Tuesday, April 23, 2019

3rd Week Apr update

When you're writing a post do you write the whole thing in one sitting, or do what I do and work on it little by little?  I come back and add to it as the story develops unless I'm traveling and I know I will only have internet for a limited amount of time.  So this post has been building since the end of week 2 and here it is the 3rd week of April, our migrant arrivals are moving along quickly! So the 5 mile radius numbers continue to grow!!

A bluebird pair seem to be settled on this plastic gourd in the yard for a nest spot...

they took turns going in with very small bits of nest material...almost one small blade of grass so I will check later to see if this was a false start or a practice run or the real McCoy!

The very next morning I went to check out the Sorghum field area and found my FOY (88) Eastern Kingbird up on a wire...

Checked out my hotspot on the following day and BAM..got that Prothonotary Warbler to show himself..(89) Now no longer "rare" as I know he was here earlier than his normal arrive by date, but I don't need any unwanted attention preferring to remain in the background of life rather than be paving the way for others. 

"Finally got you on pixels!"  I made a recording of his call too...

Also while I was trying to pick this warbler out, the Northern Parula and the White Eyed Vireo were all over the canopy again...gleaning little tiny gnats and caterpillars off the leaves and branches. 

northern parula male

and the female!
she had me with going nutz for a while trying to figure out wtheck she was... finally it hit me!

                                                                          white eyed vireo

ALSO look who else is in Adams Mill Pond at my hotspot...

I've heard for years there are gators in that pond but this is my first sighting! Most of his body is hanging below the water I'd say he was a 4-6 ft specimen..I thought of sharing my find with the ranger but then I had this image of the gator being harassed so I kept it on the QT i have never heard of any issues with people and alligators here.  

We took a ride over to Lee county to do some cemetery survey work and we stopped to check out my new found wetland where the beaver pond is

...the eagle nest had 2 juveniles in it...happy to report, I had seen the one but there is two!! I don't know if they have fledged and still hanging in the nest I have not seen them flight testing or out of the nest...they will continue to use the nest and depend on the parents for help for a while yet. 

My priority this week was to find those cattle egret in my radius and that I did pretty easily! First I found 3 with cattle then a field where cows had been moved recently and there was at least 25 Cattle Egrets (#90) in there along with 4 PIGEONS! I was almost as happy to find the pigeons as the egrets.  

here's 2 of the 4 rock dove.  (feral pigeons) (#91) 

that same field had a flock of geese coming in...

This is a stretch of road where I pull over and look for warblers in the swamp I bird from the road...I had a red eyed calling but he would not come out for a photo opt yet! I'm trying to get his call to share but he stayed so far back it was not a good recording. 

Back at home that night I got up for a bathroom visit about 4 am and through the open window heard a Chuck Will's Widow!! (#92) And then last night I took a walk and recorded his sound...I couldn't figure out how to upload it to blogger. 

At home in the afternoon the wonderful sound of the Summer Tanager (#93) came floating in and soon I spotted him..

Then Sunday Morning whilst most were putting on Easter Bonnets, I was grabbing my binoculars and heading to one of my fav spots...it's only 1 mile away and it's more roadside birding but it's not a busy road...I got out and phished a little bit and got the attention of 2 Orchard Oriole, (94) one a first year male and one mature male..

They came in flying like Luke Skywalker in that scene of Star Wars, Return of the Jedi....when they flew at incredible speeds and taking runs down those narrow channels of the Death Star!  So I snapped a couple fast ones missed the immature male altogether. 

It is now going to get tough...Hope I can pull it up to 100 but most of my expected arrivals with a few exceptions are accounted for...

7 new additions this past week!  Total 94.  Im hoping for the Blue Grosbeak soon saw him on Sunday but not in the radius! 

Heard in the yard additions this week:
35. Chuck Wills Widow
36. Summer Tanager
37 Northern Parula

Every day is a new Adventure.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Full Swing

It's been really nice watching spring unfurl and the 5 mile radius birding has really been a big part of that this year. Day by day a new bird pops up!  I have not been too fortunate with getting photos of them..but not giving up as the season is only now coming into full swing.  

