Saturday, February 16, 2019

Latest Patch Finds

After a slow start the first week in February things did pick up!  In January I finished up with 55 species.  (my Feb tics are in Bold) I had 3 new species at the beginning of the month the Wild Turkey and the Loggerhead Shrike..and the Hairy Woodpecker I almost forgot to list! I haven't done too well with taking photos for the challenge, but I sure have enjoyed the search.  I have sought out the soggiest, swampiest, and wettest areas in my patch and it helped get my numbers up...also got some gnat bites...and soon it's going to be mosquitoes as we have standing water everywhere thanks to the wet winter we had.  

I have been taking nature walks about every day...and that's because I need the exercise, and to clear my head of rust.  Im about half way through the month...and I know that migration has already begun here in my's not in full swing but it has started!  Got the Cooper's Hawk he flew right across my path as I drove down the road, then 2 Great Egrets were spotted in one of the private wetlands where I have found a decent viewpoint from the highway, along with the Ring Neck Duck!!  He is not real close to the edge so not a great photo...But I will take it.  And he was there everyday since.  That marked up 6 additions since Feb 1st, then another wetland that straddles a road got me some great birds and some really fine behavior.

This wetland is created by the Thoroughfare Branch...and this spot is about 1 mile north-west of me.  I heard a bird calling and although it seemed familiar, I just couldn't bring to mind what it was so I phished out and got a look though the binoculars of the Common Yellow Throat...
I did not get a photo of him stay tuned to the video at the bottom to hear him....he was too quick for me. I pulled a photo out of my archives for the video...and  Literally hundreds... no thousands of Common Grackles!

I also heard a chip call and on the other side of the road and found...

the Swamp Sparrow.   He really blends in with the reeds.  

The next species I found in my 5 MR was also a common bird but one I rarely see since Im in such a rural area and this bird tends to like more populated areas, but I found the House Sparrow! Got one really awful shot through the windshield of the car, since I was pulling out onto a highway when I spotted the bird.  

I headed back over to the wetland on Memory Lane...parked, got out and started phishing.  Didn't take but a moment to get 2 Blue Headed Vireo's chipped at took off immediately and one let me get some not so clear shots of him UP so high in the tops of the big trees...

And at first I thought I had white eyed...and my photo is not too good, but when I finally got it up on the screen... I saw the little dark patch below the wing bar, and no yellow on face.  And today passing by a private pond just down the road, a pair of Wood Duck drake and is in the air! 

I've been trying like crazy to find a rock dove! Hope to see some around cattle but so far; nope...yesterday almost got the turkey's displaying...

Really hope I can ride by at just the right time...

down at the clear cut area there is a yellow eyed Eastern that's been fun to find, and he has a mate with him...she is very aloof so have not gotten a decent photo of her so I can study her up close.  

if you enjoy videos, here is my morning at the Thoroughfare Branch.  

Oops I missed an O in the video title spelling ...I will do a month wrap up at the end...hope to add several more species. 

Every day is a new Adventure.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Game Plan

My February birding is off to a slow start so I plan some sort of strategy .  Got my Wild Turkey flock...right where they should be...BAM and the next day another flock....ebird said that's a large number for this time and location, BAM photo showing all 27 take that!! First new add for the month!

 followed by the Loggerhead Shrikes, 3 to start with then BAM 2 more for a total of 5 so far this week.  Two of them only 2 tenths of a mile down my road!

..and even got his call on video, not the best due to the distance he was away but it's the first time I've actually heard one call! Very hard to hold the zoom still...

loggerhead shrike call

Spring has hit us and I hope the rest of the plants and flowers will hold off because we know it's only a tease, ANY kind of weather could arrive without warning. 

This month our Challenge is a photo.  That's a tough assignment with my camera in it's current condition! (focusing issue) BUT I will submit 2 of something end of the month.  

got this pine warbler n BLUE sky pretty decent

So my strategy is to make a list of what is coming via the migration and to look at my past sightings that were within my radius and hope I can find it there again, and I could check other birders lists by species to see what they are finding.  

This is one my locations...the road was freshly graded, but that makes it soft and easy to get stuck "knock on wood".  The Throughfare Branch runs here so it's kind of a good spot to check for Prothonotary Warbler soon.

