Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Most Pathetic Blue Jay Ever

It is hard to be a teen. We all remember those days. Days of change and mocking or just hating the way you look for the smallest thing. "What will the other kids say?" "I can't go out like this!"

This was one of those days for this young Blue Jay. It is picture day and you suddenly molt all of your head and neck feathers.

Blue Jay

A day or two later it started to show some signs that the new feathers were definitely coming in but it is still an unattractive appearance.

Blue Jay

He will fit in soon. Hopefully in time for all of the new visiting migrants that are already flying into the area. Besides, Mom is there to lend support.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Babies This Late?

I returned home after dropping the youngest at school for the first day of the session and heard a slight, whispering in the trees. Stopping in my tracks, I listened and slowly looked around me. Another sound and a shadow amongst the leaves.

I couldn't really believe what I was seeing. It appeared to be very young Carolina Wrens! Like not out of the nest too long.

Carolina Wren

August is almost over, these seem to be a very late brood. I definitely had 2 chicks here, both missing tails. Since they haven't had time to grow in yet.

Carolina Wren

A more familiar sound began coming from the vegetation and out popped one of the adult wrens.

Carolina Wren

The other parent was up higher in the tree and had found a caterpillar which it quickly fed to one of the chicks before returning to the hunt. Once I thought about it, I do recall an earlier brood this year so our wrens are doing very well. I also love that they show little fear around me.

Wonder what else is out there?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Warbler Wearing Golden Robes

Be prepared for a history lesson.

It has been too long since I took part in a a monthly Mead Garden bird count. After my nice birding encounter yesterday and seeing a calendar reminder I figured it was time to get back there and help. After all, we just got our birding checklist printed this year after years of collecting data on the monthly count for the past 6 years.

I blame the kids and their Scout events.

I got there at 7. My calendar program had it listed to start then but it turned out to be starting at 8. Fine. I can walk around and keep myself occupied. Not 15 minutes into exploring as the sun began to rise was the discovery of a rumored Prothonotary Warbler preening in some plants.

Prothonotary Warbler

Lighting was bad but there was no doubt. The bird soon moved along toward the creek and I explored some more. Soon, I met a jogger by the creek who mentioned that a Barred Owl was seen on the ground upstream.
I headed that way but did not find it. On the way back, however, it was back there and flew up into the cypress. We chatted for a while.

Barred Owl

Once the main birding group assembled and began searching for whatever we could find, we all relocated the Prothonotary. Everyone got good looks and then moved on. Paul Hueber and I were trying to nail down a few more IDs before catching up and I rediscovered the Prothonotary feeding over the creek. The early sunlight was still not great for photos for me but didn't stop me from trying to grab as many images as possible.

Prothonotary Warbler

O.K. History lesson, as promised. The Prothonotary Warbler was "named after officials in the Roman Catholic Church (originally a "principal clerk of a court") known as the protonotarii, who wore golden robes".

Prothonotary Warbler

A beautiful little bird. Something we don't see in Mead often. If ever before.

Prothonotary Warbler

I checked back later in the morning to try and relocate it but failed to do so. At least we had a nice stretch of time with it in our presence.

Prothonotary Warbler

As the group headed off toward Pennsylvania Ave, I detoured onto the crumbling boardwalk alone and went in search of anything new. The only thing out there besides more Cardinals and wrens was Greg. Greg is a Great Egret that frequents this portion of the river and marsh. For some reason he accepted me walking up to him and at times refused to give up the boardwalk to my advance. I love that.

Great Egret

Back in the oaks toward the parking lot, the group found a nice Red-shouldered Hawk. It was looking for something on the ground for a while and then appeared to have found something when we turned our heads. We could not determine exactly what it was eating.

