Sunday, September 27, 2015

Belle Isle this morning

Fall is here and it's time to begin birding Belle Isle again.  I went last Sunday morning and again this morning for a couple of hours.  When time is limited, as it was this morning, I typically just walk around the Nashua trail.

The parking lot near the handball courts had at least a half dozen cars because this morning it seemed that some kind of handball tournament was going on.  Courts 1, 2 and 3 were active with matches.

Entering the trailhead an Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) was flycatching near the first bridge.  After that, along the zoo side of the trail, I spotted Northern Flicker ((Colaptes auratus), Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius) and White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinesis) all in the bare branches of a dead tree.  Following these too far to photograph birds, I came across a little group of White-throated Sparrows (Zonotrichia albicollis) - my first this fall - but still not suitable for photos.

The baby American toad (Anaxyrus americanus) above was the first photographable moving thing I saw this morning.

The little toad was followed by this stunning, recently emerged Monarch (Danaus plexxipus) butterfly.  I took several photos and then moved along, but was called back by a thrush call note.  I was focused on trying to locate the thrush and was ignoring the irritated chatter of a House Wren and another unfamiliar alarm note.  I turned around and saw ...

... this completely charming Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla) perched out in the open.

In spring and early summer I hear Ovenbirds, and see them too behind leaves, on the ground, etc. but rarely, if ever, with a decent view to photograph. 

The bird never stopped giving it's alarm chip as it repositioned itself and looked around in clear view on an unobstructed branch.  The photos below are more pixelated unfortunately.  

Seeing this bird made me so happy.  One of my favorites!

While I was still taking photos of the Ovenbird, I was distracted by another bird who also seemed to be paying attention the the Ovenbird's alarm chips - a Black-troated Blue Warbler (Dendroica caerulescens).  I didn't get a photo, but she made a fleeting appearance in the 22 second video I took trying to record the sound of the Ovenbird's chipping.

There is a beautiful little bee on the left aster.

To cap off my hour and three quarters of birding this morning, another Belle Isle first for me, an Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) perched in a dead tree on one of the islands in the little lakes along the road.  These photos are horrible, and I knew they would be, but I cannot recall ever having seen an Osprey on Belle Isle and I wanted to document it.

Belle Isle is changing.  More crowded.  Lots of events.  Last weekend there was a run; this weekend something with dogs or dog walking. Will see if this continues as the weather gets colder.  

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

2015 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest

Entries for the 2015 Federal Duck Stamp

I was fascinated by this series of entries.  I would have been able to chose a single loser, but I'm not sure I would have been able to select a winner.

The winner, apparently, was entry #052.

Purchase at your local post office for $25 or you can buy from the American Birding Association ($4.95 shipping and handling fee) to make your birder's voice heard.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

How the hummingbird tongue works

From the New York Times on 09/08/2015.

Just the 1:11 second video - ScienceTake: The Hummingbird's Tongue

The video and article together:   The Hummingbird's Tongue: How It Works.