Category for Summer Birding
A Northern Wheatear was seen and photographed on Friday so a trip to Cape May on Sat was needed. The morning started with no sign of the Wheatear, which may have turned out to be a one day wonder, but quickly turned around with a Golden-winged Warbler and a pair of Philadelphia Vireo. Higbee produced the mentioned birds with the Warbler making the rounds from the porta-john (is that really what you call them? Whatever, the bathroom things) area through to the path in the far left corner of the parking lot leading to the first field. It was seen all-too-fleetingly on a few occasions by different groups of birders. Mine was identifiable but far from satisfying. On the contrary, we were treated to 2 (at least two there were reports of others and maybe even another individual along with these 2) very obliging Philly Vireos that jumped out into the sun and shown for us all to see. I stopped back by the Hawkwatch to see if the Wheatear had made an appearance and to check on the local goings-on.
Eagle vs. Osprey:
As usual this time of year, the deck was packed with birders, new and experienced (see how I avoided “old” there? ) all looking to see what all the fuss was about. The friendly staff, when not tending to the hawk watching, was greeting new visitors and offering whatever assistance they could provide. I heard many asking questions and others borrowing binoculars. All queries met with satisfying answers. Who knows how many “birders” were developed today on that spot. Although my time was short there, I was treated to swooping Merlin, circling Sharp-shinned Hawk and Coopers Hawk, and a pack of beautiful American Kestrel. My main event (and as I understand it was really Round 2) was the Bald Eagle vs. Osprey battle for a late breakfast fish. This happens quite often there and it never gets old. The Osprey does the work of catching the food and then the Eagle swoops in to startle and bully the prize away. They turned and veered and rose and darted, all in close proximity to us eager onlookers. In the end, stamina seemed to win the day when the Eagle made a final go of it only to come up short. The Osprey had won this round. (I heard the earlier occurrence ended with a victorious Eagle) I actually got some pretty cool pictures of this duel and “fun” had truly reigned.
Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow:
Jeanette and I were very lucky to have a wonderful guide familiar with all of the differences Arizona has to offer. Rich Hoyer, a WINGS Tour Leader and local birding celebrity (at least it seemed that way with the admiration of all of the local birders ) gave us two wonderful days of birds, knowledge, and an appreciation for all of Arizona’s extensive wildlife. We birded all of the local “hot spots” and were treated to amazing (there’s that word again) views of birds we had never seen. We got to see (and photograph) a Sinaola Wren, which if accepted, will be the first ever found in the United States. We saw Trogon, and Hummingbirds, and western warblers and flycatchers. We enjoyed orioles and tanagers and communal woodpeckers and Hawks. We basked in birds named “Montezuma”, and “Inca” along side those known as “Tropical” and “Painted”. It was sensory overload and it was one of the greatest times I have ever had. Amazing.
Now some of the birds. This was my holy grail the Elegant Trogon. On my Flickr site this picture got a comment I loved which was “who put that stuffed animal up in that tree???” This guy really, really looks tropical and was worth the entire trip alone.
Female Blackburnian Warbler:
So I usually don’t go on about unsuccessful birding trips (it’s just not as fun to talk about them ), but that is a big part of it and I think what truly makes Birding so special. You can have 10 Billion dollars but you aren’t going to pay a bird to show up for you. The misses make the “gets” that much sweeter. So yes back to Maine. We decided it might be worth 16 hours of driving (8 each way) to go and try to see some of the Boreal species found in northern Maine. There also was the opportunity to see the only truly endemic bird of the Northeast, the Bicknell’s Thrush. So with visions of Boreal Chickadees, Grey Jays, Spruce Grouse, and Black-backed Woodpeckers in our heads we headed off. Fast forward 16 hours and a whole lot of walking and none of the birds mentioned above made and appearance except…for the Bicknell’s Thrush. We briefly saw and heard a single bird who sat singing wonderfully off the side of the Appalachian Trail (Unfortunately, not in the open enough for a picture ) on Route 4 near Rangeley Maine. What a beautifully long melody! Though we missed the area’s specialty birds we did see many Blackburnian Warblers, Black-throated Blue Warblers and Black-throated Green Warblers and 2 Moose! (Its not Mooses is it? ) Above is a picture of a beautiful female Blackburnian Warbler and below is our friend the Moose.
Moose in Maine: