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

Banded Junco in the Administration Building

Slate Colored Junco
Dark-eyed Junco

You never know when something unexpected will happen. I got a phone call this morning saying “A bird is in the building”!! Down the steps I go . . . . . hmm it’s Junco!! Took about 10 minutes and we got the bird in the corner!! I realized holding it that it had a band on its leg . . . . 2400 series!! I think to myself “I did have bands in that series”. Sure enough it was a bird that I banded back on 11th of December 2005. I never would have expected five years and five days later this bird would end up in my hand again. Guess that is why bird banders band birds . . . . get recaptures that tell us that this girl loves the winter in Allegany State Park!

American Woodcock Display [Video]

Bird Club
The Cattaraugus County Bird Club

Today the Cattaraugus County Bird Club had a field trip to watch the display of the American Woodcock in Allegany State Park. We started a little after dinner searching for spring migrants but the main purpose of the trip was to find the American Woodcock.

Ponies at Chincoteague [Video]

Chincoteague Ponies

Who doesn’t visit Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and not want to see the Chincoteague Ponies? I assume this is every little girls dream to see these horses Ponies!! I have never read any of the Misty books but they sure have impacted many people’s lives when they were kids. I feel that I must have missed something after visiting this amazing place!

Balls of Fuzz

Muskrat in icy water

It was such a beautiful day out today with warmer sun-rays striking my face! I enjoyed a spectacular walk around Red House Lake and it seemed like the Chipmunks were dancing around their holes saying hello!! This was my first of the year Eastern Chipmunk for me (CHECK) . . . . about time they wake up!

Singing Junco

Dark-eyed Junco

What does spring mean to you??? . . . . when do you consider it the first day of spring??? Allegany Tom says “six more weeks of winter” . . . . threecollie brings up a good point “You know we will always have six more weeks up here”! Very true my friend! Another good friend of mine believes that Groundhogs Day should be the first day of spring . . . . why?? . . . it is when you start to notice the birds behaving differently!

What Woodpeckers Eat

Downy Woodpecker

The woodpecker’s main diet is insects that are heard from under the bark of the tree. They will drill a hole and then use their awfully long tongue for pulling the insects out. The tongue is sticky at the end which is helpful in grasping the insect from the center of the tree. You can think of the woodpecker as a tree doctor removing the insects that could potentially do harm to the tree (that’s how I think of them)!!

Annual Skiing Day

coming down the hill at Holimont

Today was our annual skiing/snowboarding day where many of the Young Naturalist, their parents and I got together for a fun day over at the Holimont Ski Resort in Ellicottville, NY. It was such a wonderful day and had some good laughs. After skiing/snowboarding we followed the tradition of eating pizza over at the Depot Restaurant. Hmm Pizza!

Northern Visitors [Video]

Common Redpoll and Pine Siskin

Common Redpoll and Pine Siskin

For the past few weeks my northern guest have continued visiting my bird feeders! Three years ago the Pine Siskins actually stuck around all summer and nested in my back yard! Wouldn’t it be neat to have both Pine Siskins and Redpolls spending the summer with me this year??

Frogs on the Road [Video]

Wood Frog Portrait

Friday night while the Spotted Salamanders were moving, I also had an opportunity to photograph some frogs that were also crossing the road.

Timberdoodle [Video]

American Woodcock photo by Grace – April 2007

One of the easiest ways of finding the American Woodcock (aka Timberdoodle) is to take a trip into a wet meadow around dusk and then wait. Not long after the sun sets you will witness one the most amazing flight display of any of our birds here in the North East. The male Timberdoodle will do its peent call for about 10 or 15 minutes and then take flight into the sky in a circular direction! The American Woodcock has developed a unique flight feather that allows the bird to create a whistle sound when heading towards the sky! After 2 or 3 circles, the bird will return to the earth with the most beautiful lullabies that you will ever hear! Once it has returned to the same location in which it started . . . the American Woodcock will return in peenting again and then repeat its flight display until it’s too dark to see! Below is the video that I captured on Easter Sunday of their display here in Allegany State Park!

Muskrat [Video]

Muskrat smiling for the camera

Yesterday while looking for some Waterfowl . . . we came across this very cooperative Muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) who put a show on for us. We watched it dive underwater, grab some vegetation from under the ice and come back up to chew all of the best parts of the plant. We could have watched this cute little guy all day long! These over-sized rodents get their name from some scent glands they have for marking its territory with a strong musky odor! Lucky we didn’t get to smell that odor today but did get some cool photos of the muskrat!

Daytime Barred Owl [video]

barred owl
A hunting Barred Owl in the Rain

This evening I went on a dusk birding trip for some Short-eared Owls within our county (with my birdclub friend Mike D.). This has been a fun project that we have been doing for many years and are never successful in finding any owls (of course). We went a little early this time to look for waterfowl (scouting for tomorrows  trip) and came across this bird. We discussed this large bird we found and trying to decide if it was a Red-tailed Hawk or Rough-legged Hawk (something didn’t look right). We moved my truck for a better angle, pulled the spotting scope out and noticed this bird had dark eyes. Could this have been a Short-eared Owl?? Naaa just a Barred Owl!! Wait . . . it wasn’t even dusk yet??

