Thursday, April 14, 2016

This Week at Heinz NRW

Plenty of signs at Heinz NRW that Spring is finally well entrenched. Waterfowl - except for the nesters - have moved on. Plenty of song activity from the residents or early arrivals, plus returning passerines present. A few images ...

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Palm Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warblers were not singing during mid-day, but were finally sporting their breeding finery ...

Yellow-rumped Warbler
The nesting Bald Eagles have hatched. This adult took off from the nest and flew overhead en route to the marsh and estuary for foraging ...

Bald Eagle
 This Carolina Wren was in a song duel with another nearby male ...

Carolina Wren
Mallards were on the nest. Most other ducks were gone, except for a few pairs of Green-winged Teal and a pair of Blue-winged Teal ...

Green-winged Teal (male and female)
Along the edge of the impoundment, a muskrat was foraging, while in many locations, turtles were enjoying the returning warmth of the Spring sun ...

Muskrate


Good Birding!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Spring in Philadelphia - Heinz NWR

Plenty of signs of Spring at Heinz refuge in Philadelphia in the form of early migrants and early nesting activity.

A particular treat today was the presence of a pair of Blue-winged Teal, which I have found to be uncommon on the mid-Atlantic coast and rare in Vermont.

Blue-winged Teal
Blue-winged Teal - pair
 The eagles appear to be on the nest, but too distant for any photos. In the early migrant category, Eastern Phoebes are "fee - bee - ing", and a flock of Pine Warblers proclaimed their buzzy presence ...

Eastern Phoebe
Pine Warbler
In the early breeding/nesting activity category, there was vigorous singing by cardinals, Song Sparrows, blackbirds, and robins. A mallard hen was on the nest while her mate kept wary watch nearby.
Mallard - hen on nest

American Tree Swallows were staking claim to nest boxes and actively seeking to pair bond.


American Tree Swallows
American Tree Swallow

Carolina Wren males were singing with enthusiasm. I observed several individuals who were giving a buzzy call, were not singing, and who appeared to be in early stages of finding/building nests in hidden places.They were also less richly colored. I suspect these were females.

Carolina Wren (female?)

Carolina Wren (female?)
A good opening chapter to the season of really Good Birding!!



Spring in Philadelphia - along Kelly Drive

The flowering trees are in their Spring-time glory. Its not quite peak for the cherry trees, but glorious anyway. A few samples from today in the museum district, near boathouse row, and along Kelly Drive ...






Thursday, March 24, 2016

Wood Ducks on the Wissahickon Creek

Wissahickon Creek near Valley Green Inn - part of Fairmount Park, Philadelphia - probably the best place anywhere to see Wood Ducks.

These gorgeous ducks are secretive, wary, and often elusive when they are in the north and on their breeding grounds. But along the Wissahickon in March (and again in November) they are close, and visible, though still quite wary.

This time of year they are also active as the drakes compete with one another for the attentions of the hens.

Here are few samples from today, a delightful Spring day, made the more so by the entertainment provided by the Woodies.










Thursday, March 17, 2016

Spring Signs - 2

No birds, or other things with wings, in this post, but plenty of Spring Signs to get me out of doors.

Cherry Trees along the Schuylkill River are ready to pop, and join the magnolias and other flowering trees in a riot of pastels ...










In addition to the return of song birds (previous post), the Spring temperatures also bring out the walkers, joggers, and bikers.


Boathouse Row will be alive with people late in the day when classes and work are over, and on the weekend.


Happy Spring!!

Spring Signs - 1

There have been lots of Spring Signs around the Philadelphia area during the last week.

At Heinz NWR the Rusty Blackbirds were back and the boys were singing there thin little blackbird song, while in the air the Tree Swallows were twittering their love songs and looking for territory to claim as their own.

Rusty Blackbird
American Tree Swallow

Not quite so quiet were the Red-winged Blackbirds, the Song Sparrows, and the chickadees (who provided photo ops), along with robins, cardinals, and wrens.

Red-winged Blackbird

Song Sparrow

Carolina Chickadee

Turtles were soaking up the sun, and the first butterfly of the season flittered through the woods, and toads were croaking their love song.


Eastern Comma

Waterfowl are decked in their finest (I never tire of the handsome shovelers or pintails).

Northern Shovelers

Along the Wissachickon Creek Wood Ducks (I counted at least 30) were resplendent.

Wood Duck (drake)
Wood Ducks
Wood Duck (hen)
 Good Birding!! and Happy Spring!

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