Saturday, September 29, 2012

Warbler Whoas

***ID`s updated after being confirmed by Dwayne...thanks!!

On September 20, 2012, after dropping my daughter off at the pool in Blenheim, I headed to the Lagoons.  I hadn`t been there for quite some time and was excited to see what was there.  There were a few species of ducks around with many individuals of each specie, but even with bins and camera, I have a hard time identifying them....that was the story for evening!  Outside of Canada Geese and the large amounts of Barn and Tree swallows, I couldn`t positively identify a single bird!  Talk about frustration!  Most of what I saw were warblers (or at least I think they are warblers...).  I got a few decent shots, but I find warblers confusing at the best of times and this is clearly fall.  So, at the risk of embarrassing myself, I will post some of the pics I got with my "best guess" as to the ID and my rationale...what I am hoping is one of you more experienced birders that drop by once in awhile can chime in and "teach" me a bit about goes....

This next bird I have tentatively ID'd as a Yellow-Rumped Warber.  It has the yellow rump, yellow on the sides, a white-ish throat, and broken eye ring.  It is greener than the Cape May seems to be in field guides.

Confirmed Yellow-rumped Warbler

Confirmed Yellow-rumped Warbler

Confirmed Yellow-rumped Warbler
The next bird I have tentatively ID'd as a Palm Warlber.  The whitish eyebrow, whitish throat, and yellowish underparts make me think this is a Palm.  The fourth picture, assuming it is of the same specie, shows the bright yellow undertail coverts.  The fourth bird was in a different spot and the lighting was different.

Confirmed Palm Warbler

Confirmed Palm Warbler

Confirmed Palm Warbler
Confirmed Palm Warbler
Aside from Warbler Whoas, I also experienced difficulties with what appears to be shorebirds and a sparrow variety of some sort.  Here are those pics...

These birds appear to me to be shorebirds, based on their long necks and thick bodies.  These 5 were always together and always out of reach of my bins and camera...I haven't even attempted a guess at these guys!

Thanks for the ID Dwayne...Red-necked Phalarope
There was also this sparrow...I have ID'd this bird Song, Swamp and White-throated for one reason or another and ruled them out for one reason or another.  Sparrows are tricky...

Thanks for another ID Dwayne...Lincoln Sparrow

Lincoln Sparrow

Lincoln Sparrow
I have other pictures of other unknown birds from today, but I think you get the was a tough day for me ID wise, but it was great day to see lots of birds!  I will leave you with a couple pictures of one of the few I confidently ID'd this day...let's hope I got it right..due to the lighting, the brilliant blue got washed out, but I liked the pictures anyway.  Usually they are moving too quick for a decent shot.

Tree Swallows

Tree Swallow

Tree Swallow
So, if you can help me figure out any of the birds I have tentatively ID'd, I would be very grateful :)  Leave me a comment or shoot me an email....

Monday, September 17, 2012

1, 2, skip a few, 99, 100!!!!!

I headed to Holiday Beach today to see what was around, since I didn`t get out to the Hawk Festival this weekend.  During this time of year, there is always an official counter on the tower.  Before climbing up to the tower, I walked around the edge of the trout pond to see what was in Big Creek....lots of GBH's, Great Egrets and Mute Swans.  There were some ducks that were too far off to identify.  The thrill of this walk, however, was the Green Heron (life bird 99) that jumped up into a tree maybe 20' in front of me and was quite the model!

I have lots of pics of this guy....sorry to bore you :)

This picture is actually a different bird (I think) in a different location from the other pics.

I was thrilled with this encounter!!  I then headed up to the Hawk Tower and met a young U of W student that I told about this bird and that he was number 99 on my list.  He then pointed out a Pied-billed Grebe in the marsh, quite a way out, but there was a scope on the tower, so I got a good look at it....bird 100!  Thanks Jeremy!!

Here a couple other shots I got today that I liked...
Great Blue Heron taking off...looks more like jumping for joy :)

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I was hoping this was a Hairy, but I think it is a Downy...

Snake swimming in Big Creek

Sunning Turtle
What a great day!!
PS: Brian, did I beat you to 100? ;)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Pelee Island

I spent today on Pelee Island with Shooters Photography Club.  We were going there to shoot pictures of the winery, vineyard and harvest.  Unfortunately, we didn`t get to shoot a harvest, but we had a great time anyway.  I was also happy to get a few pictures of some birds that I particularly liked...I hope you like them too :)

Taken from the Ferry on the way to Pelee Island

I love groups of gulls....always makes me chuckle :)

Peek-a-book Nuthatch
Sweet :)
Upside down!
 We went to the vineyard after visiting the winery (where the Nuthatch was found) and to the area the machines are kept...saw these birds there:
Cedar Waxwing...there were several!  Most of them juvenile.
I also got a life bird today....

