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

Posts tagged “discovery

Understanding the bird’s wing!

Osprey in flight (from March 2007)

Birds use the ability to fly for finding food, escaping from predators and even migrating to areas that can better support them when there are fewer resources available. Obviously their feathers are not permanent to their body and they need to replace their older (worn) feathers with new (sturdy) feathers. The molting (loosing and growing new feathers) patterns on the wing of the bird can help us banders understand the age of the bird (well sometimes). (more…)

Proper Identification

What is wonderful about watching birds is that you can enjoy them anywhere you go in the world and you can also enjoy them in multiple ways! I have some friends who are just backyard birders and they just want to be sociable with others. Then I have those friends who are “listers” and will travel multiple miles just to see one species of bird that accidentally shown up in their state. Most birders fit somewhere between those two extremes and of course I am not sure where I fit!! I spent multiple months studying them via the Ornithological side (which is more the job side of birding) but I do enjoy the sociable and recreational side of birding (which is the fun side of birding). It seems like the Ornithological side always gets in the way when I am just trying to enjoy the bird around me. This is exactly what happened to me today!

eagle in tree
Eagle photo from my spotting scope!.


Don’t Forget to Turns Your Clocks Back!

Photo by Young Naturalist J.

We had another busy night at the Northern Saw-whet Owl banding station here in Allegany State Park. We had a fellow birdbander and 3 others from the Allegheny National Forest visit us this evening. They were able to see 2 of our Saw-whet Owls being banded and then be released (before heading home). We also had Sarah from Jamestown Audubon visit for most of the evening (and she was able to see 4 of the birds)! I tried to convince her to stay later but she needed to head home. I know that she made the right decision since we did not catch anything again until the wee hours of the night. It has been wonderful with so many visitors visiting the banding station this week. (more…)

Weekend Visitors

Saw-whet banding
Young Naturalist J glad to be banding again!!

We had more visitors at the Northern Saw-whet Owl banding station this evening than owls! I need to high-five Grace 🙂 for helping locate our 70th bird of the season (in the mist net) and then allowing me to barrow a book that I need to read. Mike and Terry decided to head home early after banding our first 2 fluff balls (thanks for visiting). Grace left only minutes before we captured our 3rd bird and then recaptured the 2nd bird again (The owl must be net happy). (more…)

Little Visitors

Kids smiling for moms picture!

I had some smiling little visitors at the Northern Saw-whet Owl banding station tonight. I expected a “big” night with North-West winds but was only able to banded 3 different individual owls. Not sure why the other evening I captured 4 individuals with southern winds?? I assume science will just keep us guessing with unexpected answers! At least our future birders were happy and of course they didn’t want to head home!! Dad promised they could come back again before the end of the season. (more…)

Wordless Wednesday Part III



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…)

Less Daylight Hours and Spotted Salamanders

Spotted Salamander
Spotted Salamander heading towards the woods.

I did a post almost 7 months ago on the migration of the Spotted Salamander. Each spring these large salamanders come out of the ground and migrate to special mud puddles called vernal pools. It is in these vernal pools where they breed and the females will lay their eggs. It is such an amazing spring time event and who would expect that I would find two of these salamanders crossing the roads during mid October (going the opposite direction?)? (more…)

15 minute drive and . . . .

Ruffed Grouse
Ruffed Grouse (from 7 January 2007 )

I made a quick trip over to Quaker to do a few “work” related things and you would never guess how many critters that I encountered!! I first came across something that looked like a duck in the middle of the road. Quickly remembering that grebe rescue from last winter . . . . I soon realized that it was just a bold Ruffed Grouse. It had put its crest up, turned its head looking at me from one side to another! By the time I pulled my point-and-shoot camera out, got the camera started, zoomed in and began framing . . . . the grouse flew away! I continued down the road sad that I didn’t get the picture but still happy to have seen it . . . . (more…)

Daisy and Owls

Ox-eye Daisy

and this isn’t climate change? This evening I almost stepped on this Daisy while checking my nets for Saw-whet Owls! Sure put a smile on my face once I found it . . . . I figured why not blog it and make everyone else smile! (so use your 🙂 smile face in the comments) (more…)

Breaking 50

Blue Moon
Moon photo from 1999

The bright moon makes it hard to catch owls because they are able to see the mist-nets. Lucky we did have a few clouds when we first opened  this evening but ended up where I could check nets without needing my headlamp.  Yeck!  To my surprise . . . . I still happen to capture 4 Northern Saw-whet Owls tonight and my 4th bird was my 50th capture for the season!! YEAH!! Did I mention the perfect northern winds that we had?? I was pleased to have a few leaves left on the trees that created some shadows but I would have been bombarded with birds if this had been a new moon! grrr. . . .  I decided to closed everything up at 11pm because the moon was directly over my nets and plan to try to catch up with some sleep!!  I also figured 50 owls for the season was a great way to end my night! (more…)

Praying Mantis Wordless Wednesday

Praying Mantis
Praying Mantis.


Saw-whets . . . . did you expect anything else?

