Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cape May Warbler - 11/19/2011

I have tried to post this picture on Cornell Ornithology's wall but I am having difficulties so I've decided to take another approach. Found this little beauty at Pte Moiullee in Rockwood on Saturday 11/19. My friend Jerry Jourdan made an inquiry with another birder Allen Chartier and he said that this Cape May Warbler is a very late bird for this area. There was one in Berrien County last Christmas, the only one reported in the entire state. Thanx guys for the help and info. Til my next post.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

From Birds to Beasts - October 8, 2011

Since October began the only day I went out to bird was October 1st, the weather was windy and slightly cold and the only bird I could get a shot of was this White-crowned Sparrow.

On Saturday the 8th my son and his girlfriend and I went up to Browns City to visit Summer Winds Wild Life Sanctuary. The sanctuary is non-profit and a USDA licensed facility that provides a place for these animals to live out their lives in a safe place. The people here all donate their time to keeping these animals fed, provide medical help and sheltering.

The reasons they come to the sanctuary are because they were unfortunate to fall into the hands of people who thought they would make good pets or because of circumstances beyond their control.

Passion (pictured here) was originally in a travelling show that didn't work out for her. She didn't like being moved from cage to cage or to be shown. Another tiger Pandora, was given up because she didn't turn out to be the white tiger they were hoping for. There are monkeys, alligators, a white tiger, grizzly bears and black bears. They have ducks, a white turkey, painted turtles, a skunk, donkeys, and cats who's development came from cross breeding a houshold cat with a leopard or tiger.

It was an educational day - they don't know what to expect when they get one of these animals. A tiger recently had a cub (it wasn't outside - too soon) so I would consider going back out next year to see it. There is a fee for the tour which goes towards taking care of the animals.

Next weekend - back to birding. Til my next post.

Friday, September 30, 2011

End of a Season - September 30, 2011

Well today is September 30th and the end of a season. The weather for the month of September was a little on the iffy side but still a good month for photos. The weather gave me the opportunity test my speedlite and see some warblers passing through. I've seen the changing colors of the Indigo Bunting and found out just how good my patience were when a Ruby-throat Hummingbird darted in and out.

A good percentage (98%) of the photos I took this month were all taken out by Pte Mouillee on Roberts Rd. A handful were taken at Lake Erie Metro Park. On one of my outings I was asked by a gentleman just how many different species have I photographed this year and I had to tell him I had never given that any thought. My goal was just to get that one picture that I hadn't gotten before. So I sat down and decided to count the birds that I photographed this month and came up with 31 different species not counting the raptors that were at the Hawk-fest.

At the Hawk-fest in Lake Erie Metro Park I took photos of: an Auger Buzzard (Africa's version of our Red-tail Hawk), Barbary Falcon (found in the Canary Islands and lower Middle East), Eurasian Eagle Owl (found in Europe and Asia - smaller than a Golden Eagle and larger than a Snowy Owl), Pharaoh Eagle Owl (found in Egypt, Sudan, Iraq, Israel, Kuwait, etc) and our Peregrine Falcon, American Kestrel and Red-tail Hawk.

Other photos taken this month were of a Cabbage White, Monarch, Buckeye, Saddleback Dragonfly, Bull frog, a smaller frog (haven't got a clue as to what kind), a snake, Morning Glories and Pokeweed. There were also some scenery photos taken as well.

And now on to October - til my next post.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Quiet Weekend - August 12, 2011

I spent this weekend at my brother's house - joining in with my sister-in-law in a yard sale. The first day (Friday) was very quiet so I sat out on the deck and decided to just watch the local visitors to their enormous flower bed. Good thing I brought my camera or I really wouldn't have anything to do. They get a lot of House Sparrows and an occasional American Goldfinch. In this huge grape vine that has spread out and onto the branches of the tree in their backyard lives two Cardinals. There was a Northern Flicker (heard and seen) but he just wouldn't co-operate to get a photo. When the birds disappeared I decided to photograph a bee that's been going through the Rose of Sharon like it's a fast food diner.

