Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Countdown to 100 Begins!!! Guess how many so far

So I was at 90 as of Wednesday and my goal is to get to 100 a week from this Sunday. I went birding tonight and picked up some birds. Number 9 Yellow Warbler. LIFER!!! I saw one this past Sunday but didn't count it as I never got a good view of it so now I can check it on my list.

8....Rose Breasted Grosbeak. LIFER!!! Such a stunning bird.

7......A Warbling Vireo.....We could hear this little bird in some brush and couldn't get it to come out. We decided to use the Ipod to see if it would work and sure enough it did. It took us about 10 minutes though to get a good look at it though as this little bird sure is quick!

6......Wood Thrush. LIFER!! Another elusive bird. Let me tell you, getting photos of birds is getting tougher due to the foliage that is starting to grow on the trees. I thought it was tough enough before but now it is extremely difficult.

Last but not least!!! 5.........A Ruffed Grouse......LIFER. Note this picture IS NOT MINE. I took it from Wikipedia so you can see what it looks like. I was out in the woods with another birder and we were trying to figure out what was causing all of the chickadees in the area to be sounding their alarm call. We started to walk down the path when suddenly this good sized bird flies out of the bushes making a sound as it whizzes in front of us. My heart skipped a few beats and off it went. Very cool bird who I wish would have stuck around long enough for a decent photo!!

Stay tuned to find out the the remaining five will be and please cross your fingers for me that they are not camera shy!! HA!

Meet the Misses-Peregrine Falcon

Quick post and run as I am going birding tonight to get closer to my 100 goal by next week!!! No words are needed for this though. Meet the misses who was on top of the 446 Main Street building this morning!!! Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Countdown to 100 Birds!! 10 More to Go!

Allow me the opportunity to introduce you to the 90th bird I have seen this year. My 90th bird is the humble yet lovable Gray Catbird. These birds have been living around my house since I got here due to all of the wild berries I have in my yard. I will never forget hearing them for the first time one evening when I first moved into my house. It was dark out and I could hear a shrill call of something that sounded like an injured cat. I put on my shoes and ventured out with a flash light looking for the critter to see what was wrong with it. As I got closer the noise stopped and I went back to my house even more confused. This happened every night for a month and I finally figured out it wasn't a cat, but a bird of some type. Now I know what it is obviously.

Anyhow, I have 10 more birds to go to get to 100 which was my year plan for 2009. I am upping the anti a little and am going to get to 100 by the end of next weekend!! Is is ambitious??? Perhaps but I am a gal willing to take that risk. HA!! Wish me luck all and feel free to follow me to the final countdown.

Peace and happy birding!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Peregrine Falcon Update-Week of April 27th

It's been a while since I posted an update on the Peregrines and that is because it has been very quiet for the past two weeks as they are presumably nesting. For those of you who have been following along, you are well familiar with the ledge the male Peregrine perches on everyday as it appears to be his favorite spot for shade and relaxation, or so I thought.
The weather was nice enough for me to escape on my lunch hour and head over to the parking garage that is closest to this ledge for some decent photos since he hasn't been coming up the the 24th floor of the 446 Main building. I decided I would pay the male a visit and get some shots. What I noticed immediately is that he is not relaxing, but standing guard and watching for potential avian predators.

He spent his entire time on the ledge with his eyes toward the sky searching for threats.

Looking left and looking right.

And here I was thinking he was slacking off while the female sat on the eggs with nothing to do but stare at a steal nesting box. Boy was I wrong! Such a good father keeping an eye out on his gal and their eggs. I actually think he chose this ledge because it is directly across from the nesting box and gives him a better view of the city as it is not blocked by so many buildings.

The last shot is blurry but my favorite. It is blurry because I ran up 7 flights of stairs to see this guy, don't EVER try and take clear shots of anything after running up stairs because your hands will never be steady! HA! Anyhow, when I first got up there he was doing his call and looking around. Suddenly he put up his foot and stared at it. It was so funny that I tried to suppress my giggles but couldn't which caused me to snort like a horse and then laugh out loud. He looked directly at me for a brief moment as he lowered his foot back onto the ledge. I turned my eyes away for a moment to let him know I wasn't a threat and he went about his business. Have I told you I loved this bird??? Notice the white patch on the left of his face. This is the one I have been getting most of my photos of.

To be continued as always.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Forbush Bird Club Trip Sunday-April 26th

I went on my second trip with the Forbush Bird Club and was able to get decent views of birds despite the second day of hot temps. The first picture is of an Osprey carrying a twig of sorts to a potential nest.
This potential nest is on the lights to a Little League Field. They have one right across from this which was pretty substantial in comparison to the one in the picture above. Needless to say I am hoping they abandon this one as well as this is certainly not the best place for them to be nesting.

My second day of seeing a White Throated Sparrow. I love the yellow they get with the spring. I will miss them when they head up north.

A Black Capped Chickadee on a snag. I love how it is looking up toward the sky.

A regular bird of mine that I never tire of seeing. This beautiful little Palm Warbler.

A picture of a Northern Rough Winged Swallow. It was a real treat seeing them up close because they would actually stay still long enough for a photograph! Very pretty birds.

Last but not least, a Chipping Sparrow. I have never heard a CS sing before and am only used to its familiar chip as it forages in my yard. I am telling you this little guy can sing for being such a tiny bird!

That's all for today. I am exhausted due to three days of hard birding and high temps. Time to chill out and get ready for the work week. I will touch base again in a few days as I am planning on cutting back on some of my blogging for the next couple of weeks. Peace all.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Eastern Towhee to add to my list!

