Thursday, December 15, 2005

"Are you lookin' at me?" The cardinals, male and female, love our crepe myrtle bush. We've also seen juncos and white throated sparrows eating the seed pods.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Cedar Waxwings, Eakin Park, Annandale, VA. Dec 2005. There were about a dozen and a half of these cedar waxwings feeding in this vine covered tree. We got even better looks at them, but my camera battery had died by then. Still, the first recognizable (I think they're recognizable) pics of a cedar waxwing that I've had, so I'm happy. They're such elegant and beautiful birds.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Black vulture, Fairfax Co., VA. Nov 2005. I was on the way home from a birding expedition with Northern VA Bird Club at the Occoquan Bay NWR and saw two black vultures sitting in a tree in my neighborhood. Went home and got this picture of one of them. They were totally unconcerned with the traffic going by them.
Fort Hunt Park, VA. Nov 2005. Had a nice walk in the park and down to the river. Saw Canada geese, mallards, blue jays, robins, red bellied woodpecker, a hairy woodpecker, a probable bald eagle juvenile, a probable pine warbler, and this falcon.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Day trip--Houston to Galveston, TX. October 29th

While we were in Houston to see the Houston International Quilting Festival, we took a day to visit Galveston. Nice town; as good a seafood dinner as I've had anywhere; and good birding.
Piping plover. Galveston, TX. October 2005. On the beach outside the seawall.
Reddish Egret, Galveston, TX. October 2005. According to the bird guides, this egret will raise its wings into a canopy to shade the water to help it look for fish.
Reddish Egret. Galveston, TX, October 2005. While I was scanning all the standing birds to see what was there, I noticed the antics of this reddish egret. I'd never seen one before and, being used to the stately strides of the herons, I couldn't believe the frantic dashes of the egret.
Snowy egret among the gulls and yellowlegs.
Black-necked Stilts. Galveston, TX. In the same locale as the heron, the snowy egret, the reddish egret and the greater yellow-legs in the other pictures. We also saw pelicans and grackles on this trip
Great Blue Heron, Galveston, TX. The ubiquitous great blue....
Royal Terns, Galveston, TX, October 2005. These terns were perched on a small sandbar; at other end some local folks were fishing by tossing nets--we think maybe shrimping?
Neotropic Cormorants. Galveston, TX, October 2005. These cormorants were perched on the lines mooring the Elissa, an historic sailing ship. The white at the edge of the beak is visible in when zoomed in on the original photos.
We took a day trip from Houston to Galveston. Had a great day and saw a lot of birds in a short time (or at least by my standards). There were a lot of laughing gulls flying around the restaurant where we had dinner.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Pictures from our New England Trip September 2005

We drove to Maine in September, staying in Ogunquit, Camden, Bar Harbor and Seal Cove along the coast. I managed to do a bit of birding. On the way back, we stopped in Cape May, NJ for a wonderful two nights. I managed birdwalks on both mornings while we were there. Pictures from the trip follow.
Mute Swans, Cape May, NJ. Sept 2005. There were several swan "clusters" that flew over us. We could hear the whistling wings in flight quite clearly.
Hawk Watch, Cape May, NJ. Sept 2005. One of the boardwalk platforms overlooking the wetlands adjacent to the beach in Cape May. We saw a sharp-shinned, a couple osprey, a belted kingfisher hovering in the air and then diving, and the ubiquitous mallards.
Totem, Higbee Beach WMA, Cape May, NJ. Sept 2005. Someone carved this face in a dead tree along the beach. That's the rest of our bird group in the background. On this walk, I saw a black-throated blue warbler, a black-and-white warbler and a flock of bobolinks flying overhead, along with others I've seen before, such as northern flickers (a lot of them) and an American redstart.
Horseshoe Crab, Higbee Beach WMA, Cape May, NJ. Sept 2005. Our guide rescued this horseshoe crab, which was upside down on the beach, and set her in the surf to return to the sea.
Caspian Tern, Higbee Beach WMA, Cape May, NJ. Sept 2005. I took a morning birdwalk led by the local Audobon Society. We didn't see a lot, but I did add three new birds. (This wasn't one of them).
Meadowhawk Dragonfly, Eagle Lake, Acadia NP, ME. The bright color of the dragonfly against the rocky shore of Eagle Lake was quite eye-catching.,
Great Blue Heron, Eagle Lake, Acadia NP, Sept 2005. After Fred finished his run around the lake, he picked me up on Cadillac Mtn (see next picture) and we went back to stroll a bit around the lake. We didn't see much in the nature of wildlife, but it is SUCH a beautiful place. This heron did let us watch it for several minutes, at times much closer than in this picture.
Hawk watch, Cadillac Mtn, Acadia NP, ME. Sept 2005. I joined the annual Hawk Watch atoop Cadillac while Fred went for a run along Eagle Lake in the Park. We didn't see a whole lot of hawks. Consensus (I didn't see any of them well enough to identify) was several sharp-shinned, two kestrels, two merlins, some osprey, a hummingbird (I did see that one--it flew right past us on the top of the mountain!), some vultures. While at the top, I also saw an eastern towhee and a black-capped chickadee.
Double-crested Cormorant, Camden, ME. Sept 2005. In the dock area in Camden.
Mockingbird, Ogunquit, ME, September 2005. Ogunquit has a walking path along its coastline called the Marginal Way, given to the villiage by the "Hon. Josiah Chase" in 1925. This mockingbird was checking me out as I took my walk.
Great Cormorant, Ogonquit, ME, September 2005. Taken on the same boat trip as the Common Eider below.
Common Eider, Ogonquit, ME. September 2005. We were on a sightseeing trip by boat, and the common eider were, well, common.
Black Guillemot, Camden, ME, September 2005.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Dyke Marsh Bird Walk, Sunday, June 10, 2005

