Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve visited a few different parks or wildlife refuges.
Of course I was looking for birds, but there are still lots of leaves on the trees, which makes it difficult to get good photos of them…
I did want to show you some of the creatures that I did manage to see while out in the fresh air.
This is a marbled orb-weaver or pumpkin spider. They can be found in 19 states in the US and are most often seen in the fall.
This is a green frog, not to be mistaken to the green tree frog, this one was found swimming in the swamp!
I tried, I really tried, but I couldn’t figure out just which caterpillar this is! I don’t know if it will become a moth or a butterfly!!! After looking a hundreds of caterpillars on line, my best guess is the Great Ash Sphinx. It’s a moth that is found throughout most of the US… let me know if you have a better guess.
The Northern Cardinal is the only red bird with a crest in North America. The female is a lot duller almost tan compared to the male. They don’t migrate, so if you see them in the spring they should be around your area in the winter too.
The Carolina Chickadee is also a permanent resident and will not migrate. They look almost identical to the Black-capped Chickadee and the only true way to properly identify them is by the location of where you see them.
Their range goes up to central New Jersey across the US to Texas and south through the southeast states.
The Black-capped Chickadee’s range is from northern New Jersey across the US to Oregon and north up into most of Canada.
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!
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.
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…
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.