Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Local Peregrines

What a morning.

The plan was to visit the local PEREGRINE FALCON nest box, band a few chicks and then go have some coffee and donuts. Good plan, right? Not so fast.

We get to the bridge, special thanks to the SHA for stopping traffic and letting us climb over and under the span. Scary, you ask? Not so much. It's nice to know the birds are inaccessible and safe from humans. Here she is now... in all of her blurry glory!It was tight climbing down, so I didn't bring my big lens or a flash. BUT, I did manage to have my HD video, so in the near future, I'll be posting some movies. I digress.Here is the quick story: she is a NEW bird from Virginia. I'll get more details about her from Craig Koppie from USFWS. He was our fearless leader on the trip. Where was our old girl, the New Yorker, from last year? We may never find out.Check this one out. Our girl, who Craig dubbed 'Godzilla', is perched on the right watching us. At the same time, the male is flying around screaming. Notice his shadow? Craig might call many of the Peregrines that he meets 'Godzilla', but I thought she did a fine job of earning that name this morning.She had eggs on (at least) three piers of the span. One on one, which she was attempting to sit on and incubate. There were two other eggs on a nearby pier, which failed and one more egg on yet another pier towards the center of the channel.She, and the previous lady of the Severn, never even touched the Taj Mahal of nestboxes that we installed in the Spring of 2008! Instead, the eggs were laid on hard metal with just a bit of dirt that has fallen down from the roadway. She obviously would sit on the eggs and eventually, they would chip or crack on the hard surface.Craig grabbed some gravel from the nestbox and nestled the one good egg onto a 'better' surface in the hopes that this egg would be a success. It doesn't look too promising, but I will keep watch and of course, keep you updated.And the male... he's the same guy.Enjoy your weekend,


Thursday, May 28, 2009


Look what I found... all my photos are HERE. Who knew? Not me.
But wait, there are more... HERE. And still more over HERE.

I'll bet this KILLDEER chick didn't know about this.And this ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK didn't have a clue.Same holds true for this 'almost' BLUE variety of GROSBEAK.Ah, but it's true I suppose. Whenever I upload a photo to my blog, it also goes to my Picassa profile. Well, that is what I think at least. Speaking of least, how about a LEAST FLYCATCHER? Better yet, how about a back-lit version that Warren Strobel, Chris Murray, David Yeany II and I saw in Garrett County this past Monday? I thought you'd like that...Finally, I win the prize for the worst CERULEAN WARBLER photo of the day. We did not play this bird's song in order to lure it in, as often is the case with other species. It is a critically-endangered warbler and truly, it doesn't need us humans bothering it with the sounds of imaginary territory rivals.Nope, we just waited and watched and enjoyed this beauty (one of three we heard singing) as it foraged around in the canopy.

I have no shame. I'll post just about any terrible photo, so long as the bird merits. Like this LEAST BITTERN!Best,

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Most Days I Only Sell Scissors...

...but today, I was lucky enough to see one (of the avian variety).A SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER appeared in Kent County. Discovered by Jim Green, it was simply too magnificent a bird to not go chase. So late this afternoon, I grabbed my camera and drove over before darkness descended onto Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge.She was a stunning beauty, despite her distance. Please enjoy these photos that snapped of her flying about the refuge.Lastly, on the way home, I heard my first BOBWHITE of the year, calling it's name at Chesapeake Farms. They used to be all over Greenbury Point here in Annapolis. Last year, we had some calling in May but the repeating whistles of 'BOB WHIIIITE' stopped shortly thereafter. Hopefully one day they will return to Greenbury Point's fields and brush.

Meantime, one more photo...Best,


Thursday, May 21, 2009

OLIVE for MOURNINGS like this...

So, Chris Murray found an OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER at Governor Bridge Park in Prince Georges County the other day. Terry Crowe was kind enough to discover a MOURNING WARBLER that evening in the same park. Thankfully both birds stuck around long enough to pose for some photos. Thanks to Warren Strobel for having the bird quietly perched awaiting my arrival. That was a nice gesture which I'll surely thank him for the next time I see him.

First the MOURNING WARBLER.And here is the OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER.Later this same day, some slightly different kind of birds were observed flying around Annapolis.Here they are in a dog fight with the ever-elusive CHIMNEY SWIFT!A bit later, they got into it with one of the local FISH CROWS.Oh, and here is Lt. Mark... showing that in order to merge left in an FA-18, one should always look over one's shoulder to check for other fighter jets. Do these rockets with wings have turn signals? I doubt it.The whole thing made Declan and Oiseau kinda sleepy.Enjoy your Memorial Day Weekend!


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wednesday Morning, 6AM

I think that is a Simon & Garfunkel record title, but it also describes the time Andy Sprenger and I arrived this morning at Sandy Point State Park for some migration mayhem. The birds were plentiful, both at the park and at our 7AM visit to Greenbury Point. Greenbury is a tad closer to home, which gets us back to work on time!

Here are some visual highlights...A RED-EYED VIREO. No, seriously, it has vibrant red eyes. See?What? You mean you STILL can't see it? Look closer. One more time...Oh, there was this lovely BLACK AND WHITE WARBLER as well. She seemed so peaceful on that limb as she took a break from her nuthatch-like feeding frenzy.The highlight, however was this stunning male BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER. Oh, what a crazy, vibrant bird.This is why birders strain their necks looking through tree tops.And here is one more reason to set the alarm for oh dark thirty... a BAY-BREASTED WARBLER.Lastly, on the way back to Annapolis, Andy and I got out of our cars to admire this fellow. I accidentally turned the knob on my camera, which ruined my settings.For those of you at home paying attention, I typically set my camera to 'blur / underexpose' or 'shake / rattle / roll / overexpose'. It's a gift.

Anyone for some bug love?Ouch! That looks painful. Kind of like this thorny branch where this NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH decided to perch.Ok, so who wants some more blurry BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER photos? You know you do.Best,


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