Saturday, February 28, 2015

Fishing Finesse

 Scoping out the fish.....

 The Line Up.....

The Strike.....

Lift off.....

Checking the take.....

Off to eat lunch.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Sexual Dimorphism

- the difference in appearance between males and females of the same species, as in color, shape, size and structure.

In some species, there are vastly different color variations between the male and the female such as in the House Finches.  During mating season the male becomes bright red in the head and breast area.  The female is tan and white.

Sometimes differences can be subtle such as in the Red-bellied WP.  The slight difference in the extension of the red on the head.

In the case of Eastern Bluebirds, both are blue with rufous colored breast feathers and white belly feathers.  The female is much more subdued particularly the blue on the head.

The male and female of the Eastern Towhee have similar marking appearances with the exception that the upper part of the body of the female is brown versus the black of the male.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Black, White and Shades of Gray

Dark-eyed Junco
I cannot believe we woke up to yet more snow today.  I think it took a lot of folks (me included) by surprise at how quickly it came down and began accumulating.   My internet has been down for almost two days and with not watching much TV, I was a bit surprised when I woke up.

The snow is pretty but I am so tired of winter.  Hey Gladys....if you are enjoying Florida, be glad.  Your area is getting lots of snow today.


It has been a very active day with the birds heavily feeding.  The eye usually goes to the more colorful birds so I am focusing on the more subdued in this post.  They have their own gentle, quiet beauty.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

The Yellow-rumped Warblers are beginning to take on their breeding colors.  They look quite handsome when they get their dark mask.

AWhite-breasted Nuthatch strikes its classic pose.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Think They Look Gentle?

Over the last several days even more Pine Siskins have arrived.  They have eaten an amazing amount of thistle seed over the past week.  When you step outside they fly up to the tree tops in a large group and proceed to make their little trilling sound.

Sometimes they can look so sweet and peaceful.....

but first thing in the morning when I put additional food out on the deck rail, the food aggression/survival of the fittest attitude takes hold.  I had been having trouble with a very aggressive, bossy Robin that had claimed territory over the suet feeders and would chase any other bird away.  The little Pine Siskins hold their ground and several have ganged up on the Robin.

The Robin has chilled out and no longer hangs around all day to chase other birds away,  The Pine Siskins were able to do something that despite all efforts I had been unable to do.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Northern Cardinals

It has been absolutely miserably cold today.  We had a brief but beautiful snow for about 20 minutes late yesterday afternoon.  I wished it had been earlier in the day so I could have gotten some pretty shots.

We have one more night of intense cold before the temperatures begin to moderate somewhat.  The kind of cold we are getting right now is so not normal.

The Cardinals have been steady visitors at the feeders munching on sunflower seeds.  I am glad I had just filled the seed bin before the cold, ice and snow hit.  As they are such an ever present bird, I sometimes forget how pretty they are.  They make a bright splash in the landscape when not much other color is around.

The males almost seem more red during the winter while the female takes on a golden hue with whispers of red.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Hungry Birds

We were pretty lucky in what fell overnight was mainly sleet.  I was really dreading freezing rain that would have coated trees and power lines.  I am hoping that the possible snow tomorrow is nothing more than just a brief flurry or nothing at all.

There is a hard packed layer of ice on the street today and the only vehicle I saw was the mail truck late this afternoon that several of us ended up going out and giving a little push when she started spinning and couldn't go.

The birds were a little late getting started this morning as there was still a bit of sleet going on.  I had taken in the suet feeders and thistle sock so they would not be coated over with ice and put them back out right around 0700.  It did not take the birds long to come out after that and they have been steady at the feeders all day.

I ended up putting some food along the deck railing  just so more could come eat.  Many of them showed up with ice showing on their feathers.  I know they had a cold miserable night with more cold coming tonight.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Getting Ready for Winter Yuk

Our first freezing precipitation for the winter is quickly approaching the are.  It is anticipated that we will probably get quite a bit of sleet and freezing rain which spells trouble.  It is not going to be much snow which I would prefer over the ice.

I spent most of yesterday and the early part of this morning trying to get ready and be prepared in case we lose power which is looking like a heavy possibility.

The birds and squirrels seem to sense the coming weather and have been feeding heavily all day.  I guess tomorrow they will really be looking for food.

