Cooper's Hawk

Earlier in the week the Cooper's Hawk showed back up.  It has been hanging around the yard trying to find food.  The birds have been a bit spooky because the hawk has been very active.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday Finds

I wanted to get out this morning as more rain is forecast for the next several days.  Not sure where all the water is going to go as the ground is still saturated from the last 8" that we received just a few days ago.

There were lots of Common Yellowthroats out searching for insects.  I definitely saw more females than males though.  I saw more today than I saw from spring-summer.   Just another example of a poor birding year for migratory birds anyway.

The number of Hummingbirds continues to increase as those coming from farther north are  dropping by.  They absolutely love the Jewel Weed flowers which are a member of the touch-me-not family.

I went to walk down the trail that runs beside the creek and was stopped in my tracks by a Red-bellied Brown snake had made itself at home and was not moving.  It had recently had a good size meal (probably a frog) because there was a large lump.  It was fat, happy and not moving.  I walked right around it and it never moved.

I watched as a spider repaired its web from something that had flown into it.  I am always fascinated at their precision going round and round and the majority of the web strands are almost exactly the same distance from each other.  Nature's architects.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Lady Birds

I didn't get a chance to go out this morning since the dog had a vet appointment at 11.  Running around to get things done for her after the appointment took me until noon so the prime time was over.

For the last two afternoons from around 1500 on, the birds have been dropping in for a visit.  Based on observations for the last couple of years, I have noticed that during spring migration I see more male birds and during the fall, more female birds.  The photos are not the best.  By the afternoon when they arrive, my back yard is deep shade.

Visitors today:

female American Redstart

female Tennessee Warbler

female Summer Tanager


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Good Birding Morning

After so much rain over the last couple of days, it was nice to get out this morning even if it was still a bit overcast and gray.  Not a good photography day light wise but the birds were really active this morning.  There was more activity today than I have seen in some time.

There were a group of three Great Crested Flycatchers searching for insects.  I could tell two were first year birds and I am sure the adult was the mom.

A Red-eyed Vireo was hunting in the same general area as the Flycatchers.  I have not seen one since the spring and was glad to get a good look at it.

There were lots of hummingbirds and they were very active however with the low light it was difficult to get up much shutter speed without going way high on the ISO.  Still they are fun to watch.

The Passion Flowers are in full bloom and quite pretty.  They were staying open later in the morning with the overcast sky.  I really want to get one of these vines going at the house.

Of course now that I am back at the house,  it looks like the sun is trying to make an appearance.  I guess better late than never.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Slow Saturday

My friend and I headed out to the lake / river early this morning in hopes of catching some action. The fog was very heavy and slow to lift. Finally around 0930, some signs of lifting but most of the egrets and herons had departed by then.  My friend did get enough of a shot to verify the flyover of around 6-7 Snow Geese.  I guess they had stayed overnight somewhere on the lake.

We saw one pair of Blue Grosbeaks but they flew as we got close, otherwise, nothing.  Where are the birds?

We walked around the meadow doing some macro shots just to kill time.  No shortage of insects and flowers to check out.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Honey Bees

During the month of July and first two weeks of August, lots of Honey Bees began showing up at the house for water.  There were so many that I kept a separate dish filled just for them to keep them away from the bird bath.  After about the second week in August, they just disappeared.

Yesterday and today they have shown back up. Always coming in and flying back out in the same direction which happens to be across my next door neighbor's property.  I went over yesterday and we looked around to see if we could spot a hive.  Tried as I might, I could never keep track of them long.  All I can figure is that somewhere nearby, there must be a heck of a nest.  There is no one that I know of in the general area that has any hives.  One thing thing for sure, the birds are not going near the bath with all the bee activity.

It has been a steady rotation of bee groups over the last two days.  20-30+ would fly in, stay and drink, fly out and before long, another group would come in.  They are not aggressive merely wanting to get to the water.

With all the talk of parasite issues with Honey Bee colonies and their dwindling numbers, it is good to see so many around.  I would sure like to find that honey tree!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Which Gourd?

The no-see-ums (midges) were horrible here today and with the heat, just decided to finish up my gourd for the fair.  I had done the gourd on the left first and I really liked the SW feel of the gourd but then began to doubt whether is was "artsy" enough.

I decided to do another and just see which one jumped out at me more.  Now I just don't know.  They have two completely different feels and I like them both.  The second one I am now trying to decide if I should place a turquoise cabochon at what I think should be the forward facing view.

What do you think?  The SW gourd or the more artsy gourd.  With or without the cabochon?