I decided to meet up with a birder in my town to take advantage of the cooling temps this evening. I didn't think I would get any life birds but I did! Check it out all, my first Eastern Towhee. We could hear it singing in the distance so we decided to play its call on the Ipod to see if we could get it closer to us for a picture and ID. None of the pictures are perfectly clear because it was hard to get a face shot because it kept hiding itself in branches but this does not take away the beauty of this bird. Check out the fanned tail feathers in the photo above. Towhees do this to warn potential male towhees that this is their territory.
Ground shot.

Another photo of this gorgeous bird with the fail fan!

Side portrait view.

And finally back view. Check out that gorgeous white that contrasts perfectly with black. I was reading in my field guide that they consider this bird part of the sparrow family. If that is the case than this is my new favorite bird of the sparrow family for the month of April. Sorry Mr. Field Sparrow. HA! ;o). I think I am really starting to like spring!

Summer Like Saturday

Okay, can somebody please tell me what the heck ever happened to the season we call spring. You know, when the temps are just right and you can hike without breaking a deep sweat and still wear long pants. It seems as if we went from winter right to summer and it ticks me off. I don't like extremes in anything including weather and it seems as if that's all we have lately. Anyhow, I did do some birding today but it wasn't as easy as the past couple of weeks because of these temps. The picture above is of a lone Red Tailed Hawk at St. Phillips Cemetery in Grafton.
My beloved Ruby Crowned Kinglet in Millbury. I think this one is female because I couldn't see the ruby crown and I watched this bird for 10 minutes. I heard another one too so I am hoping they will be nesting nearby.

The gorgeous White Throated Sparrow. Notice that marvelous yellow around its eyes. I love this bird and it's song. Such a perfect bird.

A picture of the first Red Squirrel I have ever seen. HA! Can you believe it. I am 40 years old and this is the first time I have ever seen one of these creatures. So cute! I can't believe they do all of that damage I hear of. This one looked so sweet and innocent perched in the brush pile.

My current favorite Warbler for the month of April which is the Yellow Rumped Warbler.

Another sparrow photo which has me stumped. I was convinced this was a song sparrow until I came home and noticed the yellow. I am thinking its due to the sun because it seems to chubby to be a Savannah. Very perplexing.

A Green Heron at St. Phillips Cemetery. LIFER! Such a small heron in comparison to the Great Blue.

Two Great Egrets at St. Phillips. I am guessing these two are a couple and made a pit stop here before heading north.

More birding tomorrow. This time with the Forbush Bird Club. I am hoping for some thrushes, vireos and warblers of course!

Have a great weekend everyone.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Plum Island-Lots of Lifers!

After a week of not birding I hit the jackpot today at Plum Island. We started the day bright and early and when we got there the wind was unbearable. We didn't let that bother us though as we had a lot of birds we wanted to get for the day.

First bird is the Ruby Crowned Kinglet!! LIFER!!! Some of you may remember my stalking of the Golden Crowned Kinglets this fall and winter so I was eager to get this one on my list. Check out the ruby on its crown!! So cute! This is my new favorite little bird for the month of April.

And this picture has a Longtailed Duck in it. LIFER! (the one on the top). I am starting to get confused with all of the waterfowl I saw. I thought I had a picture of the Scoter, but can't find it. I guess this is what happens on a good day of birding! ;o)

Not a lifer but here is a Kestrel perching itself on a shack. The Kestrels were fascinating to watch today because they would hover in the wind or as my birding buddy calls it, kiting.

The picture above is of a Gadwall. LIFER!! Such funny waterfowl. They spent most of the time with their butts in the air as they found food down below the water.

A butt shot of a Blue-Gray Gnatcather. LIFER! It was too quick to get a decent face shot but I noticed this adorable little bird right away because it was so tiny and cute! This is my favorite gnatcatcher for the month of April. I look forward to seeing it again further into the year and hope I can get a better photo.

A Northern Harrier! LIFER! Very interesting hawk to watch because it hovered near the ground to search for prey.

Red Breasted Mergansers! LIFER!! and I now have all of the mergansers on my check list. Such beautiful birds who look as if they are having a bad hair day as a birding friend of mine calls it.

A lousy digiscope of the Great Egret. LIFER!! Very hyper bird vs the Great Blue Heron. Fun to watch though.

Another lousy photo of the Snowy Egret. LIFER!! This bird is very small but has breath taking plumage. So different looking vs. the Great Egret.

And finally a lousy photo of the Winter Wren. LIFER!! This bird is so tiny that keeping your eye on it was close to impossible. It has one of the prettiest songs I have ever heard though. Very cute bird and it is my favorite wren for the month of April. Sorry Carolina Wrens. ;o)

Anyhow, I will catch up on all of your blogs in the next day or so. My life has been insane lately and I have missed my blogging and catching up will all of you. Enjoy the weekend and the birds!

Here is our list for today

Plum Island Bird List

1. House Sparrow

2. American Robin

3. Great Black Backed Gull

4. Northern Harrier

5. Gadwall

6. Common Grackle

7. Mallard

8. Northern Pintail

9. Tree Swallow

10. American Kestrel

11. Mute Swan

12. Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher

13. Pine Warbler

14. Killdeer

15. Greater Yellowlegs.

16. Eastern Phoebe

17. Merlin. Only saw this at a glance so am not going to count it as a lifer. :o(

18. Northern Cardinal

19. Great Egret

20. Purple Finch

21. Ruby Crowned Kinglet

22. Savannah Sparrow

23. Brown Headed Cowbird

24. Red Breasted Merganser

25. Snowy Egret

26. Green Winged Teal

27. Osprey

28. Great Blue Heron

29. American Goldfinch

30. Herring Gull

31. Long Tailed Duck

32. Black Scoter

33. Double-Crested Cormorant-Only saw a glimpse of it so will not count it as a lifer

34. Winter Wren at another location.


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