Friday, February 26, 2010

American Coot, Tufted Titmouse and Yellow-rumped Warbler

Well today isn't an exciting post, but all of god's creatures have a place in the choir.  I got each of these pictures as I was searching for the elusive Carolina Chickadee.  Yes, folks I was actually searching for a chickadee.  In these parts (i.e, New England), you can't but move and find the ever present, but charming Black-capped Chickadee.  Apparently the black capped is a Red Sox fan because its southern boundary is located somewhere around the Connecticut border with New York (makes a good story anyway).  Unfortunately, I was only able to briefly capture the Carolina Chickadee so it isn't post worthy. 

Today's post are again from Cape May.   The American Coot seemed to be alot more vibrant than I remember.  Its dark black feathers contrast nicely with the white beak and a very fine red highlight on the bridge.  Nice looking bird and always busy.  I'm also posting a Tufted Titmouse just because it is a great photo.  The region's second nosiest bird, just behind the Carolina Wren.  Pishing brings them in every time.

Of course no birding day is complete without seeing a flock of yellow-rump warblers.  You'd run around in a pack too if your name was humanoid-yellow-rumpus.  Sure to get beat up at the playground!!!  Enjoy. 
American Coot

Tufted Titmouse

Yellow Rumped Warbler

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Brown Thasher, White Throated Sparrow and Fox Sparrow

Since this was my first trip to Cape May I had no idea what to expect.  I'd heard crazy stories of hawks, falcons and associated raptors passing through in the 100s.  There were lots of small ponds throughout the Cape so waterfowl were numerous.  Due to ice still on most of the ponds, the water fowl were really close to the shore.  We stopped at the beach and that was were I got a shock.  There is a large sign where they post the largest number of sightings per species of raptors in any one single day.  Hold on to your hat folks....on one Fall day they reported seeing 23,000 Sharp-shinned hawks.  Hard for me to believe because I have a difficult time telling between a Coopers' and a Sharpy, and when you are up to 23,000 birds, well....still hard for me to believe.  How do you know its not the same bird flying around in circles (giggling as he flys by again and again)?  Today's pictures were taken at Cape May Audobun Society bird feeders.  We spent 1/2 hour just watching the amazing variety of birds.  I've attached a few examples.     
Fox Sparrow ( funny little dance they do!)
Brown Thrasher
White Throated Sparrow

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sandpiper, Dunlin, and Ruddy Turnstone @ Barnegat Light NJ

Our first stop on my New Jersey trip was to Barnegat Light.  The wind was pretty strong, but it was rather warm considering it was February.  I couldn't believe how tame the birds were on the jetty.  If you don't know about Barnegat Light jetty it goes out about a mile along the beach.  The water from the inner channel enters the Atlantic Ocean.  Luckily it was a northwest wind so the ocean waves were not hitting the jetty and the birds were numerous.  Today I'm posting pictures of the little birds that were just hanging out on the jetty.  I set up my tri-pod to take a few and a flock came in and landed right at my feet.  Didn't seem to care that I was even there.  I can only imagine what it is like during migration.  Ready to go with me on a trip in May?

Dunlin (foreground) and a Purple Sandpiper (background)

Purple Sandpiper
Ruddy Turnstone

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Northern Pintail, Longtailed, Harlequin and Northern Shoveler

I took a trip down to New Jersey to meet with a friend, Mike Mandracchia who is a professional guide in New Jersey.  The trip was amazing.  We spotted approximately 71 species including 3 lifers.  I took some excellent photographs with my new lens "Big Mama".  I was feeling pretty cocky about the new lens and was even approached by several people asking what size it was.  Feeling cocky that is until a sharp looking van pulled up driven by an older women.  She said, "how's the birding boys.  Ooo is that a turda swan?"   Well indeed it was so she parked her van and hobbled over to check things out with binoculars.  I was hoping she was going to check out my lens, but instead she went back to her van and pulled out a camera and lens that required a forklift to position it.  Moral: somebody will always have something bigger and better so learn to use what you have by understanding your sorroundings.  Learning your sorroundings during birding is half the fun anyway.  Learning and knowing the preferred habitat of each species will help us all be better birders.

Back to the fun stuff...we visited Barnegat Light,  Cape May and the Brigentine National Wildlife Refuge.  I'll post pictures from each location over the next week.

 Male and Female Northern Pintail
Male Long tailed Duck (formerly Old Squaw)
Male Harlequin Ducks
Male Northern Shovelers

Great birding in New Jersey.