Red-shouldered Hawk

This was a really nice specimen. It soon flew off and as the rain moved in, we ended our count. Great to hang out with old friends again. Not that you are all old. ;-)

Red-shouldered Hawk

The months should bring in more surprises soon. Tomorrow we open mist nets before dawn.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Let's Get Back to Wilder Birds

Yeah. I have more BirdCam photos to share. Frankly, I am bored of them for now. So 'all-the-same' for so long. Have been busy trying to get Life back in order and I haven't had a chance to get out and about much but today I was forced to make a check on the banding site. Glad it happened.

By the time I got to the banding table, the place was humming with activity. Titmice, Prairie Warblers, Gnatcatchers, woodpeckers, and some bird flycatching in the midstory of the trees.

I was thinking it was our Great-crested at first but then it began to look different. Then I thought it was maybe an Acadian. Later study of photos and confirmation from Bruce Andreson revealed it to be an early Eastern Wood Pewee!

Eastern Wood Pewee

I had forgot to bring the binoculars so I could not ID some of the other members of the big flock. Other than the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds high up in the oaks.

Further down the trail I heard a sound I did not recognize at all. I spent a few minutes pinning it down to one section of branches. To my surprise it turned out to be a Carolina Chickadee!

Carolina Chickadee

I was just recalling, not long ago, that we don't see them here as compared to Wekiva. Note to self: keep making these statements to prove me wrong!

Loads of birds were also in the area. Carolina Wrens, Cardinals, Parula, and my first Ovenbird of the season.

Can't wait to see if all of these birds stick around until Sunday.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Birdcam Catchup for July

I have been vexed by the squirrels jumping on the cam lately. Ever since they knocked it over when I had it by the Hummer feeder they broke the horizontal axis of my tripod. Can't lock it down so now it pivots back and forth at the slightest touch. You will see an example down the page.

So, I have gathered some images from the past month that warrant some notice that will sum up July here at the house. Long post of images, true, but need to get ready for the new migration season and will be posting things from the Wekiva blog for a while. Just want to catch up here, too.

BTW, check that link to see how we are getting ready for the new season.

So! We had a nice visit from a Red-bellied Woodpecker. They rarely hit the feeders but when they do it always is interesting.

Red-bellied Woodpecker

The White-winged Doves are still around. Think they are here to say. Interesting sight last night: a Eurasian Collared-Dove was spotted a mile away last night. Closest I have seen them here. Definitely moving their range south.

White-winged Dove

The Red-winged Blackbirds still stop by for now. Here, a female loads up with food before heading back to the wetlands.

Red-winged Blackbird

The young Jays seems to be asking, "Is that how you eat that stuff?"

Blue Jay

A day later, I think I have the best capture of a male Red-winged Blackbird. I really like this shot.

Red-winged Blackbird

Move ahead to a week later and we get a nice shot of a Blue Jay grabbing a peanut early in the morning.

Blue Jay

Then a good shot of a juvenile Cardinal feeding next to a Mourning Dove. Like documenting the babies in the yard.

Northern Cardinal

Speaking of Cardinals, the following week found some good shots of the family including Pop feeding on his own, probably gathering food for the young ones.

Northern Cardinal

Joining him was the young girl feeding on her own.

Northern Cardinal

Later in the day she took some time to stretch out her new feathers before heading back out into the yard.

Northern Cardinal

Later, a House Finch decided to dine with a Mourning Dove...

House Finch

Then a White-winged Dove posed nicely...

White-winged Dove

As did a female Red-winged Blackbird.

Red-winged Blackbird

Then my current nemesis. The squirrels have decided that using the cam as a launching pad has become too easy for them. I have watched them do this routine. They perch on the deck, jump to the cam, and then onto the tray feeder. Often it turns the whole thing back towards the deck. Caught ya in action!

Gray Squirrel

I have to go and reposition the cam and then hope for more shots before they do it again. Luckily, I still get some nice shots like this Blackbird filling up on seeds.

Red-winged Blackbird

Sometimes a White-winged Dove eating in an interesting position.

White-winged Dove

Sometimes a Mourning Dove in the welcomed afternoon rain.

Mourning Dove

A new month is upon us. New birds are on the move. Can't wait for the next round of cam shots.