Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Birds in my Yard

Not much today, all though I did take my sons girlfriend to St Philips so she can work on a Life Sciences paper. She officially graduated from college this June but had to finish this course to get her official certificate. She is doing it on habitats for birds so I decided to bring her there for observations. No pictures from me though as I am sick of taking photos of the same birds day after day after day! Sigh, I have a feeling July is going to make for a very long month.

The picture above is of a Mourning Dove. This is another bird that doesn't eat the fruit, but rather the seeds within the fruit. Another bird I discovered that does this besides the American Goldfinch is the House Finch.

The Northern Mockingbirds are in my yard constantly now eating the mulberries and yes one lone male has discovered his favorite spot for singing is right near my bedroom window. I am wondering it its the same one from last year!!!! Let's hope he decides to roost every night before 11PM!

A Northern Cardinal. I love it when the cardinals come to my tree because many times he brings his mate and juvies and will feed them.

A Juvie American Robin coming to sample mulberries for the first time.

Here is another juvie on top of he garage. The parent went over to it and fed it a mulberry. It was so sweet!!! Here she is flying off again to get another one for her young. So sweet!

And last a gull picture. You all didn't think I would stop posting those now did you!!! ;o). Seriously I miss these birds. They have gotten so scarce lately so was thrilled to see this one while in Boston Saturday night. I got it while driving back from Logan so it is lousy. I didn't get a good look at it but I am guessing second year Ring-billed Gull! HA. I will look forward to seeing the gulls come back. They are always entertaining and it's fun to try and guess what kind of gulls they are and what year they are in. I am lousy at it, but it's good practice

Take care all!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Monday Evening Birding

Not much for birding today, just an hour after work at St Philips. It has gotten very quiet there the past few days except for the Green and Great-blue Herons. I don't mind much as I love both of their calls.
There continue to be two Great-blue Herons there with no signs of nesting so I don't know what is up with them this year. I am not even sure if they are the same two last year who had the successful nest.

And check out this little otter (thanks for the ID Alan). He was swimming around and doing all kinds of cute little summer saults in the murky waters. At first I thought it was a beaver but was wondering how come it was so out in the open which I thought was odd for a beaver. He was also very playful and you could tell he was enjoying what he was doing.
Check out those teeth!!! This otter didn't even realize I was there taking it's picture. I find that if I sit on a stump and not move much that even the most secretive of creatures will come out for a photo.

On the drive home I saw one of the juvenile Red-tailed hawks perched on a telephone line and making it's call.

There is video of it below so you can hear just how loud it is. I do love listening to it though!

Note the video quality is rather poor due to the sun starting to set. I took this video mainly so you could hear its call.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Henslow's Sparrow, Cliff Swallows-MA June 28th

Alan and I headed out to the Berkshires today to look at a colony of Cliff Swallows and decided to try and get the Henslow's Sparrow in Montague, MA since it was pretty much on the way.

Snipet of info on this sparrow from Birds of North America:

Upon arrival at the nesting grounds, the male begins singing day or night, rain or shine, perched or concealed. He cocks his tail down, elevates his head, and expels with a bodily shutter one of the shortest songs of any songbird.

That is exactly what this little guy was doing when we got there in an attempt I am sure to establish his territory and find himself a mate. He didn't wow a mate, but he wowed the dozen or so birders who were there when we were.

I have a video below that will demonstrate some of the behaviour Birds of North America was referring to but I have to warn you, IT IS TERRIBLE!!! You see, I didn't get home until 1:30 last night and had to get up at 4:30 so had already had a cup of strong French Roast and a Turbo from Dunkin's so I had the shakes really bad. Plus, the scope had to be up high enough so I could see it which meant I was on my tip toes (sometimes I wish I were a couple inches taller) and had to angle the camera in such a way that it was angled down from the lens but steady it with my elbows which meant for a very shaky video. If you are prone to dizziness, than I STRONGLY suggest you not watch it as it could make you nauseous.

HA.........Dizzy yet????? Yes folks, I think its time for me to cut back on the caffeine!

