There have been multiple sightings now of a few Snowy Owls (relatively) near where I am located. Since this species doesn’t often come this far south I always get excited that maybe THIS will be the year I finally add a Snowy Owl to my lifelist. So far I haven’t gotten lucky but I am going to keep trying.
Photo courtesy of Alex Lehner of what looks to be a Snowy Owl male. You will be mine someday and I will take awesome pictures of you too!
Read about the predicted irruption of Snowy Owls this season on ebird.org here.
As the semester winds down I find myself stressing out more and more between the end-of-semester duties at work, and for my own classes so needless to say I needed some quality birding time. I spent a few hours over at my friend’s house watching out the back door to her bird feeding station to see what might visit despite the cold crappy rainy weather we are experiencing. I suppose cold is a relative term since normally this time of year we are easily 30 degrees cooler. I would rather have rain than snow and ice that is for sure.
The highlight of the visit was a late season Fox Sparrow, a new species for my life list which was a big thrill. I managed to squeak out a few pictures of him from behind the door despite the deck’s best attempts at getting its railing in the way. The rufous coloring on the rump and wings of this sparrow was quite pretty when paired with the dramatic streaking on the breast and gray head coloring. The Fox Sparrow was hanging out in a mixed flock of Dark-eyed Juncos and House Finches which I thought was kind of interesting.
Well ok I don’t really have a yard per-se, but the courtyard area behind my apartment is often full of little flitting things, especially as migration continues for the season. I have finally seen the neighborhood Dark-eyed Juncos – they were bopping around in the grass. Periodically I would see their white tail feathers flash as they flew back and forth. Unfortunately they did not want to sit still long enough for me to get a clear shot of them. I wanted to not have to try and take the pictures through the screen door but my movement spooked them farther away. Still it was nice to see them. I’m keeping my camera close at hand in case they come back so i can try and get a few more shots.
The weather has not been cooperating lately to allow me to go birding and try and take advantage of fall migration. Today was chilly and rainy with a nice wind that made sure my glasses were sufficiently splattered going between the grocery store and the car. Unfortunately this means I don’t have any new birding pictures – didn’t want to risk my camera in a sudden rain storm.
Last week though we did get to visit the International Crane Foundation, which if you have a chance to go you should. Located in central Wisconsin the foundation does a lot of amazing work educating people on 15 different species of cranes from around the world. The foundation helps in the breeding and repopulation of multiple crane species facing extinction. Some of the birds there are absolutely gorgeous. I was honored to see the Whooping Cranes as there are maybe 600 left in the wild. I would love to get a chance to see them using the microlight to teach the birds how to migrate.
I think my favorite bird of the visit had to be the Grey Crowned Crane. The bird that was there was extremely gregarious and came over to the fence of its enclosure to say hi, resulting in some amazing up close shots of its head and feathers.
Here are some of my favorite shots from the day:
The weather just refuses to break with a heat wave that is basically melting the area. We have had temperatures in the mid to upper 90’s for a while now and it is starting to really get to everybody, especially with the high humidity percentage that keeps accompanying it. The air is almost a tangible thing you can touch; the air is so moist and heavy and makes breathing very difficult. This morning it was already 85 F degrees at 7am when I was on my way to work. That is never a good sign people. A temperature that high that early in the morning spells doom for the rest of the day. Well ok not doom, but a really really crappy hot day. I don’t do well in heat and humidity so this weather is kicking my butt. I just keep running from one air conditioned place to the next trying to survive.
A pair of barn swallows have been nesting above the door to my apartment and I finally remembered to take a picture of them when they aren’t hiding in the nest. The poor babies are hanging over the nest trying desperately to keep cool. Hopefully they will be ok and can ride out this heat wave without any adverse consequences. I have my fingers crossed that the heat wave will break this weekend as predicted so I can go out birding and maybe actually see something.
Sorry for the quality – I took the picture with my phone and for some reason it turned out super dark. I will try to get out there with my camera to get a better picture.
Poor melty babies 😦