Friday, September 30, 2011

Barred Owl in the Ramble!

The park was very quiet bird-wise, until someone came over and told a photographer near me that there was a barred owl!  I followed them over, and sure enough

Hello Owl!

It attended to its foot like a cat.

This was just wonderful to see.  I've said it before and I'll say it again - owls are special.  :-)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Yellow Billed Cuckoo! I think.......

So as I was leaving the park yesterday I saw a bird fly into a tree near the ladies pavillion.  It wasn't a starling, or a grackle, or a robin so I gave it a look. It was about starling-sized.  I didn't get a close view, but I did get a few pictures.  It looked grey (with brownish undertones, not blueish undertones) with a white bottom face and a greyish top face.  I only saw the tail from the back and sides, I never saw the underside of the tail.

The bird looked like it was hunched over, like a fairly bulky man in a trench coat trying to not be noticed by the police.

I eventually left it in the tree, having no clear idea what it might be.  After seeing the pictures, I think it was likely a yellow-billed cuckoo!  The shape, coloring, and bill are right.

And that looks like an eye ring.....  Yep, my best ID right now is yellow-billed cuckoo.  I wish I had figured out a way to get a closer look and better pictures!  Lesson for myself - your eyes are getting better at figuring out if they are seeing something unusual - trust them, and when they tell you to pay attention, do it!  :-)

Monday, September 26, 2011


Today was another AMNH lunchtime walk, with a different leader, because Paul was gallivanting about somewhere.  The substitute did a great job, he was extremely knowledgeable, and his approach was very similar to Paul's - inclusive, respectful, helpful, not ego-driven, etc.  He and Paul both help me to think about the kind of birder I want to be, which is enormously helpful.

This parula got our walk started nicely.  It hid in the leaves for a while, and then stepped out into the light oh-so-briefly.  We were again lucky with the weather.  Okay, it was still cloudy and super-humid with a heavy supply of bugs, but at least it wasn't actually raining.

Then at the upper lobe we saw a grey-cheeked thrush!  It was my first look at a grey-cheeked (that I know of anyway) and it was not long enough.  I couldn't even get a blurry picture, it was that quick!  Oh well.  At least I know it's out there somewhere...... or was, briefly.  I consoled myself with this flycatcher.  Everyone went over to look at it and try to ID the flycatcher, I have no idea what they decided (if anything) because I wandered off hoping to find the grey-cheeked thrush again.  Which did not work.  Oh well, someday........

This wood thrush came by to brighten our day, thrush-wise.  There were thrushes everywhere!  A whole bunch of Swainson's, one grey-cheeked (too briefly for my taste), a few wood thrushes.  No veery or hermit thrush today.

This yellow bellied sap sucker came over.  In this picture you can see it's starting to get just a touch of red on its throat.

As we headed over to the ramble this female black-throated blue came by, demanding lunch.  So imperious!

At the ramble this pine warbler was true to its name, hanging out in the pine tree.

And there were brown thrashers everywhere!  What do you think about this one's beak - is it just that color, or has it been into something gooey or stain-y?   Looks like blueberries to me!

Also I saw this mystery bird.  Is it just a common yellow-throat with some yellow on its wings/tail?

And something trying to start a little mini-wingbar?  Some sort of vireo?  I still can't tell the difference between a vireo beak and a warbler beak.

I've been through my books and can't figure it out.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Rock and Roll Vireo

Rage Against The Machine

Eat at Joe's

Sitting, Waiting, Wishing

AMNH Walk Complete With Hummingbirds!

Another wonderful AMNH walk!  We were lucky with the weather, it was quite nice out, and apparently it's going to rain the rest of the week.  It really feels like fall this week, cool and crisp and happy, great hot chocolate weather.

At the upper lobe we saw this pewee.  Full name, Eastern Wood-Pewee.  The pewee looks like it has a bump on the back of its head, not quite a crest, but not nothing.

And this flicker!  Actually several flickers, but this is the only picture I got.  And a grosbeak and a veery (actually the veery was on the other side of the street by that little bridge) but they did not want pictures.

By the jewelweed was this gorgeous little hummingbird!  It stayed perched for us for quite some time, and flew around visiting flowers making sure everyone got a good look at it.  I was so happy to see it, hummingvirds always make my day.  :-)  A redstart  came by trying to distract us, and we did take a look of course, but I was still all about the hummingbird.

Over to the streamlet, where this scarlet tanager (although it is definitely not scarlet at this time of year) distracted me.

I think I've seen it here before and mis-identified it as some sort of oriole.  Oh well, live and learn!

Then this female black-throated blue distracted me and a few others, she was just so coy.

And philosophical.

Then on our way back to join the group this male black-throated blue distracted us all!  I'm so disappointed in these pictures.  The light was not great, but we really had a good look at this bird.

It actually hung out with us for a ~while~, eventually we just left it.  And it seemed to follow us.

Another redstart, they were everywhere.  As one person put it, it's nice that they have friends and family!

This Swainson's thrush was not very cooperative at all.  Another bird we saw several of.  I'm just starting to be able to tell the thrushes apart, which is great!

At the oven, it was Grosbeak Central!  There were so many female rose-breasted grosbeak, with several out in the open, it was quite a sight!  I saw one male for sure, but he didn't want pictures.  The ladies were shameless though, no longer hiding in the background, but coming front and center.  Thanks ladies!

Also at the oven was another hummingbird.  This one flew around a lot more than the one at the upper lobe, so that was a nice treat.  They are so beautiful!

What else...... a bunch of Carolina wrens, I remember that for sure.  And a brown thrasher that kept coming over at various points and then leaving before we could get a decent look at it, let alone a picture.  It was just teasing us!  Various woodpeckers - flickers, downies, red-bellies.

It was a great walk!  :-)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mystery Warbler at the Oven

This mystery warbler came right over.  It hopped up onto the rocks between us and some other birders, and walked along towards us, right in front of me and Jack.  The foot in one of the pictures is Jack's.  I don't know what kind it is.  I've been through my guides and I have a couple of candidates but can't really tell with any degree of certainty.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Hummingbird and Heron

At the oven, before the willow (?) tree completely fell into the water.  For a couple of days, a juvenile green heron was strutting about proudly.  Now there could be a dozen in there and I wouldn't be able to see them!

Okay, I don't think they know I'm here.

Sitting Pretty

Gotta Go!

Green Heron, Football Configuration

Same Green Heron, Bowling Pin Configuration

Monday, September 12, 2011

AMNH Walk followed by Hummingbirds and Green Heron

What a gorgeous day!  Not a lot of warblers around, but really a wonderful day to be in the park.  During Paul's walk, there were a few interesting birds but none of them wanted pictures.  I love those walks.  The whole experience is so friendly and inclusive.  Definitely the kind of birder I want to be.

After the walk I went through the upper lobe quickly, just long enough to see this waterthrush in a tree.  There were some workers nearby chipping downed branches, and the birds seemed a little out of sorts about it, maybe that's why this guy was way up there.  He was just bobbing his tail and looking around.  :-)

Over to the oven, hoping for hummingbirds.  While waiting for them, I noticed that this green heron had appeared!

It started out on "my" side of the fallen tree, and migrated to the other side, finally on the leafy fallen branch.  What a treat!

Oh, and yes, there was a hummingbird.

I think there was only one, so it had to be extra gorgeous.