Friday, July 25, 2008

I'ts About Time!

I've been patiently waiting without trying to get my hopes up about the Red-Bellied Woodpeckers nest in the tree in my front yard. They have been in out and of that nest over the last few months with out any juveniles! They had some eggs back in the spring but they got pushed out of the nest by one of the many squirrels, I think.

Well, about two weeks ago, I started to hear some faint chirping up in the nest. It has steadily gotten louder and louder until now, the little juvenile is about to burst of the nest at any minute.





The father (below) and mother have spent many trips back and forth to the feeder. They appear to be attempting to coax the little one out of the nest now. They are not having any luck yet but I hope to see it on the feeder sometime soon!


Good birding and God bless!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I'm Still Alive!!!

I've been fairly busy lately and haven't been good at all about posting on the blog. My apologies to the faithful few who read it. I'm still birding and it has slowed down a little around here for me. I believe things will change soon on the birding front ...

Any way, back to what has been going on with me over the last month and a half that I've been away from my blog. I took another business trip to Phoenix, AZ. I was able to get a little sight seeing done at the end of the trip.

We were able to hike up Camelback Mountain which sits within the Phoenix city limits. We didn't actually make it to the summit due to our limitations, meaning we weren't in shape to do it! We didn't want have to get hauled to the emergency room. That doesn't make for good sight seeing or birdwatching!




I did add several new additions to my life list on this trip. Below is a Verdin which is a very distinctive bird. This is a male which has a yellow head and throat. Females have less yellow on their head but are similar in markings. They were very quick little things and didn't feel like posing for any pictures!



Verdins also make very unique nests. They make a completely enclosed nest, not like most birds nest I'm used to which are bowl shaped. This particular tree had at least 6 nests in it.



This is a close up of one of the nests which has the entrance hole. I'm glad I got to see the Verdin's as they are unique from what I normally get to see in Arkansas.



I also added a Cactus Wren and a Gambel's Quail to my life list on the Camelback Mountain trip. I also made another visit to the Grand Canyon on this trip. It was a great birdwatching trip as we actually made a hike down into the canyon. Check back for the recap!!!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Business Has Picked Up!!!


I finally broke down and decided to purchase a feeder from Wild Birds Unlimited. They have a pole system that puts the stop to squirrel problems. I had one and now, I don't!!!

Not that I dislike squirrels but I would rather feed the birds and not the squirrels. Squirrels also take up space on the feeder and prevent the birds from feeding. Below is my setup and believe, it works!



The feeder setup also has perches that allow birds to feel protected before feeding. I noticed that a Brown Thrasher family likes the perches. The adult had two juveniles waiting while it picked at the suet on the side of the feeder.


As you can see, the juveniles are well on their way on catching up to their parent. They look very similar to the adult in almost every way. However, they haven't yet developed the yellow eye which helps to identify the adult.


I've also found a Brown Thrasher nest we two eggs. I can't get close enough long enough to get any shots but I've got more juveniles on the way.

Good Birding and God Bless!


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Red-Headed Acrobatics!


I've recently added several Red-Headed Woodpeckers to my regulars in my backyard. They were scarce during the winter except for one juvenile that stayed pretty high up in the trees and was only rarely seen.

One of the new visitors has taken a liking to the peanut feeder. He performs acrobatics to get to the peanuts in the feeder. He spins around and around at the bottom to peck at the peanuts.




We spent the weekend at Brush Mountain with my wife's brother and his wife. It was a great time of birding for me. I added three birds to my life list!

My brother-in-law and I spotted a Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher right off the bat the first day I was there. It was a lifer for the both of us! I got a few pictures of it but none turned out. Maybe next time!

On Saturday, we hiked up Pinnacle Mountain in West Little Rock. We saw another lifer five minutes into our hike. It was a Black & White Warbler. He was flitting about in the trees and was too quick to get any pictures.

I added one more to my list on Saturday evening which was a Bank Swallow. He was flying around a lake near the house. He was flying acrobatically and catching insects for dinner.

Good Birding and God Bless!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

And The Winner Is . . . Robin Red-Breast!!!


I have had my first juvenile visitors of the year. I was wondering what species would get off to the early start. It turned out to be Robins. They won the "First Juvenile Of
The Year" title for 2008.



The juveniles look very similar to the adults except the rusty red breast isn't fully developed. You can see the slight rusty red color on the juveniles but it is speckled with grayish black spots.

