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

My Bird Feeders [videos]

squirrel proof feeder

I was asked by Nature Shutterbug to do post on the bird feeders in my backyard. Instead of making this post simple (sorry dial-up friends), I decided to get into this post multiple videos. I do feed the birds year-round but during the Spring-Summer-Fall months I bring the feeders inside at dusk due to the critters getting into them. The suet feeder comes inside at dusk during the winter months but I will fill the other feeders with a limited amount of seeds for when the critters find them. (more…)

End of 2007

Hummingbird Moth
Hummingbird Moth photo from August 2003

It seems like the end of 2007 has been just buzzing by so quickly. I had a hard time thinking of a critter that buzzed and suddenly I remember some older (2003) video that I captured of a Hummingbird Moth!!   Hope you enjoy this cute little moth! (more…)

What a Chipmunk?

Eastern Chipmunk (older photo)

I would have never predicted that on December 26 an Eastern Chipmunk would be running around with morning temperatures of 19°F. My Chipmunk friend should be in its torpor state, where he will reduce his body temperature and taking a longer than normal nap! Eastern Chipmunks are not true hibernators and have been known to come out of their burrow when temperatures get warm (note warm!). I wonder if this is a sign that my reddish-brown (with white/black stripes) chippy friend  knows that temperatures will be getting warmer than normal this month?? I sure hope he found some seeds on his quick adventure into our icy/snowy wonderland!! (more…)

Redpoll or Northpole? [videos]

Common Redpoll Video [1:04]

No matter how hard you try . . . You will never be able to convince me that another bird species bird doesn’t have as much Christmas spirit as the Common Redpoll. Being an irruptive species . . . Santa visits my house more than the Common Redpoll does! But, they do breed in Alaska across northern Canada in areas not that far South from the North Pole. They have amazing little reddish-pink Christmas outfits with some white wing bars and a streaked belly. They have a black beard, mustache (almost like Santa) and bright red Christmas cap on their head!! Best part about the Common Redpoll is that whenever they arrive at your feeders . . . it feels like Christmas Day when you just opened your “big” present! (more…)

Bonaparte’s Gull Feeding [video]

Almost something from the movie
A few Bonaparte’s Gulls

I was busy with a few personal things this weekend! But I did take a quick trip over to Dunkirk Harbor in search of some waterfowl! The Bonaparte’s Gull seemed to be the most dominate bird that I was able to locate but did find a few other special birds! (more…)

Pishing [video]

Pishing is when birders are “trying” to attract the attention of some little birdie by doing a “phhhhh phhhh – psst psst psst” sound. So many times I have found myself with a few non birding friends . . . then break out a few pish sounds after seeing a chickadee in the brush! My friends just don’t understand and I find myself explaining why I made those strange sounds and that “I am not going crazy”!

Chickadee getting ready for fall
Black-capped Chickadee (Sep 2006).


Winter Finch Arrive (Finally)

Red Poll
Pine Siskin and Common Redpoll (Feb 2004)

I woke up and found a Common Redpoll feeding with a flock of American Goldfinch this morning! OMG – that was my first for the year Redpoll (CHECK)! I think it has been since the winter of 2003-04 since I have seen one of these guys and there it was sitting on my birdfeeder! (THINK TOM) I quickly scattered to get my camera and of course it flew away just as I was pulling my camera up to take its picture!! So, after getting my hair cut . . . I spent the day trying to capture a picture of that Redpoll! (more…)

Cat Television

White-breasted Nuthatch
Phoebe watching Cat TV

Being off from work this week has allowed me to spend some valuable time watching Cat TV with my kitties. They needed some bonding time and “they” say I have been ignoring them past few months. I figured I could take this opportunity to watch for winter finches that everyone “else” has been seeing (and not been to my feeders yet). (more…)

Owls and other kinds of Owls!

Barred Owl
Barred Owl

Another busy Owl night this evening!! Obviously looking at the photos . . . . I captured my first Barred Owl for the season!! Yes, I did get taloned on the finger by this bird but nothing too bad! 😦 (more…)

NYS Ornithological Association Annual Meeting

Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine Falcon at Iroquois

This weekend I attended the New York State Ornithological Association Annual Meeting in Batavia, New York. This meeting was hosted by the Buffalo Ornithological Society and I would like to say “thanks” for doing such an astonishing job organizing everything. You guessed it . . . . I had a LIFER this weekend!! (more…)

Everything but Saw-whets Last Night

What an evening!

The goal of my Northern Saw-whet Owl project is catching Saw-whets! But, in order to make that happen . . . . you sometimes have a few obstacles to work around. The video above was the Barred Owl who spent a great deal of the evening vocalizing around the nets. Hello Mr. Barred Owl . . . You are not helping me!! Go fly somewhere else!! (more…)

Enjoying My Last Days Of Summer

I shot this long video of a Ruby-throated Hummingbird yesterday morning . . . . fully anticipating that my hummingbird friends would soon be gone. As of Tuesday 3 individuals were still coming to the feeder and then I noticed on Wednesday only 1 hummingbird was feeding. I said that if it returned on Thursday morning that I would be ready to record it (before going to work). I thought with the nice weather they would stick around for a few more days but this video clip was the last time I had a chance to see her. I looked but could never find her in the evening or anytime (morning-evening) today.

I think they have finally left the area but this does not mean that a few stragglers from up north might not be seen. But those stragglers are not my morning alarm clock. I guess this just means that summer is finally over and on Sunday fall can officially begin (if I like it or not)!!

