Sunday, December 26, 2010
I emailed the local chapter of Audubon Society and asked if the BirdNerds could join a circle. Andy emailed me to say that he could use help at Gwynned Preserve. I thought "great, we can help the leader". Um, no. I was the leader. No problem. The nerds plus Renee and another woman named Judy went to Gwynned on Dec 18th. None of the nerds have ever been there before but Andy told us to look for the Harrier - which we saw. Did I mention that it is December in Pennsylvania? F-ing freezing. I decided to break out the deal of the century from Cabelas as a joke:
No joke. I wore it the whole day - along with the funny elf hat that my mother sent me for Christmas. I got the one piece women's camoflage hunting suit (with hood) for $49. I couldn't pass it up.
Then, Patty sends my name into another Audubon guy and tells him that I am interested in helping out. This guy hooks me up with the CBC at Norristown Farm Park on Dec 26th (today). Of course, I didn't learn my lesson about the freezing cold so I went along. This time, I wasn't the leader thank goodness. This time, Barbara (not the nerd, but another good birder) already scouted the area and told us that we would probably see a Great Horned Owl - which we did at 0'dark:30. We also saw another 42 species. Did I mention that it is December in Pennsylvania? F-ing freezing AND F-ing snowing. The camo didn't come out today since it was my first time meeting these nice people:
Believe me, there are long underwear under those jeans. This is taken at Valley Forge National Park. You might as well be able to see General Washington commanding the troops in the background.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
We are doing the Christmas Bird Count this year with Renee, from the Phoenix. We have been to hawk mountain with Amy, a new birder from the FREEZE. I have also had requests from Loreen of the Predators to join an outing.
And now Patty who is an avid birder has re-joined the FREEZE. On top of that, Patty is even sending awesome photos from her outings. Here is a great shot of Harlequin Duck at Barnegat Lighthouse taken the weekend after we were there. Why doesn't this happen to me? Every time I see Harlequins, they are bobbing on waves on rainy days. For Patty, they get up onto the rocks and pose in bright sunlight showing off their incredible markings. Gee whiz.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
You can kind of see a hint of the "electric blue" at the edge of the wing, but it looked really bright in real life.
Third question - how come every time I enter sightings for Lake Galena, the "official" questions it? This time, he questioned Herring Gulls of all things. This time I sent him photographic proof. This is Great Black-backed Gulls (GBBG), Lesser Black-backed Gulls (LBBG), Herring Gulls (HEGU), and one Ring-billed Bull (RBGU) at the bottom left near the duck and goose. GBBGs are the largest gulls in the photo with black backs and flesh legs. LBBGs are the smaller gulls with black backs and yellow legs (hard to see in the photo). HEGUs are the gulls with the gray backs. RBGU is the one at the bottom left.
Click on photos to enlarge. By the way, that is ice that they are standing on. . .
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Check out the hats. Even the dog has a fashion faux-pas going on there. And what exactly could I be looking at?
Well, we had good looks at Lesser Black-backed Gulls today. There were 25 of them mixed in with Great Black-backed Gulls and Herring Gulls for comparison.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
We packed the cold weather and brought it down with us, went down to the low 30's at night and only 40's and low 50's during the day, so no golf, no boat. I did manage to check out 2 future sights for the bird nerds, right in Port Charlotte. Audubon Pennington State Park and Ollie's Pond. AP state park was nice, about a mile long, lots of yellow-rumps, got a great look at a Limpkin, saw what i thought was least grebe, but ebirder was quick to question me, so I think it was pie billed grebe. I can see where this park might be very warbler-y during migration. Driving home from the park, i look over and see........... a bald eagle, in someone's back yard. on the ground, picking up sticks. a bald eagle in a backyard, amazing!
Next up was Ollie's Pond. Lots of ducks: coots, moorhens, pie billed grebe, (yes pie billed), hoodies, blue wing teal, ruddy duck ( i think, needed captain linda there and barb's scope.) oh, and 2 bald eagles. and more yellow rumps. this is where they all are apparently.
That's it from florida, leaving tomorrow, and of course it's going back up to 78 on friday.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
When we were through at Forsythe, we drove to Barnegat Light to check for sea ducks. What we found was overcast skies and wind - lots of wind. Even more wind than earlier in the day. We saw hundreds of Common Eider and dozens of Northern Gannets up close and personal, Black Scoters, Brant and Harlequin Ducks too. Even with overcast skies, I got a few good shots of Purple Sandpipers, Ruddy Turnstones, Dunlin, Black-bellied Plovers that were all working along the jetty right at our feet. It is a pretty rough existence working the jetty at Barnegat Inlet any day, but with the wind it gets even rougher. Here are some photos of the day:
He was so close that I could get this shot without cropping too much
Sleepy Dunlin - you'd be sleepy too
if you made your living in freezing water
Roxy wouldn't go up on the jetty. She was too scared. All three of the dogs had fun running in the sand along the jetty. But even they got cold out at the end waiting for me to take photos of Gannets diving for fish. They were actually shivering - although surprisingly Di wasn't. What's up with that?
Friday, November 26, 2010
Anna's hummingbirds are abundant. They have brilliant magenta heads and throats. Really brilliant:
Ok, so you can't always see the brilliant magenta. How about this backlit photo. Do you believe me now?
