The migration is happening… so off I go to the Wildlife Refuge near me…
Well, unfortunately I didn’t see any new birds, but it was a nice day to get out and take a walk.
I am really looking for a few Warblers that I haven’t seen yet this year, but there’s still time, so maybe I’ll find a few before the migration is over.
Here is the only photo I took…
It’s the Great Egret. This is a very large bird, around 35 to 41 inches. They were nearly wiped out in the US back in the 1800s, the feathers were used in fashion. Now they are protected and have made a great comeback.
The Great Egret is the symbol of the National Audubon Society. They can be found in lakes, marshes, ponds and mud flats.
They mostly eat fish, but will also eat frogs, snakes and grasshoppers. When foraging they will walk or stand in the shallow water, thrusting their bill to catch a fish when it comes near.
I often see them in the lake that I live on. They spend a lot of their time flying away from the Great Blue Herons, they chase them all the time and seem very territorial when it comes to foraging for fish!
Every time I hear the loud call of the Pileated Woodpecker as it flies through the woods, I stop and listen. Being the largest Woodpecker in North America has earned some respect (17 inches)!
It has also earned a ton of respect by making a good comeback throughout the 1900s, after its species had become rare in the North East due to all of the clearing of the forests that was done.
These birds live throughout most of Canada and from Central US to the East. They are mostly permanent residents, but will wander around a bit…
More than half of their diet consists of carpenter ants, they forage by prying and excavating dead wood looking for them. They are known for leaving big rectangular holes in dead trees. You can often see them breaking off big pieces of dead bark from stumps or fallen logs.
Fruits, berries and nuts make up about 1/4 of their diet.
This one is a male, you can tell because the forehead and mustache are red on the male and black on the female.
I’ve been quiet lately because I’ve been working on my new book and I’m finally done!
Okay, okay, I hear you… you’re asking where are the birds? Why are you writing about an Otter???
Well, I actually like Otters too, I think they’re cute. Also, it is about Molly the Otter and what she sees in her neighborhood (and she sees plenty of birds)!!! So, the birds are in the book too 🙂
Make sure to take a look at it and all my other books on Amazon under Dory Mae. I really hope you like it. I’m still working on my biggest book, the water birds book, with 100 pages of birds and info on each one. That book is taking me some time, but eventually I’ll finish…
So in my previous post I was going to write about the Waterthrush that I saw. I had downloaded the image into the post and I was looking at it as I wrote a bit about the bird.
I was writing how I hardly ever see the Louisiana Waterthrush, most years I don’t see it at all. This one was just walking along the edge of the stream foraging for insects.
But as I continued to look at the photo, I thought the bird looked a bit different than the Louisiana Waterthrush that I had seen earlier in the year.
Here is the photo of the Waterthrush that I saw last week…
Now here is a photo of the Louisiana Waterthrush that I saw in May…
Can you see the differences? It took me a bit of looking at it, then I stopped writing the post, searched through my photos until I found this one of the Louisiana Waterthrush and realized that the bird that I actually saw last week was the Northern Waterthrush!
The Louisiana Waterthrush has a brighter eyebrow, longer bill, pinkish buff tinge on flanks and the throat is usually plain.
I didn’t notice the size difference in the bills, but I did notice that in the 1st photo (the Northern Waterthrush), the bird has a yellow tinge underneath and its throat is heavily streaked.
This gives me 1 more new bird for the year and my only new bird for the month of August, got to love birding in the summer…
I tried to get a few photos of the birds that I did see at the wildlife refuge the other day, here’s what I saw…
I saw a flock or rafter of around 5 Wild Turkeys crossing the dirt road that I was on, I tried to get some more photos once they got into the woods, but they blended in too well.
They usually get around by running or walking, but are strong fliers and will fly up into the trees at night to roost.
Here’s another rather big bird. The Anhinga. They are around 34” – 36” big. This is a male, they are mostly black other than the white markings on the upper side of wings and tip of tail. The females have buff heads and necks.
They aren’t a very fast swimmer, they will usually hunt for fish by waiting for them to come near, then they will impale it with their long pointed bill. Often times they will eat the fish by tossing it into the air, then swallowing it headfirst.
Here’s the Solitary Sandpiper. This one was on the edge of the same pond that I found the Anhinga and Green Heron at.
The reason they got their name is, unlike most other sandpipers, the Solitary will migrate alone at night. And they are often seen alone, foraging in the shallow water, looking for insects.
They differ from other sandpipers in their nesting habits too, most others nest on the ground, not the Solitary. They lay their eggs high in the trees in the old nests of songbirds.
I went back to my usual birding wildlife refuge the other day. It was hot again, nothing new… There were a few birds around, no new lifers or new birds for me for the year, but more birds than I’ve been seeing recently.
Here is one of the birds I saw.
I saw this juvenile Green Heron in a swampy area of a small pond. It had just caught a snack… they mostly eat fish, but this one caught a tadpole.
So, I didn’t see many birds on the new trail that I went on the other day, but I did hear a few…
Here is something we did see, that we really wished we hadn’t…
My husband was checking out a new bridge that he used to cross over a dried up riverbed and as he turned the corner at the end he came upon this creature!
I think it’s a Northern brown water snake, but I could be wrong. I do know that it’s not poisonous, because it has a round black eye instead of a cat slit eye (which the poisonous ones have)…
Anyway we continued on and here are a couple of birds that I heard along the trail.
The Summer Tanager was around, I heard a few of them. I did hear one male, it was making a “Pitick” call over and over again.
I can easily identify some of the birds by there songs, but I had trouble with the male Summer Tanager call. I knew that I had heard it before, but I just couldn’t recognize it.
Luckily my husband and I have a great App, Merlin from The Cornell Lab. We use this mostly for identifying bird calls. All you have to do is get into the App and hold you phone up to listen to what is singing around you. It will then tell you all of the different birds that it hears.
I find that this one is pretty good at being able to correctly identify the birds. I use my Audubon Bird App to find locations to go and what birds are in what areas (my go to App when doing my “homework”).
Here is another bird that I heard a few of, this one I identified instantly by its call…
It’s the Pileated Woodpecker. There were a couple of them flying around in the woods as we looped through the trees.
Did you know that carpenter ants make up close to 60% of their diet! They can tear apart stumps and dig deep holes in rotten wood just to get at ant nests.
Found a new park yesterday. It has a 2.5 mile walking trail through the woods. Luckily there weren’t many bugs, but it was a bit hot…
I heard a few birds, but never really got a good look at any since the woods were pretty thick.
Before getting on the trail we walked through a few fields and I now know where to look for Killdeers if I need them… there must have been at least 30 of them running around the fields.
They are often found at the water’s edge, but they will also live in fields and pastures no where near the water. I had a friend once who had a pair nesting in her front yard, she had to mow around the nest!
The Killdeer will pretend to have a broken wing and flop around the ground moving away from their nest when intruders are around.
They eat mostly insects, usually running a few steps, pausing, then running again, picking up insects along the way. Sometimes they will even follow a farmer plowing their fields, so to get any insects that get turned up by the plow. Pretty smart!