Visit to a New Park

Visit to a New Park

Last week we found a new park to go to near our home. Birders had posted seeing several bird species there recently that I hadn’t seen at all this year.

Mostly I was looking for the migrating warblers. I packed my binoculars and camera along with our lunch and some frisbees for disc golf, since there is a course at this park.

We got there, it was a bit hot and humid, but I was excited about seeing some birds!

First thing my husband wants to do is play disc golf! Oh well, I can still find some birds while playing in the woods…

I have my camera in a backpack stuck to my sweaty back, binoculars swinging around my neck as I take each of my shots for all of the 18 holes!

Let’s just say that it wasn’t one of my better games… I did really bad and I never did see any birds…

This week we decided to go over to the park again. This time I told my husband that I would walk through the woods along the course with him, but I was only looking for birds.

That actually worked out better for both of us, I got to look at birds and he was able to have a good game of disc golf without having to wait for me to shoot 2 or 3 shots for every one of his…

I never did see any new species, but I saw a lot of birds. When we got to the 18th hole, up ahead of us I saw a large brown bird fly towards me and land on a branch above my head.

It was a Barred Owl. It’s funny how I don’t know if I had ever seen one in the wild during my whole life and now I not only see one very close as it checks me out during my walk in the woods, but I have them living in my neighborhood and hear them a few times a week.

I tried not to take too many photos of this one since I have way too many photos of the one that keeps flying into my backyard!

Remember to stay healthy and stay safe!

New Furry Friend

New Furry Friend

Recently I posted about the poor squirrel in my backyard that has the botfly larvae in its neck…

Well the other day I saw a new squirrel that had come into my backyard for a visit.

This is a fox squirrel or eastern fox squirrel. They are the largest species of tree squirrel native to North America.

I’ve seen them before around the southeastern US. They are only active during the day and they spend more time on the ground than other types of squirrels.

They are great jumpers and can easily go fifteen feet in a horizontal leap. They have no problem jumping down twenty feet or more to another limb or the ground.

Let’s hope that this one doesn’t discover my roof and attic! It took a lot of time and money to cut down all or the trees and limbs that were too close to the roof and have all the squirrel holes patched up last year!!! I don’t want another squirrel getting into my house!

Remember to stay healthy and stay safe!

Hummingbird Feeder not Just for Hummingbirds

Hummingbird Feeder not Just for Hummingbirds

The Hummingbirds are beginning to migrate south.

I have been seeing them at the feeder each day still, but I don’t know if it is the same Ruby-throated Hummingbirds that I had nesting here over the past few months or I am seeing new ones that are migrating south.

I’ll probably keep the feeder up for a few more weeks, just in case there are some that are passing by that need some energy.

The other day I was watched as a Tufted Titmouse landed on the Hummingbird feeder.

I have seen this before, you think that the bird is just taking a rest. It found a quiet place to stop for a bit, but no…

It starts to tip over and move down the pole…

Then it takes a big drink of water from the center section of the Hummingbird feeder. It is an area that you fill with clean water to try to catch any ants that might try to get into the feed.

Birds are always looking for fresh water. I do have a bird bath nearby, but I guess it was just too much trouble for this Tufted Titmouse to fly over to it.

Remember to stay healthy and stay safe!

Squirrel…

Squirrel…

The other day I thought I saw a squirrel that had a weird collar around its neck.

I thought that maybe it had gotten something stuck around its neck and it was not going to be okay…

I’ve been looking for that squirrel for the past couple of days, then today I finally saw it again.

Warning… here is a photo of the squirrel, don’t look if you are squeamish…

Can you see the large lumps on its neck? No, its not wearing Christmas bells or a hideous collar. I looked it up online to see just what the heck is happening to this squirrel…

Turns out there are fluid draining warbles or the botfly that lay their eggs on vegetation around where the squirrels live, then the larval enter the squirrel through its mouth or nose. As the larval grow, their waste eventually cause the swelling and sores.

Soon a grub like warble comes out of the sore and the squirrel will actually heal and usually grows fur again before winter hits…

So for good or for bad, this squirrel will be okay… who knew…

Sorry to have posted this, I hope I didn’t ruin your appetite! I just thought that I would pass along what I learned…

Remember to stay healthy and stay safe!

More Birds…

More Birds…

Here are a few more birds that I’ve seen at my feeders in my backyard.

Try to guess what species these birds are… let me know how you did.

Here’s the American Goldfinch. This is the male, they have very bright bold colors. In the winter their colors will vary from a yellowish brown to a gray. I’ve seen some that look greenish, the first time I saw that I thought I found a new bird species!

The Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are still around. I’ve had a couple of females all summer long, then a couple of weeks ago I saw a male, but I haven’t seen him in a while.

Remember to stay healthy and stay safe!

Birds Outside my Window…

Birds Outside my Window…

I decided to put up my bird feeder a bit early this year, since I can’t do as much birding as I would normally be doing, I thought that I’d see if the birds would start to come back if I offered them some food…

Well I guess “if you build it they will come“ is happening…

I’ve started seeing a few more birds than I had been seeing this past summer. Like the Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Chickadee, Northern Cardinal, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Carolina Wren and Eastern Bluebird. Some are just more of the same, probably the adults with their 1st years that they are still teaching.

I have also seen a few birds that weren’t in my yard at all this summer. Like the American Goldfinch, Summer Tanager, House Finch and Chipping Sparrow.

I am keeping my eye out for migrating birds. Most of the Warblers should be passing through soon and I would really like to see some of them.

Here are some photos of the birds that I have been seeing. Try to guess what they are…

This is the Tufted Titmouse. See how it has a sunflower seed, those are their favorites. They will take one seed at a time and go off and break it open with their bill, then come back for another.

Next…

Here is a House Finch. A couple of weeks ago I saw one with a growth on its bill, but this one looked okay. I haven’t seen any in my yard for a few months, but now they’ve shown up again.

The Carolina Chickadee has been around this summer, but now they are more visible since I’ve put the feeder out.

Remember to stay healthy and stay safe!

Birds in the Swamp…

Birds in the Swamp…

I went back to the wildlife refuge again this past week… it was a dark cloudy misty day and we saw absolutely no one!

Since we’ve been in the house basically since March (other than our birding expeditions), we’ve now started looking to find other parks to go to. We haven’t tried any new ones yet, but soon we will go to a new one and hopefully there will be different birds there that I can photograph and show you. 🙂

Here is one of the birds I saw in the swamp.

This is an juvenile White Ibis. They start out brown and will become patchy as it matures and finally becomes white.

At one point we were looking out over the large swamp and in the thick woods behind us we heard a low howl! At first I thought it must be some kid pretending to be “Bigfoot.” Then came several other crazy loud howling/screaming sounds. (I slowly moved closer to the car)…

After listening to my bird app (I was assuming it was a bird), we decided that it was probably the Barred Owl. Let me know if you’ve ever heard them calling with those howls and screens. I’ve heard a pair of them making calls sort of like it at my house, but this was only one and it sounded a bit different…

This bird we found in another smaller swamp further into the refuge.

It’s an immature Little Blue Heron. At first glance you may think it’s a Snowy Egret or a Great Egret, but when you look closely at this bird you’ll see the identifiers. The legs are greenish, not yellow with yellow feet or black. The bill is bluish with a black tip.

The 1st year they are white, then in the 2nd year they will go into the “calico” phase, where they are a patchy white and blue. Finally when they are adults they will be a solid dark blue-gray.

It’s funny how the Little Blue Heron starts out white then turns dark and the White Ibis starts out dark then turns white…

Remember to stay healthy and stay safe.

Recent Birds I’ve Seen…

Recent Birds I’ve Seen…

Yesterday I went kayaking. It finally wasn’t too hot, so I went out to enjoy the lake!

There was some green algae on the lake still (it had covered most of the lake for the past few months), but a lot of the lake is clear now…

Here are some of the birds that I saw.

There had to be about a dozen Great Egrets. They were spaced out along the shore looking for food.

Here is the Great Blue Heron, there were over a dozen of these around the lake. I would see them up ahead of me while I was kayaking, then when I got a bit closer they would slowly fly off away from me only to have to move again as I continued down the lake…

Of course there were a few Canada Geese, but not as many as I had seen around recently. I’ve seen them flying in formation a lot lately, like they are getting ready to migrate, but I don’t think that these geese actually leave at all for the winter…

There were a couple of Pileated Woodpeckers foraging on the trees along the edge of the lake. They flew over my head when I stopped for lunch, it was nice to see them.

Remember to stay healthy and stay safe!

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds

All summer long I’ve had 1, maybe 2 female Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. I would see them very seldom until lately. Over the past couple of weeks they have been coming to the feeder quite often, probably trying to fatten up for their long migration south. 

This week I’ve started seeing the male, he has the iridescent ruby throat. I’m not sure if he’s been around here and just decided to eat at the feeder or if he is one from further up North starting his migration South…

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Most of the time I see the 3 birds chasing each other away from the feeder, but once I  did manage to see a female start to come close while the male was feeding…

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After a bit, she sat down and took a drink and they both managed to get along!

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Remember to stay healthy and stay safe!