Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thoughtful Thursday

Black-crowned Night Herons roosting - Adult and Juvenile (below)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Meadows

Today I had a quick walk around the Meadows and took a few pictures.  The first picture is a Forster's Tern.  Look at the toenails!

Laughing Gull breeding plummage head shot. (Above)  Tree Swallow checking out a birdhouse for nesting. (Below)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tuesday's in the spring means Scott Whittle's photo walks which combine photography and birding sponsored by the CMBO.  I went on the walks in 2011 several times and always learned something and enjoyed myslef.  I also took the weekend photography class offered by CMBO that Scott taught.  It was excellent.  Today's highlights started by a flyover Great Blue Heron.

Then we saw Coots, Osprey, Northern Harrier,

a Bald Eagle

and Wilson's Snipe feeding at the edge of the reeds.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Heislersville, Thompson Beach Road, Jake's Landing

The drive home from Bombay Hook NWR saw me stopping at Heislersville, Thompson Beach Rd and Jake's Landing.
At Heislersville the roost on the island was filled with Double-crested Cormorants, Great Blue Herons, Great White Egrets and some Black-crowned Night Herons.  I was surprised to see that the trees were really bare and hadn't started to leaf out.  Later when talking to a CMBO Naturalist he said that the Double-crested Cormorants roosted there in 2011 and that their guana kills the foliage. Now there is a roost of Black-crowned Night Herons tucked back along the road as you first drive into the area.  I was surprised to find the impoundments are still very high so there were few birds, mostly Yellow Legs and Eastern Willets.
An Osprey nest on the way to Thompson Beach Rd.  I had hoped to see Clapper Rails out on Thompson Beach Rd but only heard them.

Driving further south I decided to stop at Jake's Landing Road where I had seen my FOS Willets last year.  I was rewarded with seeing my FOS Willets.  The exciting part were that they were displaying so it was really neat to see.

Bombay Hook NWR- con't

Bear Swamp Trail had a colony of roosting Black-crowned Night Herons, more Coots, Green Heron, plus the prize of a sunning Belted Kingfisher that showed nicely until a passing car flushed it. I walked the walking path at the beginning where I saw a Hermit Thrush (lifer), 2 Eastern Towhee, tons of Great White Egrets and some Black-capped Chickadees.

I must say that I was disappointed in Bombay but that's probably my fault as the birds were just not there in the numbers I had expected.  Apparently, it's just after the main duck season and at the start of the shorebird migration season.  Also there were dog ticks everywhere blowing in my car window as the day's temperatures reached 85 which is a record for 4/16.  I was happy to have some new lifers but would have liked to see more birds.

Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge

I have wanted to visit Bombay Hook NWR in De since I got interested in birding but have never found the time. After my trip to PA for Lisa's baby shower I thought that I would make the time. I had an adventure getting there as I got off rt 13 South at the exit before I should have. Then I missed a turn as the road wasn't well marked so I went 7 miles further down the highway but it gave me a good idea of the local area for any further trips. Once I arrived I stopped into the visitors center where the volunteer was so helpful and fun to talk to about the refuge. She also provided me with a Delaware Birding Trail leaflet for future trips.

My primary target birds were Black-necked Stilts, American Avocets (lifer) and Wood Ducks though I am happy to see all birds. Luckily I got the fist two birds plus lots of Yellow Legs in first impoundment.

The next area had lots of Coots and a variety of other ducks including Pied-billed Grebe (lifer), Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shovelers and a beaver.  I also saw 2 Bald Eagles off in the distance in a tree.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Maurice River Trip

For the past 2 springs I have wanted to go on one of the Maurice River cruises sponsored by the Cape May Bird Observatory. There are Bald Eagles nesting in several spots along the river that the boat passes near. It worked out well for me to go on my way home from Lisa's baby shower. The trip was really awesome with an incredible number of Osprey flying along the river. There were also Osprey nests on platforms along with several nests in treees. Then there were 3 Bald Eagle nests with chicks in the nests and parents feeding or right near by the nest.
We also saw Greater Yellow Legs, Forster's Terns, a variety of gulls

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Lisa's Baby Shower

April 14 was the date for a special lady's baby shower. Lisa, is the daughter of a friend and former roommate. I am lucky that Linda and her family visit the shore each summer so I have watched her children grow up. Now both children are married. I feel lucky to have been a part of their lives and now with Lisa and B starting their family I am honored to be a part of Linda and Bill's first granddaughter, Kori Ann's life. Pictured is Lisa with 2 quilts I made for Kori.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

My backyard

Cooper's Hawk and the Black-capped Chickadee.  Fortunately there was no bloodshed!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Roosting Herons in Avalon

Last year I found out about a roosting area in Avalon where the Black-crowned Night Herons and Yellow-crowned Night Herons hang out. I decided that before the trees leaf out I'd better check the area out. Well, tonight I went over and struck pay dirt. There were 26 Yellow-crowned Night Herons and about 4 of the Black-crowned Night Herons. AWESOME!

Friday, April 6, 2012

The beach at Stone Harbor

I am still going strong and now it's afternoon where I have decided to chcek out Nummy Island and the Point at Stone Harbor. What I found were hundreds of Dunlin and Sanderlings on the 117th & 118th Street beaches.

Stone Harbor Beaches

I walked out to the point along the road. While walking out I saw a good number of American Robins, Northern Mockingbirds and Song Sparrows. There were just 4 American Oystercatchers out along the beach so I decided to walk back to the parking area via the beach.

The waves were crashing along the beach with some surfers out catching the waves. I found the snow fencing made some interesting shadow patterns in the sand. 

  I saw a Herring Gull that had a Seahorse in it's beak.  I found it interesting that in 27 years of living at the shore I'd never seen a seahorse and in the past 2 weeks I have seen 2 of them.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

On to the Meadows & Higbee Beach

After walking the jetties of CMP I went off to the Meadows where a Great Blue Heron flew over for a great photo opportunity. There were some Piping Plovers feeding along the waters edge where the waves were crashing and chasing the birds up onto the beach.

After leaving the Meadows I decided to walk down to the beach area at Higbee's Beach as I had read on one of the field reports that there were some Red-breasted Mergansers. There were 2 of them with one swimming around and one having a nice nap. I find the Mergansers as a species very fascinating and beautiful.