Friday, August 27, 2010

Sort of like Spring, but more confusing

What a day!  I spent the entire day at the park, leaving cocktail clothes at the gym for meeting Brooke later.  It was a good plan!  :-)  The weather was amazing, everything was really quite close to absolutely perfect.

I took the subway up to the museum and went up to Tanner Spring first.  Immediately there was my first mystery bird.  I have no idea what this guy was.  Color of a sparrow changing into a bright yellow.  But not a sparrow beak.

My first bird pictures with my new camera were of this guy.  Sadly I had not yet set it to silent so he didn't stick around too long.

Then a pair of downies came through, I guess they heard I have a new camera and wanted to make sure they were part of the festivities.  Yes, you're gorgeous!

The mystery bird came back, as did this other mystery bird.  At first I thought this was some sort of fancy sparrow, but after a lot of browsing in my book I think it might be a juvenile house finch.

By the way, the whole process of figuring out what bird it is doesn't seem like it should be this hard.  I mean, really?  I have to just randomly browse through the entire book (well not quite but large large chunks of it) and hope to come across the bird?  How am I supposed to know the difference between a sparrow and a finch?  Or a warbler and a vireo?  It's really starting to frustrate me.  Yes, the beginner-ness is leaving.  I might not be able to hang onto it for another year.

That was about it for Tanner Spring.  Once I got all the settings to silent on the camera, I headed up to Summit Rock.  On the way and up there, it was like blue jay central!  They were everywhere!  It sounded like about 10 of them, so it was probably about 3.  I mean, they are very loud.  No good pictures.

Also on the way I saw a flicker, but he was camera shy.  I don't understand why, they are so beautiful and cool, I guess they just get tired of the constant attention.

I also saw some sort of mystery thrush, and did manage to get pictures that would have been great if the lighting and the focus were both better.  Having a different camera is definitely hurting me this trip, with the old camera I would have been able to get something at least semi decent of this guy.

Oh well, moving on!  I started across the field towards the castle, and noticed a little lovely in this one particular tree, so I hung out for a while.  There was a sunbathing dude who might have thought I was checking him out in an extremely leisurely fashion, he sort of looked at me.  Dude, it's okay, I understand I'm not your type, I'm just here for the birds.  He settled down once he saw me point the binocs at the tree, not at him.  :-)

Anyway, here's the little lovely.  I think this guy might be a parula.

See the yellow spot on the back?  That means northern parula, right?

Then in the same tree was this crazy character!  After a lot of searching through the book and a lot of random browsing, it turns out this is a red-breasted nuthatch.  How would I know a nuthatch instead of a warbler?  I have no idea.  Looks the same to me, acts the same, moves the same.  Yep, I'm getting tired of being a beginner.

Everyone seemed to love this tree.  Here's another guy that came through.

I don't really have a good idea what this dude is.  I mean, I guess a warbler of some sort, right?

Also while I was hanging out and seeing who else blew through this (quite popular) tree, I saw 2 huge birds fly over, pretty low, they disappeared behind the trees quickly.  I think they were water birds, my guess would be blue herons.  They were darkish and struck me as a solid color.  They had wings like and moved like herons.  And that's all I could tell.  It was cool!  I looked for them everywhere, but didn't see them, so I guess they didn't go to the lake.

After a few quiet minutes I decided to move on.  Mostly because I was getting quite hungry and there's a hot dog guy by the castle, so that was pretty motivating.  :-)  On the way a mockingbird landed on the grass near me and did some serious strutting around.  Showed me under his wings a few times, just to make sure I knew that he was indeed a mockingbird.  He seemed larger than I expected though.  Are they bigger here than in Cayman?

Anyway, on to turtle pond.  Where I found this gorgeous black crowned night heron!  At last - a bird I know!  :-)

I also saw a flicker at the base of a tree, sadly the pictures didn't come out.  Like, at all.  The new camera defeated me!  Not for long, you rascal - I will even go so far as to read your manual!

After a hot dog I went up to the castle, searching the garden for hummingbirds.  No joy.  :-(  In fact nothing at all.  I mean, that's not totally true, there were plenty of robins!

Over to the upper lobe, where I really thought I saw a brief glimpse of a hummingbird.  I hung out for a while and looked and looked, but didn't see it again.  I think there was a redstart too, I'm not really sure.  Let's face it, there probably was.  I just don't remember if I saw it or not!  :-)

I did see this guy, who I think is some sort of oriole.  Elusive fellow, definitely wanted pictures, but did not want them to be good!

Then I began to amble through the ramble, like I love to do.  Over by azalea pond there were a pair of tufted titmouses.  Tufted titmice?  Uuuuummmmmm......... anyway, they were so cute!

The camera nearly defeated me again, but I did manage to get okay shots of them.

Then this male redstart came through.  I really wish this picture were crisper, I just love it!  Look how happy he is.

Followed the path along the water, sitting on the rocks and watching mystery birds tease me.  Finally decided to tromp past one mystery bird, you know, like a tourist, not like a birder, so the bird would ignore me.  Get to where it seemed like it was heading, and then wait for it and get a good look.  Well, it totally worked.  I got to the stone benchlet and turned around, and almost immediately the bird flew right over to me and literally flew a circle around me to land in the tree about 6 feet away, and eye level.  It was awesome!  I did not get pictures though, and I have no idea what it was.

Another mystery bird.

It's weird to me that I don't know what these birds are.

Another mystery bird.  Am I seeing more birds than I used to, or do they really just look that different?  I don't know what this one is either.

Okay, this one I know!  It's a beautiful black throated blue.  And what a sweet bird to pose for me like this!  At last a decent picture of one of these, where you can see the blue and the black.  Thanks little fella!

Over at the oven I though I saw a hummingbird again!  But I could not find it.

I went over to check on the beehive, which is still there and looks fine to me.  Not a lot going on over there.  checked the tulip tree etc., I don't know, I'm just not feeling it here.  Move on.

Went out on the point briefly.  I don't know why, it just felt like it was going to be not good.  I'm definitely not feeling this.  No.  Just go.

Back to the oven.  Yes, yes, hummingbird, i saw it perched!  It was beautiful and teeny and had the crazy long beak, and I definitely saw it!  I mean, the pictures are all of a space where a hummingbird used to be, but I definitely got a decent look at it.  yay!

Okay, it's really time to go, I hope I'm not late meeting Brooke.  Back over the bridge at the upper lobe, where these turtles were trying to delay me.  And by the way it totally worked.  So I think the big one is a snapping turtle, and the little one is a red-eared slider.  The little guy looked like it was trying to climb onto the big guy.  Here it's from the side, but to be honest it started from the back, and looked a little rude!  The big guy seems fairly stoic about the whole thing.

And with that, off I go!

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