Orchard Oriole, Dyke Marsh, Alexandria, VA. The brick red of the Orchard Oriole is unmistakable.
Baltimore Oriole & nest. Dyke Marsh, Alexandria, VA. This is a different nest than we saw before.
Yellow-billed cuckoo, Dyke Marsh, Alexandria, VA. This picture doesn't do this beautiful bird justice, but it was the only chance I got before the cuckoo flew away. We saw a pair.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Monday Morning Bird Walk, Huntley Meadows, Alexandria, VA.

Green Heron, Huntley Meadows Park, Alexandria, VA. Breakfast. In addition to this beauty and the other birds pictured below, we saw a pileated woodpecker, a redbellied woodpecker, a red-shouldered hawk, three bluebirds, a ruby throated hummingbird, numerous Canada geese and redwinged blackbirds, an Eastern phoebe, cardinals, two killdeer, tree swallows, barn swallows and mallards. The group also saw some American black ducks, which I unfortunately missed! One of my few trips to Huntley without a new bird.
Racoon, Huntley Meadows Park, Alexandria, VA. On his way to the turtle egg buffet?
Hooded Merganser and babies, Huntley Meadows Park, Alexandria, VA. We saw three female mergansers and their babies.
Snake, Huntley Meadows Park, Alexandria, VA.
Snapping Turtle laying eggs, Huntley Meadows Park, Alexandria, VA. I'm told the racoons are making dinner reservations for the turtle egg buffet as these eggs are being laid.
Eastern Kingbird, Huntley Meadows Park, Alexandria, VA.
Common Yellowthroat, Huntley Meadows, Alexandria, VA. We got a long good look at this yellowthroat.
Turtles, Huntley Meadows Park, Alexandria, VA. No more room at the inn....
Red Fox, Huntley Meadows Park, Alexandria, VA. "Here's looking at you, kit." There have been reports of lots of red fox activity at Huntley Meadows. (I stole the bad pun from a fellow birdwatcher on this morning's walk.)

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Dyke Marsh, Alexandria, VA. June 5, 2005

Tree Swallow, Dyke Marsh, Alexandria, VA. The same tree swallow nest in the following picture.
Tree Swallow, Dyke Marsh, Alexandria, VA. Fred and I were hiking Dyke Marsh with our friend Blake Sullivan and came upon this dead tree hosting a tree swallow nest. Here the male is launching himself out to get more dinner for the babies.
White Breasted Nuthatch, backyard feeder, Alexandria, VA. I'm still trying to get a good nuthatch picture. This is my best one yet.
Downy Woodpecker, backyard feeder, Alexandria, VA. This male downy brought young downies to the feeder for several days. The young downy would squeal away until the male fed him. Apparently the male downy raises the kids.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Occoquan, Virginia & Occoquan NWR

Great Blue Heron & lunch? Occoquan Water Treatment Plant Dam, VA. We watched this heron struggle with this immense catch for quite awhile while some human fishermen looked on enviously. We left before he had figured out what to do with it.
Eastern Kingbird. Occoquan NWR. We enjoyed watching this kingbird periodically fly out and gnat catch. The white band on the tail was quite distinctive.
Northern Mockingbird, Occoquan NWR. May 2005. Not an unusual bird, but I liked the photo.
Possible 1st year Blue Grosbeak? Occoquan National Wildlife Refuge. Still trying to figure this one out. Any help appreciated. May 2005.
Possible 1st year Blue Grosbeak? Occoquan National Wildlife Refuge. Still trying to figure this one out. Any help appreciated. May 2005.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Monday Morning Bird Walk, Huntley Meadows, VA

Green Heron, Huntley Meadows Park, Alexandria, VA. We got a good look at this heron, off the informal trail at Huntley Meadows.
Immature tree swallows, Huntley Meadows, Alexandria, VA. May 2005. The adult kept nearby, watching over these young'uns.
Pileated Woodpecker, Huntley Meadows Park, Alexandria, VA. May 2005. This handsome fellow flew up while we were on the informal path at Huntley, then flew on and drummed very loudly just a few feet away!