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!


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