It also amazes me how quickly the juveniles grow. These pictures were actually taken early last week. You can see they are slightly smaller than the adult carefully watching over them.



I also was able to capture these videos which I wanted to include. The adult is feeding the juveniles as they follow it around. I just love to see the interaction between the adult and the juvenile as they raise them!


video
video


Below is the newest picture of one of the juveniles. They were taken yesterday. As you can see, it is as big as the adult. They just grow up so fast!




Have you seen any juveniles this year? What kind were they?

Good Birding and God Bless!



Thursday, May 8, 2008

Cornell Lab: Workshop Fine-Tunes the Passion for Sound

Hey! I hope that everyone is having a great week and plans for a better weekend. I wanted to pass along this information from Cornell Lab of Ornithology. I was contacted by Pat Leonard about participating in their efforts to help spread news about projects and research that the Lab is doing. Enjoy!

God Bless and Good Birding! - Karl


Workshop Fine - Tunes the Passion for Sound
Cornell Lab of Ornithology Course Taking Registrations Now

Ithaca, NY­ From June 7 to 14, the annual Sound Recording Workshop offered by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology returns to San Francisco State University’s Sierra Nevada Field Campus in the spectacular surroundings of the eastern foothills of California’s northern Sierra Nevada mountains. Participants learn state-of-the-art techniques for capturing bird sounds, guided by experts.

Learn to capture the sounds of wildlife through lecture, discussion, and daily field recording sessions participants learn how to effectively handle a portable field recording system to make scientifically accurate recordings of bird vocalizations. Participants learn how to conquer wind, how a roadbed can help overcome the sound of a rushing stream, and why placing a microphone on the ground is sometimes the best strategy. There is also an introduction to the science of sound analysis which converts sound waves into visual images called spectrograms. With signal analysis it’s possible to visualize a bird song note by note.

The Sound Recording Workshop fee of $895 covers tuition, class materials, ground transportation, food, and lodging. A $100 deposit is requested to reserve a space, which is limited to 20 students. Registration and payment are due by May 31.

Learn more at:
http://www.birds.cornell.edu/macaulaylibrary/Contribute/soundRecordingWorkshop.html or contact Tammy Bishop at (607) 254-2198 or macaulaylibrary@cornell.edu.

#

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a membership institution dedicated to interpreting and conserving the earth’s biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. Visit the Lab’s web site at http://www.birds.cornell.edu .

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Rose Breasted Grosbeak Migrants

If there is one thing I've learned about watching birds, sometimes you get lucky and just happen to be in the right place at the right time. I've seen several birds for just a second and then they are gone. Sometimes, never to return.

This was the case (or so I thought) on Sunday when this one flew into the yard. I was able to get a quick shot off before it flew off. I quickly got out my trusty field guides to determine which one it was. At first glance, I thought that it was a female Purple Finch, but then realized it was way too big.



I was able to surmise that is was a female and a Rose Breasted Grosbeak. Wow, another addition to my life list. They seem to be coming quickly as the spring migration has a lot of birds moving!

I like to capture pictures of the female of the species and really enjoy attempting to identify them. They usually don't have the distinguishing marks that easily identify the males.

Another thing I like about seeing the female is that you know the male is not far behind! This was the case with the Rose Breasted Grosbeak. The male didn't show back up on Sunday, but made his debut on Monday! He is a very nice looking bird.


It took these guys a little while to find out which feeder to use and where to find food. I had to fill up my tray feeder with seeds as they had a little trouble negotiating the smaller tube and house feeders.



Good Birding and God Bless!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tanager Anyone?


You know it pays off sometimes to just to sit and watch the birds out your window and wait to see which ones fly into your yard next. I really love this about birding because it helps me to slow down and enjoy things a little more than I used to.

This is just what I was doing on Sunday afternoon when this female Summer Tanager stopped by for a little visit. I've seen a male two times before but never a female. Tanagers are residents of the southeast and central portions of the U.S.




She is not the bright red color that the male exhibits but rather a dull yellow. Tanagers are distinctive birds and beautiful. They have proven hard for me to photograph as they hang out in the upper levels of trees.



Good Birding and God Bless!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Cane Creek Birdwatching


I had a pretty good weekend last week watching birds. My wife and I went up to Cane Creek State Park near Star City, AR to check it out on Saturday.


