Monday, January 30, 2012

SCORE: Sharpie 3, Tiffanie 1

What a day!  Around 1:00pm in the afternoon today, I looked outside to see what was hanging around my birdfeeder and saw a sparrow I had never seen before.  I have a pair of binoculars at every window that overlooks the backyard (cheap ones) so I grabbed the pair hanging by the backdoor to check out the bird.  I had barely got it focused when every bird in sight took off!  I went to my bedroom window and noticed a hawk in the tree!

About 40 minutes later (the next time I checked), the birds were back and this new bird was there again.  This time I was able to focus on it for a little bit to note the rufous coloured crown, a blackish spot on its chest and a yellow and black bill.  Then, all the birds disappeared...again!  This time, I went outside and flushed a Sharpie from a tree on the west side of my backyard.  I no sooner turned around and saw a Sharpie (same or different...I don't know) land in a tree on the east side of my yard.  I got to watch it for awhile (I still had my binoculars).  It flew to cedar tree in behind my neighbours, then to a large tree a few doors down, then left.  I headed inside and waited for the birds to return.

Eventually the birds came back and I waited to see if the new bird came back.  It did, only briefly, and all the birds took off....AGAIN!!  Sheesh!  I am getting frustrated!  I wanted to ID and photograph the new bird.  So, I waited, consulting my Sibley's Guide.  About 40 minutes later, there were still no birds to speak of....a porker of a house sparrow pigging out in my covered birdhouse, and an American Goldfinch at the finch feeder, perched very strangely.  I eventually went outside, concerned something was wrong with the Goldfinch and flushed the Sharpie....AGAIN!!! 

Finally, at about 4:15pm., I finally snapped some photos of the new bird!  An American Tree Sparrow!!  This is a life bird for me :)  Here are a few pictures...

My cat, Freebie, waiting for the American Tree Sparrow to return.

SCORE!!!  The Sharpie didn't stop me from getting a photo!

Two American Tree Sparrows!

Note the bicoloured bill...didn't get a good picture of the spot on the chest.

You can somewhat see the spot on its' chest on this one....

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Hairy Woodpecker??

I have been trying to attract woodpeckers since the beginning of winter and hadn't seen any until today.  At first I thought this guy was a Downy, but on closer inspection of his outer tail feathers (and in consultation of my Sibley's guide), I think this might be a Hairy!  If so, this is a new life bird!  The bonus, the female was on the suet..but too far for me to get a clear shot....not that these ones are clear either!  I was snapping pictures through my dirty window!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Sweetest Gift!

My neighbour stopped by today, bearing gifts.  Her granddaughter, Lily, painted three pictures that she asked her to bring me :)  Thank you Lily!  I love them!

These paintings made my day!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Ducks Unlimited!

I had about an hour of time to devote to birding today, so I decided to head to Lakeview Marina and Bridges Bay Park on the Detroit River (both really close to home) to see what ducks are around.  There were lots of ducks, but mostly hugging the shore of Peche Island.  I am still learning ducks, so I snapped a bunch of photos to analyze when I got home.  Most of the pictures are a bit fuzzy due to the ducks being pretty far from shore and my largest lens is a 70-300mm (that, and I didn't bring a tripod...I tend to take fuzzy photos at 300mm).  I am also getting really frustrated with my cheap binoculars....I am considering emailing Pelee Wings to pick up a pair before spring.  Anyway, here are a few pictures from this afternoon :)

Mallards...the only ducks that were close.

Common Merganser...I really love this picture :)  I had to sharpen it a bit.

Common Goldeneye!  Life bird!  Love that you can see his golden eye!

Male and Female Common Goldeneyes.
Gotta love Gulls!  This Herring Gull was really loud!

House Sparrows.  I love the two in "action" :)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Snowy Owls!!!

Today Betsy called saying she and Lydia were going out again today to try to spot the Snowys and asked if I wanted to come.  Sure!  We found two....TWO Snowy Owls in the onion fields today!  We were giddy like school girls :)  We then stopped by to see the Great Gray again, but I didn't take any pics of him today.  A three owl day is a great day!  Forgive the blurry photos...they were far away!

Snowy Owl #1...Got to even watch this one fly and eat something!!

Snowy Owl #2!!  Not one picture of this one facing us.  Assuming this is a female as it was quite a bit larger than the first one.

We also saw some ducks that looked like Scaup...unsure though.  We got a good look at a Northern Harrier today as well!  Great afternoon!!