Monday, December 21, 2009
Here are some pictures taken by my cousin's cousin Megan (but I consider my cousin too) in Sandwich. Look at those waves!
Friday, December 18, 2009
White-throated Sparrow Song:
Sunday, November 15, 2009
I recognized a unique call and stopped to take pictures of this female yellow-rumped warbler. Of course I identified her afterward, but at least I knew enough to stop and take notice of the call! :)
Also in October I got Steve to go with me to check out Borderland State Park. We used the entrance off Bay Rd. in Easton, I believe. Since moving to Bridgewater I had wanted to go birding there, and although we didn't see any lifers, I still had some nice lighting for these shots of this mallard pair:
I also saw some ducks sitting out on the "sand bar" although not really a sand bar, but are of low water in the middle of the pond. I noticed the blue bars and thought it was something interesting, but then went back and consulted my Sibley Guide and realized it was most likely a juvenile mallard duck.
UPDATE: Thanks to Hap in Minnesota for sharing his insights- he thinks the duck on the right is a Black Duck, and based on these Google Image Results I agree. Thanks for teaching me something new!
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Here's the press release from Cornell Lab of Ornithology:
Help Project FeederWatch Track Backyard Birds—Bird watchers needed to help scientists discover changes in bird populations
Ithaca, NY—What happens in the backyard should not stay in the backyard—at least when it comes to bird feeders. By sharing information about which birds visit their feeders between November and April, backyard bird watchers can help scientists track changes in bird numbers and movements from year to year, through Project FeederWatch, a citizen-science program from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Bird Studies Canada.
Project FeederWatch begins on November 14 and runs through early April. Taking part is easy. Anyone can count the numbers and kinds of birds at their feeders and enter their information on the FeederWatch website. Participants submitted nearly 117,000 checklists last season. Since 1987, more than 40,000 people from the United States and Canada have taken part in the project.
“To get the most complete picture of bird movements, we always need new sets of eyes to tell us what species are showing up at backyard feeders,” says David Bonter, leader of Project FeederWatch. “Participants always tell us how much fun it is and how good it feels to contribute to our understanding of birds by submitting their sightings.”
Project FeederWatch is for people of all ages and skill levels. To learn more and to sign up, visit www.feederwatch.org or call the Cornell Lab toll-free at (866) 982-2473. In return for the $15 fee ($12 for Cornell Lab members) participants receive the FeederWatcher’s Handbook, an identification poster of the most common feeder birds, a calendar, complete instructions, and Winter Bird Highlights, an annual summary of FeederWatch findings.
Participant Nancy Corr of Harrisburg, Oregon, sums up her Project FeederWatch experience: “Thanks for the wonderful opportunity to share our love of birding and to participate in something meaningful!”
Here are links to my 2008-2009 FeederWatch posts:
Project FeederWatch- Week 1
Project FeederWatch- Week 2
Project FeederWatch- Week 3
Project FeederWatch- Week 17
I'm excited for the new season because of my new zoom lens and tripod combo! I hope to get better pictures this year. Well, and more interesting visitors too of course.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Mystery Thrush (it's Friday and I don't have the energy to try and ID it from this poor picture):
- A dad and his 4 year-old son who each had their own binoculars. The dad told us about the ruby-throated hummingbirds and then the little boy piped in and told us exactly where to go and added "I hope they're still there for you. I hope you get to see them." SO cute.
- A scary homeless man over by the ruby-throated hummingbird site (looked like a patch of honeysuckle surrounded by a fence, but I'm convinced it was some other type of flowering bush). He got right up in my face and told me "You're going to be dead like that fence." He was really obsessed with the fence and keeping people away from it. There was a man with a scope set up, focused on the bushes, and there were plenty of other people around so I didn't feel scared. But we did end up leaving the area shortly after that since we weren't seeing any hummingbirds.
- Another homeless man, this one sleeping on the grass in the clearing where I was following the female common yellowthroat. At one point I had to step around him to get closer to the bird but he didn't wake up! haha
- Last but not least, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones casually walking through the park with what seemed like an agent or producer.It was a great trip! Next time I'll have to schedule some more extensive birding time while I'm there, and when I can go alone. No one wants to hang out while I bird, it's very boring...
Thursday, September 10, 2009
To find well-preserved feathers, the scientists traveled this May to a famed
fossil site in Germany near the village of Messel, where exquisitely preserved
47-million-year-old bird fossils are regularly dug up in an old quarry pit.
The scientists inspected several fossils and removed small pieces from 12
fossilized feathers. They returned home to put the material under a scanning
electron microscope. “You can see a surface of beautifully packed together
melanosomes,” said Richard Prum, a Yale expert on feather colors. “This looks
exactly like a grackle or a starling, where you have a dark glossy bird with a
To read the entire New York Times article visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/01/science/01feath.htmlI personally think Grackle feathers are more metallic-looking, but I'm not expert. Clearly, since I have trouble keeping starlings and grackles straight!
Monday, August 31, 2009
Looking for food- of course:
I'm referencing an old book from 1961 that I picked up at a flea market. It's called Wildflowers of North America in Full Color, by Robert S. Lemmon and Charles C. Johnson, published by Hanover House.
Wouldn't you know, the first picture is actually an easy ID- I started at the back of the book (that's how I read magazines and similar publications- for some reason I always start at the back) and the first flower I need to ID is right there- the Cardinal Flower:
Here are some pictures of different stages of Groundnut Flowers:
This one is a mystery to me, although I feel like I saw it in the Audubon Field Guide (*UPDATE: this is Buttonbush- thanks Pete for the tip):
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
It was a great weekend! Thanks to Kate & Techer for having us!
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
I did get some great nature photos though.
(This is for you Meg!) Here's Steve's family dog Toby. I actually have a picture of him at Aspetuck Land Trust, but not on this computer...