Monday, June 13, 2016

On May 30, I posted a photo of a redstart female building her nest. I returned to the location at the Hinsdale setbacks last Thursday. Although I knew "almost exactly" where that nest was being built, I could not find it, which I am sure is what the birds would want.

So I had to settle for a male redstart further down the bike trail, still protecting his territory with song. American Redstarts have been especially common this year (as opposed to Chestnut-sided and Black-throated Green Warblers which have been hard to find, even by voice, let along see them)

American Redstart
An amusing observation was a passing Great Blue Heron being angrily and aggressively escorted out of the territory of a Red-winged Blackbird.

Red-winged Blackbird and Great Blue Heron


At Wilson Wetlands in Putney, a Wood Duck hen led her two (surviving?) ducklings across open water and quickly disappeared in the willow thicket ...

Wood Duck hen with ducklings
Good Birding!!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Black-capped Chickadee

In early May, I watched a chickadee excavating this hole in a birch snag along the bike path at Hinsdale setbacks. I did not get a photo of the excavation because I had violated the number one rule for a good photograph - I did not have my camera with me. When I returned the next day, the chickadee was nowhere near the hole, although there was a lot of "action" in nearby trees.

Chickadee excavated holle
I continued to check the hole on several return trips, but there was no activity, although I could not imagine these small birds going to so much trouble for naught.

On Thursday, the "quiet abandonment" was at an end, as a pair of chickadees made visit after visit to the nest hole, clearly feeding hungry mouths inside. I think the photo series captures the frenetic activity of parent birds as they race to feed their voracious young.

Black-capped Chickadee carrying food








Good Birding!!

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Neighborhood Mergansers

On the Rock River behind my home, two pair of Common Mergansers were foraging and coyly courting until I wandered a little too close along the bank. Then they headed up-river, either to escape my prying eyes or to find an appropriate nest site.

Common Merganser, male

Common Merganser, male

Common Merganser, female
So great to have Good Birding right in the back yard!!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Early Nesting Activity

In the last week and a half I have seen lots of breeding evidence, with a few opportunities to photograph this activity.

When Vermont did the breeding bird atlas (2003-2007), June 1 was the safe date for many species, particularily for neo-tropical migrants. "Possible" and "Probable" designation were not acceptable. Breeding had to be confirmed. Of course, there were earlier safe dates, depending on the species.Those "safe dates" were pushed earlier for nearly all species during the course of the atlas survey.

Ten years later, I don't remember how that applied to different species, but my sense it that breeding is generally becoming earlier as Spring becomes earlier.

On May 15, I posted a photo of a Baltimore Oriole nest whose construction was nearly complete. The female was working on the nest (but not when I had my camera aimed, alas).

Here are a few more "Confirmed" breeding photos ...

American Redstart, female, May 21, Hinsdale setbacks, checking size, shape, and fit of the nest she was building ...

American Redstart
Eastern Phoebe, May 21, Hinsdale setbacks, carrying food to nest ...

Eastern Phoebe
Brown Thrasher, May 21, Hinsdale setbacks, carrying food to nest ...

Brown Thrasher
Black-throated Blue Warbler, female, May 23, West Dover, gathering nesting material (birch bark) while her mate kept an eye on me ...

Black-throated Blue Warbler, female
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler, female, May 21, West Dover, gathering nesting material ...

Yellow-rumped Warbler, female
And finally ... no birds. Just one of the many beaver ponds scattered throughout the Green Mountains and creating open space, edge, wetlands, and assorted nesting places for many species, and a tranquil scene for an early morning wanderer ...


Good birding!!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Red-winged Blackbird

There is always a temptation to overlook the common birds, especially when there are so many new arrivals filling the airwaves with song and wing.

But ... when I am birding with my camera I am also looking for the esthetic, the arresting, trying to grab a composition which fleets in and out of view.

Such happened with this Red-winged Blackbird a few days ago ...






Good Birding!!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Backyard Birding

The backyard has been very busy in the last couple of weeks. This is just a sample, beginning with the four pair of Evening Grosbeaks and three pair of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks ...

Evening Grosbeak (male)

Evening Grosbeak (male)
Evening Grosbeak (male) with Brown-headed Cowbird (male)

Rose-breasted Grosbeak (male)

Rose-breasted Grosbeak (male)

Rose-breasted Grosbeak (male) and Evening Grosbeak (male)
If the Blue Jay was a rare bird, we would fall over ourselves in admiration of its beauty, but they are common, noisy, and perceived as bullies - though in actuality, no worse than any of the other birds at the feeders who will chase off other birds to get their favored seeds. I love the jays - raucous rogues that they are ...

Blue Jay
Year round birds accustomed to our presence and almost pets, are the Tufted Titmouse and Black-capped Chickadee. This one came to the rock five feet from where I was sitting to grab a hunk of suet that had fallen from the eave feeder ...

Tufted Titmouse

Black-capped Chickadee
The Red-bellied Woodpecker has been in the neighborhood for about seven years. Unlike the Downy and Hairy which wait for me to put out the suet in the morning, the Red-bellies are still wary and shy, but eagerly come to the suet and feeders and always provide stunning entertainment ...

Red-bellied Woodpecker (male)

Red-bellied Woodpecker (male)
GOOD BIRDING !!!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Ooops! But Still Good Birding

Ooops! I forgot to bring the feeders in two nights ago, and the bear took down the suet and destroyed the tube feeder. Blame it on the little gray cells getting older and forgetful.

The birds noticed the absence and were feeding in different places, but I am confident getting every bit as much seed as before, while the squirrels perhaps got less.

Highlight of the day was the Indigo Bunting. Not a new yard bird, but one that does not visit the yard or feeders every year. This year he has been here and what a treat! ...

Indigo Bunting

Indigo Bunting

Indigo Bunting
Also, a rare treat was the female Baltimore Oriole which came briefly to the (replacement) suet feeder. Only once several years ago have I succeeded in attracting the orioles to the feeders. BTW, the oranges in the previous photo were put out in hopes they would draw the oriole. No luck there. The oriole did not cooperate on photos, so this is the only documentation I have ...

Baltimore Oriole (female)

With the absence of the tube feeder in the yard, the grosbeaks came to the window feeder right by the kitchen table - up close and personal with these gorgeous, if voracious, birds ...

Evening Grosbeak

Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (female)

And while I am on the grosbeaks, this is the first time I have seen a Rose-breasted Grosbeak visit the suet feeder ... just visible on the back side of the feeder ...

Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Finally ... just because ... at least two pair of Gray Catbirds have been in the yard and visiting the suet feeder, along with Downy, Hairy, and Red-bellied Woodpeckers, represented by the Downy below ...

Gray Catbird

Downy Woodpecker

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