Thursday, August 28, 2008

Guess the Prey?

Are you interested in a little photo-quiz-guessing game? A COOPERS HAWK was enjoying some small bird this afternoon in St. Margarets. Luckily, I had my camera with me and caught some of the action.Have any idea what was on the menu for this raptor?As you can see, the little bird was trying it's best to survive.You also may have noticed how dark it was under that tree this afternoon.One last struggle to not become dinner proved unsuccessful.The natural world can be quite brutal sometimes.From this photo, one might be tempted to think it was either a Barn Swallow or a young American Robin that this hawk was about to devour.If you look in this photo (above), this raptor's dinner is just to the right of the stick.But what do you think this blurry passerine might be that the hawk was about to consume?How I wish I could take better photos. "Taking Photographs That Aren't Blurry, Dark or Over Exposed for Dummies," is on my holiday wish list.And so... after this year's grueling challenge of attempting to see 300 species of bird in Maryland, I will be setting my sights on becoming a better photographer in 2009!Mmm. Nature. it makes birds strike some odd poses, no?

-Dan

Friday, August 22, 2008

RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD IN SOUTHERN ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Here is a collage of photographs taken by Helen, the owner of the home that has attracted the attention of a RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD. It is a bird that is typically only found out West. Sure, they travel East from time to time, as is the case here. The bird did not make an appearance while I was there, but hopefully it will stick around for a while.

According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's All About Birds webiste, "the Rufous Hummingbird breeds farther north than any other species of hummingbird in the world. Very aggressive at feeders, it is the western hummingbird most likely to turn up at feeders in the eastern United States."Simply click on the image for the larger version.

Good Birding,

Dan

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Being a Good Parent

Is all about being persistent, caring and there when your child needs you.Now that reminds me... it's almost time to feed Declan.

Good Birding,

Dan

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Weekend Wake-Up Call

Please CLICK HERE to listen to an audio segment from today's Science Friday broadcast on NPR.Biodiversity is rather important, wouldn't you say? And on a similar note, there was an earlier discussion about ethanol and the importance of local agriculture, that was quite enlightening. You can listen to that discussion HERE.These broadcasts / discussions are worth listening to, should you have a moment. They gave me pause to really think about our future here on this little earth. Looking back, some of our lawmakers (can't really call them 'leaders', can we?) are rethinking President Carter's ideas regarding energy, the environment and sustainability.

I find this subject so very interesting, albeit frightening. Perhaps I will focus more of my blogs on environmental subjects such as these in the near future.

P.S. I sure hope NPR doesn't mind me using their logos. They are their logos, and they own the rights to them, etc. If they do mind, I'll take them down. If they do not... well, thanks NPR. I think they make this blog post look so much nicer!

Enjoy your weekend,

Dan

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Would You Call This A Western?

This bird in question, a WESTERN SANDPIPER, was called out on our trip to Poplar Island this week by J.B. Churchill. But before any of us could get a solid look, a nearby WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER quickly stole everyone's attention. The rest of the day, despite a bus full of birders searching, there were no WESTERNS spotted.
NOTE: This may or may not be the bird that J.B. initially called out. The photo was taken of the general area, but let me just say there were peeps as far as the eye could see.Take a look at the peep on the right in the photo that is standing next to the Yellowlegs. After the WHITE-RUMPED excitement, all of us birders just jumped back on the bus. There was much excitement, as we wondered what rarity might be foraging in the next location. Plus we had a boat to catch!

Whoops. No one confirmed the identification of the WESTERN, so we did not add it to our trip list. By some stretch of luck I accidentally snapped this photograph of one of the candidates, in between shots of the WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER.Here is a closer look. Feel free to add your thoughts and comments. This bird certainly has that de-curved bill one would expect on a WESTERN.The plumage is hard to judge, and the photo (as well as the bird's angle) leave a lot to be desired, but...

What do you think?

But first, how about some details about the WESTERN SANDPIPER?

