Saturday, March 26, 2011

Couple Local Birds

Quick spin around the neighborhood. Over at the cemetery there were no great views of the eagles but I paused to grab a snap of a European Starling. Hard to get them on the ground. Usually up in the trees or on wires.

European Starling

I have been expecting some sort of shore bird activity as the lakes are all showing edges worthy of their attention. Finally, I found a Lesser Yellowlegs at Lake Lancaster just down the road.

Lesser Yellowlegs

Hopefully a sign of things to come. Rains are projected to return after 3 weeks of drought. Birds should be moving up soon.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Bald Eagle Chicks are Out of the Nest

Both of them. Yay!

Bald Eagle

The larger one was out on a branch a few days ago and I was worried about the other one. Still had yet to get a great view of it. Now they are getting so big.

Bald Eagle

The smaller bird has developed a great Dracula impression...

Bald Eagle

The larger of the two was busy preening.

Bald Eagle

So, excellent progress from the nest site!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Feeder Birds

Man, these birds have been too quiet. I know they are out there by the food going missing and fleeting glimpses of, say, the Catbird but these others should be easy to spot on a daily basis. Guess school is interrupting my mornings. That is where the BirdCam comes in!

With the returning White-winged Doves here it is interesting to see them on the smallest feeder in the area. They used to stay on the larger tray feeder exclusively.

White-winged Dove

Despite laying low, vocally, it appears that the Indigo Bunting that showed up months ago is still here.

Indigo Bunting

It shows up almost daily on the cam. Stay around a while longer, please.

Indigo Bunting

Another species that seems way too quiet is the American Goldfinch. Nary a peep. But if you look hard enough...?

American Goldfinch

The following day both of them joined together to feed.

Goldfinch and Bunting

Has to be more out there not chiming in. Time to hit the lakes and surroundings.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

White-winged Dove Returns

It has been quite a while but the White-winged Doves are beginning to return. I spotted one the other day but now the BirdCam got a shot.

White-winged Dove

Can almost feel the migrants gearing up for the flights back North...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Mourning Doves

Couple of interesting shots from the BirdCam. Was particularly surprised by the shot of a young Mourning Dove out there today. Younger birds are easily told from older ones by the scalloped edges on their feathers.

Mourning Dove

Compare to an adult whose feathers are all smoothed brown.

Mourning Dove

Still have to sift through 200 hundred dove shots to get these two but the revelation of the new chick was a major plus!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Kraft Azalea Anhinga

Back out at the Kraft Azalea Park the Egrets are still prepping for chicks. Headed down to the dock and found a pair of Wood Ducks resting on the rails. Was able to sneak close enough to get some shots without spooking them too much.

Wood Ducks

As I headed back around the lake shore toward the van I glanced right and noticed an Anhinga sunning on a Cypress tree.


Doesn't appear to be too old as the breeding colors are not too pronounced as the other males in the area.


A good close up of a great bird. I find it amusing to hear visitors wonder if they are some Disney construct.


Waiting on the Great Egret Chicks to arrive. Warm weather is back and Spring is sprung.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

BirdCam This Week

Birds have been quiet outside when I have been home so it was nice to have a couple nice shots from the BirdCam this week.

I could not tell if the Goldfinches were still around but we find that a few are still hitting other feeders if not the sock feeders.

American Goldfinch

The biggest surprise was the new shot of the Indigo Bunting finally getting into final plumage coloring. This bird has been around for months but has been very quiet lately.

Indigo Bunting

Nice to know it is still in the back for now. I will be staring out of the kitchen side as this is when it usually showed there in the past years.

Spring is right around the corner!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Kraft Azalea Park, Again.

A new Monday and another trip to Kraft Azalea. Still a lot of breeding birds and still not a great place to get good light at 11 AM. I tried. I liked this weird light on this Great Egret.

Great Egret

Nearby, another bird displays up in the branches.

Great Egret

Almost constantly, other birds bring in twigs to build up their nests. Nearly angelic.

Great Egret

Wood Ducks are always present but rarely accommodating. Best I could do as this pair rushed out of the weeds.

Wood Ducks

Saving the best for last, I did have some interesting light on this bird displaying before I left.

Great Egret

Kind of repetitive, but I probably will be back not too long from now. Heard an owl calling but could not located it.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Quick Tour

Doing my usual Canvasback check just to keep a running tab of how long she stays. Plus, I take a few minutes to run through a couple of areas along the way.

First up, probably my favorite female Mallard on Lake Davis. She is almost tan and has raised some broods here over the years. Easy to spot among the other local Mallards. Love the reflections.


Sitting out farther from shore was the remaining Canvasback, also easily spotted when she sits on the surface.

Canvasback Duck

Though the Great-blue Herons are not uncommon, sometimes they don't like being stared at. This one was more concerned about searching for food. Keeping up with the reflection theme for a bit.

Great-blue Heron

Took a swing through the cemetery after a report from Marcus that the Coyote is still there. Really? Yep.


Looking a little skinnier than when it was first found.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Canvasback Duck Persists

Well, I guess this is pretty nice. Some birds stop, feed, and bolt in a day. This one is finding a comfy spot for at least a few days.

The female Canvasback is still on Lake Davis and bobbing around quite nicely.

Canvasback Duck

She hangs near the Ring-necked Ducks on the southeast shore of the lake. Sometimes you need to sit for a few minutes to see her as she drives so much and can really hold her breath!

How much longer will she grace us with her presence?

Monday, March 07, 2011

Canvasback Duck


I have been speculating that there should be an appearance of a Canvasback Duck on Lake Davis for a couple years. We first had some just to the North a few years ago so why should they avoid this spot where I have been finding Redheads and even White Pelicans this season?

Just got a request for information if there really was a Canvasback on Lake Davis as was reported to a web post since I live just a few blocks away. Been awaiting this moment for so long, it seems.

I picked the boys up from school and headed home, telling them to keep an open eye on the ducks. Shortly, I spotted her.

Canvasback Duck


As we had to head home to get homework started I was happy with a pretty good ID shot in a couple of minutes. I will head back later for more shots if she sticks around. Ducks are gearing up for their trip back North soon.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Launch of the X37B

The Air Force launched is secret mission of the X37B today. Having just watched Discovery liftoff just last week the difference in 'awesome' was quite apparent. However, I was pleased to be able to make out the actual shape of the Atlas V and its payload even from so far away.

Here is a sequence showing the launch.

Atlas V and X37B

Still, nice to see a launch at any time.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Another Visit to Kraft Azalea Park

Weather was perfect but things were very busy at the cemetery so I ran back over to Kraft to see what was what. Same stuff, basically but a lot more folks there taking pictures of the Egrets. I headed to the lake first to see about Wood Ducks. Yep, still there. Several males and a couple females scooting back and forth. Males were very vocal.

Wood Duck

Nearby, a female rests on a bit of culvert concrete.

Wood Duck

Still not in a great spot for Egret photos but I did get some display shots today. The birds begin either by shifting some nest material or by doing a quick preen and then begin to spread those feathers.

Great Egret

Next, they rock a bit and begin to lean back.

Great Egret

The nexus of the display is having their heads all the way back to their backs.

Great Egret


Great Egret

Unfortunately, there are signs that things are not totally peaceful in the rookery. We had a storm blow through yesterday and either the winds, careless footsteps, or predators have knocked a few eggs from the nests.

Great Egret Egg

Out near the street we finally get to see a bird in full view.

Great Egret

Under the oaks we get a close-up look at the green that comes in on breeding birds. Spectacular.

Great Egret

Can't wait to get back out there next week.