Tuesday, October 25, 2016

First-winter Blackburnian Warbler

 After a two-week draught of warblers, it was especially nice to see this Blackburnian Warbler this morning South of Cape Spear.
 The shots are not good, but good enough to make a clear identification.  This apparently is an immature bird. It will be fine today as there were lots of insects in the wooded area.
 However, it is sure the weather will change quickly, and this little one should get out of here quickly. It was looking in every direction as if trying to figure out which way to go.

Also seen in this general area were an adult Bald Eagle, Sharp-shinned Hawk, about 10 mixed flock of chickadees.
This bird was seen near the lower lookout at Cape Spear. The eye ring is extremely prominent, but I'm pretty sure this is an American Pipit.

It was a perfect morning for birding, and there were lots of birds moving about.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Other Than Birds

 I hardly know where July went. I do know I spent an enormous amount of time completing many jobs around my house. Spend summer over summer birding and the routine maintenance often gets sidelined. This was without doubt a big catch-up year in that department.
 Nevertheless, July was not all work and no play. I spent a lot of time with my granddaughters which is more joyful than a rare bird any day. I had never noticed the markings in the Foxglove resembled Chinese characters.
 My eldest granddaughter and I spent a couple of days hiking. Not only did she "keep up," but she often led the way fliting from one plant to the next discovering the simple beauty that surrounded us. What a joy to see it through her eyes.

 It is amazing what you can learn on a walk along the wonderful East Coast Trail. Sights and sounds surrounded us and we explored each one.

  Then, there were the days we doubled up and took in some history. Going anywhere with these two necessitates being prepared for hunger, thirst, weather and just plain fatigue.  Being prepared means getting the most out of every experience.  Signal Hill offers so much to take in, and we did it all.
On the one day I got away to Renews for birding, I came across this pair. How wonderful it was to observe how this mother watched over her inquisitive calf as it began to walk toward me. I stayed really close to my car just in case they became uncomfortable with my presence. We enjoyed about five minutes of staring at each other until a large truck came barreling down the road and spooked them.

Thank goodness for these pics that remind me getting out really is all about quality and not quantity.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016


 I first saw this oriole on the distant tree. The nearly-white body caught my attention. Much to my surprise it flew in toward my car where I was sitting. It made such a chatter. I listened to the sounds of a Bullock's Oriole and of the Baltimore Oriole. It sure sounded like a Bullock's. As I study these images against two field guides and the internet, I am still confused.
The 1st year Baltimore Oriole ca also have a pale body with yellow under tail coverts. The head seems more yellow than a first year Baltimore. For every justification I see for this bird to be a Bullock's, I also see the possibility for it to be a Baltimore. Given where we are, the odds are its a Baltimore. I have sent shots to those who will know better than I and will update this when I get an answer.

The consensus is a Baltimore Oriole.

Winter Just Around the Corner

 Still wanting for more vagrant warblers, I was not too excited to see Snow Buntings around Cape Spear. They herald the coming of Winter, a season I don't really enjoy.
Interestingly enough, at the same time I saw the  Snow Buntings, I also saw a small, warbler-like bird fly down from the old lighthouse to the lower trail. It looked black with a white belly. With the tricky conditions created by Fall light, it probably was not black. Was it blue? Could it have been a Black-throated Blue Warbler? With that thought in mind, I spent another 45 minutes looking around the area trying to relocate that bird. No luck.

There remain a few possible vagrants on the list of typical Fall birds: Lark Sparrow; Black-throated Blue; Indigo Bunting, and Philadelphia Vireo. Of course, anything could show up at any time or not.....