Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Sunny Saturday for Birding

Today was sunny and in the upper 30's which makes for perfect birding weather. I took full advantage of it and started out my day fairly early. I went to my usual places and decided to focus on and photograph my every day birds versus obsessing over the lifers I have yet to see. I have been so fixated on putting another check on my list lately that I have somehow lost sight of why I started birding in the first place which is to appreciate birds.

I decided to give the simple crow his time in the spotlight and took a few photos of one standing hawk guard. Many people don't care for crows much but I happen to really like them. They are comical and extremely intelligent. I can spend hours watching them communicate with one another, play on tree tops and stalk hawks. They are also one of my best way of spotting hawks. Once I hear a bunch of crows crowing, I know a hawk can't be too far away and get my camera ready.

The pretty robin up in a tree. I actually can't believe how well this photo came out because green wire fencing was between the both of us. I used manual focus to concentrate on him and that softened the fencing. The ground is starting to thaw so I actually saw a couple of robins on the ground today searching for worms. I was hoping they succeeded as I am sure they are sick of berries by now.
My nemesis bird the great blue heron. It actually struck a pose for me today instead of yelling at me a taking off like she normally does. I have never seen it out of the water before and found it odd. I am wondering where it is going to make its nest. My guess is around this area of the river because it is there every time I pass by it.
A ring billed gull? walks on ice. These gulls are smart little critters. They all flock around the ice fisherman in hopes they can get some scraps of some sort. There were literally dozens of them out there hoping for the fisherman's success.
Lastly is my weekly bird I am not sure of. I am guessing a female hooded mergenser but the red breasted mergencer looks very similar in my Peterson guide. Can someone please confirm to me that this is a hooded? Thanks.

It looks as if I will be doing most of my birding tomorrow from my kitchen window. We are supposed to get snow!!!! Arrrggg!!! Just when it was all starting to melt. Enjoy your Saturday everyone.


Shellmo said...

You had another day of great variety! That Blue Heron was excellent - I love that "barking dog" sound they make when they get upset. (Comes from my experience of trying to sneak up on them in my kayak!) I agree w/ you on the crows - I find them interesting too! And your Robin was lightly framed by that fence - nice!
Happy birding! Shelley

Ruth said...

I would say you have a female RB Merganser. You are right to observe that going out just to find life birds can be stressful. Today I spent an hour feeding chickadees and watching very ordinary birds and didn't take any pictures. Just being out in the fresh air and enjoying nature is rejuvenating.

Ruth said...

I would say you have a female RB Merganser. You are right to observe that going out just to find life birds can be stressful. Today I spent an hour feeding chickadees and watching very ordinary birds and didn't take any pictures. Just being out in the fresh air and enjoying nature is rejuvenating.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Kallen, Looks like you have a great variety of birds today. That is GOOD!!!

We have new computers--and have spent most of today getting them all set up. It will probably take another day or two. BUT-they are WONDERFUL--and faster than lightning.

Have a great Sunday.

Mary said...

It's definitely a female hoodie but I don't know which...I'm not good with duck IDs.

We should take a walk together and spook the Great Blue Heron :o)

Your camera skills are getting real sharp, Kallen! I've been away for so long...


Anonymous said...

I love seeing all your photos, especially the robin. We had a beautiful clear day with temps near 55 today. I saw a lot of hawks today. Sorry to hear you have snow in the forecast again. Enjoy your day.

Anonymous said...

Looks like you had a terrific day. And I am so sorry about the snow thing. I am way over winter too. Your Merg, BTW, looks like a Common Merganser to me. See the white chin patch? Bev

dAwN said...

Nice day of birding...
Looks like a Common Merganser..
contrasting white chin and neck
and the bill is thicker than red breasted and hooded mergansers.

A New England Life said...

The ground is already unthawing there? We can hardly even see the ground where I live! Our Robins are going to keep on eating berries until they come out their ears! lol!

I don't think we have any Herons here yet either. Funny how you really aren't that far away from me but it's just enough to make a big difference in birds.

troutbirder said...

The heron picture is neat... very unusual. Listing Listing Listing. I fought it. I resisted it. And now I have it bad. Oh well.

Kallen305 said...

Thanks All for the id's.

Shelley, I love the sound they make too.

Ruth, It sounds like you had a wonderful day. Chickadees are su cute!

Betsy, new computers!!! I would be so happy with a new computer. Have fun!

Mary, LOL! Last week while I was stalking it I though of your funny stories assocaited w/ the heron and I had to laugh. They are little buggers for sure!

Mildred, I would be beside myself w/ 55 degrees and warm sun. Enjoy it for me will you. ;o)

Behind, thank you so much for the white chn tip. I woul never have figured that out. As far as winter is concerned I am just glad it's only a few more weeks. At least it better be!! ;o)

Dawn, thank you for the other tips. You blogging friends are the best. I always learn something.

Sharon, there is some parts of our ground that is dethawed because of snow plows. The snow plows have accidently dug up the grass and leaves exposed mud open to the sun which thaws it out. The robins flock to these areas. Our regular ground still reamins frozen sadly.

Trout, those lists are trouble I am telling you. Especially for someone as obsessive/compulsive as myself.

ShySongbird said...

Hi from the UK again,

I was interested in what you said about the Crows I too have noticed how they are much in evidence when there are Hawks around, we get a Sparrow Hawk in our garden and the Crows always advertise it's presence.

I am struck too by how different your Robin is from our European one, but no less beautiful.

Happy birding and all good wishes from the UK.

Jayne said...

Love your blue heron Kallen! Beautiful! And the shot through the fence was very well done. Indeed, we have to focus on each moment at hand and not what we aren't seeing. :c)

Steve B said...

Hi Kim, The important thing about birding is to have fun. I know a lot of people stress about lists and lifers. If it is stress, then you might as well go to work! The lifers will come.

Okay, you have a Common merganser, not a Hooded Merganser or a Red-brested Merganser. See that sharp neck line? (At first I though, ah, RB, but then I checked my guide. See even us old hands have to check the basics.)

The gull is a Ring-billed Gull.

Good job for getting that haron shot you wanted!

Larry Jordan said...

You have it now Kim. For me, the joy of birding is observing the birds. Their beauty and their behavior. If I get another lifer I am thrilled but it's not why I birdwatch.

Great captures of the variety of birds you can see all around you. I love the American Crow shot and the Great Blue Heron is awesome. You know those guys nest in trees in a "Heronry" (a specific rookery) with hundreds of nests in a colony.

I don't know if you are far enough North to have a Heronry anywhere near you, but wouldn't that be something cool to see?

I got a shot of one the other day on top of a 100' plus power transmission line! Never seen that before either.

I'm glad to see you are enjoying your birds. Love the Ring-billed Gull, American Robin and the Common Merganser shots too. A good birding day for sure!

mon@rch said...

Looked like a wonderful day to be out birding and that Great Blue is my fave shot! Bravo

Leedra said...

The Great Blue Heron's in Tennessee always 'bark', as you say, when they take off. I have noticed that as much in Fla. When we were there the Great Blue Heron were building their nest already. They were high in the pine trees. I was surprised by that.

I am new to the Mergansers so I am not help there. Did see some this trip, you gave me a hint that I might not know which one I photographed. I will look closer at my photos to see if I know which one I captured.

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