Saturday, June 24, 2017

Back To The Kid-In-The-Field Mentality

 When I was a young boy I didn't know that people who called themselves birders walked around fields specifically looking for birds. Any field meant a treasure hunt for me. I was curious about everything I found whether it be a rusty old farm nail or a dragonfly. It really didn't matter. Everything was fascinating.
 As the years went by, I lost some of that curiosity and excitement. I became more selective about what I was willing to take the time to look at. Now I find myself walking along the predetermined paths looking mostly for birds (Bobolink above). When I as a kid there was no such thing as a path. The only path was between where I was standing and where I wanted to go.
As I wandered around the Frederick White Farm in Durham my memory carried me back to what it was like being a kid out in a field. I was still there looking for bird like I do now..... (Eastern Kingbird above)
 but I also spent time looking at the butterflies (Cabbage White above) and damselflies (Ebony Jewelwing below).  
I can never truly be a kid in a field again but maybe remembering what it was like can add a little spark. 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Just Enough Time For The Power Lines

 I think that many of us, including me, wish we had more time to do the things we want to do. Birding falls into that category. I had only had a little time to spare this weekend so I took a quick trip up to the local power lines. I just noticed that my car is down at the bottom of the picture.
 Another category are the things that I should do. There a lot of things that I should have done but put them on the back burner and went birding instead. The deer seems to be looking down at me in judgment.
 It was only an hour of birding but it was a valuable hour. My trip to the power lines was worth it as I had nice views of Indigo Buntings  and this Prairie Warbler hiding in the cedars. Right now I am locked me into category 3: things that have to be done. Some times you don't get a choice. Birding will have to take a back seat for now but I'm going to try to squeeze in an hour of birding each week.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Cuckoo Birding

 I haven't posted on the blog for a while but I've still been out and about birding over the last couple of weeks randomly visiting places with no real strategy in mind.

 I'm not sure what that Killdeer (above) is eating but it looks as though whatever it has passed the "sell by" date. 
 I made a visit to Devil's Hopyard. A singing Winter Wren, Magnolia Warblers, and Acadian Flycatcher were among the more interesting birds I found at this location.
 I like to get out early as we start to enter warmer weather and have seen deer like this one which was crossing the road at Gillette Castle state park.
 I did a little cabin camping at a privately owned campground. State campgrounds that I usually stay at are opening late this year and some have been closed due to budget cuts. It was a different experience staying at a private campground which had a store, swimming pool, and even had music playing in their bathrooms.
I was happy to get a nice view of this Yellow-billed Cuckoo at Gillette castle park. They seem to be plentiful this spring but are more often heard than seen. I usually have a difficult time even getting a glimpse of one. 

Yellow-billed Cuckoos eat as 100 tent caterpillars at one sitting.You can find more information about these unique and interesting birds on Cornell's All About Birds website.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

5 Ways I've Been Taking Shortcuts While Birding

 There are so many new birds arriving this time of year that I find myself taking shortcuts while birding. Here are 5 examples:

1) Ears only:When I'm walking through the woods I rely mostly on my ears to hear signs of bird activity. If I don't hear anything then I keep moving unless...
2) Scanning for movement: I scan treetops for movement. I ignore common birds like robins and chickadees while trying to locate movement of warblers or other migrant birds.
3) Skip the list: Sometimes I don't keep a complete list of birds if I'm looking for particular species. I just look for new species and don't bother tracking birds I've already seen. Sorry eBird. I know that is frowned upon.
4) Right bird right location: After a while you get to know when and where you can find certain species of birds in your area. For example, Chestnut-sided Warblers can be tricky to find in my town so I went to the exact same spot I saw one last year and there was one waiting for me when I arrived.
5) Driving through the state forest at 5mph with my windows down and eyes wide open: this method allows you to cover a lot of ground that you wouldn't be able to cover by foot.

I'm not thrilled taking shortcuts. I'd rather just get out there and walk about slowly savoring every bird I see but there is just so much to see right now and getting warbler neck (pinched nerves from looking up in trees) is no joke. I need to get it out of my system before I can slow down again but that is something I am looking forward to.