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!

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.

No Longer in a Cage!!!

No Longer in a Cage!!!

This is the Northern Mockingbird. Did you know that from the late 1700s to the early 1900s they were captured and sold as pets!

Now they are free and have begun to spread out again throughout all of the US. You can often see them running along the ground looking for insects.

The Northern Mockingbird has 250 to 350 songs in its repertoire! Sometimes it seems like they can go on for hours…

Make sure to watch out going near one of their nests, they are very bold when defending their nests and will attack cats and even humans if you get too close!!!

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.

No Birds in November…

No Birds in November…

So, November has come and gone and I managed not to see a single new species of bird… I was hoping to at least see a few migrating birds, but I was just not able to.

Winter birds have been coming back to my lake. I watch as around 300 Double-crested Cormorants fly up and down the lake looking for schools of fish to hunt.

The lake is rather small, but there are a few other lakes around, so I think they just keep flying back and forth between the lakes and find enough fish that way.

This morning I looked out and saw the Hooded Merganser had come back.

There were 4 of them, 1 male and 3 females. I should also start to see the Pied-bill Grebes and a couple of different duck species.

The American Eagles have returned from their nesting sites, I’ve seen a couple of adults and at least one first year swooping down on the lake trying to catch fish.

I’ve put the feeders back up and have seen the usual Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, House Finch, Carolina Wren, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Cardinal, American Goldfinch, Pine Siskin and Chipping Sparrow…

There are a few other birds feeding mostly underneath the feeders, such as the Mourning Dove, White-throated Sparrow and Dark-eyed Junco.

I know I’m lucky to see so many birds each day, and I am not complaining, just happy to see 2020 (the fastest slow motion year) come to an end…

Stay healthy and stay safe!

More Birds

More Birds

Here are a few more birds that I’ve seen lately…

This one may not be the loveliest of birds, but I’m grateful for the way it cleans up roadkill…

The Black Vulture. I actually like the look of them more than the Turkey Vulture. They may look like they are smaller than the Turkey Vulture, but they are actually about the same size and more aggressive. The Black Vulture will often drive the Turkey Vultures away from food.

This next one was on my back fence post, keeping all the birds away!

The Red-shouldered Hawk. You can see the red on the back of its shoulders. I have a pair of them that live in my neighborhood, so I see or hear them everyday.

They will hunt by watching from a perch, then swoop down on their prey. I do enjoy my feeders, but I’m just waiting for the day I see one of these hawks catch a bird eating the seeds…

I saw this little cutie the other day.

The Pied-billed Grebe is sooooo cute! This is the most widespread Grebe in the New World. They aren’t social and almost never seen in flocks.

Sometimes when its suspicious or nervous they may sink slowly down into the water until only its head is above water.

Remember to stay healthy and stay safe!

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!