Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Back in the USA

The trip to Europe was great but the timing was terrible. I all but missed the spring migration in our area by being out of the country in May. Once Memorial Day rolls around, there is not much in the way of bird life to keep us interested. Here are a few stories from the weekend.

Barbara and I got up early on Sunday and headed out to Hidden Valley Ranch in Cape May to chase a Painted Bunting that has been hanging around for over a month. This poor guy is way out of his normal range which is down in the deep south. Nonetheless, he was singing his little heart out trying to woo a gal - a nonexistent gal. It's going to be a lonely spring for him.

Painted Bunting
It's only May and we already know that the summer is going to be full of ticks. I was covered with them within the first 100 yards of the walk to find the bunting. Even the birds were covered with ticks. Check out this Carolina Wren. He has 2 ticks on his face. I cropped the photo so you could see them - one between the eye and beak, the other below the eye.

Carolina Wren - with ticks
I was covered with ticks again today when Harvey and I headed out to see if there were any interesting birds around. No neat birds but we found a few neat butterflies. Butterflies have really weird names. Thankfully, Harvey knew what they were.

Hayhurst's Scallopwing

Red-striped Hairstreak
Speaking of butterflies, Di, Barbara and I put in 2 new gardens at the Blue House this spring - all in an attempt to attract butterflies and hummingbirds to the yard. I used Pat Sutton's plant list as a guide. You can find it at New Jersey Audubon website (Click Here) .

Shade Garden

Sun Garden
If you build it, they will come. The plants weren't in the ground for an hour and viola - our first butterfly - a Skipper.

Skipper in the garden
It's not the most attractive butterfly, but you can see that he/she loves the flowers. Check out the long black tongue probing the Bluestar (amsonia).

Skipper
Harvey and I were scolded by a pair of Bald Eagles today. We inadvertently got too close to their nest. Boy were they pissed. We hustled off down the path to get away from the nest but not before they told us about it. I snapped a few photos on our way out of the woods. These are 2 different eagles - one is Mom and the other is Dad. The first one has something in it's talons.

Bald Eagle

Pissed off





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