My life is about living with nature – here you can live it with me!

Birds

TV and Robins

Turkey Vulture
Turkey Vulture

I have been seeing Turkey Vultures flying most everywhere this past week. They are such neat birds!! After a dusting of snow last night the Robin’s are flocking to the roads. I just love this time of the year! But make sure you drive slow as to not hit any!
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Peterson Field Guide to the Birds [book review]

peterson field guide

This month Houghton Mifflin revised the Peterson Field Guide to the Birds of Western North America (4th edition) after not being updated in nearly 20 years. The Peterson Field Guide to the Birds of Eastern and Central North America (6th edition) was also revised and was released on March 14th 2010. Both books include the many name changes and taxonomic splits and lumps, along with its typical Peterson style maps and arrows. These revisions include updated text and 40 new paintings for two series of books. New to these revisions include over 3 hours of downloadable Video Podcasts from many different categories.
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Butterflies Courtship and Nest Building

Mourning Cloak
Mourning Cloak

Temperatures reached in the 60’s yesterday with my first butterfly of the year “Mourning Cloak” (CHECK), courtship displays from Red-shouldered Hawks, and American Crows gathering nesting material. True signs that spring has finally arrived.
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Grebe and Killdeer

Horned Grebe
Horned Grebe

I had a great yesterday. Red House Lake showed a few Horned Grebe’s (CHECK) swimming around with the Canada Goose. It was great seeing them along with Buffleheads and Wood ducks. I just love this time of the year!!!
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Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow
Song Sparrow photo from May 2008

Had my first Song Sparrow for 2010 today (CHECK)! I actually saw many along Red House Lake while walking the dog but only heard one singing near the house this morning.
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Red-winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbird
Photo from May 2008

Had my first Red-winged Blackbird for 2010 (CHECK)! Multiple times it called the “yurk-a-ree” song!
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Feeling Like Spring

Walk with kenser
Walking with MacKenzie

A heat spell hit Allegany State Park today with temperatures reaching 50 degrees F. MacKenzie asked nicely to have our first walk around Red House Lake and we kept finding critters also enjoying the sunshine.
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Vesper Sparrow

Vesper Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow

I even had the opportunity to photograph Vesper Sparrows while out in Texas.
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House Finch

House Finch
House Finch

House Finch was all over the Ranch while visiting Texas last December. They are easily ignored but they really are pretty birds.
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Western Bluebirds

Western Bluebird
Western Bluebird in Mistletoe

One of the most unexpected finds while at the Texas Ranch was the discovery of Western Bluebirds (CHECK Lifer). We only saw the bluebirds on the last two days in Texas but they were sure there in numbers.
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Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove
Mourning Dove

I have many Mourning Doves around my home but it takes a trip to Texas to capture my best Mourning Dove photos ever!!
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Lark Buntings in Texas

Lark Bunting
Lark Bunting

Found this Lark Bunting in its basic plumage which has a “sparrow-like” appearance to it. This wasn’t an easy bird to identify and I spent more time studying the pictures of these birds than any other birds on my Texas trip. Lark Bunting – LIFER (CHECK)!!
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Woodpeckers on the Ranch

Ladder-backed Woodpecker
Ladder-backed Woodpecker

The first morning on the Texas Ranch was exciting and after lunch everyone was chatting about the animals that were found around the hunting blinds. A few of us were sitting under this large tree in the back yard when Patty asked about woodpeckers . . . . . most specifically the Ladder-backed Woodpecker. We were using our BirdsEye application (on our iPhone) and noticed it had been seen recently within the area.  Then within 15 minutes I said “Patty come look at this bird . . . . I think this is your woodpecker”!! Sure enough the Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Lifer –CHECK) made an appearance as if to say “here I am”!!
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Bewick’s Wren Misidentification

