Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Coot feet!

Another AMNH walk, another icy adventure.  We decided to head up to the reservoir and see what we could find.

But first, on my way up to meet the group, I got to watch 3 red-tailed hawks hunting!  It was actually a bit unclear what their relationship was.  I started watching one, and then suddenly there was another one, I thought the second one was chasing the first one away from its building.  But then there were three and they were all sort of flying together.  Oh, who can tell.  It all went so fast, and it was hard to see through the trees, but it was awesome!

red-tailed hawk
 At the duck spot (which just might be the only non-frozen part of the lake right now) there were plenty of mallards, and this one lone shoveler.
northern shoveler
 At last a chickadee!  Paul brought some bread to feed the birds, and it was pretty amazing how many flew right over.  I think human bread (even whole wheat) is basically like dessert to a bird.
black-capped chickadee
 I love this picture.  :-)
downy woodpecker
 At the reservoir, is was mostly frozen over, but the bread brought everyone right over!  I love female mallards.  They look so plain from far away, and they just get more and more beautiful the closer you look.  There's something about that whole idea that I just love.
The gang's all here!  A wood duck, a coot, a mallard, and a gull.  
herring gull, American coot, mallard, wood duck
 Coot feet!  I'm so happy the coots came over, I love their crazy feet!
American coot
 Look at them!  They are ridiculous and gorgeous and awesome!
American coot
 A black duck next to a female mallard.  At last I can see the difference!
American black duck, mallard female
 Back to the feeders - fox sparrow!
fox sparrow

house finch
 And a nuthatch to rounds things out.  Very nice, very nice, but the coot feet really made the day for me.
white-breasted nuthatch

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Normal birds on a nice day

A nice day!  It's not freezing!  There's no rain or snow or their evil hybrid, the dreaded wintry mix.!  Okay, it's hardly balmy, but still - time for a nice walk.  :-)

I headed over to the pond with Jack who is finally up to leaving the apartment, and we saw this hawk scaring the ducks.

red-tailed hawk

And there was a coot hanging out by the bridge!  It has a fish it's tearing bits off of and eating, which you can barely see in this shot.  But what you can see (sort of at least) is its crazy coot foot!  :-)
American coot

A wood duck, daring me to find a more gorgeous animal to take a picture of.
wood duck

It's hard for ducks to get private time.  This onlooker did ~not~ mind his own business.

Yes, yes, the same wood duck, now ready for his close-up.
wood duck

That about wore Jack out, and he headed back home to nap while I continued on towards the ramble.  This flicker was near the boathouse.  Bit of a pink face.
northern flicker

Creeper!  At the feeders.
brown creeper

The lady of the hour, holding court.  At least four photographers had lenses only for her.
Baltimore oriole, female

This house finch was just as happy to not have quite so much attention.
house finch

Oof.  This poor guy.  Wonder what happened.
house finch

Check out the ring on this female mallard!  Never seen a prominent neck ring on a female like that.

At the end of the day, it's hard not to love a bunch of shovelers.
northern shoveler

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Everything is still frozen

Well, it was a beautiful walk in the park today.  Everything is still frozen, which is...... well, let's just say we've seen a lot of that this year.  The paths had a lot less ice on them though!

First, ducks showing their imaginations.  These mallards are pretending to be shovelers.


These wood ducks are pretending to be statues.
wood duck

This shoveler is pretending to be a karate expert.
northern shoveler

There were lots of woodpeckers (downy, red-bellied, even a flicker), but the only decent photo is of this sap-sucker.  So vivid!
yellow-bellied sap-sucker

At the feeders, plenty of finches.
house finch

Fox sparrows!
fox sparrow, white-throated sparrow, dark-eyed junco

It's easy to tell the fox sparrow from the white-throated sparrow if you can compare them side-by-side.  The junco rarely gets confused with either, but wanted to be part of the shot anyway.
fox sparrow, white-throated sparrow, dark-eyed junco

Oriole!  Such a bright spot in the winter.
Baltimore Oriole

Yep, still snowy and frozen, still pretty.  I wonder when spring will arrive........

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Walking through a Winter Wonderland

Yes, yes, I know, it's been done.  But it's so appropriate!  We got about 8 inches of snow yesterday, and the park today was ~~gorgeous~~ for the first AMNH winter bird walk with Paul.

See?  It was a gorgeous walk up to meet the group!

These happy cardinals agreed with me.

The ducks had a little open water, and these shovelers were showing off their ability to swim in tight circles.
northern shoveler 
So pretty!  I met up with the group, and we headed back down to the ducks.

This was the tallest of the wood ducks, with his lady friend.
wood duck

Duck lust: a short story.  Starring a duck of questionable (possibly mixed) ancestry and the pureblood mallard he seduced.
American black duck, mallard

This is a raven.  Yes it is.  It was actually really cool to see it flying, I could see a big difference between it and a crow.

fox sparrow

At the feeders, this oriole ruled the roost.
Baltimore oriole, goldfinch

We headed over to try to find an owl, and we did! So gorgeous!
long-eared owl

We couldn't have woken it up.  It was overlooking a group of kids sledding, with all of the shrieking that goes along with it.  :-)
long-eared owl

A last pretty snowy scene.