Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Getting Ready for Winter Birds

There's a cold front coming through tomorrow so there'a good chance for a rare migrant in the Southeast.  But Before that, I gotta enjoy some fall birding.  I stopped by the Blue Heron Nature Preserve in Buckhead in North Atlanta to look their trails and their community gardens.  Community Gardens can be great places to see birds due to the well maintained plants and diversity of plants.  Blue Heron's are no exception.  There were a ton of sparrows and cardinals around and a couple of warblers in the bushes near the gardens.  As winter sparrows move in, this will be a great place to check for them.  Georgia has also been getting a lot of Rufous Hummingbirds wintering around and I suspect that the Gardens might be able to support one as well.

I managed to get a couple of shots of some butterflies and skippers and birds as well.  Swamp Sparrows, Bluebirds, there was even a young Red-Shouldered Hawk around, although they were getting harassed by some crows.  This is a great preserve that is currently also expanding and growing and protecting some great parts of North Atlanta.  Hopefully the last days of Fall Migration will be fun and exciting.  Until the next time, get outside and go birding!

Gulf Fritillary in the Blue Heron's Gardens

Eastern Bluebird

A Swamp Sparrow

I need some help with this one.  What do you see?

Quiz Bird: What do you see below? 

Wild Bird Wednesday -  Link here

This post's pictures came from the Blue Heron Nature Preserve - Link here a lovely park in Buckhead, Atlanta, Georgia

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Field Gear

So my first pair of binoculars broke and when I learned that they could not be replaced, I was devastated.  It was the pair my then-girlfriend, now-wife bought me to encourage me to get into birding.  It was a pair that traveled with me to Texas, the Georgia Coast, and was a familiar and useful part of my field gear.  I was not happy.  Until recently, I had used a pair of Vortex 8x28s that I had purchased several years ago, but as a main pair to use in the field, they were lacking.  Finally, I broke down and purchased a new pair of binoculars.  I got a Vortex Diamondback 8x42s.

So far, so good.  I am really enjoying this new pair of bins.  The color clarity is great and the light is amazing.  I feel like I've got a whole new world with my new Bins.  I had looked at their Talon HD which is a whole other level of awesome, but I settled for the Diamondbacks because I wanted a reliable pair that I could pass on later.  I am happy to get another piece of Vortex Optics to my collection and this will definitely be a very useful part of my field gear!

The Weight is pretty substantial but the design makes it a great fit for use in the field. I highly recommend Vortex Optics and can't wait to get out and field and use my new binoculars!  Until the next time, enjoy some pictures of my bins and birds!

My Binoculars and My Camera

Here are a couple of old shots... Enjoy!
Puffy Eastern Phoebe

A Northern Parula

Linking to...
Wild Bird Wednesday -  Link Here
Vortex Optics - Link Here

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Southern Bugs not under Rugs

So I know that bugs aren't birds, but they can be just as interesting.  Being in a new place means that there are a whole host of new flora and fauna to learn.  I am not going to claim any expertise or anything about knowing insects.  I did buy my first butterfly book and I am starting to look around for a general bug book.

Here are a few shots of insects I've taken since making the move down south... Can't really tell you what they are, just that they are insects...

Who among us has taken in the hunt as birds devour their prey.  Last week, I saw a Yellow-Throated Warbler pick off a little moth that was flying between bushes.  It was a sight to see and enjoy!  If you have any favorite bugs, post them below, until next time, get outside and go Birding!

At the North Carolina Arboretum
A Skipper of some sort?

Milkweed Beetles at the Blue Heron Nature Preserve

A Moth in Athens, GA

Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday - Link here

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Botanical Gardens

Quiz Bird:  What bird do you see here?

Last Week's answer?  Scarlet Tanager Juvenile.  The solid black wings and tail are the id-ing marks.

Recently I explored the State Botanical Garden of Georgia (link here) during a bird walk with the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society (link here).  The SBG are a real gem of a locale.  There are built along a site that was visited by William Bartram.  Bartram made extensive visits throughout the South in well documented journeys to try and to learn more about the natural life of the American South.

Of course, I am not on such a journey, yet.  I made my visit to really learn more about the site and the birds that live and migrate through.  This site is truly something to enjoy and explore.  The Gardens are also working on removing their invasive species and replacing them with native species.  A valiant effort and one that needs support.  Birds and insects do much better in native species.  I hope to return to the Botanical Gardens soon to learn about the native plants and fauna of Georgia.

Until next time, get out and go birding!

Eastern Wood-Pewee

Turkey Vulture

White-Eyed Vireo

Connecting to Wild Bird Wednesday - Link here