The White Eyed Vireo has been driving me crazy...while I'm trying to stalk other birds they come shouting at me they are sooo loud.  They are beauties tho so how can I ignore them? #81

...and then in the yard a (#82) Red Eyed Vireo "here I am where are you"...over and over...also avoiding my photo opts but I'll keep trying. 

I had some (#83) chimney swifts soaring high up of course no photos of that I just happened to look up and there they were.  At that moment I was in a forest clearing they soared by and gone.  Typical "flying cigar" look.  I was busy chasing a (#84) Prairie Warbler!

I could hear him all around me, and finally he landed and allowed me to see him.

  Also in the heard only so far is the (#85) Great Crested Flycatcher.  I always enjoy hearing their loud whistle.   They nest right here in the yard normally and they are showing interest in my martin house already if you came by early when I published this I didn't have a photo of the FOY bird, since the publishing time, I got one so I replaced the place holder photo with this years bird seen this morning...


Our Ruby Throated Hummers have arrived.  For some reason they don't like my feeder... We had a terrific thunderstorm and this one perched up on the old antenna that is still on the chimney...just a damp silhouette against the dull sky . (#86)

Over at the cow pasture I was hoping for cattle egret saw some about one mile outside the radius..but not inside..

then today saw about 50 of them still outside the radius..oh so beautiful~

...did see #87 the barn swallow swooping around the water hole in the cow pasture.  I've got a couple more pastures to check when we get a break in the rains. 

I will share this here because you who read here know my interest is purely due to the natural history around me...I was so UPSET to see this road killed beaver!!

The odd thing is there is no pond nearby where he was trying to cross this road, none visible at least! I really want to get some footage of a beaver working...this was so not good..:o(  I am at least hopefully that the numbers are increasing....and I was not able to at the time stop at a road killed armadillo within my 5 mile radius! The DNR just declared war on the coyote here so Im sure they will declare war on the armadillo as well.  :o(
At the Recycling center I had a great look and listen to the Eastern Meadowlark one of my favorite bird songs! Been hearing them and reported them for the radius already but finally got a decent shot of one. 

and a little song too...

I didn't make it over to the sorghum fields this week so thats going to be my concentration on Wednesday...Good week this week!! 7 Added to the radius that makes it 87 species since Jan 1st within 5 miles of home.  

And added 5 more "heard from the yard" list for the month.
30. White Eyed Vireo

31. Red Eyed Vireo
32. Ruby Throated Hummingbird
33. Great Crested Flycatcher
34. Golden Crowned Kinglet

Every day is a new Adventure.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

April is Fooling me!

Well here it is the first week of April over! I Predict this year will go faster than last..what you say?  So in the way of new birds got the most distant look at a spattering of (78) northern rough winged swallows.. hoping for better looks soon, and as predicted the (79) Northern Parula showed up in my radius..

Up pretty high in the tops of the newly leafing out hardwoods...in this case a sycamore tree.  Got a better look of a black n white warbler doing his thing...

The focus on my camera is getting worse by the day it will drive me batty!

I had an (80) Osprey at Goodale! So only 3 this week.  Got a really distant look he flew right over me, I just stood there with my mouth open and didn't bother with a photo because I thought it was another turkey vulture as the shadow came over me like they do...then he landed far to the back of the pond! I don't even know if you can see him here that black dot.  It didn't fly like an Eagle or Hawk, and the flat looking angle of the head and long wing span drew me to Osprey. I should go back today but it's Raining today!

Had another nice Palm warbler just a 1/2 mile down the road..

and a really good look at a blue headed vireo who finally poked his head out of the brambles for a quick look over the shoulder..not FOY but he is just so pretty.  Also not new but pretty the redheaded woodpecker.

hello gorgeous

The spring bud is on and the trees take on that soft awesome hue that doesn't last too long in these parts...

with a splash of lime?
and a splash of  curry?

