Archive for category Birding
Okay, I talked myself into it. I’ve started up a new blog just for my nature stuff: birding, bugs, wandering about aimlessly, and some bad photography to boot. It’s called Birding Daily, and if you like the pics, etc., they’ll be over there. I may migrate some old stuff over there, too. Meanwhile, Peripatetic Praxis will be reserved for philosophical-type musings.
Since I worked most of the summer (for a change…and for [pocket] change), I didn’t get out as much as I would have liked. We participated in a friendly birding contest in June — who could see the most species in a single county. We picked Delaware Co., PA, and came up with 77 (not enough to win, but not too bad). We had a little time in Cape May, where we split our time between birding and beaching.
On the philosophy front, I worked pretty steadily on a book that I hope will be finished by New Year’s Day. And I taught (and taught).
I also lost a few pounds, but need to keep it going.
In all, not a bad summer.
Now, for some recent pics. [I am thinking of starting a new blog: Eric’s Bad Birding Blog. What do you think?]
First up, a veritable plethora of Tricolored Herons…well, five, to be exact, but that’s a large number all at once:
Here’s a close-up of two of them:
Here’s a shot of a Tricolored Heron, an immature Little Blue Heron, and a Forster’s Tern:
More bird pics:
Sometimes in nature, like in the rest of life, things do not work out as planned. Here’s a Greater Yellowleg (not a typo):
Sometimes half-a-rack’ll have to do:
Here are a few non-bird pics:
Finally, I love a good juxtaposition (don’t you?):
The weather has been HOT lately, but now that it has broken a little…and a bunch of grading has been completed and some writing has been accomplished…it’s time to get back to a little bit of birding. And some photos.
We (ahem) spotted this Spotted Sandpiper at Okehocking Nature Preserve, just the second sandpiper of any kind we’ve seen there (the other was a Solitary Sandpiper back in April). Unfortunately, this bird was clearly injured, favoring its right leg. It was nevertheless active, both walking and flying. It’s hurt, but managing, I think.
This was an interesting scene: A flycatcher of some kind appeared to be either feeding or stealing food from a juvenile cowbird (unless you have a better guess at what we’re looking at).
We were involved in a friendly competition during the month of June (well, we worked hard at it during the beginning of the month) to see how many birds we could see (not just hear) in Delaware County during the month. We got up to 79 species. Not bad, but I’m sure not the winning total. We tried very hard to add the Marsh Wren to our total, but we only managed to hear them (lots of them!) at the John Heinz Wildlife Preserve in Delaware County. Of course, just over the line in Philadelphia, where it doesn’t count in the competition, no problem:
And here’s a Great Egret in flight (Philadelphia – John Heinz “Impoundment”):
And just for fun, can you count how many Great Blue Herons are in this picture?
As you can see, we finally got up close and personal with our Barred Owl. I took over 80 pics, as the bird was very cooperative about posing. We were thrilled, but the Tufted Titmouse, Red-Eyed Vireo, and White-Eyed Vireo were not amused by our friend’s presence. They kicked up quite a fuss, but the owl seemed to pay them no mind. We got to see the bird pretty close up…and then, thanks to the owl, we got to see it very close up. Scroll to see. Click to enlarge. (Ridley Creek State Park – Bridle Trail, about 4pm est)
After watching the bird at a distance of about 30 yards, the owl flew directly towards me and landed in a tree just a few feet away. Stunning!
All good things have to come to an end, and our friend finally flew off.
See you next time….
Okay, it’s not football season yet (actually, I’m still trying to figure out what this year’s Phillies baseball season is all about…). But that doesn’t stop me from getting excited about eagles, especially when it’s an American Bald Eagle flying around near here. Some photos from today’s walk around Okehocking Nature Preserve:
We are in the thick of the intensive summer sessions at school, but we still find time now and then to go see what’s flying about. Here are a few recent pics.
First, a “twofer”:
A couple of vireos:
The very colorful Chestnut Sided Warbler:
Everybody’s favorite, the Carolina Wren (in full throat):
And, keeping the mosquito population down, a couple of bug-eating birds:
A Red Winged Blackbird cutting loose:
And lastly our old friend the Barred Owl, which continues to be seen on the Bridle Trail, Ridley Creek State Park (PA):
We saw our first owl in the woods this morning. Our “lifer” was a Barred Owl who floated around near the old cemetery off the Bridle Trail at Ridley Creek State Park (PA). Some photos:
The owl’s presence caused quite a stir with the “locals.” Tufted Titmouses (Titmice?) in particular screeched worriedly among a general cacophony of yelling. A couple birds buzzed the owl, hoping to run it off. But one brave Wood Thrush seemed completely unbothered. I shall call him “Rodney King,” as his behavior clearly begged the question: Why can’t we all get along?
The owl has always been the symbol of wisdom (and so they are quite meaningful for those of us “lovers of wisdom”). This Barred Owl struck a pose of quiet contemplation, with a hint of world-weary melancholy.
It was a good thing very early this morning to have a close encounter with such a magnificent creature (but aren’t they all?). All good things come to an end, however, and our new friend flew off, perhaps in hopes of finding more hospitable surroundings for its pondering.
It was a lovely morning for a long walk in the woods of Ridley Creek State Park. I got out there at 10 am (yeah, I know…) and spent about three and a half hours wandering. It is a good way to clear the head.
As you can tell by now, I am not the best photographer. I’ve been too lazy to learn all the settings for my camera, to poor to get Photoshop (and too busy to figure out how to use it), not to mention I have poor eyesight and shaky hands. No matter. I take pictures anyway. But today would’ve been a good day to be fast and steady with the camera, because lots of little creatures kindly made themselves available for a photo shoot.
Check out the eyes (click for enlargement):
I really like Baltimore Orioles and their cheery whistling. Here are some pics:
Ovenbirds are easy to hear (“teacher teacher Teacher Teacher TEACHER!”), but not so easy to see. But today one very kindly made himself available.
Being still relatively new to birding, I hadn’t seen a Kentucky Warbler before this morning. I took about 70 shots of this guy, but “Old Shaky Hands” only came away with a few slightly worthy ones. Too bad, because this kind of closeup does not seem to happen every day.
I thought this was a nice shot of a Veery:
And, just because I like ’em, an Eastern Towhee:
Birded the Bridle Trail in Ridley Creek State Park this morning. It started clear, but quickly clouded over. That did not detract from our enjoyment (and that of so many other birders we met out there today). The Oven Birds and Wood Thrushes were singing up a storm, but then again so was everyone else. We saw 38 species, including 3 new ones for us: Hooded Warbler, Chestnut Sided Warbler, and
Evening Grosbeak (at least that’s what the seasoned birders said it was…). [UPDATE: The Evening Grosbeak report was disallowed as being too unusual to be credible. Scratch that one. See here for a report on the disappearing Evening Grosbeaks.]