Monday, October 26, 2009

Potter County Trip

Here's the update from Potter County: beautiful leaves, not many birds. Connie and I went up to the camp to winterize since none of the men-folk mentioned anything about going up for hunting season this year. It snowed 6 inches last week and we got nervous about the pipes freezing. Luckily, everything was fine.

We saw and heard alot of Ruffed Grouse this weekend. Saturday was the start of small game hunting season so I don't know if that made the Grouse more mobile since there were men with shotguns and dogs in the woods spooking them out. We even saw one crossing the road (insert chicken joke here) near the lake.

Juncos all over the place now. I wonder if they will head down south or stay in Potter County over the winter. I know that we have been seeing them in Philly for the last 2 weeks or so. I expect them at the feeder any day now. Here are some foliage photos from the weekend:

The field in front of Frank, Frank, Frank's cabin

Me, Connie and Roxy at George Stevens Dam (Sinnemahoning State Park)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Royal Court

I didn't realize that a dog like Roxy would be such a princess until this week. We've had 4 days of that Nor'easter which started on Thursday and finally ended Sunday just before the Phillies game (this reference becomes more relevant at the end of the post). Roxy weighs 48 pounds but it was more like a ton of bricks trying to get her out of the house in the rain. She just would NOT go outside. There I was in my rain slicker standing outside while she looked at me from the garage like "I'm not going out there, you fool." Holding her paws up off the wet ground and everything. What a wuss.

We finally went on a real walk on Sunday. It was really cold and still kind of drizzling but I couldn't stand it anymore and dragged the princess out to Lorimer Park. We were greeted by a slew of White-throated Sparrows. They are really the dominant bird now along with the Kinglets. I was amazed by how many little Ruby-crowned Kinglets were in the park. I counted 11 at one time in the trees and could have touched 2 of them. One lone Golden-crowned Kinglet was just outside of the pack. You really get to see the Ruby crowns when they are together since they raise it when another Kinglet comes too close.

Oh, and the Phillies whipped the Dodgers in game 3 of the NCLS. We were at the game courtesy of Lori, sitting in section 106 right next to the first base foul pole. Barbara's finger nail is bent backwards from Shane Victorino's 8th inning homer that came directly to us. AWESOME! We didn't get the ball. It bounced around under the seats and some other guy came up with it.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Those Handsome Birds

I have seen lots of Black -throated Blue Warblers this fall at Lorimer Park. They seem to love the berries on the Tree of Heaven. The Tree of Heaven is considered a junk tree but it has a pretty pink flower in fall and lots of purple berries. The Black-throated Blue Warblers are drawn to the berries. I have see 10+ almost every time that I have been to Lorimer Park where there is a grove of these trees. I finally got some photos the other evening. Here are the only 2 that really turned out.

Handsome male

Eating the berry

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Grand Ole Opry

I should definitely go see the Grand Ole Opry this week. All of the signs are pointing toward it. Well, not all signs but enough. Here they are:
  1. Kanye West makes headlines all over the world for interrupting Taylor Swift's acceptance speech at the Video Music Awards (which nobody really watches until something like that happens)
  2. I was greeted by a Nashville Warbler at Palmyra Cove on Sunday. That little bird landed right in front of me almost eye level and hung around for a few minutes. It has a great white eye ring on it's gray head, and a yellow body.
  3. Then I saw not one, not two, not three, but four Tennessee Warblers on the same tree stem. Plus 2 others on the branch next to them. These were the first Tennessee Warblers that I have seen in the U.S. The only others that I have seen were at La Paz Waterfall Gardens in Costa Rica.
Three signs that I should visit the Grand Ole Opry soon. Bounder trip anyone?

Sunday was a really good day at Palmyra Cove. I also saw my first Grasshopper Sparrow, lots of Palm Warblers -Mom, they are coming your way for winter - and tons of Yellow-rumped Warblers. I mean tons. And 3 separate groups of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers. I also met many really nice people. One man helped me identify the Grasshopper Sparrow and another group of people helped confirm the Tennessee Warblers. Both of which I spotted alone and would have needed time with the field guide to confirm. Another couple showed me some trails. Really nice.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

And Then the Fog Lifted

We started at Higbee beach around 7:30. It was overcast and foggy but good enough visibility for close up birding. Tons of birders were there. We had to park way down the road past the "Morning Flight" platform. We walked through the birders and picked through the trees for a few birds including Baltimore Orioles, 2 (not so) Scarlet Tanagers, and lots of Brown Thrashers.

We stopped by the CMBO store close to the Cape May Lighthouse to buy a new Sibley Guide because mine ended up in Tohicken Creek at Lake Galena and the pages are all stuck together. We couldn't even see Lily Lake or the top of the Lighthouse. A guy there said that it would clear up soon. We'll see.

The parking lot at the Lighthouse was packed. I never saw so many people there. They even had pony rides going on. Pony rides. Nobody at the Hawk Watch platform seemed happy when we passed by. There were alot of people on the platform with there heads hanging down. Not looking up like they wanted to. They should have at least looked at the ponies to kill time. We headed out behind the dunes and into the trails around Cape May State Park (the Lighthouse).

We were stalking some unknown birds sounds (that might have really been frogs because we never saw any birds even though the sounds were coming from right beside the trail) when all of a sudden, the fog lifted and we saw blue sky. And then a Bald Eagle, and a Peregrine Falcon, and a Sharp-shinned Hawk, and another Peregrine, and another Eagle that was flying even lower than the first one, and 2 Ospreys, and then a kettle of Sharpies, and Red-tailed Hawks, and Peregrines, and, and, and. And wow that's what. 2 kettles formed with at least 20 birds each in a matter of 10 minutes. Pretty impressive flight. The best hawk flight? Probably not but it was really great to see all of a sudden. Here is a photo of a Peregrine Falcon from last year:

Then it was off to Biggie's 50th surprise party in Cape May Courthouse for a really great party! Happy Birthday Biggie