Horned Lark!

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 It was a great day!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Cooper`s Hawk?

On August 27, 2012, I spotted this hawk on the lawn across the street from my house.  The day before, I saw a hawk fly into the tree, a bird fly up out of the tree and the hawk took off.  It was quite noisy and I could only hear comparing it to recordings on my Audubon app, I figured it was a Cooper's Hawk.  On the 27th, this hawk came to the exact same tree numerous times.  Whatever it had killed, some of it had dropped to the ground because it was "stomping" it.  I suspect it ripped the poor little bird in pieces, because it came back several times for more of its catch, still on the ground.  If this is the same hawk as on the 26th, I would guess this is a Cooper's, and it was quite large with a nice, rounded tail.  Please correct me if I am a few pictures that I particularly liked.
With you can see, I was able to get quite close!

Dropped its prey...

On the ground, right in front of me, to pick it up!

Gorgeous bird!

Picked up the prey and flew to another tree, a few houses down.

I thought this was cool.

You can see what looks like entrails hanging from its beak!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Life Birds 95, 96 and 97!

I have decided to lump these next three life birds into one post, although occurring on different days, because I only got pictures of one of them.  Bird number 95, an Eastern Bluebird, was spotted on July 17!!  This bird was seen at our camp site while camping in Howell, MI.  He stopped by briefly, landing first in the tree, then the camper roof, right on the edge.  As I headed in to the camper to grab my camera and binoculars, it took off, never to be seen again.

Bird number 96 was spotted at the camp ground as well, on July 20.  My husband and I were walking around the camp ground, and as always, I check out the trees.  I happened to see a bird on a relatively distant branch, clearly eating a rather large insect.  I snapped a bunch of pictures of it, and studied it back at the was an Eastern Wood Peewee!  Later the same day, in just about the same spot, although much lower and closer to the roadway, I captured more photos.  It is such a beautiful bird!  I love the yellow on its belly!  Here are a few pictures....
This is when I first saw it....looks like a wasp in its bill??

This was later in the day..much lower and closer.  I must have 50 pictures of this one bird :)


I love that you can see the little hook on the end of its beak.
Bird number 97 was seen on September 1 at the Harrow Fair.  In fact, I saw several this night...Common Nighthawk!  There were so many flying above the fairgrounds at dusk, it would have been surprising NOT to notice them.  Their white wing bar on the underside of the wing and their call made them unmistakable!

Well, I am now caught up!  I am looking forward to some fall birding!  I am headed to Pelee Island for the first time next Saturday (with the photography club I recently joined...not specifically for birding, but I will keep my eyes open!), then it is time for the Hawk Festival again.  With both of my children in school this year (for the first time in 10 years), I am looking forward to getting outdoors more this fall.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sandhill Cranes!!

On July 17, while on vacation with my husband, we headed out to meet with a local birding group at the Waterloo Recreation Area (WRA).  According to our guide from the Dahlem Conservancy, the WRA is the best birding area in southern Michigan.  On our way there, through many back country roads, I noticed some cranes off in back of a field, mentioned it to my husband, and he kept going!!  The nerve!!  Thankfully, a few minutes later, I saw more, close to the edge of road and he pulled over...lucky for him!  Here are some pictures of them...this is a life bird for me :)
Sandhill Cranes :)

Seeing these birds made my day!  When we arrived at the WRA, we met up with the birding/naturalist group and headed on a hike....on the hottest day of the week!  We learned a lot about the trees and plant species we saw, as well as learning about the differences between a fen and a bog.  I had never heard of a fen before that day.  Due to the heat of the day, we didn't see one, single bird.  Someone commented on hearing a Red-eyed Vireo singing and another man referred to it as a "Bob Seeger Bird", making reference to a song Bob Seeger sings that reminds him of the song of the Red-eyed Vireo.  The landscape was beautiful!  I did manage to get a picture of a Pitcher Plant...
Pitcher Plant
Despite not seeing any birds, it was a wonderful morning!  I will definitely meet up with this group again...maybe for Crane Fest :)