After a while I moved myself to the inside of the house where my brother is the owner of two dogs, Crash and Shadow and two cats. Malarkey came from the Wyandotte Animal Shelter about 4 years ago and the newest addition to their family is Dumpster. Dumpster was found by two kids who went to take the trash out to the dumpster and they heard him crying. Their mom was allergic so the next day she was telling my my sister-in-law about this and well she went and pick it up and brought this less than 5 week old kitten home. After a visit to the vet, eye drops for his eyes, some medicine and a safe spot to sleep this little guy is doing just fine.

Til my next post.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Photos - No Text - July 13, 2011

In the past three weeks I have found solitude in taking my photos from Roberts Rd. It always seemed that the same birds were always there (and for the most part didn't care). But there was a day that I decided that maybe I would just sit along side the Trumpet Bush and see if any butterflies might drop in - to my surprise this Ruby-throat Hummingbird made an appearance I couldn't have been happier.

For the rest of my photos click here.

Monday, May 9, 2011

All is Well With The Three - May 8, 2011

First off let me wish all moms a belated "Happy Mother's Day". Took Thursday morning off to see if I could find the three owlets that got abruptly evicted from their domain. It was a gorgeous day except for the two bus loads of Grosse Isle kids that walked the trail like they were at an amusement park. The birds were singing up a storm and then they came and the birds took cover. Fortunately I was ahead of them and did have a chance to spot two of the owlets perched on a tree off the trail to my left a ways before stepping onto the boardwalk.

On Friday I decided to take the day off and go see if I could find them again. On this day the Jefferson school kids were there and they were more interested in finding the items on their scavanger list. There was one little who was wondering what I was photographing so I took the time to explain that the Great Horn Owls in the park had three babies and that their home was destroyed by the windstorm we had a two weeks back. I asked them to look out where I was photographing and described the tree to them and to look real close to the one branch. There they saw one of the three perched. I had just taken a photo so I had them look at my camera. They thought that was so neat. There was also a group of little girls that passed through and they were curious as well. I went through the same explanation and told them there should be another around. One said "Is that one?" Just above my head (real close to the trail) sat another owlet. I'd like to think that hopefully this stimulated some new interests.

Saturday I stayed home to do some chores but on Sunday I was out early. The fragmites on Roberts Road near the gate is full of sound but the movement is staying out there. And at Campau Road there's a goose family with 6 little darlings and an Indigo Bunting that keeps flying around with the House Sparrows.
At Lake Erie Metro Park the word was they were all spotted even one of the parents. This is them one, two and three. One of the parents made an appearance when one of the little ones flew off to another tree. Til my next post.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Great Horned Owl - March 19, 2011

Between the snow and a situation that was out of my control March has definitely roared in. But Saturday was a calm day and I decided to take advantage of the sunshine that was out there. I took my usual drive down Roberts Road and then to Campau Road, after that I headed over to Lake Erie Metro Park. There wasn't too much activity out there so half way down the trail I prayed that the Great Horned would be sitting on his usual branch. I stopped and stood on the stump just before the boardwalk to see if I could see inside the cavity of the tree and saw nothing. I started my walk around the boardwalk, not sure if I saw him or not I walked just a little more to put myself in front of the tree he perches on and there he was. He seemed a little nervous to me - he kept looking in front and then would turn his head to look either behind him or to the sides. At one point I thought he might take off but all he did was jumped to another branch which gave me a better chance at an unobstructed photo. Standing on the look-out I haven't seen any movement in the hollow and I thought by now there would be. Not sure if she is even in there. If anyone knows would appreciate a yeah or ney. That's it til my next post. Have a good one.

