Category Archives: birdwatching

Bird Watching Treat for Halloween Week

I ended up working a lot of this week. And the weather was weird.

The week started with snow! In October, not unheard of for around here but not the norm either. 

The lucky neighbors I don’t know (they posted video on the next door neighborhood site where people usually think dogs are wolves (yes, really) spotted a woodcock in their yard! Tried not to become too green with envy.

After the snow, we got rain. It melted the snow but didn’t make for great photo taking days. Somewhere in the week, I did take down the Hummingbird feeder and return a regular feeder in its place. Made the house finches happy. 

A Trick

Can any of you identify this bird eating from my suet feeder?

Thankfully, he left some for the red-bellied woodpecker. How about an in focus woodpecker photo this week?

And Then, A Treat

Worked a lot of full days this week but one day on my break I went over to the park. And to my surprise, I sat watching Cedar Waxwings eat berries right in front of me. Of course, I only had my cell phone and took the photos through the car windshield so not the best photos. These birds are supposedly year-round in our area but this marks only the third time I’ve ever been lucky enough to view them.

It really took a lot of self-control to return to work instead of driving furiously home for my “real” camera. However, I love my job enough I did return to work.

A Bit More Excitement at Home

Thought about returning to the park on my day off (Thursday) but feeling a bit lazy passed on the idea. Much to my surprise, it worked out in my favor. Glancing out the backdoor at the bird feeders something sitting on the wires above caught my eye.

Another treat for me. Rushed inside and grabbed the camera, ran outside (wishing I’d also grabbed a jacket) and saw the same bird I’d just seen sitting on the wire now in one of the backyard maple trees. Another Cedar waxwing!

(Pretty far up in the tree, so still not the most detailed photos but you can see the bright yellow on the tail feathers in these photos.)

Since it was an on-line school week for my youngest son, I went and grabbed him as well after taking a few photos. Sadly, the bird had already flown away.

Other Birds Spotted This Week

Now that we’ve waited our “five minutes” it’s 60 degrees and sunny today. I’m also just about out of bird seed (again) no thanks to too many squirrels and a multitude of house sparrows.

Hanging out around our feeder earlier in the week, I did spot 8 cardinals at once one morning. A robin on the deck railing started the week on Sunday. The dark-eyed juncos and white-throated sparrows both returned to the yard, oddly, timing their arrival with the snow.

I’ve caught glimpses of some tiny yellow bird (dear Merlin bird ID, it’s NOT a goldfinch. UGH) hanging around the hydrangea and on the ground below it. Watched some sparrows chase it from the feeder one day. My guess is some type of warbler. Not sure I’ll see it again but maybe if I do, I’ll manage a photo.

Those along with our usual guests comprised of chickadees, tufted titmice, a pair of nuthatches, and the downy woodpeckers round out the birds I spotted this week. Not sure I want to count the gulls I saw fly over head as I was entering Target this morning. Heard a tale once they’re a sign of snow arriving. Had enough snow until Christmas.

What birds did you spot this week?

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Joining in with the Bird Depot hosted by Anni over at I’d Rather B Birdin’.

 

Birds Spotted Last Weekend

Had a post all set to publish while we were away last Saturday. Not sure, exactly what happened but time to simply move on to the current one where I can hit the publish “now” button.

Last weekend, we were in Arkansas. Thought I’d spot more birds than I did. My husband lured me on the trip with a thought that I’d be seeing lots of birds to photograph.

I went along with the idea but of course, you don’t see many birds when riding on a ATV. And we were with a group of friends and their family so weren’t exactly setting our own pace. Saw lots of beautiful scenery, just not a lot of birds.

Thought I saw a kingfisher fly by during one stop. However, we never stopped long enough to wait for the birds like bird watching really requires.

My bird watching happened mostly in the early morning or late afternoons down by the part of the Buffalo National River running behind our cabin. Unfortunately, I didn’t see many birds there either. They always seemed to be slightly out of camera range.  Or flying away as I spotted them.

