Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Walking the Beat

 Several mornings last week I ventured in and out of trails off Blackhead Road and the Cape Spear area. To change things up a little, I did the same thing in Goulds yesterday morning.
 Not surprising, I found much the same in terms of birds and butterflies.
 The one different species was this Mourning Dove on Second Pond trail. He seemed to be collecting material for a nest. Is it possible they could be nesting this late in the season? I heard several Mourning Doves calling from the woods over the first one-third of the trail.
 Once again, I came upon a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher. This one was alone near the end of the trail, not another bird nearby.

 Butterflies were most common along Second Pond trail and Power's Road. During the day, I saw six species of butterflies.
 At one point on Second Pond trail, I entered a birdie daycare. There were young birds of a variety of species everywhere.
 It is so nice when there are birds flying all around. However, the challenge of these kinds of events is to focus on one to photograph.
 Included in my favorite pictures of the day is this robin having a grand time splashing away on the edge of Third Pond.
 It is like the White-throated Sparrows never disappeared all summer. They sang loudly in the spring and well into the summer. When they weren't singing, they were chipping.
 Continuing to be out in the open, their duty at this time is to watch over the fledglings.
 And watch they do! This species of sparrows seem to be really vigilant parents.
 Their frisky young were everywhere, keeping the parents on their toes to keep them fed and out of trouble.
 To close today, I have included a series of images of a White Admiral from yesterday. Each one shows an angle of this species I had not captured before.
 These pictures are included in my Butterfly Index accessible from the tab above. I also added other shots not included in this post.
Photographing butterflies is quite different from photographing birds. It takes a long time for these ballerinas of flight to settle down and stay down in a "photographable" position; not to mention the added challenge of photographing something so small. Yet, it is quite fun and adds yet another interesting dimension to being outdoors. Time flies even faster when looking at birds, butterflies, dragonflies and flowers. I have to confess my morning of birding ran well into the afternoon.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Birds with Charisma

 Recently, I took a hike along the East Coast Trail between Cape Spear and Maddox Cove. This is an area not to be overlook as I have seen a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and Tennessee Warbler in this area. Of course, there are the many other common summer birds.
 It was a quiet morning with very little foot traffic. This gave me the opportunity to really stop, look, listen and enjoy my time with a few birds who showed a lot of personality.
 I have seen several single Yellow-bellied Flycatchers in several areas so far this summer. They are still making some noise while many of the other birds have gone silent. I hadn't really thought about it before, but I have never seen two flycatchers together nor any immature Yellow-bellied Flycatchers that I am aware of. Do they breed here?
On the other hand, it is apparent the Blackpoll Warblers breed here. There are three areas that I know of where they are currently busy feeding and protecting their young. One is up the East Coast Trail, another is the gravel pit at the back of the trail near the bus shelter off Blackhead Road, and the other is along Power's Road.
I'm sure there are more areas around, but I have watched the process unfold in two of the locations mentioned above.
This plucky little Swamp Sparrow was not happy when I must have gotten too close to its young. It chipped its head off!
As I moved along the trail, this one kept tabs on me and continued to follow and scold me.
Despite their diminutive size, small birds stretch up and adopt a brave,  defensive stance to shoo away unwanted intruders.
At last, this one could relax a bit as I moved out of its zone.
By contrast to the agitated Swamp Sparrow above, this Yellow Warbler was a picture of serenity as it perched in the cooling shade of a tree.
As common as all of these birds are at this time of the year, the pleasure of seeing them and then, watching them is still pretty high.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

We need....

a bird blind and a viewing stand at Cape Spear. This great chair would serve to make a sea watch a little easier.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Next Generation

 This is a great time of the year to not only enjoy the appearance of  juvenile birds all around us, but also to observe the different plumage and behaviour of the young.
 Over the last several weeks, I have amassed a collection of pictures of fledglings of several different species.
 While the species in some cases are easy to identify, others are a little tricky.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - Male

 At last! For several years I have been unsuccessfully chasing Ruby-throated Hummingbirds on the Avalon. I have received reports of sightings on Exeter Ave., St. John's; Hennessey Road, Goulds; Ferryland; Marine Drive; and two in CBS. Time and time again, I dipped - until yesterday when I had an opportunity to see this great little male in Logy Bay. I tried to view this bird on Sunday and waited for over an hour. I concluded this was going to be another dip on the Ruby-throated Hummingbird.
 Thanks to the Kirby's for sharing the find and welcoming visitors to visit their lovely yard to watch for the bird.
 As soon as I saw Les Sweetapple's report of its presence yesterday, I rushed back to Logy Bay. (Rushed was what I wanted to do, but in reality it was rush-hour, and it was impossible to get from Portugal Cove Road to Logy Bay in a timely manner.)
 When I arrived, I sat and began the wait. I looked up and down and all around. I had a jerk reaction at every fly, bee and dragonfly that flew by. I waited.
 Then out from around the side of the house, in flew this welcome sight. He came in and landed in the tree above the feeder. Right on time, a huge jet flew overhead, and this tiny little bird headed for cover.
 I was very hopeful. Obviously, it came to eat, and it didn't get a chance. It would come back.
 In under five minutes it returned. Quite undaunted by people, hummingbirds will go to the feeder no matter who is around. They just don't like planes.
 Staying for a few minutes only, it flew away again. I waited for a short time for its return.
It fed some more and then flitted into a tree on the edge of the yard. The shots taken above show the bird sitting in a tree. It was not easy to find as it was tucked in among the branches. Lucky for me, there was a ray of sunshine breaking through the branches. It fed one more time before I left. I had never seen this species in Newfoundland, and needless to say, I went home happy.

To see the female of the species, please visit my 2010 post at