Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Backyard Birds - My yard

Yesterday, I was sitting enjoying the views in my backyard when I spotted a new backyard bird - a White-throated Sparrow.  This morning I saw another group of birds that included more White-throated Sparrows, some Song Sparrows and some House Finches.  Then later, I was invaded by Cow-headed Cowbirds which happen to be another new yard bird.  The cowbird is one I'd rather have saty away.
I never did get any pictures of the White-throated Sparrows because they jump around lots. Other yard birds today included Blue Jays, Cardinals, Tufted Titmice, Mourning Doves, and several Red-breasted Nuthatch. The nuthatches were collecting sunflower seeds and burying them under the bark of the cherry tree. This activity went on for about 1/2hr and was reallly fun to watch.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Post Hurricane Sandy

It's been an anxious time for me waiting out the storm and worrying how my property would fare.  Over the past several days we heard many senerios about where the eye of the storm would hit.  Each time the forecaster would change the projections slightly.  The one thing I did get out of the reports was that if you were south and east of storm you would have more high winds whereas if you were north and west of the storm  you would experience higher tides and tidal surges.  That's exactly what happened.  The eye of Hurricane Sandy came in just around Atlantic City on 10/29 about 7PM.  Because it met up with upper level air it then became classified as a NorEaster.  Damages from Atlantic City up through Conneticut were beyond extensive.   The damage to NYC plus some of the cities in the upper 1/3 of NJ along the coast will never be the same.  It's hard to believe all of the destruction with homes being moved off their foundations, other houses and business flooded by the water, roads and cars buried under several feet of sand, the Altantic Ocean meeting the bays and so much more it's is hard to process.  As one reporter said it looks like a war zone.  I think we are so lucky in Cape May County because we had some damages but nothing like the mid to upper part of the state.  Personally, I had very little damage.  The beach along the Dealware Bay where I live lost 3-10 foot of the dunes.

One thing I learned last year after Hurricane Irene was the hurricanes bring rare birds to the area and that a good place to look for those birds is in Cape May Point at Diamond Beach.  So after I checked out my house and property I headed over to Cape May Point to join any other birders who might be hanging out there.  Well, due to all of the damage in Cape May and in West Cape May all access was blocked to the Point.  So I headed back towards home.  While on New England Avenue I passed a field that was flooded There were about 18 Yellow Legs along with 2 dozen Mallards in the area. 

When I got home I was surprised to find a Monarch Chrysalis hanging off the back steps.  It had to have been there before the hurricane came through so with all those winds we had it's amazing that it was still intact.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fall scenery

It's a beautiful time of year with all the leaves turning reds, oranges and yellow. catch the trees turning on a nice sunny day in a nearby lake and you can take some gorgeous pictures.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Backyard Views - My Yard

It's been really fun to see how many butterflies are taking advantage of my feeder of rotten fruit.  I have many Questions Marks, Red Admirals and some Mourning Cloak visit daily.  The past 2 days the birds have been eating the gnats that collect around the rotten fruit but the birds have also tried to catch a butterfly or two for a tastier meal.

Yesterday afternoon I put the birds feeders out again for the winter.  I have 3 feeders out - one with sunflower seeds, one with thistle and one with safflower.  Early this morning the thistle and sunflower seed feeders were mobbed by Pine Siskins who were fighting for position on the feeders.  Not to worry there's plenty of food for all of you.  The Pine Siskins are both a new life bird and a new yard bird for me.  That makes #36 for the species I have seen in my yard.  I am so happy I took out the Autumn Olive trees 3 years ago and replaced them with gardens of native plantings.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Birding - Higbee Beach

For me it was another glorious fall day with moderate temperatures and lots of birds to make me happy.  I have been away or busy most of the past month so I haven't had much of a chance to go birding.  Higbee Beach has been busy with migrating birds so I decided I'd start my day there.  Lots of Yellow-rumped Warblers, White-throated Sparrows, Goldfinches, Pine Siskins, Eastern Phoebes, Ruby and Golden-crowned Kinglets, Flickers, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Cardinals, Blue Jays were feeding.  A highlight of the day was seeing several Brown Thrashers.  There were kettles of  hawks flying overhead along with the single hawks that were trying to pick off a meal.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Conwingo Dam - Take 2

After a great day at my grandson's wedding yesterday I was off to Conwingo Dam ready for some more action.  I was not disappointed with it.  There were times when an American Bald Eagle swoped down grabbed a fish and then had up to with more eagles chasing the first eagle trying to take it from him.  It was awesome to watch the cases.