They have two trails to nature walk on, the Delta View Trail and Lake Trail. The Delta View Trail is 2.5 miles and the Lake Trail covers the entire lake is about 15 miles long. We covered a partial segment of the Delta View Trail. It was very nicely land out and was great for taking a nature walk.





I was walking for birding, she was walking for exercise so our paces were slightly different. About 5 minutes into our little adventure, she calls me on my cell to tell me to hurry up. She thinks she has spotted a Pileated Woodpecker! I quickened step only to be disappointed when I arrived, it was gone. This is the one bird I has on my list to see first and hopefully capture the moment with a picture.




I did see a Summer Tanager, a Yellow-Rumped Warbler, several Titmice and a few Downy Woodpeckers. I include a pic of the Summer Tanager below. It was high in the trees. He wasn't in the mood to have his picture taken!



I went back up to Cane Creek on Sunday afternoon with my friends and their little 'birder' that I've had the pleasure of showing my backyard birds to. She just loved it. This time we covered the entire 2.5 mile Delta View Trail. We saw and heard several birds.

This time, however, the Pileated Woodpecker wasn't so illusive. I was able to observe 3 Pileateds, all in flight. They are awesome birds. They are distinctive to say the least. I was excited I was able to see one. Next time I hope to get a pic of the experience!




That same day, I had another treat to add to the weekend. I had two Indigo Bunting visit my yard. The hung around for most of the day, just at a distance. They never would come in close enough to get a descent pic.




All in all, it was a good weekend. I added two birds to my life list!

God Bless and Good Birding!

Monday, April 21, 2008

What A Weekend!!!


This weekend was probably the best so far for me on the birding front. I spent Saturday morning out a Lake Monticello again. The bird activity most definitely picked up since last weekend. It was bright sunny day and was perfect for bird watching!


There were two Flickers that were spending time feeding on the ground out by the lake when I first got there. I then noticed this Loggerhead Shrike on the pavilion and seemed to be watching the Flickers. Check out Aunt B's Backyard for some great shots of a Northern Flicker.





As I was leaving the lake, I noticed a Belted Kingfisher perched on this dead tree. He was 'posing' and I got as many pics as I could! As I was watching, he just took off and dove straight into the water. I was shocked but then he re-emerged and took his perch again. I guess he either saw a fish or needed to cool off!




Check back later this week to hear about the trips that we took to Cane Creek State Park near Star City. I'm still going through the pics and all of my field notes. It was a great trip. My little 'birding buddy' went with us on Sunday. She loved it!

Good Birding and God Bless!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Saturday Birding at Lake Monticello


My wife and spent some time Saturday doing a little bird watching with a friend and her 4 year old daughter. She really loves watching birds and has turned into a little 'birder'. We decided to ask her and her mother to come with us to Lake Monticello to see the birds.

We saw several species of birds. We saw many Starlings feeding by the lake when we first arrived. We had to sneak up on them to get a better view. I showed them a few techniques I use to get up close on birds. We used the surrounding trees to shield us so the birds didn't get a glimpse of us.




After seeing the Starlings, we looked out in the lake and saw a group of Coots swimming. We also saw these two Green Head Mallards swimming around. We saw several other species including a Belted Kingfisher, Mockingbird, and Turkey Vultures.

All in all, it was a great trip, mostly because we had a future birder with us. It was definitely exciting to see how excited she got every time a bird flew over. We finished the afternoon off by coming over to our house where she got to see the Woodpeckers and Cardinals in our backyard.

Good Birding and God Bless!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Now Those Are Some Pretty Ducks!

I wanted to post a few pics of the ducks I saw last week at the Old Fish Hatchery in Dallas. Larry over at The Brownstone Birding Blog inspired me to share my duck photos! He posted some very nice shots a few weeks back of the ducks he's been seeing.

I've seen a Wood Duck before but it was several years ago before my 'birding days' began. This is a very pretty and distinctive duck. It isn't easily confused with any other duck as it is one of the few ducks with a crest.




The other duck I saw on my way into the Hatchery was a lifer for sure. I noticed it's distinctive half moon crest on the side of his head right away. He also has a violet gray head and a noticeably blue patch on its wing. Texas is on the very southern end of its summer range.



I was able to get a shot of both the male and female Blue-Winged. There were also many Mallards in the hatchery. All in all, the Old Fish Hatchery in Dallas is definitely a duck haven!

