Sunday, October 30, 2011

Birding the Irvine Nature Center

With my nature center post I am linking up with Scenic Sunday and Today's Flowers
and Mosaic Monday

During the month of October, I was able to visit the Irvine Nature Center twice. Once with my bird club and last weekend I went with my hubby. Of course the nature center trails were great for birding. But it was also nice to see some of the trees looking beautiful with their fall foilage.

 I was amazed at the amount of wildflowers we saw growing on the field. It was the third weekend in October and these flowers were looking gorgeous and still attracting the Fritallary and Buckeye butterflies and Sulfurs. 

Can you find the Fritillary above, the butterfly almost blends in witht he flowers and background.

The fields are great for attracting sparrows and this is a great time of year to see new and to compare different sparrows. They are one of the hardest birds for me to id, so many of them resemble other sparrows. My lifer seen at the nature center with the bird club was the Lincoln Sparrow. I tried hard to get photos of these sparrows but they seemed very camera shy.

Talking about camera shy, can you find the sparrow hidden in the bush above?  Sparrows seen both days were the Lincoln, White Throated, White Crowned, Swamp, Chipping, Field and Song Sparrows.  I was hoping for a sighting of a Vespar or Grasshopper Sparrow. But, I was still happy with my Lincoln Sparrow lifer.

Above the mosaic, shows a sparrow, trails coming out of the woods onto the field, some fall foilage, the field of wildflowers and tons of sparrows. I was amazed at the amount of sparrow we saw here. Other birds seen were the Eastern Phoebe, woodpeckers, Hawks, Kestrel, Palm Warblers, Towhees, Canada Geese and we flushed a Snipe twice.

 It is hard to believe that this field today is most likely covered in snow. I was so happy that I was able to visit this Nature Center while these beautiful flowers were still blooming.

I hope you enjoyed my visit to the Irvine Nature Center and I hope you are able to
visit with Today's Flowers and Scenic Sunday and Mosaic Monday.  Thanks to all the wonderful hosts and thank you for stopping by to see my post.  I hope everyone has a Happy Sunday and a wonderful week ahead.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Camera Critters the Chincoteague Variety

With my Chincoteague birds and critters, I am linking up with the Friday Ark  and Camera Critters. Chincoteague is my favorite places to go birding, the shorebirds and variety of birds seen there is just awesome. And of course we saw lots of ponies.. last week critters post is here Chincoteague-ponies . Deer are often seen on the refuge and during the three days we were there we saw lots.

You can click on the photos for a larger image.

I believe these are juvenile Dowitchers but I am not so sure.
Any help with their id is appreciated.

EDIT: I have been corrected on my shorebirds above they are really Willets.

Yellowlegs, whether it is the Lesser or Greater Yellowlegs I am not sure.

                        My favorite Chincoteague pony "The Chief". A real rebel.

I thought the lighting on the Great Blue heron was beautiful. It was a little windy that day and the heron's feather are blowing with the wind.

A sunset shot of the Bald Eagle posing nicely on this tree limb. A cool sighting! We had different Eagle sightings during the three days we were there.

A herd of deer seen on the wildlife drive.

Have a great weekend! The Weathermen are calling for a unusual snowstorm here in Maryland. My part of Maryland is expected to have one-three of inches of the white stuff. As I write this post it is raining and is mixed with snow. Gee, we did not even have a frost yet and some of my flowers were still looking good. The weather has been very weird lately.

I hope you enjoyed my critter post, thanks for stopping by. To see more
wonderful birds and critters please visit Friday Ark and Camera Critters
Thanks to the host of Friday Ark and to Misty Dawn of Camera Critters. I just love the critter memes.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

SWF>>>>Turkey Point

My Skywatch Friday post
is from this past weekend hubby and I visited the Turkey Point Lighthouse and hawkwatch at Elk Neck State park in Maryland. The lighthouse sits on top of a cliff overlooking the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.

When we were there it is was a slow time for hawk watching. I think we saw one hawk while we were there. Overall it was slow for seeing all the birds. I did see the one unknown hawk, lots of Cardinals, a couple of redbellied woodpeckers, lots of Golden Crowned Kinglets, A Yellow Rump Warbler and a couple of Winter Wrens. It was a pretty day but just a slow birdie day.

Way, way up there is the one and only hawk I saw at the Turkey Point hawkwatch.

It was neat to watch this ship go sailing by.

This redbellied woodie was fussy over another redbellied woodie that was nearby.

There were lots of clouds around but also some pretty blue sky. A pretty day to be outside enjoying nature.

There seemed to be a few sailboats out on the Chesapeake Bay. This one looked like it was a tour boat.

We did hike the lighthouse trail, which is a nice loop trail that took us down to the waters edge. A few pretty fall colors on the trees. This trail was where I saw my FOY Winter Wrens.

