Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Food fight at the back deck feeders

These guys had actually calmed down some. There were more mouths then perches and no one was willing to wait their turn.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Big Day Dec 23

Howard county is freezing. That is always promising news for birders. Today seems to be the day that a lot of rare visitors dropped from the sky. here is a partial list of Birds I saw. But by no means inclusive.
At Centennial Lake were the following: a Greater White Fronted Goose (1), Cackling Geese (3), Golden Eye (1), American Black Duck (1), Canvas backs (2) and a lot of other birds, Canadas - 1000+, Mallards, Ruddy Ducks, Hooded Mergansers, American Coots, Ring Necked Ducks, Ring Billed Gulls.

I also Visited Lake Elkhorn. and saw more of the same just a lot less.

The Greater White Fronted is quite rare for Howard County. The last being in 2000, or so I am told.

What is it?

What is this duck? Is this a Green Winged Teal or some knockoff brand of mallard? Black bill, pinkish legs fairly uniform brown throughout except the green wing bars. I found this bird in a mixed flock of Mallards and Mallard Hybrids.
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dec 12 again

An added bonus was while I was returning to the hotel room I spotted 2 Purple Finches along the walkway coming back from the beach. I gather that this is a very seldom seen this far south. I am sure that this pair was blown south by the storm.
Before traveling to St. Augustine Florida I tried to contact the local bird club for directions to a nice birding spot but received not response. That, I guess is a good thing because I struck out on my own and I located this rarity. Bad for the St Johns Bird club because I have no one to contact to let them know they have Purple Finches in their county.

If by some miracle someone from St. Johns County reads this posting and is interested, I would be happy to tell them where I found a pair for PF's.

Also blown in by the storm were several beautiful star fish washed up on the shore.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dec 12, 2008. The Beach and the Willet

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Florida Shoreline

Dec 12, 2008
Friday morning in St. Augustine Florida was a cold windy post storm morning. A good time to visit the beach if you are looking for birds that were seeking shelter the night before.

There were Laughing Gulls, Herring Gulls, Ring Billed Gulls, Foster's Terns, Royal Terns, Brown Pelicans and White Pelicans, Sanderlings, Willets, and Ruddy Turnstones.

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Community Watch program

Locals keep an eye on this trouble maker. 
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Pileated Woodpeckers

Saturday morning 17 degrees and clear. I decided to follow up on some postings of waterfowl located in the next county. Not having many migrents of late, Howard County has been very blah.

Piney Branch Park, located in Carroll County has a beautiful lake that abounds with waterfowl, Canadas, Ringnecked Ducks, Ringbilled Gulls, Buffleheads, Hooded Mergansers, Wigeons, Great Blue Herons, Mallards, Ruddy Ducks, Black Ducks, American Coots and several others that were too far away to view without a scope.

But my highlight for the morning were two Pileated Woodpecker working the trees for insectsPosted by Picasatotally unperturbed by my presences. I watched them for maybe five minutes before they flew off .

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Pine Siskins

Well, it is mid-November, and over a month since I last posted. This has been the doldrums. Between early migration starting in August with the Warblers, followed by Sparrows, and then the Accipiters and Buteos through October. Relatively little happens from the last of October and into early November. But, Mid November the Water fowl from the north start heading south for the winter months. i have seen alot of FOS (First of Season) birds but very few FOY (First of Year) birds. Without listing the few additions for the year, I will say that I am at number 148. I would like two more unique birds to reach my goal of 150 species in Howard County Maryland for the year.

Some highlights are a immature Snow Goose, six Cackling Geese mixed in with a large flock of Canadas.

Lastly, at our feeder this past weekend we have had several visits by Purple Finches and Pine Siskins. The Pine Siskins are pictured above along with one of our many regular backyard Goldfinches.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Garden Plots at Elkhorn Garden Plots

This is a great place to go Birding in the fall. Lots of migrants. The gardens provide lots of cover and a wide variety dining choices, seeds, insects, berries and old veggies left on the vines in many of the plots that have been left unattended in the fall. Additionally, very few gardeners are around to intimidate the little fellows. In fact the birders out number the gardeners this time of year

Nashville Warbler
Mourning Warbler
White Crowned Sparrow
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Palm Warbler (western subspecies)

Robins, Cardinals, B Jays, Carolina Wrens, House Wrens, House Sp. Mocking birds, Song Sp. , House Finches, Goldfinches. Common Yellow Throat.

I am looking for a Tennessee Warbler but I am afraid that I have missed it.

Photo Credit to Jeff Culler.He also help me identify the Palm Warbler (western) as I really had no idea what I was looking at.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A Good day today

This morning I had a field trip with the local Bird Club. I always look forward to being with birders that have years in the field. You can not help but pick up tips on habitat & habits. Today was no exception. Many warblers have moved on but several are still present. One of those very experienced birder spotted one and then another Orange Crown Warbler (138 )the OCW stayed still long enough for everyone to get a good look. For many of us it was a life list bird. For almost all but the birders that have been at if for decades it was a county and state list bird.

Other first of the year birds were pair of Eastern Meadow Larks (139), a beautiful Indigo Bunting(140) and a Lincoln's Sparrow (141), this is also a lifer but fairly common for the experienced. Below is a complete list as compiled by our fearless leader. I did not see the entire list and sadly there are 2 sparrows in the list needed for the year.

Canada Goose:
Black Vulture: 2
Turkey Vulture: 1
Osprey: 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 3
Red-shouldered Hawk: 2
Red-tailed Hawk: 1
Mourning Dove: 1
Chimney Swift: 12
Red-bellied Woodpecker:
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker: 1
Northern Flicker:
Eastern Phoebe: 5
Blue Jay:
American Crow:
Carolina Chickadee:
Tufted Titmouse:
White-breasted Nuthatch:
Carolina Wren:
House Wren: 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet: 4
Eastern Bluebird:
American Robin:
Gray Catbird:
Northern Mockingbird:
Cedar Waxwing:
Orange-crowned Warbler: 1-2. First winter bird, virtually devoid of field marks, grayish aspect, with broken eye ring, and pale yellow vent area.
Magnolia Warbler: 3
Yellow-rumped Warbler: 2
Black-throated Green Warbler: 6
Palm Warbler: 9-12
Black-and-white Warbler: 2
American Redstart: 1
Common Yellowthroat: 12
Eastern Towhee: 3
Chipping Sparrow:
Field Sparrow: 1
Savannah Sparrow: 1
Lincoln's Sparrow:
Northern Cardinal:
Indigo Bunting:
Red-winged Blackbird:
Eastern Meadowlark: 2
House Finch:
American Goldfinch

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Compilation of the last two weeks

I am listing only new birds for the year.
(128)Black Throated Green Warbler 09/20/08 am
(129)Winter Wren 09/20/08
(130)Eastern Wood Pewee 09/20/08
(131)Broad Winged Hawk 09/21/08
(132)Pileated Wood Pecker 09/21/08
(133)Canada Warbler 09/21/08
(134)Blue Winged Warbler 09/21/08
(135)Blackburnian Warbler 09/21/08
Common Yellow Throat 09/21/08
(136)Philadelphia Vireo 09/21/08 - this was quite a find. I didn't realize it but someone else saw it two days before in the same area.
(137)Yellow Bellied Sap Sucker 09/24/08

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sunday Morning

Sunday, our local bird club had a field trip to Rockburn park. It was the first trip of the fall season and almost all the exceptional birders in the local club were there. As i result I learned more in a couple of hours at the park with these people then I ever could on my own. It is trips like these that really help expand my knowledge of how to locate and identify birds I would normally walk by and miss. We started about 8 am , I called it quits at 9:45 am.

Here is my list.
Number 126 - Yellow Billed Cockoo (2) Picture above
Number 127 - Bank Swallow - flyover

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Triadelphia Reservoir

Dana and I were up early today. She was meeting friends for breakfast, I had a men's study group at church. We decided it was a good day for a drive around Howard County's largest body of water, the Tridelphia Reservoir.

Today was more of a reconnoiter rather then an actual trip to bird, none the less I always end up making a list. Trip list is below.

Canada Goose - 36 (HOCO)
Double-crested Cormorant - 1 (MOCO)
Turkey Vulture - 1 (HOCO)
Bald Eagle - 1 (HOCO)
Least Sandpiper -8 (HOCO)
Caspian Tern - 1 (HOCO) (#125)
Belted Kingfisher - 2 (MOCO)
Red-bellied Woodpecker -heard (MOCO)
Northern Flicker - heard (Mont. Co)
Blue Jay heard (MOCO)
Vultures (sp)
Red-tailed hawk (HOCO)
Green Heron 2 (HOCO (MOCO)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Rockburn Park 09/10/2008

Wednesday morning was a good morning in the park. I was fortunate enough to meet a fellow birder and spend some time walking the trails that I have been walking for the last two weeks. Two sets of eyes are definitely better the just mine.

One the left is a plate of a Magnolia Warbler (123).
A Red-eyed Vireo (124) If I can find picture I will post it.

Along with these we saw the following:

Red Shouldered Hawk (1)
American Crows (6+)
Mocking Birds (4)
Catbirds (10+)
American Robins (10+)
No. Cardinals (6+)
American Red Start (male)
Sharp Shinned Hawk (1)
Mourning Dove (2)
Starlings (12)
Common Yellow Throat (1)
White eyed Vireo (heard)
Carolina Chickadee (6+)
Turkey Vulture
Eastern Bluebird (1)
Ruby-Throated Hummingbird (female)
Blue Jay (4)
Tufted titmouse (2)
American goldfinch (2)
Northern Parula (1)

Monday, September 8, 2008

09/08/2008 Rockburn Park

Next to the parking lot off the Montgomery road entrance of Rockburn Park is a stand of trees that has yielded several species of Warblers over the past week, this morning was no exception.

