Monday, January 14, 2013,
This is a Black-capped Chickadee that I managed to get pics of recently. Chickadees are not hard to come by, especially at this time of year, but they are quick-moving little buggers and can sometimes be tricky to photograph. These guys are with us all year round but we tend to see much more of them during the winter months. They do breed here but I think it’s possible that we also see migrators from northerly climes enjoying our balmy weather. I’m just guessing here. I am not a birder, I’m just paparazzi.
I took these pics at Frank Melville Memorial Park in Setauket. This is such a wonderful park and it has so much to offer no matter what the season. There are several easily accessible trails that take you through some very interesting woods. There’s even a stand of bamboo that not only looks cool but sounds even cooler if there’s a breeze. There’s also two ponds and a saltwater marsh as well. Sounds good, huh? You should come and check it out for yourself. This place is a pleasure at any time of year. JK
Tuesday, December, 18, 2012,
I took this pic three weeks ago but I was unsure what it was so I was bit hesitant about posting it. When I first came upon it, I knew it was a cormorant. Their body shapes are pretty much unmistakeable. And as most of the cormorants I ever see are the Double-crested ones, my first thought was “what the heck are you still doing here?!?” This guy was bit thicker in build than my “usual” cormorants, not to mention he was out of season so I got to thinking that, maybe, just maybe, I had managed to capture a new-to-me species. This is always a cool thing. Many of my birder friends keep lists of the birds they’ve see. I don’t count them till I manage to get a pic of them. This not so much because I hold myself to higher standards than other birders, but, rather, it’s because I am a lousy birder. I am probably the worst birder in Audubon. I don’t trust myself or my identifications. Look, I just take the pictures. This is, in fact, how I got involved with Audubon in the first place. I would send pics out to my birder friends asking for species identifications. Next thing I know, I’m the photographer for the Four Harbors Audubon Society. Not that this is a bad thing. Now I know even more folks to query about birds I can’t identify. Plus, all those wonderful folks are forever pointing me to good places to take my camera.
Looking through my Sibley’s it seemed to me that maybe I had captured a juvenile Great Cormorant. However, on this occasion my friends at Four Harbors were non-committal. A couple of them were even wiseguys, despite the fact that that’s my job. So I posted this pic at Audubon New York’s Facebook page. These folks have come through for me before and they did this time as well. And, as it turns out, I managed to guess this guy’s identity correctly. He is indeed a juvenile Great Cormorant. Woo hoo! Always nice to get a new species under my belt. JK
Friday, November 23, 2012,
This is not a House Wren, despite appearances. I thought it was. I mean, look, it’s a wren and it’s inside the house. How could I be wrong? Rather easily, as it turns out. I sent this pic out to a few of my birder friends, mostly just to share this experience. Kinda lucky for me that I did so because Luci from Four Harbors Audubon Society corrected my misidentification. Here’s a direct quote, because I couldn’t say it any better:
“When is a wren in the house not a House Wren? In the winter, when it’s a Winter Wren!”
It turns out that House Wrens are rare this time of year but these guys, Winter Wrens, come down from up north to enjoy our balmy winters. Maybe this guy was looking for some extra warmth. I don’t think he was counting on sharing the place with my cats, although neither of my two sleeping beauties noticed him. Top predators indeed.
If you click on the pic, you’ll get to view a slightly larger version. That one lets you see all the cobwebs this guy is wearing. I may have to fire the maid. Oh wait, I am the maid. Darn. JK
Sunday, February 26, 2012,
This is the Eastern Bluebird. It’s the New York State Bird and I think it’s the first one I’ve ever seen. It’s certainly the first one I’ve ever photographed. Maybe I need to get out more. Now, as have claimed from time to time, I am not a birder. At best, I’m a lousy birder. Honest. Don’t get me wrong, I love being out there and taking the pics but a good deal of the time I don’t know what I’m looking at. That was indeed the case here.
I was enjoying a long overdue visit to Avalon this past week when I saw this bird. Avalon’s open fields are amongst my favorite places to shoot as all that daylight can make for for great shots. That being said, this bird was not in an open field. Rather, it was in treed section outside the northernmost field. In that light its colors looked more gray than blue but there was something about that chest that made me think. I sent the pics to some of my friends at Four Harbors Audubon Society and both Sue and Luci told me that this was a bluebird. Woo hoo! Victory laps around the kitchen and a couple of frightened cats but they’ll get over it. I had my first bluebird!
Saturday, November 26, 2011,
These are pics of a bird’s nest I found in the farm fields at Avalon. It’s probably been there since last spring. It’s only about six feet off the trail and at a height of about 5.5 feet, it’s pretty much eye level for many of the folks that tread these paths but because the wildflowers that grow here are so thick and tall this nest was probably invisible to nearly everyone. I myself have walked past this nest countless times without ever even suspecting it’s existence. It wasn’t until the autumn die-back of most of the flowers here that I discovered it.
I sent this pic out to a few friends and the general consensus was that this was a Red-winged Blackbird’s nest. I was the only dissenter, but only because the only confirmed Red-wing nests I ever see are suspended from reeds or cordgrass right on the river. I wouldn’t expect to see one here in the farm fields but I did some reading and according to Arthur Cleveland Bent, while nesting near water seems to be a preference for Red-wings, upland meadows are also very suitable. The fields at Avalon certainly qualify as upland meadows and during the spring and summer I often see Red-wings here so I am fairly certain that my friends are right about this being a Red-winged Blackbird’s nest. JK