Looking at the sky back at the hawk watching site. I hope you enjoyed my skies and post and to see more beautiful skies from around the world click here Skywatch Friday

Thanks to the hosts of Skywatch: Sylvia, Sandy, Wren and Fishing Guy.
Also, thanks for stopping by and for taking the time to comment.

I have been having trouble commenting on some blogs for some reason. I feel bad that blogger sometimes tells me I am not signed in when I know I am. So, I do keep trying to leave comments but they do not always work. Anyone else having this problem?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Golden Crowned & Yellow Crowned

Today, I am linking up with World Bird Wednesday  and  Nature Notes showing two very different birds but they have something in common and that is their crown. Lately, I have been seeing many Golden Crowned Kinglets on my walks. They are cute little birds and during their quick movements you can see a flash of yellow on their heads. The Kinglets are usually seen in the winter months in Maryland. My field guide has the Golden Crowned Kinglet as 4inches in length. It is a small bird.

The other bird is a much larger bird but also has a Yellow Crown. It is the Yellow Crowned Night Heron. These are shots are from my archives and these birds are seen mostly in the summer months around Maryland. The Yellow Crowned Night Heron measures 24 inches in length.

There is one more Yellow Crowned bird out there that I have seen here in Maryland.  I was not able to get a photo and that bird is the Golden Crowned Sparrow. I hope to someday get a shot of the Golden Crowned Sparrow to add to my bird photo collection.

I hope you enjoyed my Golden and Yellow Crowned birds. To see more wonderful birds
check out World Bird Wednesday and for great nature post please visit Nature Notes.  Thanks to Springman the host of World Bird Wednesday and to Michelle for hosting Nature Notes.
Also, thank you for stopping by to see my birds and post. Happy Birding and have a great day!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Shenandoah Colors & Wild Turkeys

I am linking my post up with Mosaic Monday & Our World Tuesday & Ruby Tuesday. This post is on my our visit to Shenandoah last weekend. Hubby and I love to drive along the Skyline Drive. The colors were beautiful, not the best we ever saw but they were still very pretty.  Of course when we visit Shenandoah National Park we take a hike on my favorite trail the Limberlost Trail. It has been a great trail to see birds up close. This time we saw three wild turkeys. Also, we heard lots of RedBellied woodies, Pileated woodies, Towhees, Titmouse, Juncos, both Golden and Ruby Kinglets, Bluejays, Cardinals and Wrens. We saw many vultures and black birds in flight along with one unknown hawk.

At least this turkey can feel safe roaming in the Shenandoah Nat'l park,  there is no hunting allowed in the park.  

Some of the Autumn colors seen on the Limberlost trail.

While driving along Skyline Drive we are always on the lookout for the black bears. We did come across a nice buck standing next to the road and one black bear walking along in the woods next to the road. I was just about to take my photo of the bear when the Park Ranger drove up and she told everyone they had to leave. I believe the bear and most of the people were astonished to see her walk into the woods shaking tree limbs and clapping her hands and yelling.  I was disappointed I did not get to take my photo but it was still neat to see the bear. For me seeing wildlife on the Skyline Drive is a fun experience and is one of my main reasons for visiting the park.

The Autumn colors were pretty, but I remember previous years being much more colorful. I am not sure why, but the falls colors even in my neighborhood are not as spectacular as in the past. The colors are spread out further, some trees are already bare, some of the leaves are just brown and a lot are still green. It seems this year to be a very uneven fall.

The fall colors at Big Meadows looked beautiful. The reds were gorgeous, oranges and golds all made for a stunning splash of colors on the meadow. 

It has been brought up that the paths in the photo above look like a ribbon, if the field was pink I would think the ribbon represents Breast Cancer Awareness month.

To see more wonderful mosaics please visit Mosaic Monday  and click  to see more of Our World Tuesday  and for more pretty reds make sure to visit Ruby Tuesday.. Thanks to Mary of Mosaic Monday, MarytheTeach of Ruby Tuesday and to the gang at Our World Tuesday: Gattina, Arija, Sylvia, Lady Fi and Sandy.

And most of all thank you for stopping by to see my post, I hope everyone has a safe and happy week.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Skywatching with the vultures

For my Skywatch Friday

A video of my skywatch and the vultures flying in and out of the woods next to my house.

These are sunset photos from the 14th, I was on my deck watching the sky and these vultures flying in and out the woods. They are cool birds to watch soaring the sky. I read they have a keen sense of smell. Since hunting season has started on the reservoir property the vulture count has increased.

As the time passed the clouds turned a pretty pink and orange color.  And I watched the vultures fly into the woods and land on the nearby trees. Once in a while I could hear them flapping them wings.