Northern Saw-whet Owl
Foreign Recaptured Saw-whet!

Last night I caught another 3 more Northern Saw-whet Owls. These three were not your average captures and defiantly kept me on my feet while banding them. The first bird was a foreign recapture (banded by someone else) that was originally banded in Pennsylvania last November (2006). I can’t wait to hear more from the Bird Banding Lab about whom and where this bird was first found. (more…)

Take a drive through Allegany State Park

Sun and Leaves
Back Lighting

We are getting very close to the leaves being at peak here in Allegany State Park this weekend. Please enjoy yourself while I take you through the park looking at the fall leaves. (more…)

Few Songbirds Still Around

Blue-headed Vireo

I have been seeing many songbirds flying around the area this past week! Some are those to be expected like the White-throated Sparrows and White-crowned Sparrows. I have heard a few Swamp Sparrows and Song Sparrows singing in a few locations near Beaver Ponds. The Dark-eyed Junco’s seem to be scattered just about everywhere. (more…)

More Visitors

Group Photo

This evening some staff and volunteers from Jamestown Audubon joined me to band some Northern Saw-whet Owls. First few net checks we had come up empty and just before they were about to leave we heard what I believed to be a Saw-whets vocalizing around the net! Of course I kept them past their bed time and they waited to see if we would end up catching an owl with our next check. (more…)

Resting and Enjoying Everything Around Me

Monarch butterflies are still flying.

Instead of heading home early from work today to take a nap (like I wanted to do) . . . . I just kept busy spending the day with Adele looking butterflies and dragonflies that are still flying around. We only located 3 Monarch butterflies, 2 Darner species and a dozen or so Familiar Bluets over in Quaker Lake. I have closed the Owl Nets this evening due to a storm pushing through the area just after dusk (which gives me a rest day). . . . so here are a few random pictures I have taken that I wanted to share. (more…)

My Best Night Ever

Another Saw-whet Big Night
The cutest fluff ball of the night!

I am soo tired and need to head to bed (it has been a long night!)! I just had to tell you about the 17 birds I caught this evening! Without a doubt this was my best night ever for the Allegany State Park Northern Saw-whet Owl banding station!! Perfect North East winds . . . . did I say perfect everything for migration?? I need to be at work at 8am tomorrow . . . . so I guess to continue going till sunrise isn’t an option!! When I closed my nets I could still hear a few Saw-whets moving around and vocalizing!! I should have stayed open!!   Ugg (more…)

What an Owl Smells Like

smelling their head
Old picture of me teaching kids some bad habits

If you regularly follow this blog . . . . then you would know that I have an obsession with smelling the heads of woodpeckers.  The woodpeckers head have a pine-musty odor to them but for some reason the smell is very pleasurable to me (ya, I am nuts – I know already)!! This evening while studying the migration of the Northern Saw-whet Owls . . . . I had a quick whiff of that odor! Bet you can’t guess what I did next?? (more…)

Surprised Big Fluff Ball Night!

Don and NSWO
Don and a Fluff Ball

Saturday evening a fellow bird bander Don Watt and his family joined me for some Saw-whet Owl banding here in Allegany State Park. He is interested in starting his own owl banding station and joined me to get a better idea on how I am catching these tiny owls. I was happy to capture a Northern Saw-whet Owl for them just before they headed home (High Five!). (more…)


Witch-hazel leaves & flowers

Witch-hazel is my favorite tree for many reasons. . . . It has always been a topic of discussion on if it is either a tree or a shrub?? My personal feeling is that this is more of a tree than a shrub but that is just my personal thought (no science behind that statement). I also love that this trees leaf is odd shaped and has some unique flowers. I can always find this tree flowering around mid October which I think is an excellent time of the year!! The greatest part of Witch-hazel is that people can extract an astringent from the bark and leaves that is used for things like; a hemorrhoid medication, shaving lotion, bug bites, acne cream and even helps with poison ivy! (more…)

Glow Worms and Saw-whets in that order!

Lighting Bug Larva
Glow Worm (Lighting Bug Larva)

Last night (9th October) was another successful evening with my Northern Saw-whet Owl Banding Project here in Allegany State Park. I opened the nets just after dusk and then headed out for my first net check at 8pm. I had hoped for some owls but was more dazzled by the number of lighting bug (or firefly) larva that I found moving along the ground. (more…)

Fluff Balls

Northern  Saw-whet Owl
Northern Saw-whet Owl

Yeah! I finally caught not just one but two fluff balls last night (8 October 2007)! I have had the Northern Saw-whet Owl banding station open here in Allegany State Park since the 30th of September and was starting to wonder “where are they”!! This isn’t my latest dates but it was very close to it! Back in 2004 when I first started banding Saw-whets . . . . I caught my first bird on the 9th of October and was my first night “ever” trying to catch any! Then in 2005 we caught our first one on the 3rd of October and last year (2006) we caught one on the 1st of October. It has been promising to know that other local (Western New Yorkers and North Western Pennsylvanian) Saw-wheters also have been behind in catching these guys. (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…)