Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tundra Swans, Accotink Bay WR

Two of the seven tundra swans we saw at Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge, Ft. Belvoir, VA. Posted by Picasa

White Pelican at Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge, Ft. Belvoir, VA

My husband Fred and I decided to take advantage of the good weather and go out to a park. Since a white pelican had been seen at Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge, and we hadn't been there before, that was our destination. Luck was on our side, and as we got out of the car, I spotted a large white object in the water on the far side of the bay. The binos indicated it was a bird; the scope that it was indeed a white pelican.

The last two pics where the pelican appears closest are digiscoped shots--I'd never had good success before but these didn't turn out too badly by my standards

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Eagle Release at Mason Neck State Park

My husband Fred and I heard that a rehabilitated eagle was to be released at Mason Neck State Park, so, being good retired folk with nothing better to do, we trotted on down.

The eagle, very ill, had been recovered in Kingstowne, near Springfield, VA and taken to the Wildlife Center of Virginia for rehabilitation. (Click on the link for the full story of the eagle and to learn more about the tremendous work the Wildlife Center does.)

When we arrived, the lot, normally deserted in the middle of the week during the fall, was full of cars. Unemployed (LOL!) birders from around the area had descended on Mason Neck State Park to see the show. There were also at least three TV crews covering the event. The best online coverage can be found at WUSA channel 9's website. (You can see my bright yellow jacket in one of the pictures!)

Ed Clark of the Wildlife Center was there to talk to the media and the birders and to release the bird. The Wildlife Center trains wildlife rehabilitators from around the world and recently treated its 45,000th animal since its inception in 1982. The eagle had been there for a month being treated.

A reporter asked Ed if the animals appear to be grateful for the help they're given. With a wry laugh, Ed said "No, and that's a good thing. They're wild and we want them to stay wild."

When Ed opened the rear hatch of his truck, it was quite apparent that he had a still very wild bird inside. The sheet-covered animal carrier was rocking from side to side with audible thumps coming from inside the carrier.

He donned his heavily padded leather gloves and carefully removed the eagle from the carrier. A Fairfax County, VA police officer involved in the initial rescue helped to remove the white bumpers protecting the wing joints. The eagle did not appear to be grateful...

Eagle at Mason Neck State Park

The wing bumpers removed, Ed prepares to release the eagle, who seems very eager to be free. "I'm going to hold the eagle as I answer a few questions, and then I'll warn you before I free the eagle. If all works well, she'll fly away. However, I should warn you, if you see an eruption of red fluid that looks like my blood, I'll be releasing her early." (Nervous laughter from crowd.) Note reaction of police officer to the bird's struggles.

One, Two, Three, Launch!

The eagle paparazzi part and Ed launches the eagle...

Let the Eagle Soar

The Eagle Soars! As Ed tosses the bird up, she (?) takes wing and flies up, to the left and out of sight! (Click here to listen to John Ashcroft sing "Let the Eagle Soar!" LOL!)

Monday, August 21, 2006

Downy and Hairy woodpecker comparison. Here are pics, in similar positions on the same feeder, of a downy and the hairy woodpecker that visited our feeder. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Fish vs. snake at Dyke Marsh

We were watching this fish and snake literally locked in mortal combat for a good while before they suddenly got quite close to shore. This was the first pic I took, not quite sharp, but they were frozen like this for several seconds.

This was maybe three or four feet from the shore.

Thanks to Glenn and Mary Alice for leading the walk!Posted by Picasa

Fish vs. snake, continued

Here are more from a series of shots I took this morning of a life and death battle between a fish (perch?) and a water snake. We're not sure which attacked which.
The battle continues...
Finally the fish got loose and the snake rested on this log, sides heaving.... Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Hairy Woodpecker

A series of pictures of the Hairy Woodpecker that visited our feeder this morning.

We've had fleeting sightings of the Hairy, who never seemed to stay long, but this time he was there for quite a while, long enough for me to get my camera and get in position for some good pics. There's no doubt when a hairy arrives--so much bigger than the downies!

Note the large beak, and the lack of black barring on the white tail feathers, also. The Hairy is about 25-50 percent larger than a downy.

 Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 31, 2006

Great Blue Heron, Huntley Meadows, Fairfax County, VA. Posted by Picasa

Brown Thrasher, immature. Huntley Meadows, Fairfax County, VA. Posted by Picasa

Early morning Huntley Meadows, Fairfax County, VA. Posted by Picasa

Swamp Hibiscus? Huntley Meadows, Fairfax County, VA. Posted by Picasa

Carolina Wren, Huntley Meadows, Fairfax County, VA. Singing away! Posted by Picasa

Water lily, Huntley Meadows, Fairfax County, VA. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Turtle, Huntley Meadows, Fairfax Co., VA. Posted by Picasa

Common yellowthroat, Huntley Meadows, Fairfax Co., VA. Posted by Picasa

Bullfrog, Huntley Meadows, Fairfax Co., VA. Posted by Picasa