Monday, August 17, 2009

A Very Active Weekend - Mio - 08/16/2009

I have mentioned a couple of times that my birding has become a little limited, this is due to the fact that I need knee surgery and walking isn’t very pleasant at times. My weekends up north are my salvation to do my birding and in the past couple of months I can say “it’s been crappy”. I was beginning to think that all the birds went on vacation – even the Black-capped Chickadees who I thought were always around no matter what. This past weekend however was great. The first birds to hit the feeder behind the house was a Black-capped Chickadee, then came a White-breasted Nuthatch and sitting in a tree at the side of the house in the shade of the trees was an immature Eastern Phoebe.

I continued to fill all my feeders and then wait around for a while to see if I can here that “yank, yank, yank” from the White-breasted Nuthatch. Once he’s heard everybody comes a flying in. Feeders are all filled and now I’m off to go fishing – when I get back I’ll check the feeders to see if there’s been any activity while I was gone. Its 9 p.m. by the time we get back from fishing - so checking the feeders will have to wait til the morning.

Sunday morning with bag and camera and scope (if things are slow) and after making coffee I head out to my blind where there is more movement than I have seen in along time. The Black-capped Chickadees are everywhere, a Red-breasted Nuthatch flies in to the tree to my right and finds its way down to the feeder where I have black oiled sunflower seeds. In flies a White-breasted Nuthatch chasing the Red-breasted Nuthatch away. A little striped bird keeps bouncing through the thicket just below the window of my blind; finally he lands in a spot where I can get a look at it and then where I can actually get a picture. The bird is moving around so much that I’m taken by surprise when it lands on a branch an arm lengths reach out my window – a very pretty Black and White Warbler. This little one will come and go several times before he calls it quits.

As fast as the birds come in and entertain me they suddenly disappear and for a brief 20 minutes all is quiet except for a little bit of stirring in the thicket below my window. As I look down I catch the glimpse of something small moving around. I thought it might be a chipmunk checking around for seeds that I occasionally drop for him so he doesn’t get beat up by the squirrels. As I keep watching I see this little yellow face peek through – then the body and now he’s making his way to the top of branches – a Canada Warbler (a first for me). Since 9 a.m. and some 700 pictures later it is now 12:15 and time for lunch. I have taken photos of the Black-capped Chickadees, White and Red-breasted Nuthatches, an immature Eastern Phoebe, a young Chipped Sparrow and an adult, Black and White Warbler, Canada Warbler, the Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers, Blue Jays, Grackles and a Willow Flycatcher.

At lunch I mention to my better half that it’s been a year since I last saw the Pileated Woodpecker in our woods and to see him or her today would really top off my weekend. So after lunch I went back out to the blind and he went to take a nap before we head home. As I sit out there I watch a Hairy Woodpecker chase off a Downy Woodpecker. The Downy sits patiently waiting its turn to feed on the suet when the Hairy is done. In the meantime while sitting and watching I feel a nudge at the bottom of my chair, as I look down I see a chipmunk has come to visit. Since I really don’t want him in there for now I open the door and scurry him out the – as I step back in I look over to the left and notice my wish. There chipping away is a Pileated Woodpecker, a young one is my guess, and she didn’t seem to be bothered by my movements as I tried to get closer to get some photos. In fact, instead of flying away she kept coming closer to my blind with every short flight. She did land on a short stump that is just outside my blind which stands every bit of 24” and I would say that she came up ~6” short of that stump.

Approximately 200 shots later she flew away and I grabbed all of my toys, locked up my blind and headed for the house. This weekend truly did make up for what I haven’t been able to get in the past couple of months. Til my next post.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Birding By Car - 07/31/2009

With my birding being limited these days- I decided to take Friday off from work to do a little birding from my vehicle. Usually when I do this I travel down Compau Road but this morning I decided to head down Roberts Rd just to see - maybe even get lucky. As I travel I can see the birds flying back and forth across the road and with the morning sun on my left I can guarantee that's the side the birds are. A Song Sparrow sits on a wire with an Indigo Bunting sitting not too far from him.

When I got to the end of the road (and since there were cars there) I decided to park and take a short walk. I have never ventured that part and was amazed at how pretty the view was. I walked up to where there were some guys fishing and then turned around to go back to my vehicle. I stopped just outside the gate to watch the activity in a tree. When all was quiet I got into my vehicle and started my (very) slow drive back down Roberts Road.

I managed photos of a juvenile European Starling which worked it's way through the branches to the top of the tree - a couple of Goldfinches and a Yellow Warbler that sat very pretty while I snapped away. An Indigo Bunting flew up from the grasses and clung to the stalk long enough for me to get my first good shot of one. Several shots of a Cabbage White, a Common Sulfur and a Viceroy. While driving through I spotted a Black-billed Cuckoo with the hopes of him landing in a spot that would give me a decent shot. He did. My favorite out of all the birds I saw and photographed is the Cedar Waxwing. Last year was the first time I had ever seen one and this year I have seen them in abundance, such an elegant bird.

That was my outing - and it wasn't a disappointment.
Til my next post.