Good-bye feathered friends, see you next Spring!

Tiger Serpent of the forest

Kiss me - I don't smoke

Today we come across this yellow eyed serpent that lives in the forest. We found this guy while hiking along the North Country Trail here in Allegany State Park with a group of people (Thanks Lynn for finding him). This was my first time seeing any serpent like this before and to be honest . . . . I thought it looked just like Barney the Dinosaur (can you hear the music yet?). (more…)


Does this picture look familiar?

The picture above was stolen from “Nature Knitter Blog” (Sorry Ruth)!. But there is reason for me doing so (really there is a reason)! Ok, here is the story! While catching up on everyone’s blog postings . . . . last Tuesday Ruth did a post where she said “No time for a post tonight. See you tomorrow with jelly pictures!” And of course . . . . me being the dumb ass that I am . . . . I say “send a jar my way? Hmmm”!! Then on Wednesday Ruth posted this picture of her amazing Grape Jelly that she made!!  I really do need someone to sensor what I type because I was thinking with my stomach and said “Looks like the one on the far left wasn’t filled up all the way. You really shouldn’t save that one so please feel free to send it off this way! LOL!”. O – Ruth . . . . you sure are a sweetheart!! I bet you can’t guess what ended up in my mail box this evening? (more…)

Chimney Swifts in Allegany State Park

Chimney Swift
Chimney Swift

One of my joys of being around Allegany State Park is watching the Chimney Swifts entering chimneys around the Administration Building during dusk hours. These unique birds look almost like flying cigars and are remarkable fliers. You typically hear them chattering before you ever get a chance to see them. Chimney Swifts are constantly flying throughout the day in search of food and can travel long distances. They will roost and nest in chimneys and are historically known to use the hollow trees in the forest for nesting. I sometimes wonder if they are not still doing this in some areas. (more…)

Wordless Wednesday

MW putting on a show before watching Happy Feet at the campsite.

Tagging my first Monarch

Just Hatched Monarch

Just Hatched

While Young Naturalist C was in Cape Cod watching Whales and having a good time at the beach . . . . those of us back in Allegany State Park were butterfly sitting her caterpillars/chrysalis while she was off on vacation. Just last Thursday her oldest Monarch Butterfly emerged from its chrysalis (who Young Naturalist C named Lulu) and so I asked her mother if I could tag my first monarch (C couldn’t be around to tag it). (more…)

We Got Goofy Once it Got Dark

glow sticks

I am not sure if words can explain the many strange things that happened once it got dark at the lean-to Friday night. . . . so I will let the pictures and videos tell the whole story!



Mudpuppy in Allegany

Mudpuppy in Allegany

During the kids fishing derby this weekend the DEC staff biologist were on site to hand-out educational information on fishing, etc. . . . they had also captured a few fish to placed into a fish tank for everyone to view up close! But, what was most amazing is that when they were capturing the minnows and fish . . . . they came across a mudpuppy along the waters edge. He stated that they witnessed this mudpuppy entangled with a little Water Snake. And it was the mudpuppy that had the upper end of the snake battle!! I call that “salamander power” and would have LOVED to see that battle!! (more…)

A Day for Monarchs

monarch pair

a monarch pair doing . . . you know what they are doing!

Recently I have sought after changing my “custom header” to a new monarch picture! I have found it very hard to find that ideal snapshot due to the strange shape the header needs to be!! So, after work I was off to Red House Lake in search of some monarch butterflies!

My Morning Alarm Clock

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird!

When I lived in the city . . . . we typically had one, maybe two hummingbirds that regularly visited my feeder. Once I moved into a house in the woods; I quickly learned that the hummingbird feeders not only attract many hummingbirds but they also attract other critters (like bears). Three years ago I had a bear encounter that changed where I have placed my hummingbird feeder. Making the long story short; about 2am in the morning the bear destroyed the feeder, fell “threw” my screen window (was half into my house), broke the window frame and woke me up from a dead sleep. Now if I would like to feed the hummingbirds . . . . I need to place the feeder somewhere on the second floor (out of reach of the critters). The most convenient location was outside my bedroom window. (more…)


solitary sandpiper

Solitary Sandpiper

Today I joined my friends Tim B. and Mike D. for a birding adventure for early shorebirds moving through the area. It was a beautiful sunny day but it seemed very quite with only a few songbirds vocalizing. Highlights were Solitary Sandpipers, Northern Harrier, flock of Kingbirds, and a Sharp-shinned Hawk. (more…)

Back to Birding

one huge scream


Things have been so hectic recently but I am starting to see everything getting back to normal! Work’s craziness is over, banding data has been going good and I don’t have many obligations for the next few months. My current goal is to get back to birding, nature photography and do some real writing here on this blog. (more…)

Got a couple on mon@rch

American Avocet

On the 8th of July, mon@rch was taking me home from a day of bird banding at the SWAT site. About five minutes after he took me home I got a phone call from my neighbors wanting to know if I would like to come with her to the mouth of the Cattaraugus Creek and Lake Erie to see a “bird”. She did not tell me what the bird was so I knew it would be good. Keep in mind this was about five minutes after mon@rch left. My neighbor picked me up at my house and brought me down to the lake to look at this “bird”. She has still not told me what it was and so we walked down to the beach. There was the “bird” wading on the shore. (more…)