Monday, April 30, 2007

Deck Birds today

I still had my digiscoping setup set up. Got a couple of pictures at the feeder. The first-of-year catbird sighting. Note the goldfinch landing on the closeline in the background of the first catbird picture. Is the catbird on the catbird seat?

Clicked the shutter just as the downie turned to fly away with his prize.
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Huntley Meadows is the best!

I didn't feel like getting up in time for the 7AM bird walk this morning. There! I said it! So, after I got up and had some coffee, I wandered over to Huntley Meadows to see what might be over there. It was spectacular.I missed the blackburnian warbler that others saw, but I did see a sora, two snipe, a red-eyed vireo, many solitary sandpipers, a least sandpiper, a semi-palmated plover, a little blue heron, a pileated woodpecker; many of which are pictured below. All pictures digiscoped with my Canon 10D, 800mm adapter and Swarovski 65HD.

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Huntley Meadows Part II

A song sparrow was busy in the mud.

Leaving the wooded area, some fellow birders spotted this pileated woodpecker on the ground. My camera was still set for the brightness of the pond, not the deep woods, so the pictures are a little dark (they were VERY dark) and grainy.

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Huntley Meadows this morning

A little blue heron was on the back part of the great marsh.

Nearby, a large number of solitary sandpipers kept busy.

A fellow birder spotted this nearby snipe who was leisurely probing the mud almost in front of us.

Leaving the boardwalk, I found this frog when a family pointed it out to their small child. Here he is in full "ribbit," throad swelled out to make a big sound.
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Friday, April 27, 2007

Hawks and Clean Up

Fred and I went to check on the hawk's nest (no pics today). It was a successful trip; the hawk was still on the nest, and while we were there, the other hawk flew in, calling loudly and then perched briefly in a nearby tree before flying back out again. It never actually went to the nest, and wasn't carrying anything. We speculated that it was checking in, like any good spouse. The leaves are coming in, but there still seems to be some good gaps for looking at the nest. We'll see how it goes.

While we were waiting to see what happened next, we started policing the area a bit. It's a local park, and even though there are trash cans everywhere, people tend to litter, so we picked up some trash and then walked over to the little creek (crick as my PA grandma would say) that runs through it to remove the bicycle and the shopping cart we had spotted there on a previous trip. The bicycle needed some work so Fred propped it up next to a trash can. The cart was in great shape, so we decided to wheel it over to the store (a Safeway), about a half mile away. Since we had the cart, we cleaned up as we went. We ended up with an automobile tire, a complete bag of trash, 30-40 bottles and cans and other assorted trash, all dumped along the little path and stream through the park. Sheesh! We snuck the trash into several dumpsters behind the shopping center, despite the "no public dumping" signs (What else were we going to do with it?) and returned the cart to the Safeway. So we did our Earth day bit.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Swans at Great Marsh

There was a huge flock of trumpeter swans at Great Marsh in March.
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White Breasted Nuthatch

I never seem to be able to get a good picture of a white-breated nuthatch. This is one of my best shots, using my digiscoping setup.
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A late Junco

The VA blue book (out of date now, a new one is coming out) lists April 20th as the late day for Juncos. Here's a junco outside in our yard onthe 20th that doesn't seem to know how late it is! I was playing with my digiscope when I spotted it; didn't have time to take a better picture before it flew off.
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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Love is in the air!

These two cardinals were doing some courting on our deck. Get a room! Sorry it's not sharper--I was shooting through the patio door from a distance.
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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Woodpeckers on deck

We've had red-bellies and downies on the suet feeder so far this spring, but no haires yet. Note the goldfinch queueing up for the nearby suet feeders.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Red Shouldered Hawk in the wind

I went by the nest today to check on it after the big winds last night. I didn't get any usable pictures due to the wind--the nest was still swaying back and forth in about a 5-6 foot arc--but the hawk was still on the nest!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Red-shouldered hawk on nest

Fred and I went back to see how the hawks were doing. The 2nd hawk flew in and out briefly when we first arrived but we never saw it again during the 45 minutes we were in the area. The female(?) never left the nest while we were there, so we assume there are eggs already laid.
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Red Fox in the backyard

The red fox we saw on our deck last week was back in the yard today. Fred saw him and called me to the window. Here are pictures of the fox hunting in our brush pile in the back. (The brush is there as a sanctuary for small animals, and apparently it works.) The first picture is what we first saw when we looked out--the fox has its eye on something.
He's stalking it.
Getting ready....
Did he get it?
Apparently not!
He then trotted right by the house and into the front yard. This is enroute. Do foxes do the foxtrot?
He was trotting left to right up our street when a car came and he took off running like a shot back to the safety of the woods.
Well, it wasn't a bird, but it sure was fun!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Red Shoulder on the nest

My husband and I were walking through a small regional park very near our house when we heard a hawk calling. We stopped and looked up in time to see a hawk flying to a branch. We looked around some more and spotted this nest. We backed away a bit to give the hawk a comfort zone and the hawk flew back to the nest. As we watched, a hawk already on the nest shifted a bit. I had neither binos nor scope and rain was threatening, so we came home. I returned the next morning with fellow birder (as if we have comparable skill levels--not!) Paula Sullivan and I got this digiscoped shot of the nest. The hawk's tail is visible in the left hand "v" and the hawk itself is looking at us from under the crossed branches in the righthand crook. While we were there the other hawk flew in, perched on a nearby branch and then flew back out, presumably hunting.

We'll be back!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Osprey at Dyke Marsh

Three shots of an osprey working on his or her nest, digiscoped today from Belle Haven Marina south of Alexandria, VA using my Pentax point-and-shoot and my scope.

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Red Shouldered Hawk

Immature red-shouldered hawk at Dyke Marsh today. Digiscoped from the Belle Haven marina using my Pentax point-and-shoot and my scope.
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