Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Sunday, December 24, 2017,

This is a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, my first one ever. It is probably an immature male and not just because most women I know are always telling me that men are immature. Or maybe they just mean me. I’m not sure. Anyways, back to the bird. I spotted a pair of these working some trees about a month ago at the Morton Wildlife Refuge. They were obviously woodpeckers of some sort but even from a distance I could see they weren’t Downy Woodpeckers, which are the woodpeckers I see most often. When I got home, I grabbed my Sibley’s Guide and compared my pics to the illustrations in Mr. Sibley’s excellent book. I thought I might have a Sapsucker but I very rarely trust myself, especially when it comes to new (to me) birds. So I emailed my friend Patrice from the Four Harbors Audubon Society and she confirmed my guess. I had finally captured the mythical Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. I looked to the skies for falling confetti or blaring trumpets but, sigh, there was nothing of the sort. I did, however, have a new bird under my belt. JK

First Snow

Saturday, December 9, 2017,

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We had our first real snowfall today. Nothing major. I think a total of five to seven inches are expected when the weather clears tomorrow morning. I was on a bird walk at Avalon Park and Preserve this morning when the snow began to kick in.

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The bird walk was one of Four Harbors Audubon’s regularly scheduled walks. We walk at Avalon and Frank Melville Memorial Park every second Saturday of each month. We had a very small gathering at Avalon, only four of us altogether. I guess the forecast scared some of our regular walkers off. I guess the snow isn’t for everybody.

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As it turned out, it wasn’t a very big day for bird watching anyway. We saw a few but no great numbers of anything. However, we did come across a small herd of five deer. Three does and two fawns. It was the first snow of the season for us, but for those two fawns it was their first snow ever. They didn’t seem very impressed but the snow was really just beginning when I took these photos.

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Female Orchard Oriole at Avalon

Friday, September 8, 2017,

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This is a female Orchard Oriole at Avalon Park and Preserve. I took this pic during a bird walk with the Four Harbors Audubon Society. This bird was spotted and identified by Luci Betti-Nash, who leads the monthly walks at both Avalon and Frank Melville Memorial Park. These walks, which¬†take place on the second Saturday of each month are very informative on a wide range of subjects from botany to zoology. It’s not just about birds with this bunch. Our regular walkers include ornithological geniuses, Master Gardeners, and even an expert on insects. I, of course, provide the comic relief. Look, someone has to do it, and it’s the only reason they let me tag along. We have two walks tomorrow, Saturday, September 9, 2017. Maybe you’d like to join us. Click here for more information about the meeting times and locations. JK

One Birder, Two Birders, Three Birders…

Sunday, November 20, 2016,

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Hello dear readers, both of you. Click on the pic to see the GIF. Just having some fun with the pics in the previous post. Taken together, it looks to me like this this little guy is counting birders as they go past. Or, maybe just shaking his head at the myriad of intruders in his little bit of forest. JK

A Chipmunk at Avalon

Sunday, November 20, 2016,

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This, obviously, is a Chipmunk. I love these little guys. So very cute, so very animated, and so very difficult to photograph because they dont sit still for very long. They’re like little dogs. The smaller they are, the more energy they seem to have. At least Chipmunks aren’t constantly yipping and yapping at ya. They’ve got some self respect. Plus, since they like to keep their personal space, you don’t need to worry about them nipping at your heels.

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I got these two shots near the end of a Four Harbors Audubon Society walk at Avalon Preserve. We were there to observe and count birds. Myself, I’m there to to get whatever pics I can and this Chipmunk was the highlight of my morning. That happens. Alot. I can’t make the birds sit still any more than I can ask jumpy little mammals to do the same. Believe me, I’ve tried. I’ve also tried to grow hair with the same result. I still need a woolen cap in the winter to keep my noggin warm. Not to mention that I could use some sort of sunburn protection in the summer. Sometimes I think I love Mother Nature a whole lot more than she loves me. Then again, without Her, these shots never happen. JK