Category Archives: birdwatching

State Bird of Missouri

When I went on my second fall hike with the intent to focus on bird watching, I heard birds. Did I see them? No.

This woodpecker stopped by just to chatter at me that the “paparazzi” was not welcome today.

state bird

Not the Missouri State Bird

In the distance, I saw a small bird light on a branch.  It was really too bright to tell what bird I had captured with my camera’s zoom lens so I simply continued on my walk.  Later, I saw it had been this little bluebird landing on the tree in the distance.

state bird

It was a bluebird!

The Missouri State Bird is the Bluebird.  I often see (and hear!) Blue-jays around our house but I’ve never seen a Bluebird in our backyard.We live in a bit more of a wooded area than they prefer I think.

They’re often described as a flash of blue.  After snapping the above photo, I didn’t expect to see so many flashes of blue as I continued on my walk.

Walking on the path by a small water puddle, I noticed a few birds and glanced to the wooded area to my left.  I saw many “flashes of blue!”  Too fast and far away for decent photos, I stopped to enjoy the moment.  Then, this kind bluebird decided to cooperate a bit.

As I was checking my (slightly out of focus…need more practice) photo at home, I was delighted to see I captured both a female and a male bird on camera!

Can you spot the male bird peeking out on the left part of the stump?  state bird

These little blue birds did indeed bring me much happiness. I’m calling my first official birding attempt a success thanks to those flashes of blue!

Also spotted at this park but not willing to cooperate for me: a Mockingbird, wrens, and a few turkey vultures soaring in the sky.

state bird

One of the uncooperative turkey vultures

At my “regular” hang-outs, I spotted Robins, Blue-jays, Cardinals, and a pair of Titmouse birds. What birds did you spot this week?

Joining in the weekly link up over at I’d Rather B Birdin’.

Also, this is post #14 in my 31 Days of Embracing The Fall Season Series.

 

 

 

 

Fall Birding

I’ve decided to share my fall birding each Saturday during my 31 days of embracing the fall season series.  Hopefully, it will get me back into the bird-watching habit.

I’m starting my fall birding at home but plan to actually get out and do some serious birding during the month.

Our birds except for a few cardinals seemed to have disappeared at some point last night.  However, the fall weather has called them back.

I started hearing our little Carolina wren again.  He’s back in his brush pile in the neighbor’s yard (and as hard as ever to capture with the camera!).

First Fall Birding Pictures

All summer, my birding attempts to capture a bluejay on camera fell short.  Until now.

fall birding

Bluejay

Interestingly, I was just reading in the XPLOR For Kids, a magazine from the Missouri Department of Conservation, about how blue jays collect and bury acorns in the fall.  It certainly explains why they’ve been hanging out in the neighbor’s oak trees.

*If you live in Missouri and don’t already, I can’t encourage you enough to subscribe for free to the Missouri Conservation Magazine and/or get the XPLOR magazine for kids.  If you are out-of-state, you can also subscribe for a pretty nominal fee.  It’s one of my favorite magazines.

fall birding

Robin

The next bird I spotted outside my door was this speckled robin.

He seems to arrive every fall. Lots of robins seem to gather around here each fall.  I was watching a group of them harass a few of our many squirrels just a few minutes ago.

fall birding

Brown thrasher

The last bird photo I have to share is a bit out of focus.  It was an accidental shot where I was simply trying to use the zoom lens on the camera to see what kind of bird was in the neighbor’s tree.  This brown thrasher having a berry in his mouth when the camera went off was pure luck.  I wish I’d have known so I could have worked on focusing the camera but then I may have missed the shot entirely.  Editing helped some but unfortunately, I don’t have the skills or even know if it’s possible to edit in focus.

I’ll be linking this posts and the future birding posts up with the Bird Depot posts hosted by Anni from I’d Rather B Birdin’.

Random Camera Practice

I’m really not sure why I didn’t get a post together yesterday. No good excuse really. For whatever reason, I’ve woke up motivated to work on my blog this rainy day.

Since I purchased a new bridge camera right before our vacation, I have been trying to practice with it during the week.  Still have a long ways to go before I master our new camera.

I’ll be linking this post up to Five on Friday, hosted by the F.A.S.T. blog.  Also, since I have some bird photos, once again, I’ll be linking to I’d Rather B Birdin’ again.

ONE: The Birds

One of the main reasons I purchased this camera was my frustration with the zoom on my old camera.  Now, I can take a bit better photos of those birds I love to watch.

There’s a story behind this photo of a Carolina Wren.  Shouldn’t there be a story behind every photo though?

I was looking out our backdoor and noticed a hummingbird chasing a small group of birds. I grabbed my camera and ran. Too slow.  The show was over by the time I got out there. However, I did hear the wren where he’d taken refuge in the front yard and managed to capture his photo before getting the bird equivalent of the one-fingered salute: Birds can be so uncooperative sometimes!

Even the sparrows are in on the whole “I’m not going to pose for your picture, crazy camera lady!” thing:

TWO: Butterflies and Moths

This little guy was on the side of the garage one day when we arrived home from an outing.

Later to my delight, two Tiger Swallow Tail Butterflies were flitting about right by the front porch when I walked out there to pet our little cat. Beautiful butterflies that fly constantly near the tip tops of our trees.

One landed on one of our Boxwood bushes!  So I hurried inside for the camera… Apparently, there is a conspiracy against the crazy camera lady between the butterfly and birds as he wouldn’t open his beautiful wings until he flitted away much too swiftly and high in the sky for a decent photo.

