February 11, 2010 · 8:55 pm
I stood looking down from the bedroom window at the snow. The pristine blanket of white was broken by a trail leading from the woods down and around the top of the property. I squinted against the blandness of white on white. The tracks followed the edge of the mountain laurel, stopping at the sandbox then making a beeline to the bird feeders before wandering off through the arborvitae hedge to the neighbors yard. What the heck! I threw off my robe, gathering clothes as I headed down the stairs. I wanted to see if I could tell what they were, so I grabbed my camera as I headed out.
Well, I don’t know. They look sort of like cat prints. But big. Maybe 2 inches across. I didn’t see any claw marks, so I don’t think they are a dog. Have you seen bobcat prints? How big are they? There is a Weimaraner that lives up the hill. Could it be her?
February 10, 2010 · 10:19 pm
I had just fed the birds and was sitting in the garage with the door open when I heard the scrape of the plow coming up the driveway. The driver waved as he inched past making a wide swath through the knee-deep snow. The birds scattered but returned when he backed away to make another pass. The driver was someone I had never seen. He rolled down his window as he prepared to make the final pass and hollered above the roar of the diesel, “Are you a birdwatcher?” I nodded happily and pointed at the busy feeders. “I love Chickadees,” he shouted and with a smile and a promise to be back, he crawled down the steep drive onto the unplowed street.
Today’s snow birds were: Carolina Wren, Downy Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Cardinal, American Tree Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Blue Jay
October 25, 2009 · 8:54 am
I am on my way for yet another business trip. Alas, this one will not allow for any squeezed-in birding. I know I have been absent from my much-loved bird blog for a long while, but hang in there with me, this is my last trip of the year.
Let me offer you a shot from my Arizona trip. While in Madera Canyon at the Madera Kubo B&B (incredible birding mecca) I was able to drink my fill of this Hepatic Tanager. Mmm, wait, that sounds sort of vampiric. Let me re-phrase, I was able to stare at it for long periods. Better perhaps, but not as poetic. It sat in this tree for most of the afternoon, flitting from branch to branch but always in full camera view. Gorgeous, isn’t it?
Check out the other great photos at Birdfreak’s Bird Photography Weekly
October 7, 2009 · 8:16 pm
September 26, 2009 · 6:22 pm
Since I am going to be in Phoenix for business, I decided to take a few vacation days to visit with some friends and go birding. I have some target birds I hope to see, not the least among them are those pesky quails. I will be going out with Melody Kehl again. I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, here is a photo of a Roadrunner to tide you over.
September 24, 2009 · 9:31 am
I jerked my head around and froze.
Alarm bells were going off in my head. Thrashing sounds among the trees are never a good thing, regardless of where you might be on the planet. I was standing in the middle of the road, searching for what could have possibly made the sounds when the trees up ahead exploded with a Squirrel Cuckoo executing evasive maneuvers, twisting and turning between branches, with some sort of Forest-falcon in hot pursuit. The cuckoo dove into a thick patch of leaves and disappeared. The pursuing bird flashed past the cuckoos hiding place. I was scanning the trees looking for the Forest-falcon when the there was a tussle in the Cuckoo’s hidey hole. Both birds dashed off again.
I never did ID the Falcon, but at 17-19 inches and with the crazy long spotted tail, the Squirrel Cuckoo was pretty hard to miss.
September 20, 2009 · 9:59 am
The rain was falling in buckets, yet a tiny Snowy-bellied Hummingbird sat tenaciously on the top of a Heliconia. He would make a foray out occasionally, but then return to his perch, point his bill to the sky and sit for long periods. I stood on the deck pondering this then wandered out into the garden. It turns out our long-suffering sprite had a terrific spot to wait out the elements. Above his head and protecting him from at least some of the downpour was a large banana leaf. What a smart cookie.
Here he is on a better day.
I never saw him sit on that Heliconia again.
September 19, 2009 · 7:53 pm
We all stared at the flat blue expanse of the firmament. Not a cloud, not a wisp, heck, very few contrails even. We battled eye floaties, crinks in our necks, and sunburn hoping today was the big one; when the flow of thousands of Broad-winged Hawks would come down from their summer forest homes in the north. We got excited by a plane or a vulture, to use as a point of reference. We strained to ID distant tiny specks, hurried to count swirling kettles before the birds started to peel away, setting their wings for a drive south. These are the hard days when a lot of eyes trained to the sky helps.
Luckily for me, lots of people showed up at the Mount Peter Hawk Watch today. In addition to the other sharp-eyed counters, we had almost 12 members of the Fyke Nature Association come for a field trip. Chief among them was Stiles Thomas, who established the Hawk Watch in 1958.
According to the history section of the Mt. Peter page on HawkCount! “The Montclair Bird Club of NJ sponsored the ‘Across the State Hawk Watch of 1958’. The two day watch on September 28 and October 18 produced 349 raptors of 10 species for Mount Peter and enough excitement to propel volunteers into a full-time count.” There has been someone standing on this mountain doing just this thing for over 50 years. Imagine.
Let me give you a glimpse of the spectacle overhead. Although many birds were high, some did come right over the platform, giving us fabulous views. Brilliant sunshine streamed through feathers to the appreciative croons of the watchers.
This is what we had gathered to see. Although there were only 346 pass overhead today, there were 1312 yesterday and more are gathering to the north for another push south tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that until they are all safely basking in the warmth of a South American Spring.
Filed under Local schmocal, migration, Photos
Tagged as Broad-winged Hawks, Fyke, hawk migration, migration, Mt. Peter Hawk Watch, NY, Photos, Stiles Thomas, Warwick
September 16, 2009 · 6:22 am
September 13, 2009 · 5:33 am
I had had enough. I was tired from the morning hike and riding in a van on the twisty, turny road was making me nauseous. Besides, I was leaving the next day and wanted to make arrangements and start packing. So, I stayed behind on the last afternoon tour, knowing full well that I would miss the Orange-bellied Trogon. Alone at the Lodge, I dragged a chair into the hedge to sit quietly as the birds came to the fruit feeders. At first they were suspicious, but since I didn’t move they ignored me. This Rufous-capped Warbler was poking among the leaves under the feeders, popping in and out of shadow. This was not a life bird for me, I had seen them in Costa Rica, but he was looker, nonetheless.
Check out the other birds at this week’s Bird Photography Weekly.