Birder's Eye View

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Good news and bad news

Let's start with the bad news: it turns out I've been miscounting my life list. Apparently, some birds had been repeated and/or counted twice (due to messy handwriting). This unfortunately brought my life list down by 2 birds.

On a happier note, I received new binoculars and a bird feeder for Christmas! One squirrel has already found the feeder, and I have been intermittently trying to fend it off while typing this entry.

The binoculars are amazing, and work so much better than the ancient pair I had been using before. I can't wait to go birding again!

And last but not least, I finally (finally, finally, finally!!!!) saw a European Starling!! Finally! They're such common birds here, but I've never seen one before and it's been driving me insane. I saw one up close today, standing on a birdhouse and in full winter plumage. It was making the most fascinating sounds.

Well, that's all for now. Until next time...

Happy birding!

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Do you hear what I hear?

Sometimes it's just as exciting to hear a bird, as it is to see one. I haven't seen any new species lately -- just the usual Warblers, Woodpeckers, Goldfinches and Chickadees.

But today I heard a new sound, and it sounded very much like this. Can you guess what it it is? A Barred Owl! I saw a Barred Owl when I was little, but like the Purple Galinule, I haven't seen or heard one since I started birding.

When I heard the Owl today, it was far off in the cypress swamp, and a very startling sound to hear in mid-morning. I'm still not sure why it was calling at that time of day, but I'm sure it had its reasons. :-)

Anywho, it was a fun holiday surprise.

Until next time,

Happy Birding!

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Purple Galinule

Saw a new bird today (well, semi-new). A Purple Galinule! I may have seen one a long time ago before I got into birding, but this year it's going on to my year list as #125.

I also saw lots of Brown Pelicans, Turkey Vultures, Anhingas, Double-Crested Cormorants, Osprey, and Terns.

And considering I wasn't even out to go birding, I'd say that's a pretty good list for the day. :-) The Purple Galinule was definitely my favorite find though. Very cool bird.

Until next time,

Happy birding!

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Life Bird

I am very excited -- I saw a life bird today! At least, I'm 99.999% sure I did (and that's good enough for me!).

So, there I was, sitting at my computer, trying to create a presentation about the war trials of the Holocaust for history class. I zoned out and my mind started wandering (usually, not a good sign).

The next thing I knew, I was staring idly out my window, when what did I see, but a poofy-feathered, dark grey bird drinking from the bird bath.

I jumped up, abandoning my history project, trying not to lose sight of the little passerine. It flew up into the nearby elm tree, checked out the birdfeeder, but was unimpressed (I later understood why).

I studied it through my binoculars for as long as I could before it flew away. In all, I only had a few seconds to examine it.

At first, I didn't know where to start when I opened up my field guide. I flipped through the middle, trying to classify the bird. I realized its coloration was very much like an Eastern Kingbird, but its posture and mannerisms were somewhat different.

I flipped towards the back of the book, looking under "Flycatchers." As I glanced through the pictures and descriptions, two words formed in my head: Eastern Phoebe. I turned to the page on Phoebes and flycatchers, and there it was.

The picture and description of the Eastern Phoebe was almost exactly like that which I had just seen. As described in the book, the bird out my windowhad twitched its tail up and down when it sat still in the tree; it had a dark back, and a lighter, yellow-tinted underside. Its beak was pointy and black.

Upon further research, I've pretty much determined that what I saw was an Eastern Phoebe. It probably won't return to that spot, because Phoebes are insectivores; I have no idea what that one was doing there, other than taking a drink from the bird bath.

I know Eastern Phoebes are nothing unusual, but life birds are always exciting. Plus, it marks the 124th bird on my list!

Boy, December has been a great month, so far.

Unitl next time,

Happy Birding!

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Killdeer Sighting

Saw a Killdeer today! They were out in the pasture chillin' with the horses. I've seen Killdeer once before (last time I saw one with chicks!!), but this time my mom got a picture.

I also got to hear their calls for the first time today. It sounded very much like the one recorded here:

Killdeers' calls are very interesting, and sound somewhat like an insistant, ascending whine. The flock I saw wasn't too talkative, but a couple would hollar now and again.

Anywho, a fun and unexpected find for the day.

Until next time,

Happy Birding!

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

My Sketches

I've uploaded my bird sketches, finally. They're nothing fancy -- I just draw for fun. All the birds I've sketched are birds that I've seen. And please, do not steal my images; if you want to use them for anything, just email me!
Above is a Black and White Warbler, a very cool bird as far as I'm concerned! :-)

These are two of my life birds seen in Maine, the Wilson's Storm Petrel (freaky drawing, I know) at the top, and the Atlantic Puffin, below.

More Maine life birds: Peregrine Falcon at the top, and a Piping Plover at the bottom.

And finally, a little bird from home, the American Goldfinch.

Happy Birding!

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Monday, December 10, 2007

They're here!

At last! The American Goldfinches have arrived! Gotta love winter migration, when you live in the south.

I know most people don't think much of Goldfinches one way or another, but they just captivate me. I think they're beautiful and fascinating to watch.

When I first saw them a few weeks ago, I didn't even recognise them as Goldfinches at first glance. They were gone for a few days, and then a couple showed up at my feeders, brown in color, but with their characteristic black wings with white patches.

As the weeks have gone by, they're becoming more and more yellow, and quite plentiful around my yard. I counted seven at my feeder this morning. Most of them are female, but I think there are a couple males around.

I'll try to get a good picture, soon.

Happy Birding!

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