Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A long Walk but a short addition...

So I took a long walk and only got one bird for 2012. But the Journey there was great fun. In the middle of winter, to talk over 3 miles and see all sorts of birds fly around reminded me that the migration is almost here. And boy does it look like it will be great. But I am getting ahead of myself. Today. American Robins, House Sparrows, Mute Swans nesting, Common Grackles, Common Mergansers, Hooded Mergansers, Northern Cardinals and the only new bird for 2012, the American Coot. Coot's aren't normally described as elusive, but this coot was awkwardly elusive. He was darting in and out of some reeds in a shallow lake. But then again, a couple of Bald Eagles had been spotted around the lake, so the Coot, also known as one of the Bald Eagle's favorite meals, was wise to be hiding. Well, I'll be rooting for you!

Outing #18
American Coot

2012 Total: 91

A Coot in the Fall

Saturday, February 25, 2012

City Parks

I spent the other day birding all around my hometown, I learned a lot about the birds of my hometown. Lots of great birding to be had. In 3 parks I saw some amazing birds. While I only added 2 to my year total and got 0 life birds, I saw a great deal of birds that were new for me in Connecticut and new for me in here. Bald Eagles, Swamp and Field Sparrows, Ring-Necked Ducks, Buffleheads, House Finches and a Mallard drake with a purple head. I noticed the Bald Eagle in the park when every little bird that I had been following flew into brush or in between large rocks. Nothing is scarier to many creatures than the sight of a Bald Eagle. In fact I felt bad for the Red-Tailed Hawk patrolling the same area as he was virtually ignored. Of course, that probably meant he had better hunting opportunities.

Urban Parks provide great insights into the balance of nature and humanity. Once again, its just a matter of seeing. Sometimes you can see the power humans have on nature. Oil tankers, trash and roads cut through parks and make their marks on how animals, plants and all forms of life have to make their way. yet, nature, not just birds, seem to find a way. yet, when a park is cleaned, valued, and enjoyed, nature and humanity can flourish together and enjoy each other.

Outing #17
Common Grackle
Green-Winged Teal

2012 Total: 90

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

One last day of birding

So this is the last day that I could go birding down south. I had to make the most of it. I visited a human-made swamp, 2 reservoirs and a park. It paid off huge dividends. I added about 14 birds to my year list and even got to add the American Kestrel, this year's Bird of the Year (see link to the right) to my life list. It was also nice to see to see a couple of birds I've wanted to see for a while and a couple I didn't expect. The Northern Shoveler was one i'd been hoping to see for a while, tree swallows and eastern bluebirds were nice too. The Sandhill Cranes were a nice pick up since I thought they were all gone by this time. I was thrilled to get the Common Yellowthroat and Eastern Phoebe because it shows me that I am getting really good at looking and identifying small songbirds. It was great to get out there and see some awesome birds. I will be posting pictures later so stay tuned!

Outing #16
American Kestrel LB
Belted Kingfisher
Brown-Headed Nuthatch
Common Yellowthroat LB
Eastern Bluebird
Eastern Phoebe LB
Muscovy Duck
Northern Shoveler LB
Pied-Billed Grebe
Red-Bellied Woodpecker
Red-Headed Woodpecker
Sandhill Crane LB
Tree Swallow LB

2012 Total: 88

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Trip South

A quick vacation from work means that I head down South. The advantage of such a trip is that you get a chance to see a whole different group of birds. One of the things that I do enjoy about seeing new birds on my year list is that they remind me how lucky I am to see and notice the world around me. It also gives me a chance to appreciate the skills and effort that Big Year-ers put into their efforts.

I also have a bit of a conundrum on my list. A bird that I thought was a Western Grebe in Rhode Island turns out that it was. I didn't count it or list it because I thought it too improbable that a Western Grebe was on the East Coast. Since then, several briders have confirmed the Western Grebe in the area. Do I count the bird or not? Your thoughts?

Outing #15
American Goldfinch
Brown Thrasher
Carolina Chickadee
Downy Woodpecker
House Finch
Purple Finch
Redwinged Blackbird
Tufted Titmouse
White-Breasted Nuthatch

As the Trip Continues:
Eastern Towhee
Field Sparrow LB
Northern Flicker

2012 Total: 75

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A New Enemy...

So now that I have gotten my Snowy Owl, I felt invincible. My New Enemy is the Northern Shrike. In short Shrike happens. I thought I found a shrike today and yet, when I examined that it was a Mockingbird. Stupid mistake sure, but part of it was that I really want to see a Northern Shrike. I saw a Loggerhead in Alabama and I'd love to get the Northern and get my North American Shrikes. But also they are amazing and beautiful birds, although they are vicious. Obviously this isn't the last time that I am going to chase the Shrike, but hopefully next time, I will be more successful. I do feel that I am getting better at seeing small birds so I hope that I can continue to hone my skills as I hunt for the shrike

Outing #14
Swamp Sparrow

2012 Total: 63

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Busy Busy Weekend

So this weekend was filled with 2 great and wonderful birding trips. One River Cruise and one trip to Rhode Island. Both Trips yielded some great finds and even a few life birds. I've attached a few photos of the snowy owl. I was thrilled to see it. In fact, I half expected that what I saw was a gull and not a Snowy. But there she was. and she was hanging out with some Harlequin Ducks. What a great day to be outside and a birder. While I am ready for winter to be over, I am excited that there are still great birds to find out there. This is short but I'll be back. There are a few ducks to still get out there and the outings during the week will be spent trying to get them. Good birding to you all!

Outing #12
Bald Eagle
Great Cormorant

Outing #13
Black Scoter
Harlequin Duck LIFE BIRD!
Lesser Scaup
Snowy Owl LIFE BIRD!
Surf Scoter

2012 Total: 61

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

February... More like No-Snow-Uary

Today's birding is brought to you by compression shirts. Just kidding. We are enjoying a real odd winter. Last Winter saw a record amount of Snow dumped on us but this winter has seen very little snow. I've been enjoying walking around the warm weather and there are plenty of birds I want to chase but because of school and work requirements, I've had to scale back my birding. I have managed to get a few birds though on short walks. The real gem of the week has been seeing Trumpeter Swans. Not really a common bird on the east coast so a nice grab for me. With the weather warming, Canada geese are starting to show up en masse and I know that soon more and more birds will be migrating through. So the goal for the next few weeks is to keep my eyes open for some new migrants and go chase a new birds... I am planning on a going chases soon and an eagle cruise. Well, back to the grind, good birding!

Outing #11:
American Robin
Black-Capped Chickadee
Trumpeter Swan LB
Wild Turkey

2012 Total: 54