Archive for category Nature

“Double the lad’s bet for me, you toad!”

Toad:

Unidentified Toad

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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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A Walk in the Park

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):

A wary fox

A fox a bit more relaxed

I really like Baltimore Orioles and their cheery whistling.  Here are some pics:

Baltimore Orioles at play (I think…)

Baltimore Oriole in flight

Ovenbirds are easy to hear (“teacher teacher Teacher Teacher TEACHER!”), but not so easy to see. But today one very kindly made himself available.

Ovenbird

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.

A (blurry) Kentucky Warbler on the ground

Kentucky Warbler singing

Kentucky Warbler perched

Kentucky Warbler

I thought this was a nice shot of a Veery:

Veery

And, just because I like ’em, an Eastern Towhee:

Eastern Towhee

 

 

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Before the storm comes, birding…

Northern Flicker

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Cinco de Mayo con las aves

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.]

Some pics:

Hooded Warbler

Canada Warbler

Veery

Chestnut Sided Warbler

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Spring Sing

It was a beautiful morning in Okehocking Nature Preserve.  It is always fun when you can see birds singing their little heads off…even better if you can snare a picture of them caught in the act.  Here are a few:

Gray Catbird singing (or whatever you want to call that crazy thing they do)

Song Sparrow singing (but of course they are ALWAYS singing)

Carolina Wren singing (as usual)

Warbling Vireo warbling

Yellow Warbler singing sweet, sweet, so sweetly

The complete list of our sightings today is as follows:

Canada Goose – Branta canadensis

Wood Duck – Aix sponsa

Mallard – Anas platyrhynchos

Great Blue Heron – Ardea herodias

Turkey Vulture – Cathartes aura

Red-tailed Hawk – Buteo jamaicensis

Solitary Sandpiper – Tringa solitaria

Rock Pigeon – Columba livia

Mourning Dove – Zenaida macroura

Chimney Swift – Chaetura pelagica

Red-bellied Woodpecker – Melanerpes carolinus

Downy Woodpecker – Picoides pubescens

Northern Flicker – Colaptes auratus

White-eyed Vireo – Vireo griseus

Warbling Vireo – Vireo gilvus

Blue Jay – Cyanocitta cristata

Tree Swallow – Tachycineta bicolor

Barn Swallow – Hirundo rustica

Carolina Chickadee – Poecile carolinensis

Tufted Titmouse – Baeolophus bicolor

White-breasted Nuthatch – Sitta carolinensis

Carolina Wren – Thryothorus ludovicianus

House Wren – Troglodytes aedon

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher – Polioptila caerulea

American Robin – Turdus migratorius

Gray Catbird – Dumetella carolinensis

Northern Mockingbird – Mimus polyglottos

European Starling – Sturnus vulgaris

Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas

Yellow Warbler – Setophaga petechia

Yellow-rumped Warbler – Setophaga coronata

Song Sparrow – Melospiza melodia

White-throated Sparrow – Zonotrichia albicollis

Northern Cardinal – Cardinalis cardinalis

Red-winged Blackbird – Agelaius phoeniceus

Common Grackle – Quiscalus quiscula

Baltimore Oriole – Icterus galbula

American Goldfinch – Spinus tristis

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A couple more pics (just ’cause I like ’em).

Barn Swallow

Tree Swallow

Common Yellowthroat (or some kind of bird bank robber...)

White Eyed Vireo (note the YELLOW around the eyes)

Yellow Warbler again

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