Earlier today I was watching an adult Bald Eagle circling above the lake in my backyard. Yesterday I saw 2 immature Bald Eagles perched in a tree searching for fish in the lake. One was probably a 2nd year immature and the other looked like a 3rd year immature. You can tell by their coloring and how much white they have on them, it takes 4 years to reach their adult plumage. I wondered if they were siblings, I wonder if today’s adult is their parent… They won’t breed until they are 4 or 5 years, so they probably are a family.
A few moments later, I looked up again and saw a Red-tailed Hawk circling over the lake. Then he came closer to the trees and I watched as he landed in a leafy squirrel’s nest. I kinda hoped that he actually had gotten the squirrel… I have no love for them since they seem to find ways into my attic! (Though after lots of money and various wildlife experts, I do believe the attic is now squirrel free, fingers crossed!) After awhile the Hawk left, unfortunately with nothing in his talons. For all you squirrel lovers, I did see the squirrel jump out of the nest about 5 minutes after the Hawk left, he looked a bit shaken up, but alive none the less…
So with the Red-tailed Hawk, I am now at 56 for the year…
Unfortunately, today I didn’t get the chance to go out birding. Fortunately, I did get a new bird for this year in my back yard. This morning when I was looking out the back window I was pleasantly surprised to see a few Wood Ducks and then swimming nearby them I saw the Ring-necked Duck! I hadn’t seen this one yet this year, so I was very happy… there were 4 of them, all foraging for food by dipping their head underwater. Though they are named the Ring-necked Duck, you usually can’t see the ring around their neck!
Seems that life keeps getting in the way of my birding… I did manage to get outside for a quick hour walk at a wildlife preserve yesterday. I was looking specifically for the endangered Red-Cockaded Woodpecker. This bird used to be fairly common throughout the southeastern United States, but it is rare. The problem is that they only live in mature pine woodlands, where the trees need to be 80 – 100 years old or even more! Unfortunately too many woodlands have been cut down over the years, leaving very few mature trees left for these birds.
I do know that they live in the preserve that I went to yesterday and at least half of the times that I go there I do manage to spot them, so I went searching for them again… I walked a bit further than I really had time for, but it paid off, I heard a few of them up ahead of me in the trees. They have a squeaky toy song or call that they will do when communicating back and forth. I stopped for a few minutes and watched as they pecked at the bark of the pine trunks looking for insects to eat.
So, now I have added to my list, the Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Brown-headed Nuthatch, European Starling and the Pied-billed Grebe.
Today I went with about 30 other birders to a National Wildlife Preserve for a Christmas Bird count. We were divided into groups and assigned an area to go and count the birds we see… unfortunately it was raining at the start, but cleared up after a bit. I never did get the totals from each of the groups, but for a cloudy day we didn’t seem to do too bad.
So far as of Jan 4th my total for the year is 50 bird species. I am trying to beat my last January total of 102, hopefully I’ll be able to do that…
Here is the list of birds I added to my count today, with a few photos of some of the birds:
Fox Sparrow, Eastern Towhee, Red-wing Blackbird, Kildeer, Pine Warbler, Ring-billed Gull, Pileated Woodpecker, Ruddy Duck, Hooded Merganser, Wood Duck, Swamp Sparrow, Belted Kingfisher, Gray Catbird, Winter Wren, Hermit Thrush, American Robin, House Sparrow and Black Vulture.
Yesterday I only saw 2 new birds to add to this year’s bird count and so far today I’ve only seen 2 more new birds! Bringing my total for this year to 32, not so good… But today is not over yet and tomorrow I’ll be going on a bird walk, so I have high hopes! The trouble with these past couple of days is that I didn’t get out of the house, so I am seeing the same birds that are always in my yard and I counted them on the 1st… Anyway here’s the past two days birds:
Rock Dove, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, American Goldfinch and American Eagle.
Happy New Year Everyone! By now most of you know that I do a yearly bird count, because you never know which year may end up being your BIG year… The last few years I haven’t gone too crazy birding, but instead I’ve tried concentrating on adding new lifers to my list. Last year I added 13 to my list! Come January 1st every year without fail, I get excited and start counting all the birds in my yard and then by the springtime I’ll try to get in a few bird walks with guides. Unfortunately, come the summer, the birds get quiet and the leaves get thick, so I start to find less and less birds and seem to lose interest. But that’s a problem for another day, for now I’m just ready to get outside and start counting!
Here is my list from January 1st 2020:
I’ve included a few photos of some of the birds I saw…
Great Blue Heron, Mallard, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Tufted Titmouse, House Finch, Red-headed Woodpecker, Dark-eyed Junco, Chipping Sparrow, Mourning Dove, Northern Cardinal, Carolina Wren, Carolina Chickadee, Double-crested Cormorant, Red Shouldered Hawk, White Breasted Nuthatch, White-throated Sparrow, Downy Woodpecker, Song Sparrow, American Crow, Turkey Vulture, Blue Jay, Northern Flicker, Eastern Bluebird, Northern Mockingbird, Eastern Phoebe, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Canada Goose and Cooper’s Hawk
Great Blue Heron
This Great Blue Heron caught a good sized fish for lunch! You can find this huge gray bird usually foraging by standing silently still along inland rivers or lakeshores. Though one time I surprised one that was hiding in an underpass on a highway… it suddenly flew just inches above my front windshield… unfortunately I scared the sh** out of him! Let’s just say, I couldn’t see the car in front of me, the amount of poop on my windshield was so great that I am very lucky to be alive today!!!
I try to take a lot of photos of birds. I mostly take the photos so that I can go home and do my “homework” studying the photos to identify the birds I have seen. Needless to say, my photos are usually rushed, trying to snap off a few shots before a bird flies away… But occasionally I slow down and take the time to let the camera really focus in on the subject…
This one was standing very still on a marshy island in a small pond. They will eat mostly fish which they catch by standing still or walking slowly along the edge of shallow water. Though this one looked like he was looking for food, it is believed that the Black-crowned Night-Heron forages mostly at night because they are dominated by other herons and egrets by day…
I was walking around a pond this spring and found this beautiful male Ruddy Duck! In the breeding season the Male Ruddy Duck’s bill becomes a bright blue color.