Monday, May 28, 2012

Knowing a Hawk From a Handsaw

From 05/25/2012, an excellent Wall Street Journal article titled, Knowing a Hawk From a Handsaw by Laura Jacobs, a historical review of bird field guides.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Magee Marsh again

Again, on Saturday,  I went to Magee Marsh with birding friend Rodolfo Palma.  Overall, it was a slow birding day.  But it was Magee Marsh in May so we still saw lots of birds. 

Prothonotary Warbler
Common as it it, I can't resist an American Robin
perched in the sun
A Fox snake added some excitement to our day
This was a long, large snake and it slowly
slithered up a smallish tree.
The was the first time I have seen a Fox snake; so named
because it emits the musky odor of a fox or skunk when
Nest with two baby robins.
Philadelphia Vireo - perhaps my best bird for the day.  I
took approximately 20 images but this was my only
semi-salvageable shot.

Tree Swallow

Thursday, May 17, 2012

NAMC, 5/12/2012: some images

A long day of counting with average results.  Started out at Belle Isle for most of the day followed by William Millikan State Park and Willow Run Airport.

Canada Goose high in a tree, Belle Isle

Eastern Kingbird, Belle Isle

Spotted Sandpiper, William Millikan State Park

Banded juvenile Red-tailed Hawk, Willow Run Airport

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Dolph Nature Area and Stommel Road

Yesterday I met up with Harold and Artemis Eyster and their mom, Diana Newman, to bird around Dolph Nature Area in Ann Arbor. Harold and Artemis were raised birding in this small park and know it like the back of their hands.  This was only my third or fourth visit. Secondary to the migrant fallout of the previous day we thought there was a good chance we would see a lot of birds.  We did see many, as one will always do this time of year, but the hoped for second fallout day didn't happen.  Arrivals to the nature area the day before had probably departed during the night. 

The swamp sparrow photo above was taken from quite a distance and is fuzzy, but I like the pose of this bird as it seems to be the typical style of a singing swamp sparrow.

I moved on to Strommel Road in Superior Township to try to find a kirtland's warbler reported from earlier in the morning by Andy Dettling.  I didn't see or hear the kirtland's, but I did get a photo and video of this charming eastern towhee.  Almost certainly this is my best towhee photo yet as I typically always find them hidden in the bushes or quick to flush. 

The fact that this bird allowed me to shoot video for 1:50 was amazing. I was hoping for the full drink your tea song, but he stuck to his abbreviated simple trill.

A bit further down Stommel Rd. I stopped at some conifers to see if the kirland's may have stopped here.  No luck with that, but I heard the stutter vocalization of the wood thrush. 

I found him quite high up.  Remarkably I was able to get this pretty decent photo, given the distance and poor light, through a window in the foliage.  He was also singing and I took video, but that was too fuzzy to post here or even to save.  At one point this bird and a brown thrasher were singing at the same time.  A bit of a dueling songfest. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

A true beauty!  I learned that Nathan Crawford found this bird followed by Paul Cypher's quick reporting to the listserves.  I thought this bird might be possible to chase when I got off work.  There were the typical end-of-day barriers to a quick departure, but finally I got away.  The traffic on I-94 west was not too bad and I made it to the bird - and other birders - by 5:00 pm.  The early evening light was bright overcast with a significant amount of glare.  I got home and quickly deleted most of my photos; these that I offer below are my best.

The bird was so beautiful in flight.  I tried to get video of this but it was difficult.  I deleted most of the segments where I'm panning across the grass trying to locate the bird.  I did get some brief shots of its flycatching activity; made more unique by it's open scissor tail.