Here is the branch if you listen carefully you can hear the rushing water, it is swampy so many warblers love this type habitat...only saw the Pine in there on this trip but more will come (I hope)

the throughfare branch

I came across this old cabin in Quadrant Two of my 5 MR...looks like it has been here a while eh?

One contender put it this way, a 5 Mile Big Year and actually that is what it is! Wow.  Some of my def reliable birds will come nest right here in my yard so that will be easy.  Others will be sheer luck if they show up again where they have in the past.  So a game plan is in the making.

This Blue Jay was having a shouting match with one on the other side of the road don't know if you can hear the whole squawk fest, it's so wonderful to be a witness!! 

fussy Jay

I decided to make my photos bigger since you can't click and enlarge, so a bit sticks under the edge of the right margin, but I think I like it.
Until next time... 
All things come to an end....Tioga George passed away and David of the Direction of Our Dreams lost his long battle , and last May Lynn of Winnieviews lost her battle also....I respected each of these bloggers who didn't give up on life just because it got tough.  RIP and my condolences to the families.   

Every day is a new Adventure.

Friday, February 1, 2019

First Feb Find

The first month of the 5MR birding challenge is history I didn't earn one single point on the bar graph challenge for my one HotSpot however I def filled in some grey bars on my own bar graph for this spot.  June and Aug are the only grey spots on this Hotspot where no checklists have been IF I'm here then I will def work on getting those weeks filled in!  I submitted 9 checklists this month for my Hotspot, and 37 checklists for January. 

It is very hard to create Hotspots on private that didn't happen...there is one more public space and I hope to check that out later during the migration....

                                                          brown headed cowbird

My month ended with 55 species.  I'm satisfied with that 60.4 of the species reported in my county for January (91) (thank you Jen) since my radius includes 90% privately owned tracts of pine timber, 5% Ag fields, and homes. The one public space is the one hotspot, shown above and a Golf Course I did a drive by and saw nothing to report. 

 The most exciting bird for me was a Merlin I flushed out of heavy cover he had some prey down and I heard it thrashing in the edge then it was airborne quickly away from me, I noted mostly Grey overall with a band of white on the tail edge a small bird of prey. Not rare but a county bird for me! 

..and a very  curious Immature (Lineatus) Red Shouldered Hawk...

He is pretending to be an owl turning his head 180 degrees and looking over his back...If I hadn't seen the large chestnut bars on the outer wings on this bird when he flew I may have thought it was an imm. red-tailed.  I didn't get a photo or video of his wing patches but check out this photo online to see what I'm referring to, also the same chestnut coloration on the top portion of the tail feathers. 


He was sooo lovely. 

Here's a Carolina Chickadee, they can hang upside down like a nuthatch watch as he is busy getting that small tweezer beak of his into the pod of the sweet gum tree...Goldfinch also enjoy the sweet gum seeds.  

c c sweet gum

So now onto first Feb new species was seen today in the southwestern section of my radius,  Wild Turkey!

There was a flock of about 12, by the time I pulled over got my camera on and the window open they had nearly disappeared into the forest...but I snagged a couple shots...and a little video 

turkey flock

We have had one of the rainiest winters I ever recall...standing water is everywhere...I have seen Wood Duck use these vernal pools before so I always slow down to check them out..nothing in this one but the reflections were cool...I just hope it's all gone by skeeter season. 

A shout out to Maggie, my sister's dog.  She was diagnosed with Lymphoma.  We don't
know the reason why Maggie has cancer, as she was a rescue and already up in age by the time she came into our family.  I can say  Round Up or any other herbicide is a cancer causing agent, they spray our food and our dogs food with it too...think about where it goes each time it rains... once I did use it to kill the English Ivy, a few yrs back... I imagine these vernal pools have traces of Round Up in  them.  I always worry about using the flea drops on my dogs and I don't know if that can cause cancer, probably it can.  She is responding well to some natural treatments and one chemo treatment per month...

We love you Maggie and we're hoping for a miracle...would y'all join us in putting out a wish for Maggie?


Every day is a new Adventure.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Field Trip

I'm trying to stay connected to my 5 Mile Radius.  In order to become more familiar with the outlined area I divided it into quads to make it easier for me.  It' still hard to know when IM in or out of my I need one of those ankle bracelets to sound off when I drift out of bounds. 

