Sunday, June 14, 2015

Backyard Birds

A few Sundays, the weather was nice for an outing (unlike today's grey and rainy pattern) but I didn't have enough time.  So I wandered the backyard and the gardens in the church.  Although there wasn't a lot of activity, I still saw a few different visitors.

A Chipping Sparrow has nested for the last year in our neighbour's big spruce tree.  It is quite vocal, all through the day. I got a nice close photo of it on a budding tulip tree. Chipping Sparrows look a lot like an American Tree Sparrow, but one distinguishing feature is they have a solid black bill, top and bottom. The American Tree Sparrow's bottom is light yellow.

Chipping Sparrow.

 Up in a Lynden tree, a Baltimore Oriole was busily catching bugs which were drinking the nectar from the blossoms. It was making a pretty good catch and was too busy to notice me.

Baltimore Oriole in Lynden Tree blossoms.

In our Crab Apple tree, I notice some movement and got only one or two pictures of what at that time I thought was a Eastern Wood Pewee. But I'm pretty sure this is a Flycatcher.  In that case, it is either a Willow or Alder Flycatcher. They are very hard to tell apart, the clearest distinction being their call. Since I didn't hear anything, I don't know.  I'd lean to the the Alder given the eye ring: according to this site that is a feature that can help with IDing.  If you don't know, apparently you call it simply by Trail Flycatcher, which is what it was called before they knew there were two species.

Trail's Flycatcher (maybe Alder?)

Till next time....
Keep enjoying HIS handiwork!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Virginia Rail at Grass Lake

Back in the later days of April, I headed to Grass Lake, a favourite spot that almost always has something there for me to find and enjoy.  I wasn't there long when I heard the familiar, buzzy, two syllable calls of Virginia rails talking one to another. I crawled down the steep slope of the grassy bank towards the newly growing cat tail bull rushes and waited for movement and quick glimpses of this usually concealed bird.

Virginia Rail hiding in the vegetation.
It took a while, but I was rewarded...

As I was heading out, a muskrat left the same area I had been watching. Maybe he had been watching me the whole time too... I hadn't noticed him till I went to leave.


Till next time...
Keep enjoying HIS handiwork.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Florida - Feb 2015

No, I didn't die, didn't move to where internet doesn't exist.... A combination of busy life, needing to pick priorities, and dealing with some big decisions meant I've hardly done any birding or blogging for a long time. Actually, checking my last post date, it's been exactly 6 months to the day.

Our family went to Florida to vacation for a week with good friends of ours.  It was a great time together spent playing lots of games, swimming in the different pools, walking and talking and just spending time together.  We rented a huge house together at a gated community in Palm Coast where the grounds had lots of little lakes. The house we were in was right across the road from the ocean. Between walking the grounds and the beach, there were lots of birds to be seen. 

I'm not going to give a narrative on my various encounters, but just give a sampling of all the different birds I saw.  It's been three months since we were there so I don't remember too many specifics anymore. I added eight birds to my life list including the following:
   Forster's Tern
   Royal Tern
   Glaucous Gull
   Northern Gannet
   Palm Warbler
   White Ibis
   Wood Stork

Anhinga (pronounced An-heena) doing its submerged swim.

Anhinga sunning

Bald Eagle

Belted Kingfisher in flight.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher in morning sunlight.

Brown Pelican coasting.

Brown Pelican diving.

curious Carolina Wren

pair of Common Gallinule

Common Grackle - Down... then... 

... Up.

Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebe

Although it was big, I believe this is still a common Eastern Gray Squirrel.
(not big enough for the Eastern Fox Squirrel and has a white tummy)

Forster's Tern in flight.

Forster's Tern

Forster's Tern

Glaucous Gull - they are big!

Gray Catbird

Great Blue Heron in breeding plumage.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron - I believe a second year bird.

Great Egret

male Greater Scaup

male and female Greater Scaups

Laughing Gull

Little Blue Heron and Anhinga.

Little Blue Heron

Little Blue Heron

Little Blue Heron

Mixed seabirds.

Northern Gannet

Northern Mockingbird


Red-shouldered Hawk with Little Blue Heron prey.

Osprey looking on.

Red-shouldered Hawk was not impressed and chased the Osprey off.

Red-shoulder Hawk and Osprey

Red-shouldered Hawk drying off.... Must have gotten wet catching the heron.

Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-shouldered Hawk

Palm Warbler

Pied-billed Grebe

Royal Tern

Royal Terns

Ruddy Turnstone



Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret in early morning light.

White Ibis and Snowy Egret

White Ibis

White Ibis





Willet landing

Endangered Wood Stork

Hopefully my next post will not take six months to do. I have a few pictures waiting in the queue, so hopefully that will keep me primed and back into posting again.

Until then...
Keep enjoying HIS handiwork!