Why Did the Turkey Cross the Road?

I actually have no idea why the turkey crossed the road. I was, however, pleased to see my wild turkey friends after several months of no viewings whatsoever. I spotted this pair while out birding. I was hoping hoping hoping that they had fuzzy little babies with them but alas, they did not. They still let me get some great pictures though as they crossed in front of me to get to the other side. I was also thrilled to see the ever elusive Indigo Bunting on this birding trip. He would not let me get close enough for a decent shot with my puny (for birding) camera lens, but it was a great sighting nonetheless. Here are some of my favorite shots from the day.

DSC_0002

A grey catbird serenading me as I entered the park.

DSC_0027

Mr. Indigo Bunting looking super awesome in the sunlight.

DSC_0029

Why did the turkey cross the road?

DSC_0021

Advertisements

Patient Waxwing

I did a brief stint of birding after work today to try and take advantage of the weather – we are due for MORE thunderstorms all weekend which is a major bummer. So far this week it has only been decent outside when I am at work which is not cool.

I didn’t see a whole lot birding-wise today but given the time that I was out there this was to be expected. There was, however, a neat encounter with a Cedar Waxwing. I like waxwings a lot because of how velvety and soft their plumage looks. I saw the bird eating berries along the path but I didn’t have my camera readily available. I politely ask the bird if they would wait while I dug my camera out of my backpack to take pictures. Lucky for me the bird obliged resulting in the shots below. 🙂

Note the little red, waxy protrusions near the tips of their wings (a little hard to see but they are there) which is what gives this bird its name.

 

DSC_0006

DSC_0007

DSC_0008

DSC_0009

Spring Really is My Fav Time of Year

This morning was absolutely gorgeous – low 60’s with a light breeze to keep off the bugs. I couldn’t resist going out for some birding since the last week has been continuously rainy and unpleasant. There were a few other people around but not so many as to be a distraction or otherwise scare away my quarry. I got to add four more species to my life list which always seems to make a trip worthwhile. 🙂 New species included Yellow Warbler, Pine Warbler, Red-headed Woodpecker and Chipping Sparrow. Here are some of my favorite pictures from the excursion:

Chipping Sparrows

Chipping Sparrows

DSC_0007

Pine Warbler

Pine Warbler

Red-headed Woodpecker

Male Red-headed Woodpecker

Male Goldfinch

Male Goldfinch

Common Loon

Common Loon

DSC_0033

Male Cardinal

Male Cardinal

Female Downy Woodpecker

Female Downy Woodpecker

Omg Ticks Can Go Where?!?

I went on a recent off road birding excursion near a small pond where essentially you were tromping through scrub and grassland to get close enough for proper bird viewing. Me in my stupidity didn’t think to bring any sort of bug spray or insect repellant along for the trip. My birding compatriot and I spent the better part of the hour out there determined to find either the Eared Grebes that were reported to be hanging out there, the Horned Grebes that had eluded my companion the other day, or both. Plus any new waterfowl species we found that we could add to our lifelists which is always a good thing. We didn’t find the Horned Grebes but did get to see a magnificient pair of the Eared Grebes which are very uncommon for our area.

After what I considered a very successful birding outing I went home getting ready to try and force myself to actually do homework and not procrastinate like I always want to do. Instead I get a phone call from my birding companion with a neighborhood-friendly heads up that ‘by the way April/May is tick breeding season so you’d better check yourself to see if any of ’em got on you.’ And then they also regaled me with a story about how a family member found ticks in their underwear after being out in the field all day. omg.

O M G. I started phantom itching instantly which still flairs up every time I start thinking about ticks again *itch itch itch*. So naturally I freaked out and instantly had to check myself all over to make sure I didn’t have what I presumed to be an entire army of the biting parasites on my body. Luckily though, none were found. I of course am going to hose myself down with Deep Woods Off! or whatever it’s called next time I go out wandering off path.

Still, despite the tick itch-isode the outing was a lot of fun. We couldn’t get as close as I would have liked for the greatest pics without an epic zoom lens, but I still got a few shots that I enjoy.

Red-winged blackbird

Red-winged blackbird

Eared grebes Eared grebesEared Grebe

Eared grebes

Sandhill crane

Sandhill Crane

Shadows in the grass, alas.

Birders in the grass, alas.

DSC_0025

Finally! A Break in The Weather – And New Species

We have finally gotten a break in the god-awful weather that has been plaguing our area for the past 2 – 3 weeks. Up until the last few days it has been non-stop rain with intermittent snow/sleet/hail horribleness. Today was actually nice enough I felt comfortable taking out my camera without having to worry about any potential water damage from a sudden downpour. I managed to see three new species of bird today AND get pictures of all three! Well, excellent pictures of one, ok pictures of another, and not so great of the third but still. Overall a very good birding day for the spring season as we head into the peak migration time. Below are some of my favorite shots from the day. Three new species for my life list: Horned Grebe, Palm Warbler and Common Loon!

Yellow-rumped Warbler male

European Starlings

Horned Grebe

Horned Grebe

Mr. Mallard

Brown-headed cowbird

Common loon low-riding in the water.

Palm Warbler

Canada Goose