OK without further rambling, my Field Trip. I call it a Field Trip cause it centers around some fields.  I have found 3 major sorghum fields and the birds found them too! Nothing rare or even unexpected but fun to find out where everyone is hanging out! 

If I had to describe my area it's very rural, and if the words tobacco road mean anything to you then you sort of have an idea, although there's no tobacco being grown here now...cotton yes. 

an HDR filter added to this gives the barn a pop. 

I wanted to make a movie of my week...and I actually started it but I got so distracted with the "stuff" of life I lost my focus...and I never finished it so I will try to highlight my week here with a mixed bag of media.

There's 3 big sorghum fields are in Quad 2, 3, and 4.  

This is Quad 3, I scared about 50 dove outta this field...

Flock of Mourning Dove and one sitting in a China Berry Tree

and then down another dirt road...

another old home place...

^Eastern Towhee & below female n male

The fields are surrounded by woods so the birds are in and out of the field and back to the trees to rest and take cover...

Eastern Phoebe 

and many Song Sparrow 

Mostly chipping sparrow by the 100's! But getting them on film is almost impossible, they rarely sit still...

here is one resting

ALL the Sparrows blend in so well it's difficult to see them in the's a song sparrow to prove my point...

The field in the Quad 3 had Field Sparrow in the mix...

Im always happy to find them in the flocks...

And out on the road a Hermit Thrush hops around...

Some of the birds stand out a little bit more...

And not all were after the seed heads, some were after insects that were out there...

A really fine week of birding, I did visit my one hotspot weekly, and although there was no grey box in January to fill up (June & August need work) I made a nice green line on my own Jan bar graph and my 5MR Patch species count is up to 50 since Jan 1 and I hope to add more by the end of the month. 

Every day is a new Adventure.

Monday, January 7, 2019

My Five Miles!

So it's my first post of 2019...wish it could be more exciting...but it is what it is till it ain't That's a line from a song I heard.  Still many ups n downs going on Ill try to share the ups.
Im participating in Jen's of I Used to Hate Birds (check my right side bar) 5 Mile Radius Challenge. (5MR) it's a year long challenge! SO  a short description...Jen is the superstar who came up with this whole idea and I hope soon it will be a part of ebird and she will get the credit for it!  So you figure out an area and using map tools you draw out a 5 mile radius and you bird the hell outta it! LoL...Join in the fun if you like!

Hope I can follow through.  I'm not good at following directions.  But I think this month's challenge is to fill in the gaps on hotspots within my 5MR.  There is only one in my radius.  So I need to go over at least once a week to fill in January!   So here is my circle. 

Sorry it's blurry I took it with my phone  my laptop won't do a screen shot...As you can see it's void of pretty much everything! Down at 8 o'clock is my hotspot, Goodale State Park.  

It's notorious for NOT having many birds!! My check list was 14 species and included one immature Bald Eagle.  He was wayyy across the lake...and at first I thought "Osprey" 

But those big orange feet gave him away...once I put my binoculars up to my eyes.

So that was fun to see.  I have seen mature ones here from time to time.  

It was a misty day but heavy rain held off while I birded.  

The wooded path around the lake...

One of 4 Ruby Crowned Kinglets I spotted...

Checked on the pitcher plants that grow by the water's edge...

Another lake view...

A double crested cormorant in silhouette


The most popular bird by far was the yellow rumped warblers..I think my count ended up at 8. 

of the Myrtle variety..

So I plan to go once a week this month..and fill in some gaps, at first I thought it was to fill in the gaps of my own bar graph but it is the bar graph for the Hotspot it'self.  There is def some gaps in the 2nd and 3rd weeks of Jan...but I don't think I will fill in many different species for Jan...
but we'll see.  It's popular with Warblers in Fall n Spring.   

This is something I have to avoid while birding here and not just here but across the southern USA.   If you should fall in one of these imagine how quickly they would be on you, BITING...or step on this with flip flops on, which happens to me many time per year. The bite is very painful and sometimes causes an allergic reaction and almost always an itchy red pimple.  They will swarm up onto your feet and begin to climb your body!   You must immediately begin to do the Dixxe Doodle Dance! Looks similar to a Rain Dance!

Fire Ants


Every day is a new Adventure.