Yesterday, Mike and I traveled up to Edwin Forsythe NWR ~ also known as "Brig". I had hoped we'd see lots of birds not yet on his trip list. I was hoping that the ducks would have arrived and while some had arrived not nearly the numbers or variety that will be coming. He saw 7 new species for his trip list while we had a good time. He so wanted to see a Seaside or Salt Marsh Sparrow but the luck wasn't with him. Today, we started on the beach in Cape May where I had fun photographing the Black Skimmers. Many of the group were young probably first year and are fun to watch while they try to learn how to gracefully skim along the water to feed.
We did some more birding throughout the day even spending some time looking at my backyard while we had lunch. I hoped he would see Dark-eyed Junco, Carolina Wren and Swamp Sparrow here as they have been recent visitors. None of which showed themselves. After our lunch we headed over to Cape May where I gave him a tour of the beautiful "Painted Ladies" of Cape May. When we parted ways he had gotten another 7 species of birds for his list which stood at 98. He also added another 3-4 life species on his life butterfly list while at looking at the gardens in my yard.
Today was a workday at my house in Glenolden for my sister, Jenny and I. Over the past few years the yard has gotten away from us and we need to wrestle control back. We had hoped her son would be able to help but he was called into work. While cutting back the azaleas Jenny found a dragonfly drying his wings. Then we saw about 7 Tufted Titmice chasing each other around the treetops. They were fun to watch.
I have signed up to be a birding pal and was contacted by Mike several weeks ago about going out with him while he was in town. We met this morning at 7AM and birded all day. We started out at Higbee Beach, went to Alexander Avenue Beach, Cox Hall Creek WMA, Avalon Seawall, Avalon Jetty, Stone Harbor Point and ended up on Nummy Island. It was a very tiring but fulfilling day. We also stopped at CMP State Park midday for the hawk banding demonstration. Mike had 2 new life birds plus 16 species of birds for his trip list along with 4 butterfly species and a life butterfly. The Best looks we had were of Golden-crowned Kinglets at point blank range in Cox Hall Creek.
I was quite surprised to see a hummingbird in my yard this morning. It's the latest I've seen one in my yard. I wasn't sure initially if it was a Ruby-throated Hummingbird because the tail looked shorter but I checked with 2 experts who agreed it was indeed a Ruby-throated Hummingbird.
Over the past week I have had quite a number of Monarch caterpillars and chrysalis in the yard. I found a set of chrysalis on the back of a canna leaf which seemed to be an unusual place for them to pupate. Then, yesterday, a friend found a butterfly that had enclosed from the chrysalis but the butterfly never got his wings pumped up. We don't know if that's because it was raining when the butterfly enclosed or because there was another problem. In any case, the butterfly looked more
New yard birds today were Swamp Sparrow and Savannah Sparrow. The Swamp Sparrow was also a life bird. That brings me up to 49 yard birds though 7 of those birds are birds I have seen on the bay/beach in the front of my house.
Al found this great wildlife sanctuary for the 3 of us to visit today. We had to drive up towards LA and inland some miles but it was really worth it. The area is not really large but had lots of birds plus it had a nature center that was filled animals that are indigenous to the area. The taxidermy was done beautifully and the diorama's were set up very cleverly. There were birds of prey, smaller birds, fox and coyote. I also was able to pick up a copy of Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America. We saw several species of hummingbirds, tons of Acorn Woodpeckers, White and Golden-crowned Sparrows, House and Goldfinches plus Scrub Jays. So neat!
After leaving the Botanical gardens we decided to drive back to San Diego along the coast highway. While it wasn't as exciting as driving from Carmel to San Francisco we did stop several times to admire the coast. We stopped At one beach where we saw some cool tide pools. We also saw several species of gulls along with Western Willets and a Long-billed Curlew.
The start of today's adventure was at the San Diego Botanical Gardens. We saw a number of butterflies, the majority of which were seen in the children's garden. The children's garden was really fun and was very busy with families visiting. One of the cooler factors was very creative metal sculptures scattered throughout the garden.