Monday, February 14, 2011

February - Here and Gone - 2/28/2011

By about 3:00 Thursday (2/10) I had pretty much made up my mind that I needed time for myself, so I set my out of office message, walked into an empty boss's office to tell him I wouldn't be in and left for the day. Friday morning I went over to Pte Mouillee HQ and set around the river to watch the inactive trees. From there I went on to Lake Erie Metro Park. Went down to the boat launch where the river was just full of Mute Swans, Tundras, Canada Geese, Mallards, Canvasbacks, Redheads, Buffleheads and Golden-eyes. It was like wall-to-wall and noisey - it went on for miles. I managed to grab a few shots of a Hermit Thrush and a White-throat Sparrow before heading over to walk the trail outside the Marsh Museum. On Saturday and Sunday the river will only have Mute Swans, Tundras, Canada Geese and a few ducks; like nothing was even there on Friday.

I decided to make the trail by the Marsh Museum my last visit. The trail was quiet, you could hear tapping in the distance but there really wasn't anything to photograph except for a few deer, one of which tests you to see just how close you can get to it. You walk toward it and it walks towards you - they do get close before they put distance between you and them. The only thing now as I walk is hope that the Great Horned Owl is sitting in his tree, this makes the walk worth while. Sure enough there he sat, manning his post. There was nothing else to photograph that day. And on Sunday there wasn't much to photograph but it was good to get out.
Well here it is the last day of the month and other than the Great Horned I didn't take too many photos. I did go out Saturday and watched to young Bald Eagles lock talons and chase either through the sky. Of course I haven't mastered cloudy days so the photos I took (as long as I don't try to change anything) really don't look that bad but there is much to be desired. Til my next post.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Cold, Wind and Birds - January 24, 2011

I could start off by telling you how cold it's been but you all know that. I could tell you about frozen finger tips but my friend Jerry has already mentioned that. And when you sit out at Pte Mouillee near the water believe me it is cold. But the bird activity is never ending. The birds in the pines near the water really rack up the frequent flier miles - they got to be doing it to stay warm. The ones that fascinate me are the Golden-crowned Kinglets. They move so quickly from this branch to another - jumping from one platform of pine branches just to get what's in the ones above them.
While watching the Kinglets work their way through the trees near the boat ramp another little guy caught my eye. It took a while for it to get on the top of the branches and I could hear it's "jip...jip" (which sounded more like creap...creap) and then suddenly there he was a Winter Wren.

As Jerry mentioned in his blog we did run into each other over the weekend - he was in pursuit of the Rough-legged Hawk - I was in pursuit of the Great Horned Owl that has been frequenting the same tree - same branch - behind the same branches on the back boardwalk at LEMP. I spotted this guy Friday afternoon - and took pictures - unfortunately the dial on my camera got turned to manual and all my photos for the afternoon were overexposed. Sunday's outing was to redeem myself. While out I got a photo of a Gray Catbird that was eating off the sumac and a Yellow-rumped Warbler from the previous day.

I did go down the short path at LEMP to search out the Long-eared Owls that were reported but had no luck. Did find myself surrounded by deer at one point on that trail. They really are someting to watch. The path along the river was full of Mute Swans, Tundras, Canvasbacks, Redheads, Mallards and Canada Geese. It was along this path that I came across a Red Shouldered Hawk just sitting in a tree with no attempt of taking off while I snapped off a few shots.

After being out for about 4 hours I decided it was time to make my way home and try to get rid of the chill that over took my body. It was a good day - til my next post.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year - January 3, 2011

Hope everyone had a fantastic holiday. I took full advantage of the week off that we had for the holidays. With no one at Pte Mouillee HQ I took the opportunity to just sit and listen and watch nature and at some point freeze. The trees near the water and at the gate entrance were just hopping with birds. This little Golden-crowned Kinglet and many more - with a surprise appearance of a Winter Wren made it worth my while to sit and watch and wait. The cold weather makes it rough for these little guys so any seed you throw out there under the trees or just on the ground at the gate -these guys welcome with open wings. Til my next post.