Thursday, March 5, 2015

Jack Frost was Here

Birds were very active in the yard today.  Two male cardinals pursued a female cardinal, while she pretended disinterest in both of them.  Dark-Eyed Juncos were chasing each other from tree to tree.  A couple American Robins ate the last few berries on the Oriental Bittersweet.   Bluebirds are still visiting, and I saw almost twenty out front today, but they didn't stay long.  They are regular visitors to the mealworm tray as are the Juncos, American Robins, Black-Capped Chickadees, Tufted Titmice and Carolina Wrens.  I have had an occasional Northern Cardinal come to the mealworms, too, although only in really nasty weather.

 Eastern Bluebird (male)

 Eastern Bluebird (female)

 Carolina Wren
(also looking disgusted with the snow!)

The wren had found some mealworms that had blown off the tray and into a hole in the snow.

Pine Siskin

a trio

Northern Cardinal (male)

Northern Cardinal (female)

American Robin

I took a walk at the Rural Cemetery in Southboro, but boy, was it windy and cold!   Sometimes I can spot a bird from a good distance just by its general silhouette.  This shape fooled me though!  I would have sworn it was a woodpecker!


I also spotted this mysterious pink stringy thing growing high up in one of the oak trees.  I hope one of my readers knows what it is!


and a closer view

 Frost decorated the edges of some of the cemetery's roads.  I see so few signs of Jack Frost.  I was glad not to miss this!



Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Cedar Waxwings

Bohemian Waxwings are showing up in New England right now, but I was pretty happy to find these Cedar Waxwings.  I couldn't think of too many places that might still have fruit hanging on the trees.  I tried Speedway Plaza in Westborough, but the only bird there this time and the last few times has been a single Northern Mockingbird.  I checked next at Northborough Crossing.  Not even a fruit tree.  Then I checked at Wachusett Country Club, and here I found 8 Cedar Waxwings in two trees that still had fruit.






Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Red-Tailed Hawk Pair

Two signs of spring at Wildwood Cemetery:

 Red-Tailed Hawks

Hawks mate for life, unless one is killed.  Then, the remaining individual may take another mate.
I loved seeing them sitting side-by-side.  I took this shot and then continued up the road towards them, hoping for a closer one.  They did not wait around for me and flew off, one at a time, as I approached.  I was no threat to them.  They were really high up in the tree.


Would you look at THAT!   Spring is coming - March 20th!  Signs are showing up.  Are you hearing more bird song?  Seeing trees beginning to bud?   Winter is almost over.  By the way, we are supposed to get another 4-6 inches of snow tonight.  Boston is hoping to break its record and move 2014-2015 into first place for the snowiest winter on record.  We are about 4 inches shy now.  We shall see!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Same Old Same Old

I did venture into Southboro today for a little walk in the cemetery, but most of my photos are backyard birds once again.  The Red-Bellied Woodpecker was at the cemetery.  Also, I saw a Red-Tailed Hawk as I drove slowly and stared longingly at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land on the ride home.  I miss going there!  

 Northern Cardinal

 Eastern Bluebird

 Beautiful!

 Windy!

I think he was irritated with me at this point.

 I am not taking blue sky for granted these days.

Red-Bellied Woodpecker

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Winter Weekend Beauties

 American Robin

 Eastern Bluebird (male)

 Northern Cardinal (female)

 Northern Cardinal (male)

 American Robin

Cooper's Hawk (immature)

video

Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Visit to Ding Darling NWR

Another highlight of my recent trip to Florida was a trip up to Sanibel Island with the specific intent of seeing Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge.  I was looking forward to my first opportunity to use the federal Duck Stamp that my son gave me for Christmas, but since it was President's Day weekend, the entrance fee to The Wildlife Drive was waived, and my stamp wasn't needed.

Ding Darling's website recommends visiting at low tide, but we couldn't and decided to just make the best of it.  I hope that on a future trip, a visit at low tide will be possible.  I bet it would be amazing!

Reddish Egret

sigh
What a neat looking species.  Love the bill colors!

just a few White Pelicans

Semi-Palmated Plover

I think the thing I liked best about Florida was the quantity of birds I saw.  Where at home, I might be lucky to find a single Pied-Billed Grebe, in Florida, I'd see a flock of 20 or more.


That's a lot of birds to take in, and it's not even low tide!


Wow.  Thick as thieves.

Gulf Fritillary

Black-Bellied Plover

Red Knots???  

The people along the Wildlife Road said there were some Red Knots on the peninsula, and I think these may be the right ones.

Mystery bird????
Ruddy Turnstone (thanks to Rosemary for help with ID!)

Great Blue Heron


This GBH was right next to the road, and within just a few minutes, it caught a fish right in front of everyone!

Pileated Woodpecker


Don't forget to look up!

Another unexpected surprise was passing Don and Lillian Stokes on one of the walking trails.  I immediately recognized Lillian from following their birding blog.  It was at her recommendation that I ended up purchasing a Canon Powershot.  George was upset with me for not speaking to them, but I was too shy.


After Ding Darling, we drove over to the Sanibel Island lighthouse and fish pier.

Brown Anole and Six-Lined Racerunner Lizards (I think)

View from beach back to bridge to mainland

Sanibel Island lighthouse

Oil House (for the lighthouse)

Double-Crested Cormorant

Black-Bellied Plover

Great Egret and Snowy Egret


I'm not sure if these people had been fishing on the pier, and put their fresh catch in the cooler, but the egrets were hanging around and quite interested in that cooler.  It was funny, but sad, to see them so comfortable around the people.

Bette Davis eyes!  (Snowy Egret)