Sometimes the bird lands and you can't see it you get this sudden blast of magenta which gives the bird's location away.
None of the photos above show the full brilliance of the head and throat. I couldn't get the bugger to face the sun!
Allen's hummingbirds do not have flashy colors but they are subtly handsome with their rust tones.
The photos are not good quality but you can see how adorable these birds are anyway. I hope you enjoy them.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Western Grebe - notice how the black cap comes down to the eye
Clarke's Grebe - notice how the white surrounds the eye, no black
Horned Grebe - notice the point on the back of the head
And finally, this Kestral eating some sort of mouse on the top of a telephone pole. There was a guy flying a 'tethered airplane' about 50 feet away from the Kestral. The plane whirling by again and again. The Kestral was completely unphased.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
The bird that was really incredible to see up close was the Surf Scoter. It is the most interesting of all the scoters. Here are some photos (pretty good if I do say so myself).
Blogger is being a real pain in my ass lately. The images will not load properly so I have to edit the HTML code myself. The photos may be a little disproportionate. I'll repost them when Blogger is fixed.
Monday, November 15, 2010
This particular section of the Arroyo Seco is set up for archery. There are targets set up on big bails of hay with distance markers etc all along one side of the "river". It is pretty cool. People show up with their bows and quivers full of arrows. Blunt point only. Signs posted everywhere state "NO BROADHEADS". There are also people with dogs and kids running all over too. Nobody gets shot. Oh yes, and birds are all over too. Typical California birds such as this Bushtit which swarm around in flocks of 10 - 40 at a time flitting from tree to tree all the way down the river, then back again. It is pretty neat.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
We did have a sparrow smorgasbord in the field. I took alot of photos of sparrows for identification purposes. And, I am still unsure of this one ( I think Swamp Sparrow).
We also saw a good number of hawks. Sharp-shinned hawks were everywhere along with Red-shouldered and Red-tailed. We even saw a Red-tailed Hawk that was getting banded at the hawk watch platform. Here is the bander holding the hawk. It was soon released but I couldn't get a good shot of it.
Monday, November 1, 2010
Take this weekend for example. On Saturday, Connie and I had to buy a new Subaru. Our Forrester was just giving up the ghost. After a long day at the dealer, we chose an Outback over the Forrester and chose Azurite Blue Pearl with Warm Ivory interior. Pretty car and nice to drive. Exhausted from the experience, we went home and collapsed. Lori and I had plans to go to Lake Galena on Sunday morning, so I needed the sleep and never checked the Internet birding reports. . .
Of course we drove the new Outback to the Lake. Tara joined us for a nice surprise and so did Roxy. We can take Roxy with us on some trails, but not on others so we leave her in the car (don't call the Humane Society, it was 50 degrees and overcast). We had a pretty good day and got a Purple Finch, Hermit Thrush, Kinglets, Juncos, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Flickers and various Sparrows. I even got this good photo of the Purple Finch:
Now for the deflated feeling. Although I didn't speak to anyone who bought a BMW or got a better deal on their Outback, Roxy did manage to get into Lori's PBJ sandwiches and proceed to eat them, drop the PB and Jelly on the Warm Ivory passenger seat of the new car, step in it and parade all over the backseat too. We were horrified upon our return to the vehicle. (Humane Society folks are now mumbling something about divine intervention). Once we got home and cleaned up that mess, I settled onto the sofa to log our sightings in eBird and check the birding reports. What a mistake. You have to read this to believe what we missed by not going to Cape May this weekend. Please read it View from the Cape and tell remind me that we got Purple Finch and a new car . . . .
Saturday, October 30, 2010
It sure got cold here all of a sudden. As you can see from the last post, we were in short sleeves on Sunday. Today, I was in a hoodie and jacket, and my hands were freezing. But the birding is worth it. I was inundated with juncos (50), White-throated Sparrows (40), and Golden-crowned Kinglets (38) in the woods at Pennypack.
I look back at some old posts and think - what a dope I am. Last year, I went on and on about seeing 11 Kinglets. Big deal compared to this year. I have seen more Kinglets - both Ruby and Golden crowned - than I thought was possible. (Mark this post. I'll probably eat these words in the future too. Hopefully.) I could watch these little go-getters all day long. They are tiny little birds who are focused on picking little things from the undersides of leaves. They are determined. Just like the Nuthatch in my yard, they don't seem to even notice people passing by on bikes or jogging, or even with Roxy. They just keep going. I wish them well on their southbound trip.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Speaking of dinner: here are some photos of birds with their own dinners. Early birds all on their own:
Sucks to be a fish in Florida . . .
The next "newish" spot was Babcock Webb WMR right off of I-75. I was there last year, but it was a first for the other girls. I got a life bird - King Rail - walking across the dirt road. Connie spotted it while I was looking up at the many Pine Warblers in the pine tree above. We took Di and Barbara the next day and saw Red Cockaded Woodpeckers which are on the endangered list.
Finally, we went to Emeralda Marsh up near The Villages this morning. We thought we could drive on the "wildlife drive" but apparently, you can only walk or bike it. Go figure. We still got great looks at Sedge Wren, Swamp Sparrow, Moorhens and even a Purple Gallinule which is rare.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
We were thrilled to see a Roseate Spoonbill:
Then he was joined by a friend or two:
Then there were more:
Then, there was the parade:
Then, there was the crowd: