Monday, February 29, 2016

Bombay Hook NWR

Yesterday was only the fifth sunny day in the Philadelphia area during February. We took full advantage and went early morning to Bombay Hook NWR near Smyrna, Delaware. The refuge during winter in a prime location for observing wintering waterfowl, and there were abundant numbers in attendance.

But the highlight of this preview-of-Spring day was two songbirds.

In fresh Spring plumage, Tufted Titmice were enthusiastically singing. Actually, their singing was vocal dueling. The ladies were nearby watching, listening, and assessing.

Tufted Titmouse

The second songbird highlight was the Yellow-rumped Warbler. They were not yet singing, but they showed clear signs that song fests are not far off - they were well along in their molt to breeding plumage, as this individual will testify. His yellow cap and sides are much more brilliant than in winter plumage, but the black and white of his body is not quite as crisp as it will be when he makes his way north.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Among the waterfowl, I was especially pleased at the number of Tundra Swans. I counted upwards of 80 in the various pools. I usually see them along the mid-Atlantic coast during winter, but rarely in the numbers I saw yesterday.

Tundra Swans (Shovelers in foreground)

All of the usual puddle ducks, and a few diving ducks, were present, and the drakes were brilliant in fresh breeding plumage.

Northern Shovelers
Northern Shovelers
Northern Pintails
Ring-necked Duck
Can you identify these dabblers?

 And finally ... this first year Great Blue Heron has yet to achieve the resplendent plumage of a breeding adult, but he/she survived its first winter.

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

The day ended with 40+ species. Not too bad for late winter birding.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Birding in DC

No winter birding trip this year.

Spent 4 days last weekend in Washington DC, with coincidental birding during long walks each day around the National Mall, with a species tally somewhere around 25.

(I had my "walk-around" lens (16-300mm) which is adequate for landscape and cityscape, but not that great for birds.)

Most entertaining sighting was a Red-tailed Hawk being mobbed by American Crows.

Red-tailed Hawk being mobbed by crows

"Enough, already!!"
 The best surprise was a fast fly-by of a Peregrine Falcon, and the Northern Shovelers and Ring-necked Ducks on the pond by Constitution Gardens.

Northern Shovelers with Canada Geese
Ring-necked Ducks
 A few other birds which sort-of  posed for a photo ...

Ring-billed Gull
Northern Mockingbird
Double-crested Cormorant
 On the first day, I thought my birding might be limited to the Snow Geese on display in the "Castle" of the Smithsonian.

Snow Goose in Smithsonian display

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Waterfowl at Heinz

A few days ago we did the circuit stroll at Heinz NWR in Philadelphia (the first urban wildlife refuge).

The eagles were on or near their nest, and soon will be incubating.

In the impoundment, plenty of waterfowl. A skim of ice on the water did not effect the birds as they landed, although they were clearly cautious as they landed. In preparation for the breeding season, the drakes were in their best attire. A few samples from the day.

Green-winged Teal

Green-winged Teal

Green-winged Teal and Northern Shoveler (hen)

Northern Shoveler

Northern Shoveler (drake and hen)

Canada Geese

Canada Geese


Good Birding!!


Related Posts with Thumbnails