THREE: Evening Walk

My youngest son and I went for an evening walk around the block and I, of course, brought my camera. 

Four: Sunset Practice

I actually have a sunset photo I took on my phone last Friday night that I prefer to this.  I was lamenting to my husband that the best sunrise/sunset views around here always seem to be from the highway. Not an ideal or safe location for a photo!

This one is from our walk around the block:

Five: My Very First Attempt At A Sun flare!

I honestly didn’t even know this was a thing until a few months ago.  Still need lots of practice with this and quite possibly a camera with capabilities beyond my bridge camera.  ******

Are you a photographer?  Any advice? I’d be especially interested in how to gain the cooperation of the birds and butterflies!

Birds Of The Neighborhood, Part 2

Last Sunday morning, I awoke to the call of “pretty bird, pretty bird, pretty bird!”  At least that’s what it sounded like to me as the local cardinal sang.  It seemed very loud but then, my morning person husband had left the back door open.

This fellow usually hangs out quite high in the trees making a photo of him let alone a decent photo of him with my current camera just about impossible.  I got lucky though!  Most my attempted shots look more like this:  He really is a pretty bird though isn’t he?  While sometimes, I’ll spot him & his lady friend in the front yard, they mostly stick to the backyard.  I did capture (on film) another neighborhood couple in the front yard though:  These doves nest in a nearby yard.

I also spotted the following camera elusive birds (well, not the grackles or robins) in or near or front yard this week:

  • The tiny titmouse family making lots of noise to steer away a nosy grackle.
  • More grackles including a family teaching their younger bird and feeding it.  (I can’t decide if my grackles are neighborhood guardians or a neighborhood gang)
  • The robin debating a nest in our maple tree
  • A flash of something small and yellow which may have been a goldfinch
  • A Chimney swift finally flowing low enough for me to use my bird app and id it
  • A turkey vulture soaring high and making shadows on the ground
  • A couple of pigeons (not on our street) as I was driving home from work one day

They aren’t always in our backyard and usually much like the singing cardinal, they like to hang out high in our trees but earlier this week I heard their somewhat (to me) bizarre and prehistoric sounding calls.  Since they were low enough in the trees, I grabbed my camera.

The woodpeckers were working hard on this day!

First I spotted a pair of downy woodpeckers, who were not in the mood to be chased by the people paparazzi so these blurry blobs were the best I could get of them: The red-bellied woodpecker proved to be a bit more of a cooperative subject:   Finally, this Northern flicker was the most cooperative bird of all. I used to see these woodpeckers a bit more often after rainy days but haven’t in some time: birds

Also spotted in our backyard but not photographed:

  • An English sparrow chattering at me before flying off to a different backyard
  • A nuthatch happily hanging out in a tree without a titmouse family chasing him
  • The pesky bluejay who simply refuses to be captured on camera
  • The robins and grackles who run the neighborhood

Once again, I’m joining in with the weekly link-up over at I’d Rather B Birdin’ and since I missed Five on Friday yesterday, I’m letting this post do double duty and joining in that link-up hosted by the F.A.S.T. blog as well.

What birds did you notice this week?

Birds Of The Neighborhood, Part 1

Since I love watching birds, I’ve decided join in the weekly link up over at I’d Rather B Birdin’ Please, let me introduce some of the birds who call our neighborhood home.

Birds of a feather:

I’ve noticed our local bird gang of Grackles tends to be more active during the rainy weeks.  I think this is their leader:

While Grackles are never going to win any bird contests for looks or singing, they are interesting ones to watch.

I guess they aren’t all bad as they do try to do their part in cleaning out the neighbor’s much neglected gutters: However, I don’t see their car washing venture taking off any time soon.

Rocking Robins

Probably a bit more popular than the gang of Grackles are our resident robins.  They sing a softer tune and tend to hang out in numbers low enough to not give a person nightmares.

Thanks in part to a much welcome blaring sun, we had to identify this young robin spotted on our Thursday walk by listening to the songs on the bird id app on my phone:

I startled this bold little robin coming around the side of the house one day and it ruffled it’s feathers right back at me.  Not put off by me or our little gray cat, he likes to frequent the front yard areas of our neighborhood: Who says only the early bird gets the worm? Pretty sure I took this photo later in the afternoon:

Our robins also like to perch on rooftops:

Of course, they also seem to be busy birds!

Other Birds I Spotted This Week But Missed Capturing With The Camera

Spotted in and around the front yard, while sitting on the porch with my mighty protector:

  • a redheaded woodpecker, gone by the time I returned with the camera
  • a pair of titmouse birds (do they have nest nearby perhaps?) chasing off a little nuthatch
  • a couple bluejay taunting me but refusing to cooperate for any decent photos by remaining very high in the treetops
  • a dove gathering nesting supplies
  • a cardinal flitting about in the woody area at the end of the street as well as perched on the power lines
  • a mother crow taking off with her flock (one large crow and several smaller crows)
  • several little swallows too far away and high in the sky for me to properly id them

In the Backyard:

  • the Carolina wren who has been a bit too quiet lately, a relief to spot him!
  • sparrows though not too many
  • another pair of cardinals
  • probably the same blue jays

*I also spotted a hawk of some sort swooping in the wooded area as we were taking our evening walk on Thursday and also saw the resident geese of the pond at the end of the street.

Hopefully, I can capture (with the camera!) a few of the birds listed above at some point this week.

What kinds of birds call your neighborhood home?

If you love watching the birds like I do, click the button below and go visit Anni’s blog for some amazing bird photos!

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