Think the image below is of a blue heron if I remember correctly. We spotted a couple each day,  just out of camera range, of course.

I took most (maybe all) of these photos with my old bridge camera as it had the better zoom lens. Did I mention the day I finally had the most time to spend with the camera also happened to be gray and gloomy? Many silhouette pictures to follow.

The pros among you might be able to identify the birds in the images. I didn’t have many guesses without better views.  Hopefully, you’ll still find the images interesting.

A Bird I Knew

I did identify a red bellied woodpecker high in the tree tops. He blended so well I didn’t even realize he was there until he moved!

Again, not the best photos as I was stretching the zoom camera lens on the gray skied day. These photos are of the tippy top of the tree.

There was another bird in the tree as well. Maybe another young red bellied woodpecker? Hard to tell as their were more branches and a bit more motion from this bird.

Here’s a further out photo showing them both (looking more closely, I now spot 3 birds) in the tree:

Birds Spotted This Week

Once we arrived home, I admit to not picking up my camera much. It’s pretty much just been a lazy week where I’ve felt stuck in vacation mode. So, to break up the monotony before I simply “tell” about the birds I’ve spotted. Here’s a somewhat in focus photo of a different winged creature I spotted in Arkansas:

On our way there and home, I spotted several hawks. And we crossed over Truman Lake, easily spotting the big group of pelicans each time.

Just before we crossed over into our own county, I glanced out the window as I’d been doing counting hawks and went: Whoa! There’s a bald eagle sitting in that tree!

At home, in our backyard, we’ve seen the usual. Along with a blue jay under the feeder one day.

However, Thursday morning I spotted my first white-throated sparrow of the season. And yesterday, J asked me what kind of bird was on our deck. Got up to look and interestingly enough, with snow in our forecast (not happy) for early next week….a snowbird’s arrived.  Interesting timing for our dark eyed junco don’t you think?

The feeders ran out while we were away (and I was out of food), fixed that yesterday so hopefully, next Saturday, I’ll share better bird pictures and maybe some of our returning guests.

What birds did you spot last week?

Joining in with The Bird Depot hosted by Anni over at I’d Rather B Birdin’.

 

 

 

Birds Out Front

Sometimes it’s nice to see things from another perspective. Since I’m always sharing birds from our backyard, how about this week I share a few I spotted around our front yard?

I’m even 99.9 percent sure of my id on the birds I’m sharing this week. Nothing too exciting but still fun ones to watch.

Thursday morning the Eurasian collared dove spent some time in the front yard. It usually hangs out under the bird feeders in the back.

Once in a while I see a Northern Flicker. I seldom get lucky enough for them to be in my own front yard!

And here comes a squirrel. Can you guess what happens next?

Yep, no more Northern flicker as he flew off when the squirrel hopped his direction.

Two For One with Red Bellied Woodpeckers on a Tree

When I took the above photo, I saw the male to the left and didn’t even notice the female bird lower down on the trunk of the same tree! I think this is one of the neighbor’s dogwood trees.

There’s “Berry” Good Food in the Neighbor’s Front Yard Right Now

There’s a large group of robins (I’ve only captured one in each photo) enjoying the berries of the neighbor’s flowering dogwood tree and another type of tree (not sure what kind of tree it might be).

Did I mention I took these from our front yard. The house faces east so I had to walk into the street for the above captures to deal with the bright sunlight.

As you can see from her expression, my assistant took issue with this.

It is a little trying taking photos in the front. In addition to cranky assistants, there’s the arrival and departure of delivery trucks and the seemingly constant activity from the neighbors coming and going.

Still, after being properly herded (really, she’s a cat!) back into my own driveway, I managed a couple more photos. The robins below are enjoying the berries on the other tree.

Three More Pictures

One final robin picture. This is also from the neighbor’s front yard. They have better trees and a nightmare lawn to mow. Here’s a robin taking cover in an evergreen.

