Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Just Hangin' with My Peeps

One of the fun things about backyard birding is that you just never know who may show up in a flock of familiar birds.  You have to check carefully.  At first glance, it may seem like just a bunch of the usual suspects, but you may find the one odd bird in there just traveling along with his birdie pals.
This is also a good way to get one for your life list without even trying!

I first discovered this when a flock of winter Goldfinches descended upon my feeder a few years ago.  They loved that feeder and I got used to seeing them there until one day a bright yellow bird, not a Goldfinch, mind you, was found among them.

Come to find out Pine Warblers like to travel with winter Goldfinches!

Just recently while going through my old birding photos, I came across this bird that as an inexperienced birder I had passed over as a winter Goldfinch.  I had just heard through the wire that Pine Siskins were seen in backyards traveling with the Goldfinches.  And what do you know? 

Pine Siskin Serendipity.


Woodpeckers may be some of the old standbys when it comes to birding, but they are always a welcome sight.  They are so striking and have such personality with their contrasting colors and odd calls.  I've seen a lot of them in North Carolina.  Most of them in my own backyard.  In fact the only creatures I've seen more of are spiders! (But that's another story!)

Downy Woodpecker

Where have you been all my life?  Finally, a Northern Flicker!

Pileated Woodpecker

Redheaded Woodpecker

Yellow Bellied Sapsucker
Red Bellied Woodpecker
I would have named it the Red Capped Woodpecker myself.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Fall Friends

Not much doing this fall in my world of birding.  I have seen nothing new,  just old standbys, but it is nice to see and hear the Brown Headed Nuthatches again.  I remember the first time I saw one at my backyard feeder--I almost peed my pants.  I thought I'd found a brown capped chickadee!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Florida Birding in Summer? Augh!

Now I can't say I had high expectations for seeing much on our summer (okay, technically it was early June) trip to Florida.  Even at 7 am it's "hotter than road tar" outside, but I still had my secret birding desires and some were realized.  I saw a Roseate Spoonbill flying overhead crossing the causeway to Neptune Beach in Jacksonville!  No photo to back it up, but a thrill nonetheless.  I saw dozens of Swallowtail Kites up and down the highway, but it's difficult to get a shot in a moving vehicle.  So those, you will just have to take my word for!

I just got through saying I'd probably never photograph a barn swallow since I've seen hundreds of them and never seen one touch down before.  But here at a rest area in South Carolina, a bunch of them were sitting atop the
snack machine kiosk.  Pretty spectacular picture, but that overcast sky again.  

Here's another bird I've probably seen a million times, but really wanted to photograph:  a Cattle Egret (cows nearby).  
Anhinga-first decent picture of another bird I've seen a million times.

Boy, oh boy, a Loggerhead Shrike!  This was totally unexpected and a new one for my life list!

Red Bellied Whistling Ducks.
Now I've seen these before in captivity, but these were in a
canal behind my brother's house.  And I heard them whistle!

Very elusive bird- a Rail of some kind in the marsh in Savannah, Georgia.

The Last Hurrah of Spring Birding @Shelley Lake

This was our second trip to Shelley Lake to see the elusive Warbling Vireo (which I never photographed, by the way--I'm claiming it as a sighting anyway).  My pictures of the Orchard Oriole were better this time, but that overcast white sky still wreaked havoc on my camera.

Some other interesting sightings:
This Great Crested Flycatcher flying back and forth with his mate/friend/offspring was a treat.

Always fun to see a Kingfisher.  Here's a male this time.

Female Shiny Cowbird

Eastern Kingbird

Now living in Florida, I must've seen a half a dozen herons a day for 25 years, but never in the top of a pine tree!

I have a thing for duckies.

Song Sparrow

Not sure about this sparrow.  Short tail, pink legs, and a yellow beak, hmmm.

And the ubiquitous Towhee.  Nice female here. They are not easy to photograph.

Birding Brothers are the Bomb

Thanks to Robert of Birding Brothers for his bird identification on my last entry.  You guys are my heroes!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Identify These Mystery Birds!

I stink at bird identification!  Won't you please help me with these UFO's!  Most of these birds are the victims of 1) bad lighting 2) blurry photo 3) strange position that obscures distinguishing features otherwise known as "Branch in the Face" or "Bird Butt" 4) it looks like something common but something is off like coloring or size and I desperately want it to be something else! 5) it's a sparrow and I just can't figure out which kind.

P.S.  If you help me, I will give you a shout out on the next installment of this blog and tell all my friends on Facebook to follow your blog.  Thank you!

Here follow my Mystery Birds otherwise known as the Top 40 Most Annoying Birds Ever:
#1  Pine Warbler or Yellow throated Vireo?

#2 Another Piney?
#3 Whoa, super morph

#4 Sparrow--please don't say chipping.

#5 Nice eye ring, is it a ruby crowned kinglet? It's a wonderful picture of that pine needle.

#6 Someone told me this was a female goldfinch.

#7 This was in a tree with a bunch of robins and cedar wax wings.  The scale is all weird.
 I can't tell if it's a hawk, an owl or a blue jay.

#8 Probably a junco, but I want it to be a black headed blue warbler.

#9 Not a clue.

#10 Someone also told me this was a goldfinch.  Nooooooooo!

#11 Ooh, silhouette!  Could it please be a catbird?

#12 Argggh!

#13 Probably yellow rumped, but could it possibly be something else?

#14 Phoebe?

#15 In Virginia in Summer.  How could you EVER tell what it is from this angle?

#16 Darn sparrows.

#17 Fox sparrow?

#18  I thought maybe it was a baby robin, but it's so big for a baby.

#19 At the time I thought this was a female shiny cowbird.

#20 Good luck with this one!

#21 Weird crouching position.



#24 This may be an alternate view of #23 above.

#25 This is in Florida.  There were lots of positively identified Palm Warblers and Swamp Sparrows nearby.

#27 Warbler, please, warbler.

#28 May be the same as crouching bird above #21.

#29 May be the same as above.

#30 May be the same as above.

#32 Oh, Foxy, why do I even ask?

#33 Short Willet in deep sand?

#34 Fox again? These sparrows get on my nerves!

#35 I tell everyone this is a Red Cockaded Woodpecker.  Whadyathink?

#36 I think it's a Myrtle Yellow Rumped Warbler. Blah.

#37 Prothonotary Warbler or Yellow Warbler?

#40 Three views of what I think is a Winter Wren.

#41 Female Yellow Rump?  In Florida you'd think it would be something more exotic.