To see more beautiful skies from around the world click here Skywatch Friday.  Thanks to the hosting gang at Skywatch : Sylvia, Sandy, Wren and Fishing Guy!  Thanks for stopping by to see my skies, I hope you enjoyed. Have a great weekend and happy birding.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Eastern Bluebird

I am linking up with World Bird Wednesday  and Nature Notes

The Eastern Bluebird was the first bird that started my interest in birds and birding. Now my hubby might call that interest an obsession. That reminds me I really want to see the new movie out called the "The Big Year". So far it seems to be getting some good reviews, especially from the birders. I really like Owen Wilson (of Marley and Me)  and Steve Martin.

Here is a link to the trailer for the movie.

Back to reality, I do not think my hubby needs to worry about me doing "The Big Year" chasing birds all around the world to see if I can have the highest count of birds seen in one year. First, I will need to win the Mega Millions or Powerball whichever comes first. HaHa! I can dream though!

Back to my yardbirds, for me the Eastern Bluebird was the prettiest bird I ever saw in my yard. And I was just tickled that they started using my birdhouse for their nest. I felt honored that they chose my yard. I am just thinking back now if I had not seen the first bluebird in my yard, I would not be as interested in birds or have become a "birder" or started a life list nor would I have the thousands of  bird photos that I have now.

The Eastern Bluebirds are year round birds here in Maryland or what is called a resident.  They feed on berries and insects. The male is a beautiful blue on top and rufous underparts. Oh and they love, love, love meal worms, so much so they started looking into my house waiting for more meal worms to be brought out and served to them. You may think I am crazy but I swear these birds would sit in our tree next to the deck and scold me if I didn't bring out more meal worms to them. I think they were telling me they would not let me see their babies if I didn't feed them the meal worms. It sounds like I was being blackmailed or threatened.  I often wondered what the UPS man thought when they delivered all these 10,000's meal worms to my house. As far as they know my son's Gecko ate too much. Buying live meal worms started becomming scarce for some reason. So, I decided it was time for the Bluebirds to fend for themselves. And I think hubby is happy he no longer has to see meal worm containers in the fridge.

To see more wonderful birds from all around the world check out Springman's World Bird Wednesday  and for more lovely nature scenes how about clicking on my link for Michelle's Nature Notes.

Thanks to Springman for hosting World Bird Wednesday and to Michelle for hosting Nature Notes. Also, thank you for stopping by to see my post, I appreciate all the visits and the comments. Happy Birding and I hope the rest of your week is great and filled with wonderful birds.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Birding the Swan Creek Wetlands

Lots of fun linky's this week check them all out Mosaic Monday and Mellow Yellow Monday ,  Nature Footstep Waters and Our World Tuesday 

The Swan Creek Wetlands are located adjacent to land that the Port of Baltimore is using for their placement of dredged material not far from the Francis Scott Key Bridge. The wetland consist of 100 acres for wildlife habitat. Visiting hours are strictly enforced and are only on  Monday-Friday 7am-3:30pm, visitors must sign in the MES office registration book.  My friend from the birding club and I took the opportunity to visit on our Monday off for the Colombus Day holiday. A Nelson's Sparrow was being reported seen at the wetland area near some cattails. We missed seeing this bird or we could have seen such a brief glimpse of it hopping around the cattails and grasses we could not positively id this sparrow. There were other sparrows being seen like the Song Sparrow and Swamp Sparrows.

Monarchs have been migrating and I was lucky to catch this one perched on these yellow wildflowers.

It seem appropriate that a place called Swan Creek Wetland there should be a few swans.

In my mosaic above I have the Mute swans, Little Blue Herons and a Great Egret, a shot of the Key Bridge., another Little Blue and Egret, a Song Sparrow and a Monarch.

I was amazed at how many of these yellow Sulfar's were flying about.  They moved around quickly but, these two landed on the ground in front of me. Not the best photo but you can see the dark outline on the edge and the black dot on its wing.

In this mosaic I am showing of the many Buckeye butterflies, more Little Blues, swans, Egret, and a frog.

Above are a couple of my favorite Little Blue Herons with a Great Egret.

The Little Blue herons are gorgeous birds and I love their color.

If this frog was not sitting on the leaf, it would blend in perfectly with the ground.  Swan Creek Wetland is a great place for birding. While we were there we heard two Virginia Rails and a Sora calling. It would have been cool to see the Sora in the open. I usually only add bird on my life list when I see them, just hearing them is not enough for me. A list of the birds we did see include the Little Blue herons, Osprey, Great Egrets, Mute Swans, Song Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows, Carolina Wren, Marsh Wren, Carolina Chickadees and a very noisy Red Shoulder Hawk.

To see more wonderful mosaics please visit Mary's Mosaic Monday  and for more Mellow Yellows please visit Drowsey Monkeys Mellow Yellow Monday. Also, this will be my first entry for Nature Footstep Waters . Click for more from Our World Tuesdays. Thanks to these wonderful host for creating these fun memes. Also, thank you for stopping by to see my posts. I hope everyone has a safe and happy week ahead.

Happy Monday!

Wishing everyone a great day and a ha ppy new week! "If a flower can flourish in the desert, you can flourish anywhere." Saguaro N...