Sunday, May 26, 2019

Just Another Big Black Bird From A Distance.

 Birding is a great hobby but one of the drawbacks is you are constantly scanning the area looking for birds even when you're driving. I was passing by a city pond when a black bird caught my eye (note the arrow). Of course I had to turn my car around so that I could go back and take a closer look.
Double-crested Cormorants look like just some big black bird from the distance but they have some interesting features when you get a closer look. I think the spiky tail, aqua-colored eyes and distinct hooked bill are some of my favorite features of this prehistoric-looking bird.  They are related to the frigatebirds and boobies. Not everyone is fond of them, especially around fishing areas because they consume a lot of fish but I find them to be interesting.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Can Birds Ruin Our Connection With Nature?

 You might wonder how birds could possibly ruin our connection to nature? Birds should help to enhance our connection with nature. Unless, we become too obsessed with birding.
 If my only goal was to find the most bird species, I would probably pass over the chance to go hiking at a little known mountain laurel preserve. Instead, I would opt for a sure thing, where I knew there would be lots of birds.
 Finding a hidden towhee or two wouldn't be enough to satisfy my birding appetite. Then I remembered the thrill of seeing a towhee for the first time. It amazed me that these birds had always been around, yet I'd never seen one! I was probably hiking in a place just to enjoy the beauty of the landscape at the time.
 There was a time that being deep in the forest enjoying the sound of a brook spilling down the steep, wooded hillside would be enough to give me that thrill of nature. 
The sound of a Yellow-throated Vireo singing in the background would only enhance that experience.

 If we become focused only on tallying birds we may forget to appreciate the beauty of the habitat that surrounds us. Without it, there would be no birds, and their would be no us.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Two Warbling Migrants That Won't Keep Quiet!

Two of the more common spring migrants in our are the Yellow Warbler (above) and the Warbling Vireo (below).Yellow Warblers operate mostly near ground level. I saw 4 males in one location this weekend chasing each other around and trying to out-sing each other in an effort to see who claims rights to which real estate.

 They are frequent victims of Brown-headed Cowbirds who lay their eggs in the Yellow-Warblers nests in order to pass off the parenting responsibilities to the poor Yellow-Warbler. However, the warblers have figured out a way to outsmart the cowbirds by building another nest over the top of the cowbirds eggs!
Most new birders are haunted by the sound of the singing Warbling Vireo. They have a song that repeats the same pattern over and over all summer long but they aren't always the easiest birds to see. When you do find one it can be a little disappointing to find out that the source of all this singing is just a plain, drab grayish bird!

Monday, May 6, 2019

Red White & Blue

I saw this cardinal 10 years ago. I was standing silently in the middle of a mess of small trees. It landed so close to my face that I had to lean back to take a picture and I still couldn't get the whole bird!
I recently saw this great Egret at our local fairgrounds. I enjoy seeing these birds away from the shoreline where most of them seem to be.
I saw this Indigo Bunting at Machimoodus Park. They appear kind of black when the light isn't reflecting off their feathers. The park is already chock full of birds but someone likes to throw seed down to attract them to certain areas.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Falling Rain And Falling Birds

 Every year there comes a time in May when birds are literally dripping from the trees.This weekend brought rain and with it came a storm of migrant birds.
 The warbler action really started picking up as many new species have arrived including the Prairie Warbler that has an ascending song that reminds me of a glass being filled by pitcher of water.
 I didn't have the time to count all of the Great Blue herons at their nest sights so I stopped at 75.
 Even though it was cloudy with a light rain, it still turned out to be an incredible morning of birding, seeing about 50 species  including a handful of  Wood Ducks hiding in trees.

It gets a little crazy during the month of May. While you're trying to track down the movements of one bird you notice several more in your peripheral vision moving around in the trees. It can be a  tiring but it's a nice problem to have!