A Heron and a Plover…

A Heron and a Plover…

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.

Remember to stay healthy and stay safe!

A Couple More Birds…

A Couple More Birds…

Here are some Ruddy Ducks. They are a diving duck. They will dive and swim underwater, using their feet to propel them. Then they use their bill to strain roots and insects from the mud.

These are females and non-breeding males. A breeding male will have a bright blue bill like the one in the photo below.

It really does have such a beautiful blue bill!

Below is one of the several loons that I saw at the ocean. I saw a few Common Loons and one Red-throated Loon.

This is a Common Loon in winter plumage. They are darker than the Red-throated Loon and they have a thicker, straighter bill.

Remember to stay healthy and stay safe!

January Birds…

January Birds…

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.

Remember to stay healthy and stay safe!

Say Hello to the Red-breasted Nuthatch…

Say Hello to the Red-breasted Nuthatch…

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!

Remember to stay healthy and stay safe.

Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year!!!

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.

Remember to stay healthy and stay safe.

Latest Visitors…

Latest Visitors…

The weather is finally getting a bit colder, so the birds have been visiting my bird feeders more often.

Luckily, so far the few squirrels that I have in my yard this year are pretty darn stupid! They will eat some seed off of the ground, but have never even tried to get up to any of the feeders yet… let’s hope they never learn just how easy it is to get to them…

Here are a couple of birds that came by the feeder yesterday…

This is the Pine Warbler. Usually you don’t see these birds far away from pine trees, but in the winter unlike most other warblers, they will come to bird feeders for suet.

This next one I often hear, but hardly ever see. They also don’t stray too far from the pine trees…

It’s the Brown-headed Nuthatch. They say that they are almost identical to the Pygmy Nuthatch from the west, but I think that the Brown-headed Nuthatch has more brown on its head. Their calls are very different too, the Brown-headed’s calls are like a squeaky toy being squeezed over and over again…just too cute!

Stay healthy and stay safe.

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!

Well, this year was a pretty crappy year for soooooo many reasons! The virus has really made this year hard for so many people and I truly am grateful to have stayed healthy and safe.

As for my birding, this year has been my worst year for total species since I started counting 8 years ago… I ended up with 251 species of birds that I saw. I only found 2 new lifers this year.

But I say, goodbye to 2020 and hello to 2021! I plan to have a much better year. I’m so looking forward to the day that I can eat out again, go birding for the day and use a public toilet…

So cheers to a new year, a new vaccine and happy days ahead! Hope you all stay optimistic, happy, healthy and safe!

Happy New Year!!!

Recently Seen Birds…

Recently Seen Birds…

Due to the virus… I’ve been pretty much sticking to the same wildlife refuge and parks, but I try to look for birds each time I get out…

Here are a couple of the birds that I’ve seen lately…

This is the Yellow-billed Cuckoo. I’ve seen him a few times this fall. They will winter in South America, so I guess they will be leaving soon…

This one is often stays out of sight…

This is the Swamp Sparrow. They tend to hide away in the marshes or thickets, but you can often hear them. They will sometimes come out to investigate a birder who makes squeaking sounds, so if you think one is around and you want to see it, give a little squeak and see what happens. (Just make sure that there are only other birders around you, otherwise people might think you are a bit “off”), lol.

Remember to stay healthy and stay safe!

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!