Archive for category Birding

Birding Daily Blog

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.


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Summer recap and some recent birding pics

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:

5 Tricolored Herons in flight (CMPSP 20120801)

Here’s a close-up of two of them:

Tricolored Herons

Here’s a shot of a Tricolored Heron, an immature Little Blue Heron, and a Forster’s Tern:

More bird pics:

Great Egret

Black Skimmer

Ruddy Turnstone

Spotted Sandpiper (sans spots)

Great Crested Flycatcher

American Redstart

Sometimes in nature, like in the rest of life, things do not work out as planned. Here’s a Greater Yellowleg (not a typo):

Greater Yellowlegs with a missing foot.

Sometimes half-a-rack’ll have to do:

Deer with 1 antler

Here are a few non-bird pics:

Muskrat with salad


Finally, I love a good juxtaposition (don’t you?):

Non-monarch on Monarchs (it’s a Red Admiral, I think…)











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Back to Birding

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.

Spotted Sandpiper

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).

juvenile Cowbird and unidentified flycatcher (and butterfly-snack)

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:

Marsh Wren

And here’s a Great Egret in flight (Philadelphia – John Heinz “Impoundment”):

Great Egret in flight

And just for fun, can you count how many Great Blue Herons are in this picture?

Great Blue Herons galore!



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Barred Owl

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)

Barred Owl

Barred Owl

Barred Owl

Barred Owl demonstrating what my neck can’t do.

Barred Owl looking me right in the eyes.

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!

Barred Owl – close up

All good things have to come to an end, and our friend finally flew off.

Like something right out of Harry Potter.

See you next time….

Barred Owl flying away.


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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:




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Birding while not busy…

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”:

Gray Catbird and Yellow Warbler

A couple of vireos:

Red Eyed Vireo

White Eyed Vireo


The very colorful Chestnut Sided Warbler:

Chestnut Sided Warbler

Everybody’s favorite, the Carolina Wren (in full throat):

Carolina Wren

And, keeping the mosquito population down, a couple of bug-eating birds:

Eastern Kingbird

Eastern Phoebe

A Red Winged Blackbird cutting loose:

Red Winged Blackbird

And lastly our old friend the Barred Owl, which continues to be seen on the Bridle Trail, Ridley Creek State Park (PA):

Barred Owl

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Barred Owl

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:

Barred Owl

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?

Barred Owl and Wood Thrush

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.

Barred Owl in contemplation

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.

Barred Owl in flight

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