Despite it's being one of the commonest shorebirds in North America, according to ABC, the WESTERN SANDPIPER is a, "Rare Yellow List Species." They vocalize with simply a thin 'jeet', breed in Alaska and winter anywhere from the Southern United States, South to Peru. WESTERN SANDPIPERS are most often found on shores, beaches, mud flats during migration and in the summer, if you're in the area, you can find them on the dry tundra way up North!

-Dan

Monday, August 11, 2008

265

UPDATE: I am currently at 265 bird species for Maryland this year. I went on an excursion to Talbot County's Poplar Island and Tanyard Marsh to check these birds off of my list:

Common Moorhen
American Avocet
White-rumped Sandpiper
Stilt Sandpiper
Wilson's Phalarope
Red-necked Phalarope
Black Tern

Ah, what fun.

WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER

SURE, THE BIRD IS OUT OF FOCUS... BUT IT'S SHADOW IS PERFECT!

IN FLIGHT

NOTICE THE WHITE RUMP

IT IS CERTAINLY DIFFERENT FROM A SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER

PECTORAL SANDPIPER

A RED-NECKED PHALAROPE NEXT TO A WILSON'S PHALAROPE

A RED-NECKED PHALAROPE

A BANK SWALLOW

ANOTHER VIEW

A COMMON LOON, SPOTTED JUST WEST OF ST. MICHAELS, MD

Enjoy your week.

-Dan

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Conversations with Uncle Bob

Do you believe in fate? I do. Matter of fact, every day I find a new reason to delight in my wife Emery.

For example, her sister is dating a gentleman, Chris Murray. Like me, Chris is seriously into his birding. On our recent Toomey family vacation to Holden Beach, North Carolina, Chris and I spent hours and days birding away the vacation. Coincidence? I will leave that for you to decide.

Lucky me. But it gets better...

When Emery and I first starting dating (many, many moons ago), I had the privilege of meeting her Uncle Bob. Uncle Bob Lavell was an avid birder and a true gentleman. He passed away a few years ago. I never really did have the opportunity to really sit down with him and discuss our shared love of birds. I regret that lost opportunity.

UNCLE BOB

Yesterday, Emery's father Joe was kind enough to give me several of Uncle Bob's classic birding books. You see, Uncle Bob's wife Aunt Mary (A.K.A. Butch), will be moving soon. Her new place is smaller, which will put storage space at a premium.

I'm honored to receive this special gift from Butch and the late, great Uncle Bob. I'll cherish these books, scour them for knowledge and enjoy them from cover to cover.

SHOREBIRDS: AN IDENTIFICATION GUIDE. 1986

A COLOURED KEY TO THE WILDFOWL OF THE WORLD. 1965

TOP FLIGHT FIELD GUIDE IN FULL COLOR: SPEED INDEX TO WATERFOWL. 1979

Occasionally, my wife sports Uncle Bob's birding hat. I have thought about borrowing it many times. Lucky for her, my head is way too big.

AUDUBON WATER BIRD GUIDE. 1951

In Uncle Bob's later years, he delved into wood carving. I heard he was quite good at it too. From what I've been told, he carved many a small bird. Perhaps I too will explore this art form in the future? At the very least I hope to tell you more about it soon.

GULLS: A GUIDE TO IDENTIFICATION. 1982

The Uncle Bob Bird Book Collection, including THE AUDUBON SOCIETY FEILD GUIDE TO NORTH AMERICAN BIRDS. 1977

I believe that there is much to learn from our elders. With each new 'year bird' I see on my way to 300 species in Maryland in 2008, I will tip my hat to Uncle Bob. Hopefully, if the fates allow, I will achieve my lofty goal. But should I not reach my goal, the enjoyment, the challenges and the discoveries that have occurred while on my many journeys will provide me with both a deeper knowledge of birds and my home state of Maryland.

And sometime soon... when I am knee deep in mud, covered in flies, or trudging through some thick brush, I'll be having a spirited conversation with Uncle Bob. More than likely, I'll be asking a lot of questions.

All the best,

Dan

There was an error in this gadget
The FatBirder's Nest
FatBirder Web Ring
Prev SiteRandom SiteNext Site
Linking Birders WorldwideJoin
Nature Blog Network