It has been really cold and we have even colder air coming so whatever comes won't melt anytime soon.  If you live locally, stay safe!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Have A Lovey-Dovey Valentine's Day

These photos were taken this past Sunday and I thought it would make a good Valentine's Day post.  I had taken a break from some yard work when I noticed this pair of doves sitting in the tree.  I recognized their courtship behavior so grabbed the camera.  I find animal behavior quite fascinating to watch.

There was lots of head bobbing and feather fluffing as the male approached the female.  The male saw his opportunity and approached.

The mating behavior was very brief and I feel sure it was nothing more than bonding behavior as it is definitely too early for nesting.

 If a bird's expression can look happy, I would say this pair would be a happy couple.

They sealed  their bond with a "kiss".  Awe,  how sweet!

The pair spent some time taking turns nuzzling each other......

then cuddled up together and had a nice little nap.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Sort of a slow day.  The wind was quite strong out in the open but if you could get where the wind was not blowing it was fairly nice.

My friend and I went out searching for Wood Ducks but only saw Buffleheads.  Oh well, another day to try.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Bluebirds - Getting Ready for Spring

A spring-like day had the Bluebirds checking out possible nesting locations.  They explored all the houses in the yard and went in and out.   I am not sure what was going on with this trio.  They explored each box as a trio with each going in and out of the box.  I have heard that previous generations will help raise the young so I am thinking one of the trio is a previous offspring.

They seem to like this box however this is one I was going to replace this year.  It was one purchased at one of the big box stores and is actually a poor design.  There is a gap at the top in the back that might allow water in during a heavy rain resulting in nestlings drowning.  The gentleman who is head of the local Bluebird Society states these are not good boxes because of that.  I think it is more the location they like so will get a new box this week.

If you live in NC, the State Employees Credit Union has well made and designed boxes for sale at a bargain price.  You can't beat them.  It is a cooperative effort to help provide nesting boxes.  A lot of folks may not be aware that the Eastern Bluebird numbers had once declined to dangerously low levels due to habitat loss.

After watching one of the new boxes at a new location, I think I will move it.  The Bluebirds seem to like to exit the box over grass areas versus a more wooded area.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Pine Siskins

Just the other day I was thinking that the winter would pass by without having any Pine Siskins come this year.  Normally I have them around from December - March.  Today a flock of around 25 arrived and went through almost half of a thistle sock of seeds and devoured almost a block of suet


They are quite a lively bunch of little birds and I was so pleased they arrived.  Wherever they arrived from, they were certainly hungry.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Checking In On The Eagles

Back in December, my friend and I came upon an undocumented eagles nest.  We have checked in on it a couple of times just to keep updated.  It had been several weeks so we decided to head out this morning to see if there were any signs that egg(s) had been laid.

We were watching from a respectable distance so as not to disturb the birds so the photos are not the best.

We had arrived at our location when in just a few minutes, an eagle came in with a stick.  We watched as the female wove the stick into the nest and made other adjustments.  Soon both eagles flew out.  Within a short time, in comes one of the eagles with a stick.  Since both had left the nest together, we assume no egg(s) have yet been laid.

We watched for a while as the two sat together.  You can definitely see the size difference between the male and female.  The female is on the right in this photo and is considerably larger.

Hopefully time is getting close for her to lay.  We will keep watching.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Pileated Woodpecker

Over the week, a pair of Pileated WPs have been hanging around and checking out the trees.  Normally they fly the minute you zero in on them.  Late this afternoon one came in the yard and was so focused on working a tree limb I was able to slip out quietly and get some shots.

I suppose it was the mate to this one was a little farther back in the woods and kept calling.  Every now and then this one would lean back and let out a call.

The wind was really blowing the tree tops around this afternoon but didn't seem to bother the bird at all.  I think I was getting the case of motion queasies just watching through the camera viewfinder.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Regal Eagles

The eagles were very active today at the river.  Light was horrible but I enjoyed watching and listening to them.  The adults are such regal looking birds while the immature eagles can look a  bit ratty and ragged at times.

It is that time of year when the weather changes so quickly.  Today was a good day with local temps around 55 so it was fairly pleasant to be outside.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Tiny Acrobat

I watched this little Golden-crowned Kinglet explore almost every limb of the tree searching for food. It hung on and contorted in every way trying to check every angle.

When it spotted prey on the limb below the Kinglet became excited and the gold crown started flashing orange.

It flew to the limb below and found what it was looking for.  A lot of energy expended for a little meal.