Good Birding and God Bless!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Day At The Old Fish Hatchery in Dallas


I spent this past weekend in Dallas, TX on a business trip with my wife. We had a great time (she had to work) and I had some time to spend and decided to do some bird watching on Saturday.


I had been to White Rock Lake before on my last trip to Dallas. I had seen a few birds on the lake but nothing to 'blog' about on that trip. This time I picked up a tip from Ron at Wild Birds Unlimited. He told me about the Old Fish Hatchery out by White Rock Lake.

The Old Fish Hatchery was established in 1930 to help seed the lake with fish after it was constructed. It has obviously been abandoned over the years. Over the years, it has become a refuge for many forms of wildlife and a haven for birds.

I added several birds to my life list. The Yellow Rumped Warbler was one of the birds I saw and the most exciting for me. It winters in the southern states and is still around. I was surprised to see this bird, really any new birds were a plus for me.




The Yellow Rumped Warbler is divided into two subspecies. The eastern form is the Myrtle Warbler and the Western form is the Audubon's Warbler. The Myrtle Warbler has a white throat and a white eyebrow (as seen above and below). The Audubon's Warbler has yellow throat.




The pic below is from a distance by I included it to show the yellow 'rump'. If you are ever in Dallas, take time to spend a few hours at White Rock Lake!



Good Birding and God Bless!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Where Has All The Time Gone?

I got the shot of my little Red Headed friend on my woodpecker feeder this morning. I'm glad he is back in the yard. I'm missed him this winter. Hopefully, I'll be seeing more of him since he has found my new feeder!


I've been "tagged" by Craig's Birds & No Ceiling to leave a six word meme to describe my inner birder. Here is my meme: Where Has All The Time Gone?

It seems that I used to have way more time to bird (in my backyard) than I do now. I've recently changed jobs and that has the most to do with it. I hope to get to spend more time birding now that the time has changed. Nothing like an extra hour or two to spend watching the birds go by!

I'm tagging the following blogs:
The Brownstone Birding Blog, Aunt B's Backyard, Sycamore Canyon, Big Spring Birds, & Iowa Voice. These are a the blogs I frequent the most. Check them out!

If you want to play here are the rules:

1. Write a six word memoir and post it on your blog with an illustration if you'd like.

2. Link to the person that tagged you in your post (see above) so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere.

3. Tag 5 more blogs with links.

4. Don't forget to leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

New One For My Life List!

I went back through my snow pics from last week and ran across a nice surprise. I found this picture of a Cedar Waxwing! I haven't sighted a Waxwing in my yard. He just seemed to blow in and out with the winter weather.

The Cedar Waxwing is a very pretty bird and distinctive one too. The black color on its face gives it the appearance of having a black mask and it has a very shiny, gold color to it. As you can see below, it also has yellow tips on the end of its wing.


Arkansas is in its winter range and I'm glad I got to see it before it started its migration!

Good birding and God Bless!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Winter, uh, Spring Wonderland!


Well, we got blasted today with a little snow, to say the least. You'd think I was posting on The Brownstone Birding Blog or Big Spring Birds' Blog up north instead of Arkansas! Best I can tell, we got about 5". Needless to say, this put the birds into a feeding frenzy.



The snow has everything covered. You would never know it is just 13 days away from Spring. It is about 32 degrees with the wind blowing about 15 mph. The birds had only seem to have one thing in mind, "getting something to eat!"


I got a few shots of a Downy Woodpecker on the peanut feeder. Only after I downloaded the pictures from the camera did I notice something a little different. The Downy looked a little smaller than the usual ones on Woodpecker feeder.

I believe it to be a juvenile, probably a 1st year male. You can see the little patch of red starting to show on the back of his head.

The wind was gusting to 20 mph when I got this shot. He was doing everything to hang on the feeder.


Good birding and God Bless!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Anyone For Suet?


I decided to try and make a Woodpecker Suet Feeder, similar to the one I saw over at Craig's Birds. I thought it was worth a try to make one and get a few more woodpeckers to my backyard. They just won't come to any ole bird feeder. Only rarely have I seen pictures of them on regular bird feeders and I've never seen them on one in my yard. Woodpeckers are one of my favorites birds, to say the least.


I've also noticed that any bird that likes suet dough will avail themselves to the feeder. I have a Pine Warbler that just loves it. He is a regular along with the little male Downy Woodpecker. Carolina Wrens will also make a regular stops.

