This is a Hermit Thrush. They can be seen throughout the entire US, breeding up in the Northeast and Midwest continuing up into Canada, then migrating through central US and then wintering in the southern states into Mexico.
They are similar to other brown thrushes, but with its rusty colored tail you can easily identify it. Often seen foraging on the ground looking for insects.
I have startled many of these birds over the years and they always make me laugh. They were foraging on the ground and then they’ll fly up to a low branch when they hear me and just stay there and stare me down! Too funny!!!
At the State Park I saw a few birds and very few people. I kept my mask on, I’ve been staying away from people, stores, restaurants, etc…. since March and I’m not going to let my guard down and catch the virus now!!!
That being said, getting outside in nature and breathing the fresh air is something I need for my mental health, so I try to make safe birding a priority…
Here are a couple of birds that I saw…
This is the Tricolored Heron. You usually only see one foraging alone in coastal lagoons, but when they nest, they are often in very large colonies with various other herons and egrets.
Try to guess this next photo, which Plover do you think this one is?
It’s the Semipalmated Plover. Semipalmated means to have toes that are joined only part way down with a web.
In the photo above, I tried to show its foot, but it’s a bit muddy so it’s hard to see that it is partially webbed.
They breed mostly on gravel bars along rivers or ponds instead of the tundra habitat that most other shorebirds choose.
I managed to drive over to the ocean the other day… 🙂 It was a long ride, but well worth it!!!
There is a state park there that has ponds, swamps, marsh, forest and the ocean, to look for birds. There were a lot of birds that I hadn’t seen yet for the year, so I was really excited to go there and see all of the birds.
Last year for January I ended up seeing 167 species, well so far for this year I’ve only seen 98. Now last year I had been on both the East Coast and the West Coast in January, so there were a lot more species of birds to see. I have to say, with this virus around, I am 99.9% sure that I will not be going to the West Coast this month!
So, still trying to make the best of it, I ended up with 33 birds the day I got over to the ocean, so I was pretty happy…
Here are a couple of photos of some of the birds I saw…
This is the Saltmarsh Sparrow. They can only be found in the coastal marshes along the East Coast of the US. Only the male sings and instead of defending a nesting site, they just rove about looking for females…
This is the Horned Grebe. They breed in Canada and Alaska. In the winter they can be found along the East and West Coast of the US. They are also in Eurasia, where they are called the Slavonian Grebe.
This is one bird that I don’t see very often. They have a quiet call and are often foraging for insects on the trunks and branches in dense coniferous forests.
They breed mostly up in Canada and will winter in the US.
I found this one in some long-leaf pines at a wildlife refuge. It is only around 4 1/2” small… I was very happy to have found it, otherwise I would be trying to find this species every time I go birding this year! I’ve probably only seen one 3 out of the past 9 years that I have been counting.
In the photo above, this Red-breasted Nuthatch is eating a ladybug!
Last year I never found the Golden-crowned Kinglet. I didn’t see it at all for the whole year! They will breed in New England and the Northwest up into Canada. They will winter in most of the US.
They are one of the smallest birds in the US. They spend much of their time in the dense conifers making it difficult to spot them. I found the one below in some long-leaf pines.
They move around constantly making it tough to get a good photo, but I tried!
They are very cute and very tiny, only around 3 1/2 – 4” big. Note the strong eyebrow pattern, that is a good way to identify it. The center crown is orange on the males and yellow on the females, so this is a female.
Next, we have the Ruby-crowned Kinglet. They are a bit bigger, coming in at 4”.
The Ruby-crowned Kinglet looks very similar to the Golden-crowned Kinglet, but without the strong eyebrow and it has a bold white eye-ring and a wide wing-bar. The male’s ruby crown patch is only seen when it’s excited, so most of the time if you are lucky enough to see one, you probably won’t see the ruby crown on the top of its head.
This one enjoys the fruit suet at my feeder, so I’ve been seeing it over the past few weeks…
Let the games begin… a new year, a new bird count. I do get very excited at the beginning of each year… This year my brother and I decided to count how many species we could find on January 1st, then when we saw the weather wasn’t going to be so good, we said that it could be the whole weekend…
Anyway, on the 1st he said that he found 45 species. I had a lot of rain, so I really don’t want to make excuses, so I won’t… I only ended up with 43 on the 1st. But remember we still have the whole weekend…
I found a few more today, so I am now up to 48, but my brother is not to be trusted, he occasionally says he has a number only to hear what I have, then he tells me that he really has a much higher amount! That being said, I really don’t know how this weekend is going to end…
Here are a few photos of a couple of birds I did manage to see these past couple of days.
This is the Yellow-throated Warbler. He isn’t supposed to be around my area in the winter, yet here it is… he likes the fruit suet, so I’m going to have to keep an eye out to see if he continues to visit everyday…
This is the Pine Siskin with a House Finch up above it. I must have around 10 House Finches coming to the feeder and the Siskin looks similar to the female House Finch, so I really have to keep my eyes open to find it.