Sunday, February 26, 2017

More Sun- More Food -More Birds

 We had a winter warm-up this week with temperatures exceeding 60 degrees. Most of the snow melted and the birds were loving it. I've seen Mourning Doves basking in the sun....
 American Robins have already started their switch from a winter-berry diet to picking out meaty morsels as the surface of the soil begins to thaw.....
...and this Northern Cocky-mocker left its highly guarded berry-bush to head out on ground patrol. We've had a nice taste of spring and the real thing will soon be here!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Ruddy Ducks Catching A Little Sun

  I had the pleasure of seeing Ruddy Ducks sunning themselves this morning. 
It is usually difficult for me to get a good view of the subtle plumage detail on the wintering Ruddy Ducks.- (breeding males have bold color)
From a distance I usually identify these diving ducks out by seeing their scoop-shaped bills and upright tales.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Don't Prejudge A Cloudy Winter Day

 When I looked out the window early this morning I was discouraged by the sight of piled up snow and grey skies. I decided to take a pass on birding for the day and headed to the local diner for breakfast but tossed my birding gear into my trunk just in case I had a change of heart. 

After breakfast I decided to take a ride down to the shore just to have a quick look around. I took my camera out to snap a picture of a Hooded Merganser that had his bill tucked in. I was happy to see that there was just enough light to get some bird photos.
 I found a nice flock of Horned Lark picking through piles of sticks and dirt protruding though the snow. I only spent about an hour at the shore but was able to add Brant, Horned Grebe, and Black Scoter to my year list. 
Just as I was about to arrive home, I noticed a large number of ducks down in the brownstone quarries. Not surprisingly, most of them were Mallards.What I didn't expect to see was over 20 Wood Ducks swimming near the shoreline. I rarely see them here and certainly didn't expect to find them in the middle of February!

Ignoring the cloudy skies and piled up snow turned out to be a good decision. I was able to see some unexpected birds and it turned out to be a warm and comfortable day considering it's the middle of winter.