All though I arrived late (7:45 am) the activity in this area was still "hopping."

Along with the usual warblers of late, I spotted a Chestnut sided Warbler (imm. female) (121) and at the top of a tree with several dead branches was an Olive-sided Flycatcher (122)

The rest of the list is very pedestrian and I won't bore anyone with it. Although no one reads this blog anyway, so it wouldn't matter what a mentioned. :)

Friday, September 5, 2008

09/05/2008 Rockburn Park

7am to 8am

6- Black and White Warbler
Northern Parula
American Red Start (female)
Baltimore Oriole (male)
Scarlet Tanager (119)
Hawk (sp)
Blue jay
Crows (sp)
3-Northern Cardinal
White Breasted Nuthatch
White Eyed Vireo (120)

Minor milestone 120 birds for Howard County with 4 months to go.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Anne Arundal County 09/03/2008

I read on MDOSPREY Rare Bird Alert System for Maryland about a pond in AA county behind the shopping center on Quarterfield Road and decided to take a look. It was a man made pond that often appear at construction location for the run off from rains and such. This pond turned out to be a great locale for shore birds, ducks and waders in general.
Here is what I found

Shore Birds:
Killdeer (4)
Lesser Yellowlegs (1)
Least Sandpiper (2)
Solitary Sandpiper(2)

Cattle Egrets (4)

Mallards (60+)
Canadas (10)
Hooded Merganser (imm.) (1)
Barn Swallow (1)
Mourning Dove (1)

All in all and interesting group.

Fall migration has started Howard County 09/03/2008

The migrating warblers have started to arrive in Howard County. Location: Rockburn Park.

Common yellow throat (114)
Northern Parula (115)
American Red Start (116) male and female
Black throated Green Warbler (117)
Black and White Warbler (118)

other birds:
Crows sp
Sharp-shinned Hawk
No. Cardinals
Imm. Robins - everywhere
Blue Gray Gnat Catchers
C. Chickadees
T. Titmice - 4
Eastern Pewee
White-Breasted Nuthatch

Mont. Co. 08-30-31-2008
Last weekend at Little Bennett Park (Mont. CO.)
we saw an Olive Sided Flycatcher ( life bird)and
a female Black throated Blue Warbler.

Fall migration has started

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Litlle Blue Heron #113

This morning, while walking around Centennial lake in Columbia we spotted a immature Little Blue Heron, working its way around the little island in the western part of the lake. This photo is not the actual bird but a mature individual I happened upon near my office. The immature LBH a are mostly white with a pale blue beak. As they mature the will lose the white feathers and eventually look like this fellow.

Happy Birthday

The love of my life is celebrating a birthday today. I cannot believe how blessed I am that the Lord chose me to share her life. Through twenty-eight years of marriage, three children, and half a life time of memories.
You grow more beautiful with each passing day. Happy Birthday Sweetie.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

check out those legs

Algae leggings - very buff.
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Early morning walk

Well, another White Ibis was spotted, this time along a shallow in the Patapsco River. I finally was successful in actually seeing him. Below is my White Ibis (112). He is an immature Ibis, and therefore not very white.
In addition to the Ibis here is a partial list of creatures from this morning. Canada Geese, Green Heron, Great Blue Herons, several, Belted Kingfishers, Blue Winged Teals (113) and a Yellow-billed Cuckoo, heard not seen. Also some four legged critters of note: a four point buck and some beavers photos below.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Birds of Race Road

Race Road, a swampy wetland and is always good for multiple waders.Here is what I have been able to view this summer
Great Blue Herons (pictured)
Great Egrets (also picture)
Green Herons
Yellow Crowned Night Heron (immature)
Belted Kingfishers (several)

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Thursday Afternoon

Still no White Ibis (WI)............ But once again I caught a glimpse of another Heron. This time it was an immature Yellow Crowned Night Heron (110)

I could not get a clear view and it had not as of yet developed all the adult type plumage, but none the less it was exciting to see it as I had again given up hope on WI and was about to head to the car.

Well, it is not as if there is nothing going on at the marsh (swamp), but my focus is on finding the WI.

Here is a list of the regulars that I see daily.

Great Blue Herons, 3 to 5, Great Egrets 1 to 3, Belted Kingfishers a pair, Green Herons 2, a Black Crowned Night Heron, Mallards, Canada Geese, Wood Ducks, Eastern Bluebirds, Goldfinches, Red Winged Blackbirds, Grackles, Owls, Hawks, and a lot of little brown jobs all over the place.