And let’s end this post by returning to the backyard. One day (can’t remember which one), I heard crows fussing. The last time I heard crows fussing in the backyard, I didn’t grab my camera in time and only saw the hawk fly across the yard.

This time I grabbed the camera as soon as I heard the noise. No hawk this time (not that I spotted anyway) but I did get a couple pictures of the crows.

I think I counted four total as they all flew off still fussing a bit.

Other Birds Spotted This Week

No exciting migratory birds.  Just the usual variety around here: cardinals, house sparrows, house finches (though I’ve not seen as many), a pair of nuthatches, the downy woodpeckers, chickadees and tufted titmice.

On a walk at the park, I did see a Cooper’s hawk fly over the stream as well as some other bird with a white head, too far away to id it. And heard the bluejays again. The turkey vultures are always circling.

At work, I again spotted the friendly looking downy woodpecker as well as more bluejays and turkey vultures.

I’m probably forgetting some. What birds did you spot this week?

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Joining in with The Bird Depot hosted by Anni over at I’d Rather B Birdin’.

 

 

A Pelican and a Philadelphia Vireo?

Talk about two random birds to see together! No, they weren’t together. I just happened to see them in the same week.

Bit of a funny story about the Philadelphia vireo so I’ll start there. And I’m still not sure I’ve correctly identified it. G looked in the bird book and agreed with me. However, it might be something else. The annoying bird id app told me once again: goldfinch.

What? Oh, you want to see what I think is a Philadelphia vireo? Here is the pretty little bird:

*Update: Thank you to Eileen and David for helping me. This is either a female or young Scarlet Tanager*

I think I caught a glimpse of this little bird once before in mid-September perhaps. Just not long enough to guess at an id or even photograph.

Here’s my story about this little vireo (or do you think it’s something else?). I went out on another bird watching hike (should call it a leisurely walk really) on Wednesday. Hoped to spot the northern parula again, this time with a charged camera battery.  It was quite hot and windy. And I hardly saw any birds. A few turkey vultures. Briefly spotted a blue bird (photo didn’t come out) in a tree. And of course, heard the blue jays.

After arriving home, I glanced out the back door to see the little bird looking at me as if to ask: Where have you been?

Here are a couple more shots. After this it flew off to the neighbor’s oak tree. I’ve not seen the bird since Wednesday. So I’m guessing maybe it was just passing through the yard.

Did I mention seeing a pelican?

Yes, I did. Not in our backyard, however. That would be a bit odd indeed. Must take a daytrip to a local (might be a stretch, 2 hour drive) lake to see pelicans. 

Each year about this time pelicans migrate through the area stopping at Truman Lake. Usually, the closest I get to seeing them is as we drive over the highway bridge on our way to a high school marching band competition. Never any time to stop.

However, yesterday my husband and I took a road trip to try and find the pelicans. And ride his ATV on trails at a day use area (but that’s a story for a different post).

Again, most the pelicans we spotted were from the bridge over the highway. A bit too dangerous to stop and take photos there. However, we did get lucky and find a lone pelican hanging out on this sandbar island near a boat ramp. He was barely in the zoom range of my bridge camera.

Took both cameras as I didn’t want to be stuck if the battery in the new camera went out again. So glad I did as I needed the zoom on the bridge camera! Here’s what I got with the new camera on full zoom:

Yes, I was the crazy person with two cameras in my hands. Here’s a photo from the bridge camera with no zoom so you can get an idea how far out this little stretch was from the ledge where I stood.

And now, here are my rather blurry (full extent of the zoom on the bridge camera) pictures of the lone pelican. Of course, there are a few other bird friends around him, just not other pelicans.

Other Birds Spotted This Week

Because I don’t want to leave you with a blurry pelican photo, here’s a prettier lake photo with some other shore birds.

