Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Finally - A Summer Post

Have you missed the blog?  If so, sorry about the lapse.  If not, well maybe I'm wasting my time here. Oh well, I'll tell you a story anyway. It has been almost a month since my last post - mostly because there hasn't been anything birdy to report.  Same old stuff happening in the yard at home and at the beach. There is only so much you can write about Laughing Gulls on the beach before it gets really boring.  It is very interesting that late June and early July are pretty void of bird activity that is worthy of a post.  The other reason for the lack of posts is that I have been walking/birding without lugging the camera due to the excessive heat here in the Philly area.

The good news is that Connie and I headed up to her cabin in Potter County over July 4th week in lieu of the shore. We had a great time birding, hiking and riding motorcycles. Guess where all of the warblers go after they pass through Cape May and Philly?  You are correct if you guessed Potter County.  We tallied 67 species of birds which included 12 species of warblers - Ovenbirds protecting their nest, Blackburnians all around the cabin, Black-throated Greens and Blues, Chestnut-sided along the mountain vistas, quite a few Magnolia warblers who obliged by sitting right in front of us, and good looks at Hooded warblers which are usually heard but not seen.  We also heard alot of Cuckoos in the woods this year which is always a good sign since they are some of the only birds that eat those dreaded tent caterpillars.

Here is the Ovenbird defending its nest when Roxy and I got too close.  I think this is the male since he was the first to object to our presence.  Check out his orange crown feathers which are standing up to make him look fierce.
Ovenbird

Here is the other parent chattering from the other side of the trail trying to lure us away from the nest area.  I never did find the nest - which I am told looks like an oven (hence, the name of the bird) and is usually on the ground near a tree trunk.

 Ovenbird

Male Hooded Warbler - Potter County

We also get to see Black-capped Chickadees in Potter County. You may be thinking - "who cares?" Well these birds are different from the Chickadees that we see at home which are Carolina Chickadees.  They look ALOT alike to the point that only really experienced birders would be able to tell them apart, but they sound different which makes it possible for amateurs like me to make a correct ID.

Black-capped Chickadee

My favorite sparrow - the Chipping Sparrow - had babies all around the cabin.  I almost stepped on this one before it flew up into the pine tree.

 Baby Chipping Sparrow - notice the short tail and dull color

We watched the parents scurrying around catching bugs to feed the growing babies.  The birds even came up to the screen door to catch bugs.  I thought they wanted to come into the air conditioning for a minute to cool off!

Adult Chipping Sparrow - with a bug in its beak ready to feed the baby

Lots more to tell you about the trip.  Stay tuned for more in a day or so.


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