The Northern Cardinals will also get some suet but usually only after all of the sunflower seeds are gone. These days they are having to fight with the huge flock of Goldfinches that have taken up residence in my backyard.

Another regular on the feeder is the female Red-bellied Woodpecker. She really works it over multiple times during the day. I've noticed that she and the male appear to be taking up residence in a hole in the front yard. It may be time for some little ones in the near future!


God Bless and Good Birding!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Did You See The Lunar Eclipse?


Last night, I tried my hand at photographing the lunar eclipse. I really struggled to get a good shot. I took about 50 pics standing in the cold, working hard on my Kodak Z712 IS's settings, to get one decent pic. I got a few, but would have felt better if a few more turned out.



Good Birding and God Bless!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

You Yellow-bellied Sapsucker!

I've had another recent addition to my back yard this past week. It is a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker! Many believe this woodpecker to be fictious bird created only for the funny name.

They are one of only four North American Sapsuckers and are the most widespread. They are highly migratory and the only woopecker in the eastern U.S. to be completely migratory!

They are the eastern couterpart of the Red-napped Sapsucker. The other two species of North American Sapsuckers are the Red-breasted and Williamson's. The Yellow-bellied is the only sapsucker that resides in Eastern North America.

Sapsuckers drill evenly spaced holes in trees and frequent the "wells" to drink the sap and eat the insects it attracts.



I believe this male may be a first year adult as his red crown and throat aren't yet very colorful. The male and female are very similar except for the throat, which is white on the female.

God Bless and Good Birding!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

New Field Guide

I recently got another new field guide that is very nice. It is a Peterson Field Guide, "Birds of Eastern and Central North America". It is very detailed and has a very nice migration map for each bird in the back.



The detailed drawings help to show the primary, distinctive marks to help identify the bird in the field!

Check out this field guide if your looking for a new one to try out.

God Bless and Good Birding!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Grand Canyon Pics

I wanted to post a few pictures of my recent trip to the Grand Canyon. I really enjoyed the short trip to see the sights. I've been there once before about ten years ago but I'm not sure if you can really ever see and appreciate all the scenery.


It had just snowed the night before and everything had a fresh coat! It was very nice there and cold.


God Bless!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Chickadee with a Racing Stripe!


I got another treat during my trip to the Grand Canyon. I was able to observe another species of the Chickadee. This chickadee is very similar to the Carolina Chickadees here in the eastern part of North America. They are very small and flighty birds. Here in Arkanas and in other areas, the Carolina Chickadees are almost always seen with a flock of Tufted Titmice.


These chickadees are unique to the species as they are the only one with a white eyestripe. The white eyebrow can be clearly seen the pic below as he is feeding. The Mountain Chickadee is just like the Carolina Chickadee, very quick.

These chickadees were also seen with their buddies, in the west they are the Juniper Titmouse.

Thanks for visiting & God Bless!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Another Dark-Eyed Junco for Me

I wanted to post a few more pictures of my trip to Arizona. We went to the Grand Canyon and I was able to get a few pictures of new birds that I added to my life list! One of them was this Gray-Headed Dark Eyed Junco. I got this shot at the Grand Canyon Village Post Office. There were two of them walking around, looking for food.


We have the Slate-Colored Junco here in Arkansas. The dark eye is not as pronounced on the Slate-Colored as it is on the Gray-Headed one here. It also has a red back and is very similiar to the Red-Back Junco. The only difference between the two is that the Red-Backed Junco has a bi-colored bill.

The Dark-Eyed Junco has six different sub-species with the Slate-Colored being the most prevelant.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

I Believe Your Bill Is Curved!

I went back through my pics from the South Mountain Park trip in Phoenix from last week and found a bird shots I didn't remember taking. I was so excited about the Gila Woodpecker that I overlooked these shots of the Curve-billed Thrasher. He was only around for just a minute for I got a few pics.


I have Brown Thrashers during the summer here in Arkansas but they have migrated for the winter. The Curve-billed thrasher doesn't migrate like the Brown Thrasher does. This is probably because they live in such a warm climate, no need! They also have a very distinctive orange-yellow eye.


Stay tuned for my next few posts. I was able to go to the Grand Canyon and do some sight seeing on Friday. The snowy view was outstanding and I also got some shots of a few birds that I added to my life list!


 

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