Also down on the river there were good numbers of Double-crested Cormorants fishing.  More than once I saw another cormorant come into swipe the fish from the one who caught it.  Sometimes the swiper was successful but more often he wasn't though there were plenty of fish for everyone to catch.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Megan & Jess's wedding

My grandson's wedding awesome day!

Megan & Jess, bride & groom, Anthony & Meg, parents of the groom

Andrew & Tiffany, brother of the groom and his wife

Anthony & Meg

Renee & Jeff, brother of the groom & his wife

Friday, October 19, 2012

American Bald Eagles - Conowingo Dam, MD

Last year when birding one day another birder and I got into conversation about good places to see different types of birds.  He suggested going to Conowingo Dam in MD during the from mid Octiber through mid-March to see both American Bald Eagles and a variety of species of gulls.  He had been there and told me that while the winter months are usually the best there's lots to see at other times. 

The dam is a hydroelectric plant that pulls water from the upper river when electric demand is high.  It pulls fish with the water that the birds then feed upon.  Wintertime is also said to bring in a number of duck species.  To be it sounded like a delightful spot to take some photographs of the eagles.  Since my grandson is getting married this weekend in Lebanon, PA and I planned to stay in Lancaster this was the perfeect time to check out the dam.

This time of year driving is a visual pleasure due to the changing of the foliage.  I had a little trouble finding the dam and the area where you can view the birds along the Susquehanna River.  It was great with a good number of eagles over on the island across from the viewing area.  There was also one eafeeding on a fish up in the tree right by where we parked. I spent about 2 hrs there before leaving for my friend's house in Lancaster.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Katie comes to visit

For 25+ years I have been writing to another quilter in Australia.  She planned a trip to NY for a conference staying with a friend in NYC.  After her conference we made arrangements for her to take a bus to Atlantic City, for me to meet her and bring her to my house, stay overnight and then for me to take her back to Atlantic City the next day to catch a bus back to NYC.  What a great visit we had together.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A great day in my yard

Another new yard butterfly, Orange Sulphur which makes the 25th spieces of butterfly I've seen in the yard this year.   Since this is only the second season of the gardens in my yard I wonder how many butterflies will visit them next year. (top photo credit Will Kerling)

Then there was another new yard bird, Golden-crowned Kinglet which is the 7th new bird for the yard this month.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Black-throated Green Warbler - My Yard

Awesome month so far - another new yard bird - Black-throated Green Warbler.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Higbee Beach birding

Today was a nice fall day to go birding at Higbee Beach -lots of White-throated Sparrows, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers which was a new lifer for me, Common Yellowthroats, Downy Woodpeckers and more.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

More yard birds

Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebe (above)

Palm Warbler (above) - another new yard bird

Yellow-rumped Warbler (above)

  Cardinal (above)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Black-throated Blue Warbler

New life bird today- Black-throated Blue Warbler - Cape May Point

Thursday, October 4, 2012

An great day - 4 new yard birds

Pine Warbler (above)

Scarlet Tanager (above)

Red-breasted Nuthatch  (above)

Song Sparrow

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

San Francisco - Strybing Arboretum - Take 2

Today we rectuctantly drove back to San Francisco to return our rental car for tomorrow we leave to return home.  Our brother, Jeff picked us up at the airport and after a short detour we returned to his house.  As he needed to do some work from home we decided to visit the arbortum again.  I was hoping to see more hummingbirds but was open to any birds, flowers or whatever else would pop up on us.  This afternoon we saw about 10 Monarch butterflies which was really the first we'd seen a number of them all trip.