My pictures came out lousy but they are record shots. Here is a photo of the sparrow with a Bobolink in the background. Another birder that was there told us that the Bobolinks were harassing the Henslow's off an on all morning.

Giving it' call out to the audience!

Next it was onto Adams, Massachusetts to see if we could go see the Cliff Swallow colony that is on someones barn.

As you can see, the homeowner doesn't seem bothered by their choice of dwelling at all!

My second lifer of the day the Cliff Swallow! This is a juvie and you can some of its downy feathers right near its breast.

Another pose. They really seem to like the telphone wires.

A picture of one of the many nests.

We observed countless swallows flying into and out of the nests while we were there.

A shot of the quaint New England barn.

On our way to see the Henslow's Sparrow we came across this Turkey Vulture above who was feasting on porcupine!

While we were at the colony we ran into Sheila and Mark who told us about some American Kestrel's who were located near their nest box a couple of streets down from where we were. We searched aimlessly for it but couldn't find it. We did see plenty of cows though including the one above.

Posing eloquently for the camera!

Along with this poor sould who was getting harassed by flies. I know how she feels!

It was a fantastic day despite lack of sleep. The Berkshires is one of my favorite places in Massachusetts which I had forgotten since I haven't been there in so long.

Take care everyone and have a great week!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Saturday Morning Birding

FYI: Some of my photos may look funny for the next few days until I get a new monitor. You see my flat screen broke down and I had to haul out the old honkin monitor from the garage that is all messed up and doesn't show red but shows too much green and all of this other weird stuff so I have no idea what my photos look like until I load them onto blogger and go look at them on my laptop (which doesn't have the photo editing software), by the time I do all of that I am too tired to go back and fix over exposure, not enough exposure, etc!

It was a light day of birding for me (from 6am to noon) because I had to come home and clean the house because I am going out to dinner with my mother and sister tonight so there is always a chance she may need to come in for some reason. She is a clean freak and I am not but turn into one whenever there is potential for her to enter my dwelling because I don't want to get the eye. ;o). Four hours later it's as clean as it's gonna get.

Anyhow, I went to a few places including the Cross Street area of Millbury to check on the Red-tailed Hawk juvies who have fledged since the last time I blogged about them.

They are now flying, calling and hanging out with their parents and it was so cool to see. I was out there with my camera and a few people actually pulled over to see too. There is something about birds of prey that will even draw non-birders over to them.

They still stick around the area where the nest is and continue to keep an eye on me whenever I venture over to see them.

I always keep a respectable distance but I love it when we make eye contact. There is something about making eye contact with a wild bird that gives you such a rush.

One of them calling for their parents which they did the entire time I was there.

One of the parents was on one side of the power lines and the other was across the street getting dive bombed by a Red-winged Blackbird (another one to put on my birds who stalk hawks list). I am so bummed over how over exposed this pic came out because it looked good to me when I previewed it in my camera. Oh well, such is life.

The picture below is of one of the culprits, getting ready to turn around to start the dive bombing mission again.

The Northern Mockingbirds were out in full force again including the one below. Mockers are one of my favorite birds so its nice to see them back out again and acting like their usual selves. I am just hoping the one who spent countless nights in front of my bedroom window last summer decides to visit my neighbor this year!

Over contrasted flight shot!

A Juvie Mockingbird sampling some mulberries from my tree. They learn to like them young as you can see!

I was able to get really close to a Brown Thrasher today which was a treat because I think they are gorgeous birds. While the birds face is hidden below from the foliage, I loved the fact that I could get the eye. Such a handsome bird!

Another shot.

And last one I promise. ;o)

There must have been a Catbird explosion over the past few days at Fisherville in Grafton because they are EVERYWHERE! Seriously, it messes up my birding because they are so loud and the other birds have gotten quieter recently and do more calling than singing and I can't hear it. I counted at least 12 at Fisherville in the period of an hour!

Another bird that seems to have experienced a population explosion is the Veery. I counted at least four of them behind Brierly Pond and they were not their usual shy selves so I spent some time observing them. They would all call out to each other from various trees and then they would take of as a flock to their next destination. Very interesting to watch.

