Sunday, November 20, 2011

Snowy Owl and other Sea Birds

I got up before sun up to look for a Red-necked Grebe, but had no luck.  Started out as a very slow day which was disappointing because there have been so many reports of great birding.  I decided to search for a snowy owl that had been repeatedly seen at Duxbury Beach in Duxbury, MA.  I've seen a few snowy's before, but they were usually 100s of yards away. I didn't expect anything less at the beach, but I usually have pretty good luck along the shore. 

Saturday was no different,  fantastic birding.  Access with a vehicle is by permit only so I packed up my gear and off I went on foot.  I didn't expect to walk as far as I did, but when a great photo op exists I think I'd walk to the moon. One of three snowies was most recently spotted at the base of Plum Hills on Saquish Island.  Clearly I wasn't paying attention because I walked right up on what I thought was plastic bag, but when I got within 15 feet, it immediated teed right up for me on a branch.   I took over 100 photos thinking I may never get another opportinity like this one.   I spent 30 minutes on my belly in the sand. 

Snowy Owl (female) Duxbury Beach

On my way back, I realized that I'd really walked a long distance and was exhausted.   I looked it up today and it was appxomately 4 miles out.  8 miles for a snowy.  Jeesh!  You better really like it.  I tell ya!  I was also pretty lucky on the way back I saw some great birds.  Black scoters, White winged scoters, long-tailed ducks, northern gannets, red breasted mergansers, snow buntings, northern harrier, sharp-shinned, and many different gulls species.  I didn't spend alot of time as the wind was amazing.  It was sustained at 25 mpg.   I did take a few more photos though.

Juvenile Bonaparte's Gull

Horned Grebe

Red-Throated Loon

I also got a juvenile brant which threw me for a loop as it was missing the typical white line.  All in all a great day.  Beautiful sunshine, blue sky, ocean waves, and plenty of birds.

Brant, juvenile

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Birds of Texas (September)

On my recent trip to Austin to attend the Alliance of Hazardous Materials Professionals (AHMP) conference, my friend Mike and I took a few days following to bird and had a great trip. We introduced a few others to birding and met another AHMP member out on the range, who I'd run into before, but had no idea he was in to birding.  We met him a Pernales State Park where his family was camping for the labor day weekend.  Excellent variety, but due to the drought many of the unusual species had already departed or not arrived yet.  The drought was awful.  Entire rivers 100 feet across were but a trickle.  Temps were daily in the 110 range so we took our time and shelter where we could find it.  Nothing can really stop a birding from enjoying the past time though.  Next year the AHMP conference is in Anchorage, Alaska, I'll be spending a week before the conference birding.  Took some pretty good photos during the trip.  I'll need a few posts to get them all in though.  Enjoy!   

Summer Tanager

Northern Cardinal

Lesser Goldfinch (female)

Lesser Goldfinch (male)

Great Crested Flycatcher

Bewick's Wren

Black-chinned Hummingbird

Black crested Titmouse

Inca Dove