Lets see what tomorrow brings

July 17, 2008

Thursday morning and still no White Ibis. But,
number 109 showed up as a Marsh Wren.
Noisy little guy. He was hard to miss. He kept jumping around and singing until I paid attention.

(not my photo)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

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Summer doldrums

In between the spring migration and the fall migration there is a gap when very little goes on in the way of viewing new species
Last week there was a posting for a White Ibis in the county, very rare for our part of Maryland. The location happens to be very near my office near the county line.
Not having seen anything new or even anything old worth posting, I decided that early morning trips to this site might net me a new species to add my 2007 county list as well as my life. Three days of venturing to the site and nothing in the way of a White Ibis.

But I was able to see several Wood Ducks (106) a Blue Grosbeak (107). (pictured is an immature Green Heron. I miss identified as a Least Bittern.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Hummer (105)

Finally I have seen the Ruby-throated Hummingbird that my wife spotted about two weeks ago in the back yard. Better late then never. The photo is from last year . i cannot seem to find the really nice pictures of this fellow and the truth be told, our visiting hummingbird is actually a female.
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Other birds I have seen this week

I would like to note that I have seen three very striking birds near my office. A Cattle Egret, a Little Blue Heron and a Glossy Ibis. Here are the pix of all three. They were exciting to come across. I actually saw all three in about an hour on Friday June 13th.

Little Blue Heron - top

Cattle Egret - middle

Glossy Ibis - bottom

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A first for Howard County

It has been some time since I last posted. But today I responded to a rare bird alert for a Eurasian Collared Dove (102). This is not a rare bird per say, just in our neck of the woods. So I was up at 5:30 am and off to Lisbon Maryland to meet at a beautiful working farm in western Howard County.

We were very fortunate to find the bird as soon as we stepped out of the car. We then proceeded to wander around for the next hour chasing the the thing to get different views as the EC Dove seem to realize we were staring at it and would move from tree to tree, seeming to say,
" Pleasssssssse, stop staring at me".

After that highlight we went in search of anything thing else we could find. For an early weekday morning with not a lot of time we were very successful. Here is a short list of the most colorful and impressive fowl.

Great Blue Heron, perched in the tree tops, Baltimore Oriole, Kestrel, Eastern Bluebirds, Jays, Goldfinches, Meadow larks (I did not see these, drat), Redheaded Woodpeckers (first for me in HC) (103) Grasshopper Sparrows (heard but not seen another life list first)(104) and of course all the other usual suspects. Also a pair of red foxes working their way along a fence line.


Monday, May 5, 2008

New goal .....150

Rose Breasted Grosbeak
I have I lot of catching up to do.
Our feeders netted two addtitions, a Gray Catbird (94) and a beautiful Rose Breasted Grosbeak(95) that stopped for a couple of days while a storm blew through the area. Sadly, he left when the sun came out.

At lake Elkhorn I spied several Baltimore Orioles, males and females (96). Also an male orchard Oriole (97) a Least Sandpiper (98), a Solitary Sandpiper (99), Semipalmated Sand Piper (100) and a Prothonotary Warbler (101) over this past weekend.

FYI Semipalmated is a big word for ----> "Having partial or reduced webbing between the toes, as some wading birds do. "
and Prothonotary means : "a chief clerk or official in certain courts of law." I have no idea why a small little yellow bird would be declared a clerk of the court.

I think I need a new goal. so 150 is next.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

2 Life List birds for me. Woo Hoo

====================> Eastern Kingbird

At Centennial Lake this morning I took an abbreviated walk with the intent to find the Spotted Sandpiper that was reported to be along the bank on the deep end of the lake near the dam.
As I started out I immediately spotted several Purple Martins(91). Shortly thereafter the Spotted Sandpiper(92) walked out from behind a rock along the shore.

With that done I started back to the car to get and early start on the work day. But on the way back to car ,and there in a field of blooming mustard, was an Eastern Kingbird(93). It was a very striking bird with beautiful tail feathers.

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Forgotten Bird

Red-breasted Nuthatch - left & Chipping Sparrow - right.

This weekend had little in the way of birding activity. My middle son and I did go fishing. This is one of his favorite hobbies. We spent a wonderful morning tramping along the Patapsco River. We didn't catch anything worth keeping accept the memory of spending time together. BTW, Happy Birthday Blake

Sunday, morning was the start of some very very wet weather but I was able to get out early, before Church. BTW,our Pastors are doing an 8 part series from Psalms. This Sundays topic - Guilt. I needed to be there for that. Here is the link for any other guilty people out there. http://www.covlife.org/sermons/ The entire series has been very convicting. If is well worth listening.

Oh, the birds, Chimney Swifts(87), Chipping Sparrow(88) Red-Breasted Nuthatch (89) at our feeder, very cool. And, Snow Geese (90) that I saw in a fly over back on March 17th and over looked in my list earlier