And lastly a picture of some milk weed that is just starting to bloom.

Off to get ready for dinner in Providence in the Italian section. After all of the birding I need pasta and wine. Not too much though as I will be getting up early to head to Western MA with Alan to try and get some shots of Barn Swallows. Take care all!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Peregrine Falcons and Other Birds

Catching up on my blogging tonight. Despite my not posting, I have been out birding every night this week to take advantage of the last days of June because July will most likely get a little boring for birds.

The picture above was taken by the maintenece man to my buidilng. He called me yesterday and told me to get up to 24 quick as both the male and female Peregrine Falcons were up near the sky light. I get up there as quickly as I can to see that they were in an area where photo taking would be close to impossible due to how they were positioned.

He told me the only way I could get some decent shots would be to go up this flimsy little rusted metal ladder and peek my head out of the honkin skylight which he could open for me if I wanted to. He looks at my shoes and says "maybe that's not such a good idea". I say "of course you are right Tim" and I am kicking myself for not wearing sensible shoes! He offers to go up with my camera and take some photos for me. I zoom to where I think he should be to get the shot and use my favorite camera setting and off he goes. There he is ooohing and aaaahing over the falcons and I am down below jealous of his fortune. HA! Suddenly I can hear the Kaw-Kaw of one of the falcons as it flies of to be with his young on the BankNorth Building. The picture above is of the male before he took flight.

"Is the other one still up there I yell". Yes he says. Tim I yell, Can I get up there for a shot of the other? He comes down from the rickety ladder and looks at me nervously. Ummmmmmm, Sure, Just be careful. Okay I say as I am half way up the ladder trying to get up there as quickly as I can before it decides to flee.. I stop my speed halfway at the thought of falling off of the ladder because I know I have to see my mother this weekend and if I were to injure myself by falling off a ladder going up to the skylight and open window of the tallest building in Worcester to get a picture of a bird (that's what they all are to her), would just re-c0nfirm to her-her theory that I have taken my birding a little too far. HA! Not to mention how the heck could I bird the rest of the summer with a broken ankle!!!! I think of myself plowing through powerline trails on one of those scooters you always see elderly people on in the grocery store and caution naturally sets in. So I climb up gingerly and make sure I hang on tight with one arm while I angle the camera with my free hand.

I get up to the open window and the first thing that strikes me is how much sky there is up there!!! It is windy too and the wind is blowing my hair all over the place as I try and get my eye on the falcon. It is the female and she is almost directly above me. She looks at me and I freeze. I cannot take a picture, and I cannot breathe because I am in awe of this bird and unable to move. Finally I get my wits back and I manage one photo before she does her own Kaw-Kaw and flies above my head. I hear her wing beats and remain there for a minute wishing she'd come back.

Picture of how one appears in the skylight

I get off of the ladder to realize I have dirt all over my work pants. I wonder how I am going to sneak back in the office in this condition, but don't care at this point because I had my fix for the day! I am telling you it's almost like the runners high I used to get while running, but the best thing is my knees don't hurt afterwards! ;o) So cool and can't wait to do it again. ;o).

I also did a little birding on the ground this week too. The picture above is of a female Baltimore Oriole on my mulberry tree. Not the best shot, but the first one I have gotten this year of a Baltimore Oriole on my tree.

I went to St Philips tonight to check to see if I could spot either the Pileated Woodpecker or Black-crowned Night Heron (both no shows), but I can confirm that there are at least THREE GREEN HERONS there as I saw all three of them together and they flew right past me.

There were also two Red-bellied Woodpeckers which is the first time I have seen them here since early April. Perhaps they are gathering food for nestlings??

Another bird that has been in hiding but made an appearance was this Northern Mockingbird. There were 4 of them there today but I couldn't get a confirmation on juvies as they were too far up in a tree.

And lastly a squirrel on my mulberry tree. There were FIVE of them on there at the same time when I came home from work today!

Will be doing local, solo birding tomorrow to take advantage of the warmer temps. Take care everyone!!


Related Posts with Thumbnails