Birder's Eye View

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Tricolored Heron

"It is not only fine feathers that make fine birds."
Well, it's not very exciting or notable in any way, shape, or form, but... it's a bird. A Tricolored Heron in its breeding plumage, to be exact. I saw it yesterday at a friend's house. (Thanks for the pictures, Mom!)

I'm going birding next week, so hopefully I'll have something more interesting to report on at that time.

Until then,

happy birding


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Eagle Cam

"You cannot fly like an eagle with the wings of a wren."
- William Henry Hudson

I thought the above quote seemed very appropriate for this post. My brother just informed me about an "Eagle Cam" documenting an Bald Eagle nest up in Maine.

You can click on the picture to go to the site.

There aren't a whole lot of details, as far as the exact location, but it seems to be somewhere on the Atlantic coast.

The first time I looked at the streaming video, there was nothing at the nest, but when I went back just now, there was an eagle! (see screenshot). Pretty darn cool.

Anywho, just thought it was an interesting resource. :-) Enjoy!

Happy birding!


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Swallow-tailed Kite!

"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Woohoo! Saw the first Swallow-tailed Kite of the year today!

Believe it or not, it's a lot harder to sketch a Kite than you'd think... This was the best I could come up with, and even now I'm not totally satisfied with it. But... there it is.

I should be seeing more of them as the season continues. I've been hearing reports of sightings in the area, but now I can finally add one to my year list!

Happy birding.

Labels: ,

Friday, March 14, 2008

Birding & Sketches

"In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks." -John Muir

My year list is now up to 69, with the addition of a Red-winged Blackbird, a European Starling, and Common Ground-Dove (life bird!).

I spotted the Ground-Dove earlier today. I was watching a bunch of Mourning Doves out the window, when a smaller dove with an orange beak caught my eye.

I wasn't sure if I had seen it right at first, so I kept watching. It disappeared for a few minutes, but when it came back, I ran outside to inspect it further. When I opened the door, it scared all the doves, and when the Ground-Dove flew, I saw the characteristic red wings. There ways no denying it. So... YAY! Another life bird! And an unexpected one, at that!

And finally, I have two new sketches, a Pileated Woodpecker and a Pied-Billed Grebe.

That's all for now... until next time,

Happy birding.

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Shore Birding

“No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own wings” – William Blake

Went to the beach yesterday, and added at least 5 more birds to my year list (probably more, but I am *really* bad at IDing shorebirds...).

Anywho, it was a lot of fun, even if I didn't count all the birds I could have. Dolphins fished along the coast, sailboats cruised the horizon, and chilly waves rolled and crashed to the shore.

There have been a lot of storms lately, so there were many live shells washing up, and of course that meant LOTS of birds! Gulls, Terns, Willets, and more prowled the pebbly beach, devouring the stranded crustaceans.

I was able to identify most of the species, but there were a couple that unjustly dumbfounded me. This is probably a common species, but it was so far away I couldn't get a good look at it, and this was the best picture I could get. I'm pretty sure it's some kind of Sandpiper; it flew very much like one.

This next picture is also confusing. When this bird flew by, I thought I was taking a picture of a Cormorant. I didn't take much notice until I uploaded the photo, and realized the wings are totally different than a comorant's.

I don't know if this is just a silhouetted Gull/Tern-type bird, or a weird cormorant, or something else entirely! I've done some research, but I can't figure out what it could be. With my luck, it's probably an ordinary, easy-to-ID species. Of course. :-)

Well, the trip was fun anyhow, and brought my year list up to 65. The rest of my photos can be seen in the slide show below. Some of the captions are marked with question marks, and are still in the process of ID verification.

If anyone sees where I have misidentified something, please feel free to drop me a note. (I had a hard time with the Terns!)

Happy birding.

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Wind, Weather, and Whatnot

“Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.” - Rachel Carson

Yesterday was hot and windy, and then there was a huge storm, which brought a cold front with it this morning. It's 62 degrees outside with nearly 50mph gusts. Although this is hardly notable, I have come to notice an interesting occurrence whenever cold fronts come through.

Before a cold front, all the birds disappear. The feeders are deserted, the skies mostly empty. And then, the morning after, when the weather clears and the air is chilly, there are TONS of birds, often birds I don't usually see in the area.

I have concluded two things from this. 1) I have way too much time on my hands, and 2) birds are endlessly fascinating. :-)

This morning, I went to check out a wild rabbit sitting in the yard, and got a picture of a Red Shouldered Hawk circling above.

Then, a little while later, I noticed this finch sitting at my window-front feeder! At first I wasn't sure exactly what kind of finch it was, but as I was snapping pictures, my mom pointed out the male sitting on the feeder in the Elm.
Now it became clear -- House Finches! The pair are hanging around in the elms (trying not to blow away, from the looks of it), and visiting the feeders every so often with the Goldfinches.

(Female on the left, Goldfinch in the middle, Male on the right) I've only seen a House Finch once before, and that was last month in Ocala. What a fun find! I wonder how long they'll stay?

And finally, I finished a new sketch last night. Two common birds, the Tufted Titmouse and the Carolina Wren.

That's all for now.

Happy birding!

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, March 6, 2008

So many birds, so little time...

My yard was flooded with birds this morning! I counted 9 different species outside my window, all within an hour.

There were Tufted Titmice, Carolina Chicadees, Cardinals, Blue Jays, a Carolina Wren, and the Goldfinches were getting their summer plumage.

Remember that young Indigo Bunting I blogged about back in January? He's back! He was sitting on my window-front feeder next to a Chipping Sparrow. He's a lot bluer than he was two months ago. Honestly, I'm surprised he came back -- I thought he was just a passerby.

Well, anywho, I got a lot of pictures, some better than others (see slideshow below).

Enjoy, and Happy birding!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Spring has sprung!

The Vernal Equinox isn't for another three weeks, but in it seems like it's already arrived here. The weather is warm (78 degrees, according to my computer), flowers are growing, and most importantly of course, birds are everywhere!

Driving along the rural roads today with the windows down, the air smelled deliciously of oranges from all the local groves. I love this time of year!

There's also a hawk nest nearby, which the hawks were busily tending to all morning long. Can't quite tell if the eggs have hatched yet.

And finally, as I was driving home today, I got a picture of the American Kestrel! It's a little blurry (I was trying to take it from the car), but clear enough to identify the bird. In the past, I had IDed it purely by its silhouette and mannerisms, but I'm glad to see I was correct in my identification, now that I got a picture.

I also got a blurred shot of the Kestrel in flight! It was trying to fend off some vultures over a horse pasture.

That's all for now... until next time,

Happy birding!

Labels: , ,