Saturday, October 27, 2012

More Alaska Birds

Its been a great birding fall so I've been out birding and not posting.  Thought I'd share a few more photos from Alaska.  The sceneary was amazing. 
Mountain west of Seward Alaska

Adult Bald Eagle in Seward

Adult bald eagle

Immature bald eagle chomping on the spin of a salmon

Boreal Chickadee
Funny sign in men's room. 


Pure Beauty

Rivers on the Kenai were filthy with salmon.
You could have walked across 

Orca pod

Barrow's Goldeye

Cackling Goose

Common Raven

Glaucous Winged Gull

Green Winged Teal

Hermit Thrush

Horned Puffin
Still More to go

Monday, October 1, 2012

Alaska Birds-My Adventure

Wow what a trip.  I joined two of my birding buds in Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula for a week of September birding.  The birding season for most of the migrating species is really short in Alaska, but we knew going in that our species list would be abbreviated.  Given that my birding on the west coast is pretty limited, almost any bird would be a new one for me.  Scenery, animals both land and sea were definitely going to be amazing.  That show was almost guaranteed.

I departed out of Logan Airport in Boston on September 1 for a very long day of flying.  I flew to Dallas on my first leg.  Flight wasn't so bad-4.5 hours to Dallas.  I don't do well sitting still.  The second leg was worse 6.5 to Anchorage.  I landed at 1845 and met Mike Mandracchia of Mandrake Birding and Mike Zarella of Hillcountry Naturalist.  We checked into the hotel and immediately went birding.  It was poring but who really cared.  We got a great sample of ducks at a local lake, but with the rain and the heavy clouds quickly put a damper on things as it got too dark to bird by 2100.  I would have birded till sun up and kept on going. 

The next morning as soon as we got on the highway we saw an enormous male moose.  What a great start with so many amazing possibilities.  I'll have a few posts from this trip.  Enjoy!

American Wigeon

Black bear (youngster only 200 to 350). 
Didn't want to ask him to step on the scale.

Immature Bald Eagle (great eye shot)
Kenai Song Sparrow 
Distinctly darker than Eastern Song Sparrow. 
I really got into the sub-species on this trip. 

Black-legged Kittiwake 
I've only ever seen these from a long distance off Cape Cod in Massachusetts.  I was like a little kid in a candy store with all these new species and even common species close up and smiling for a photo. 

Alaskan Brown bear
Fishing for salmon.  Not smiling at us BTW!

Fox Sparrow

Golden Crowned Sparrow
New species for me.  Yay me!

Stellar Jay
Jovial like all Jays, but distinctly different then the Stellars that I saw during my trip to Rocky Mnt National Park in July (photos to be posted later)

Sandhill Crane
Just hanging out on someones front lawn like the pink flamingos at my moms.  Bahahaa
2 adults and 4 young eating bird seed.  So cool!

I'll post more in a few days.  Hope you enjoy looking as much as I did taking them. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Migration in New England 2012

So not alot to say I've been birding like crazy, but overall the migration season seemed pretty lackluster in southeastern New England.  I got my fair share of migrants, but the abunance at several hot spots was way down.  I had to fight to get several of the standards for spring migration.  I did not see a Bay breasted and I still don't have Cerulean Warbler yet either.  Errrrr!  I did add two to my life list lately though (Lawrence's Warbler and a Spruce Grouse.) 

Without further fanfare here are a few photos for your enjoyment.

Chestnut-sided Warbler
Newport, RI

Indigo Bunting
Newport, RI

Warbling Vireo
Providence, RI

White-eyed Vireo
Providence, RI

Northern Parula
Newport, RI

Blue-headed Vireo
Newport, RI

Scarlett Tanager
Newport, RI

Prarire Warbler
Halifax, MA

Canada Warbler
Providence, RI

Blue-winged warbler
Charlestown, RI

Lawrence's Warbler
Charlestown, RI

Eastern Phoebe
Providence, RI

Eastern Towhee
Charlestown, RI

Yellow Warbler
Cambridge, MA

Spruce Grouse
Ferdinand, VT

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Ensley Bottoms Memphis Tennessee

Its been awhile since I posted.  I've been experiencing a birding drought for over a month.  I  had a business meeting in Memphis so I took a day before and went birding.  Whenever I take a trip, I review all the current web posting for the area that I plan to visit.  If I find someone who posts often I will typically send them an email.  This time was no different.   I found a birder that posted to the Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas e-bird lists.   He immediately got back to me and gave me several locations to visit.  Thanks to Jeff Wilson aka Ole Coot at  

He suggested the City of Memphis waterwater treatment drying fields called Ensley Bottoms.  I have visited Ensley Bottoms on several occasions.  If you've never been to Ensley, its a great place to bird. However, as its dry beds, the smell isn't overwhelmingly pleasant.  The birds don't really care though.  Plenty of bugs for them.  Shore bird numbers, in particular, have been high each time I have visited.  There are usually good numbers of sparrows and an occasional surprise passerine too.  Unfortunately I was about a month early for migration, but I saw 44 species, but no life birds.  Plenty of first of the year birds though.  The wind was steady at between 15 and 25 mph with gusts even higher so the peeps were laying low. 

Its already very dry in Memphis so there were a lot of birds congregating in small pools.     

 Black Necked Stilt

Great bird, but really a hassle to have around if you are skulking to try to get a photo.  They spook before every other bird and then they scare all the other peeps.  Errrrr!  I missed a really good shot of a Wilson's Snipe because of you Mr. Killdeer. 

 Least Sandpiper

There were 100s of small shorebirds feeding together in the drying beds. The least is only slightly smaller then a Western or Semipalmated so I have a difficult time picking the odd ones out. Most of the birds were least.

Western Sandpiper

Lesser Yellowlegs

Long-billed Dowitcher
I've got an itch.

Pectoral Sandpiper

 Solitary Sandpiper

 Stilt Sandpiper

Wilson's Phalarope

Fascinating bird to watch feed.  At first I thought there was something wrong with it.  Caged animals when stressed walk around in circles.  The WP uses this technique to get the bugs to come to the surface.  I watched it walk around in a circle for 1/2.. around and around we go!  I started to get dizzy.  I think it was creating a slight whirlpool.  Hmm interesting! 

So you walk around in circles get dizzy and sick to your stomach, eat (wait the 1/2 before getting back in the water) Yes I'm still afraid my mother will yell at me if I don't wait the 1/2 hour after eating.  I digressed.   Have fun watching!