Already mentioned the birds I saw on my walk Wednesday. Around our feeder at home, the regular house sparrows and finches are hanging out. Along with the mourning doves (now joined by a pair of Eurasian collared doves), chickadees, cardinals, and tufted titmice. Last Saturday morning was the last time I saw our guardian of the hummingbird feeder. The nuthatches and red-bellied and downy woodpeckers are still visiting. And one morning, I saw a flicker woodpecker way up in the oak tree.

At school, three of the younger preschool children and I stood and watched a downy woodpecker in a tree just beyond the fence. We also spotted more turkey vultures and  most likely a Cooper’s hawk. I often hear chickadees there and spotted a few searching for leftover sunflower seeds Thursday afternoon.

Yesterday morning, while having coffee with a friend, lots of Canadian geese flew over head and surrounded the small lake at the nature area. Thought I saw a belted kingfisher fly over that lake as well but it was too fast to properly id. And of course, heard some blue jays.

Overall, a great bird watching week around here!

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What birds did you spot last week?

Joining in with The Bird Depot hosted by Anni over at I’d Rather Be Birdin’.

Gold and Green on the First Day of Autumn

For the first day of fall, I decided to take a walk. Ventured off to the same old “secret” park in search of blue birds. When I first arrived and for a large portion of my walk, I saw not one single bird! Thankfully, all the late summer/early fall wild flowers were busy blooming so I enjoyed the views. I wished I’d not been so lazy to as only carried the camera with the zoom lens attached. Endless areas of goldenrod and daisies and other wildflowers I couldn’t begin to name.

Stumbled across all my usual backyard birds. Chickadees, cardinals, and Carolina wrens. Enjoyed the pursuit of the blue birds but the closest I came to finding any were the busy (and noisy) blue jays.

Ready to call it a day, I turned the corner only to be startled by a fellow walker coming from a different direction than I normally venture. Asked where that trail went, connected to the soccer fields. Didn’t realize the trail connected. So as he went on his way, I extended my walk a bit.

So glad I did! Didn’t realize the bridge went over a little stream before going beside the youth soccer fields.

The turkey vultures started circling but I kept on walking…

And stopping on the bridge again as I returned, I spotted a little group of gold finches.

Zoomed in closer to see them and discovered a green mystery bird joining in the fun!

It’s Not Easy Identifying Green

My first thought: Whoa! I’ve never seen a green goldfinch before! Second thought: Did someone lose a pet bird?

There simply aren’t a lot (any I’ve ever noticed) of green birds around here. After a rather unsatisfying result on the phone’s bird app. And searches in my bird book and on-line, I’ve narrowed my results down to some type of warbler. What do you think?

Maybe a pine warbler? Please, tell me this isn’t a gold finch. I don’t think so because the beaks are shaped different. The bird app wanted to say an olive warbler but the coloring doesn’t match. There were some old abandoned Christmas trees gathered in an area not far from here so I guess they could count as the pines? The goldfinches in the trees and not on the ground seemed to be hanging out on elms.

My camera battery died just as I found this group of birds. So only one more look. I really am at loss here. And wanting to go back and look for this bird again.

Other Birds Spotted This Week

I went ahead and put out a second bird feeder this week. Haven’t seen any new birds in the backyard but between the fledgling cardinals (noticed it was a family of four, mom, dad, and a brother and sister), doves, and sparrows the feeders were emptying fast. Wanted to give the poor little house finches, chickadees, and nuthatches an equal chance. The tufted titmice are still around as well. And I hear blue jays high up in the oak tree. And crows flying over head sometimes.

Mr. Hummingbird still finds it warm enough to hang out and guard his feeder. Gives the sparrows a bit of a wary eye. They ignore him but he’s ready for a fight should they try for his food. And the red-bellied woodpeckers are visiting a bit more often.

What birds did you spot this week?

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Joining in with the Bird Depot hosted by Anni over at I’d Rather B Birdin’.

 

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