Bewick's Wren
Bewick’s Wren

Thanks to Nick from Biological Ramblings in helping me add another bird to my life list!! I was a little careful in my identifications and should have more closely investigated my “Carolina Wren” that was actually a Bewick’s Wren. I missed the obvious rust-brown underparts in the Carolina Wren and the white-edged tail with dark bars on the Bewick’s Wren. I was anticipating the Bewick’s to be more Gray than brown and just didn’t spend the time at home identifying it like I should have done. Anyways . . . . . Bewick’s Wren (CHECK)!! Thanks Nick!
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My Blunch Lifers

Prickly Pear
Prickly Pear

After breakfast I was walking around with Patty and her brother who were telling me about the deers they encountered that morning. I noticed this large bird in the distance and quickly pulled the binoculars up . . . could it have been?? (more…)


Friendly Wren

Carolina Wren
Carolina Bewick’s Wren

The first morning on the ranch brought us an amazing sunrise and an outstanding day to be out looking for lifers! I didn’t know what to expect and found myself trying to carefully analyze each bird encounter. Are those House Finch really House Finch?? . . . . . then using my field guide and iPhone app . . . what other options could this bird be??
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We make it to the Ranch

Windmill
Windmill

After a quick Dairy Queen visit we finally arrived at Rocksprings to meet our 3 guides who would be taking everyone around for the next few days. The vehicles got filled up with gas and Patty headed over to the local grocery store for her hunting license. We then drove northwest . . . . drove some more. . . and drove a little longer than expected . . . . everyone showed great calmness as soon as we turned into the Canyon Ranch gate. We couldn’t believe our eyes and this ranch was more beautiful than we had ever imagined it being.
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First findings in Texas

Northern Mockingbird
Northern Mockingbird

We arrived in Waco Texas around 2am in the morning and we had not seen our first Texas bird until we woke up that morning. Patty said “can you hear the birdies outside??” . . . . scratching my head and not knowing the bird dialect that I was hearing. I walked outside and found this Northern Mockingbird outside mimicking Texas birdies that I did not know!! We also found Starlings, House Finch, House Sparrows, Rock Pigeion. . . etc. . . we added these to our trip checklist!!
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Road trip to Texas via my iPhone

Dinosaur World
Dinosaur World

Everything started with Patty winning the Southern Outdoor Experience hunting trip at the 2009 Deerassic Classic Outdoor Expo this summer. Being a birdwatcher . . . my mind was spinning with the thoughts of finding “Texas LIFERS”!! We had 5 months to plan this trip to the Canyon Ranch in Sonora Texas with the Southern Outdoor Experience film crew. The time finally came to make the adventure!

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Never-Ending Birds [Poetry Review]

Never-Ending-Birds

The book “Never-Ending Birds”, a book of poems by David Baker, is definitely not a children’s bedtime story. These poems make you think about all the things that are around you. I really enjoyed the poem called “Little Orchard” because of the beautiful imagery and the creative hyperboles. This is a great book for those people who love to be outside and see the wonders of the Earth.
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Reminders of Summer


Found this warbler nest in the snow today!! This snow covered nest reminds me . . . that I make it through the winter knowing the Warblers will return in the spring!!

Uploaded Via my iPhone!


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Ring-necked Ducks hiding from the storm

Ring-necked Ducks
Ring-necked Ducks

The first winter storm of the season moved through Allegany State Park today. We had all kinds of weather from snow, down poring rain, sunny skies, thunderstorm, small hail and even high winds for most of the day making any bird wishing they were not migrating south. Today we had 13 Ring-necked Ducks on Red House Lake who appeared to be ducking out from this storm.
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New Birding iPhone App [BirdsEye]

BirdsEyeBirdsEye on the iPhone

This summer I purchased the iPhone after seeing the numerous applications available for birdwatchers (and I was jealous of Pattys iPhone)! I was holding out on purchasing iBird due to its expensive price and rumors that Cornell was coming out with a new application in August (which never came out until this December)! I currently purchased BirdsEye this week and for sure it is a good application . . . . but!!
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Buffleheads on Red House Lake

BuffleheadBuffleheads

The Buffleheads have been showing up on Red House Lake this week!
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