Pileated Woodpecker [video]

Pileated Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker

Yesterday I came across this enormous black and white woodpecker with a conspicuous bright red crest, while it was working on excavating a huge hole. Actually, I found this bird not far from my mother’s house and was amazed that it allowed me to pull my vehicle right next to it . . . . and it wasn’t spooked!! This Pileated Woodpecker has very little red on its forehead and was lacking the red on the malar region making it a female. Looking at the first photo up close . . . you will notice her brown coloring contrasting with its black wing feathers, which can sometimes be difficult to reliably age the bird (believing that the faded brown feathers were her Juvenal feathers). But, seeing the gray/tan eye coloring (Adults have bright red eyes) will confirm that this woodpecker is a second year bird (meaning she was born during the summer of 2007).

Summer Insects [videos]

Black Swallowtail

Birdclub meeting this evening and not sure when I will be posting again! (edit: decided not to go at the last second! It’s snowing and the roads are not that good.  Looks like a Netflix and catch up with LOST that I missed last night)  So, here are a few videos that I would like to share with everyone! So, put your feet up . . . its Friday! (more…)

Red-winged Blackbird [video]

red-winged blackbird
Female Red-winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbirds are typically found nesting near water or directly in the cat-tails marshes, large grasses or low trees but the nest can also be found in unexpected areas like upland fields or pastures. I found this perfect blackbird nest in the grasses while looking for butterflies in the “Bobolink field” a few summers ago. Just as I looked down at the nest (with camera in hand) both parents decided to give me a friendly greeting . . . . (more…)

Wordless Wednesday Deer in Foggy Field [Video]


Opossum [video]

Playing Possum
Daylight Opossum playing possum

Today I found an Opossum foraging for food along the roadside. Typically I find them during night time hours, so I used this opportunity to try and capture a little video of this ugly guy! I approached very slowly and because it was soo focused on gathering food . . . it did not notice me for about 5 or so minutes. I observed it feeding on something in the grass but couldn’t tell exactly what it was (assuming some kind of grub). I made a little noise to get its attention and then it suddenly played possum! I took a few photos and after backing off some, it came back to life. It showed me its teeth and then decided to run away! The Opossum was still observed foraging in the same field when I returned 15 minutes later to point him out to someone. (more…)

Short-eared Owl [video]

Short-eared Owl
Short-eared Owl on Telephone Pole

Yesterday evening I was invited to join a State Biologist from the Department of Environmental Conservation in banding some Short-eared Owls up in the Buffalo, NY area. If you know me . . . . I couldn’t resist this opportunity to seeing such an amazing bird up close. I decided to take a half day from work and drive the 2 hours up north for these marvelous birds! Chuck and his team had already finished setting everything up and was about to starting to test the equipment (sunset was approaching fast). Just as he felt that everything was ready . . . . the most beautiful Short-eared Owl suddenly appeared from behind us as if it was a flying ghost!! I never saw so many people scatter to there vehicles as I did then!! (more…)

My Favorite Joke [video]


Q: What do you call a fat evergreen? (more…)

Fun Skiing Day [Video]

pizza party
Hmm . . . Pizza after Skiing!

I joined Young Naturalist C, J and E today for a fun skiing day over at the Holimont Ski Resort in Ellicottville, New York. This is our annual skiing day that we do each year and the kids keep on getting better and better . . . . I continue to have a harder time keeping up with them!! We are always guaranteed many laughs and I will probably feel the fun we had tomorrow morning once my muscles relax!! (ugg) This (2:35 minute) video is only a sample of our excellent day!! (more…)

Wordless Wednesday [Self-portrait]


Young Naturalist J.


Another Redpoll Video

Check out the Jamestown Audubon article on Winter Redpolls written for the local newspaper! They emailed me yesterday asking to use two of my photos for the article! Thanks Jen and Sarah.  This is an almost Wordless Wednesday video post!


Murmuration of Starlings

Starlings Through the Fence
A Murmuration of Starlings

What is a Murmuration of Starlings? It really isn’t much except being a fancy way to describing a group of European Starlings that you might find together. The Encarta Dictionary says; mur•mu•ra•tion (noun) 1. murmuring – an act or sound of murmuring 2. starlings collectively – a flock of starlings! Many other critters have different names for describing there group gatherings. . . . here are a few my favorite examples; “a cloud of gnats”, “a walk of snipe” and “a band of gorillas”!! I wonder if the gorillas have hippy gorillas or monkeys who follow them from gig to gig?? (more…)

Wordless “video” Wednesday

Fun Black-capped Chickadee Video

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