Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Tufted Duck

Whenever I get an ABA Rarity pops up, there's an itch that comes across every birder.  Can I fly to <wherever> to get <rarebird>? Do I have the time/resources/ability?  I was lucky that when I planned to return to Connecticut for the COA Annual Meetings (www.ctbirding.org) I hoped that a Tufted Duck that showed up in Bridgeport would stick around.  Happily, it did!

For me, the Tufted Duck was a life bird and one that while very common in the UK and other parts of the world, is not very common in the US.  Every year a few manage to show up across the Northeast and the Canadian Maritimes.  One had not been in CT for about 15 years so add this bird to my CT List was a great addition.  Finding rarities like this would not be possible without dedicate birders, ebird, and more dedicated birders who work at checking in on the bird and reporting its presence or not.  I know that I have to get better about reporting success and failures beyond ebird (www.ebird.org)

A Female Tufted Duck

Info on the Tufted Duck

Wild Bird Wednesday - Link here

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Duck Duck Goose

Moving to the south, I thought that I would be missing out on a lot of the goose that usually occur up North.  I am to report that Georgia has had all but one of the geese I got last year, the Barnacle Goose.  For many years, the barnie was my nemesis and evaded me and every corner.  But this year, I evaded it.  I also traded Barnie for a Ross's Goose.  Ross's was new for me last year and is definitely a welcome addition to my goose repertoire.  Barnie and the elusive Pink-footed goose might be long shots down here in the South, but you never know.

Canada Geese and some Cackling Geese

A Canada Goose and a Snow Goose

A Canada Goose and a Greater White Fronted Goose

Wild Bird Wednesday - Link here

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Birding: The Next Generation

My daughter is still new, but she's opening my eyes to a whole new world.  She's already got some descent birding skills.  She's already found a bird before me and she's got really sharp ears.  She's already found a few birds before me and I can't wait to see how she develops as a birder/naturalist/learner.

I've posted some pictures that we've taken together.  She looks to watch birds at the feeder and tries to talk to them.  We'll work on that though.  I've always enjoyed sharing birding with new people but I suspect that sharing the field and the art of birding with my daughter for the rest of our lives will be one of the most enjoyable things.

Enjoy some of the pictures we've taken together!

Yellow-Rumped Warbler or as she calls them.... oooohhahahhh

Hermit Thrush or ppphhhhh!

Downy Woodpecker or AAK! AAK! AAK!

Wild Bird Wednesday - Link here

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Wetlands, Good Lands

Wetlands are important habitats for birds and many other animals.  Well cared for wetlands can be particularly valuable for animals especially in the winter months.  I toured some well maintained wetlands recently and it was a real joy.  The wetlands play host to a wide variety of animals and some gorgeous birds.  The Rails and waterfowl were particularly plentiful.  We got some great looks at Common Gallinules, a life bird for me, Sora, and others!  We heard a Virginia Waterfowl but we did not see it.

Taking care of wetlands is important and very hard to do.  From our earliest agricultural experiences, people are used to seeing wetlands as potential farms or other developments and that continues today.  There is also some controversy as to what constitutes and what doesn't a wetland.  These are important places and spaces for all animals and protecting them needs to be important.  I can't wait to get out and see some more birds and rails at the Wetlands across the southeast!  Until the next time!

What are your favorite wetlands to visit?

Common Gallinule

Pied-Billed Grebe


Wild Bird Wednesday - Link here

Info on Wetlands on the EPA - Link here

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A New State Bird

Moving to a new place means many things but it also means a new state bird.  For us in Georgia, that's the Brown Thrasher.  while Brown Thrashers are common here in Georgia, I really struggled finding them in Connecticut.  I could find other much rarer birds, but I have 1 Brown Thrasher on my CT list.  Yet, down here in Georgia, they are fairly common.  I had found one recently that had some feathers out of place.  You can see in the pictures below that the feathers are easy to see and stand out against his white breast.

Thrashers are awesome birds with some awesome adaptations.  They can mimic calls and are fairly tough birds.  The one I pictured with the ruffled breast feathers was still bossing other birds around the little patch where I found them.  The ability to mimic other birds shows an incredible amount of intelligence and capacity.  Makes you wonder where the idea of "bird brain" being a bad thing ever came from?

What's your state bird?  do you like it? what would change it to if you could?

Wild Bird Wednesday - Link here

Brown Thrasher Info at All About Birds - Link here