Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Things with Wings - and Fur

This is a miscellany from our recent abbreviated trip to Philadelphia and birding environs.

I have photographed female, hatch year, and young male Blue Grosbeaks, but until my recent morning in Cape May, the adult male - a handsome specimen and melodic songster - has not come in range of my lens ...
Blue Grosbeak - adult male
Butterflies were beginning to emerge during our week in Philadelphia. The Eastern Tailed Blue (so small as to be almost a figment of the imagination) and the Silver-spotted Skipper were seen on the trails at the Schulykill Environmental Center in Philadelphia. The Spicebush Swallowtail was frequenting the butterfly garden at the Horticulture Center, West Fairmont Park, Philadelphia ...

Eastern Tailed-Blue
Silver-spotted Skipper
Spicebush Swallowtail
 In the "Fur" category, this Muskrat sidled up to the trailside in the marsh at Cape May Point State Park for a salad lunch ...

 And finally - neither winged nor furred, but fragrant and beautiful, was the wisteria in the woods of the Schulykill Center ...

Happy May!!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Ooops - I've got a red face

Ooops ... I was careless. The photo I labeled as Caspian Tern in the previous post is in fact a Forster's Tern taken soon after I shot the Caspian, and better than the Caspian. So I was hasty and did not look at it closely.

Here is the Caspian Tern.

Thanks to the alert reader who pointed out my error.

Caspian Tern

Sunday, May 17, 2015


Plans for a week of intensive birding went awry when my birding companion took a bad fall and sustained a severe arm fracture ... followed by emergency room, then surgery, then recovery.

Nevertheless, there were good moments before the accident, most notable of which were the terns at Forsyth NWR.

Forster's Terns were fishing along the auto drive. Combined with wonderful afternoon light, they provided excellent photo opportunities.

Forster's Tern
Forster's Tern

Forster's Tern
Forster's Tern
Forster's Tern
In the documentary category are the photos of Caspian Tern and Gull-billed Tern ...

Caspian Tern - NOT - in too much hurry to post
Gull-billed Tern (center - Forster's Tern)
Good Birding!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Veerys on the the Wissahickon

A bike ride along Wissahickon Creek was not only delightful, but surprising - surprising but the number of Veerys out in the open and unafraid. Clearly, they were not quite into breeding mode, but probably needed to refuel before beginning that arduous task. Other years I have heard them singing, but most sightings were limited to brief fly-bys.

The Wissahickon Creek is far and away the best place I know of to see and photograph Wood Ducks. Here is looks like she is inviting him ! ...

Wood Ducks
Swallows were feeding along the river - Tree, Bank, and a few very cooperative Northern Rough-winged Swallows ...

Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Good Birding!!

And by the way, Check out my other photo blog, Exploring Philadelphia. It should be more active now that I am back in the city for a while.

Did you know that Philadelphia is the only major city in the United States that has a covered bridge within its city limits?

Thomas Mill Bridge
 Good Birding !!

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Birding Heinz NWR

We are using Philly for a birding base for a few days. Began yesterday at Heinz NWR at Tinicum.

Highlight for me was the Bay-breasted Warbler which I have not seen for several years as it heads north to the boreal forest for breeding.

The bird was working high in the trees, so the photo is at best documentary ...

Bay-breasted Warbler
Of special interest was watching a Yellow Warbler visiting a local home building center, in this case an oriole nest. Nest seems in good order, as though it may be this year's nest. On other hand, no landlord appeared to chase off the materials gatherer, so perhaps the nest survived from last year ...

Yellow Warbler

Yellow Warbler
Another highlight was to see this Baltimore Oriole shopping at his local Whole Foods market.

Baltimore Oriole and webworm nest

Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole
A few additional photos, beginning with Gray Catbird which was everywhere!

Gray Catbird

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

American Redstart

American Redstart
Good Birding!!

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Spring Migration - Arrivals

Southeastern Vermont Audubon has done 2 walks along the old railroad bed at the Hinsdale Setbacks, listing species, and hoping to establish a baseline for future years.

Yellow-rumped Warblers have been the most numerous warbler to date, followed by Palm Warbler, and those are the only 2 which have provided photo ops.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Palm Warbler
On some occasions at the setbacks, Tree Swallows are been rife ...

Tree Swallows

After today's walk, I did my favorite type of birding - sitting on the back porch and watching the action around the yard. The new arrival today was the Rose-breasted Grosbeak ... at least 3 males. Girls haven't arrived yet.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Rose-breasted Grosbeak
The Evening Grosbeaks are back in numbers (yet to figure out how many pairs). They are using the maple just off the porch to do their courtship (when they aren't emptying the feeders of sunflower seeds). The boys are displaying their fine grosbeak genes ...

Evening Grosbeak displaying

Evening Grosbeak displaying
 Finches have also been abundant, including Pine Siskins ...

Purple Finch

Finch Feeder - Purple Finch (female), Pine Siskins, American Goldfinch
I don't want to neglect the year-round residents who endured the tough winter, and are now singing the hearts out. Black-capped Chickadee is just one ...

Black-capped Chickadee
And to add the downside to all of this, there have been plenty of Brown-headed Cowbirds ...

Brown-headed Cowbird
Good Birding !! ... and more to come

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Wetland Portraits

This is the final post from my Florida trip - a few "portraits."

Green Heron
Great Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
Purple Swamphen
White Ibis

... and my two favorites - one with "attitude," and one with "beauty."

Double-crested Cormorant
Tricolored Heron
Good Birding ! !

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Terns & More

Terns species sought after by birders were returning to their nesting grounds on the keys near Fort Jefferson. - Brown Noddies are flying close to the surface, Sooty Terns higher ...

Both species appeared fully engaged in courtship (bringing food for a potential mate) ...

Sooty Tern
Sooty tern
Brown Noddy
Brown Noddy
 Elsewhere around the island, there were a variety of pelagic and shorebird species. A sampling ...


Royal Tern

Black Skimmer
Good Birding ! !


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