Below: is something you rarely see anymore around here its a tobacco barn, the reason I know it's for tobacco is the height! They used to hang the tobacco in these tall barns to dry out before taking to market,

 they would hang it up high I tried to find an image to share here but they are all copyrighted so here is a link so you can go see for yourself..how they used to cure it up in the tall barns, 

I have not seen a field of tobacco in this area for years! I did see some when I traveled the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia a couple years ago...just a small field.  When my cousin in TN decided to get married he built a house and he paid it off by growing one field of tobacco a year he had his house paid off in less than 10 yrs on one crop per year.  I remember very well seeing the leaves hanging up in the rafters of these tall barns.  The main crops here now are: cotton, corn, soy beans, sorghum, and sunflowers.  Mainly all for textile and oils, HEMP would grow awesome here it's only a matter of time...and it should be legal to grow!  

Our challenge this month is "birds heard in the yard, including fly overs" 
So here is my list of heard birds (most seen also) so far this week:

  1. northern cardinal 
  2. eastern bluebird 
  3. brown headed nuthatch 
  4. blue grey gnatcatcher 
  5. black n white warbler 
  6. yellow rumped warbler 
  7. yellow throated warbler 
  8. tufted titmouse 
  9. Carolina chickadee 
  10. Carolina wren 
  11. A. crow 
  12. fish crow
  13. chipping sparrow 
  14. pine warbler 
  15. killdeer 
  16. Canada goose 
  17. hermit thrush 
  18. pileated woodpecker 
  19. downy woodpecker 
  20. red-bellied woodpecker 
  21. n. mockingbird 
  22. a. goldfinch 
  23. purple finch 
  24. house finch 
  25. Blue Jay
  26. Eastern Phoebe
  27. Eastern Towhee
  28. Red shouldered hawk
  29. brown headed cowbird

Every day is a new Adventure.

Monday, April 1, 2019


Was unable to refind the Prothonotary warbler..can't win them all up to now at least.  So my Month end wrap up...First off Spring is in full swing here.  

The Fields are ablaze with color!


yellow jasmine and trumpet honeysuckle

Then a cold front driven in by rain put the brakes on that for a while now it's nice again! Walking back to the first week of March my first bird for the month was FOY (1) Fish Crow.   No photo  I don't know why I don't photo crows more often they are fascinating.  

(2) Pine Siskin at my Mom's feeder...no photo didn't have my camera with me..

 and then the Anhinga at Goodale got a bad shot but its FTR! 

And then got that Yellow Throated Warbler again this time in my yard...all you can see of it is the yellow throat! 

And the Black and White Warbler he had his neck stretched out...

Then a large flock of Purple Martin soared pretty far away over the hotspot lake... I could not even get focus up in that sky 

Next was the Palm Warbler, just 3 blocks from home in the clear cut...

Back at the hotspot; I had been hearing the Blue Grey Gnatcatcher in the trees at home but hadn't put my eye on one...then when I took a quick spin around the hotspot saw one in dull light but again FTR! No mistaking that silhouette. 

A bit better look at the face at least here...

The shots below are not first of year in the radius but they are in the radius...just some cool birds to see anywhere and anytime! 

The Carolina Wren

A nice looking House Finch 

A Hermit Thrush 

Pine Warbler

Purple Finch Female 

An American Goldfinch Female and a Friend!

These were strewn all along a section of a dirt road I like to check in my radius...more clean up was done.

SO I'm adding 8 this month (didn't take the Prothonotary with no photo proof since it would be marked as rare) maybe Ill refind it when it gets a little warmer the weather has been unstable lately.  I had a Northern Parula at the new wetland I found over in Lee county soon hope to see one in the radius...

Checked on the Eagle nest while there and got a shot of the chick.  This nest is very far from the highway....but I was happy to see the chick up this time and he seemed to be eating.  I  see only one adult hanging around. 

and this was something I didn't notice when I was there last time...a Beaver is at work here!! Didn't see him/her but you can sure see their work.  

So far a total of 77 species since Jan 1, within 5 miles of my house!  77 of 106 species seen in my county my percentage is 81.62  Not bad for a mainly AG area with no public access, and hardly any water habitat...

wish the above wetland WAS In my radius there is one similar but on that busy highway I videoed a while back...I did see some good stuff there all repeats and one unknown!! That little devil I did not recognize the call or song, and I never got an eye on it...so I must return when I have time to wait him out. I must play the Indigo Bunting song to remind me of what they sound like.  

April has lots of promise and  great expectations!

Every day is a new Adventure.