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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Birdseed: for, or against?

Prospect Park: October 2011

A couple of weekends ago on one of those beautiful fall Saturday's we found a bird bonanza awaiting us at Prospect Park. After the several slow weekends we had, I thought we missed the fall migration and it would be nothing but Mallards and boring old song sparrows (kidding!) from here on out. Boy was I mistaken! Check out the sweet birds we spotted below.

 We were immediately greeted by this Brown Creeper.  I'd never seen one and was unfamiliar with their wylie maneuverings.  This is probably the best full body shot we got of him.

Brown Creeper 

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Perfect Day for Waterfowl Identification

Here are some additional shots from the Bay in October.  It was a slow day for passeriformes so we mostly spent our time identifying waterfowl and admiring the occasional sun bathing squirrel. 


 American Wigeon
Interesting ducks are everywhere!  Or at least they were on this bright October day.  The wigeon is the green headed guy in the middle, but hanging out with him in the salt marshes were several species including the common Mallard, Northern Shovelers,  and Blue and/or Green-winged Teals.  Who can identify the duck in the bottom right corner?

There are several man made Osprey nests at the Bay but this was our first good sighting.  The picture doesn't really do it justice....this bird has a 5-6 foot wingspan!  

What?  What's that in it's feet?????  Lets take a closer look...

WOW!  It's a fish!!!!  The osprey's diet consists mainly of live fish, which he carries back to his nest before eating. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Portrait of a Song Sparrow

We had some up close and personal time with a very approachable little song sparrow out at the Bay (that's Jamaica Bay for first time readers!) in early October.  D (he's the principle photographer in this outfit) got some great shots.  He was literally crawling on the ground commando style just nailing this bird shot after shot.  C'mon,  lets go check him out! 

This one reminds me of those 70's/80's portraits that people take where they never look directly at the camera, always off to one corner looking super thoughtful.  Oh sweet song sparrow! Why art thou so contemplative?

True to form, this sparrow was found foraging for insects in the salt marshes at Jamaica Bay. 


Smooth operator


TWEET TWEET!!!!!!!!!!

Sparrows are often overlooked as being boring but they're actually known for their distinctive and melodious songs, this guy in particular (duh!). Give it a listen!  It gets really good at 15:28.  :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Jamaica Bay Part Deux

It was a quiet day out at Jamaica Bay this September....

Clouded Sulphur
Impress all your friends by knowing the name of this common New York butterfly!

Canadian Goose

 Double-Crested Commorant
I like their bright orange bill.

Commorants & Swan

Unidentified MagicBerries

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Turkey Birds - June 2011

Here are some birds we saw on our trip to Turkey back in June. 

Arabian Magpie
These guys were all over the place.  This picture was taken in Cappadocia in the Zemi (Love) Valley.


Not sure what these birds are but you can't beat the Red Valley backdrop at sunset.

This was by far the weirdest bird we saw...that head! that beak! I think he has a teeny tiny bug in his mouth but we had the small camera so we couldn't get really up close and personal.  This was taken in a really old looking cemetery (that stone to the birds left is a grave stone) just outside of Cavusin, the "ghost town" in Cappadocia.

Super Cool DragonFly
Poolside in Antalya.  We love all winged creatures!

Check out those legs!  And Please don't enter the travertines.  We saw a lot of these guys in Pamukkale, all over the site at Heirapolis.  Whoever can identify wins a bird painting by yours truly.

I thought this was a canary, but I'm not sure now.  We ran in to Neil and Wanda, a South African couple we had just met over at the Plutonium, at a snack bar where we spotted this little yellow fellow taking in the sunset over the travertines.

Next post.....we're back at Jamaica Bay!  Buckle up!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge - Spring Migration

SPOTTED: Lots of birds!  These were taken this past May.  Spring migration was happening in a big way out at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge for our inaugural (but surely not our last) visit. Not pictured below but seen:

Glossy Ibis
White-crowned Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Brown-headed Cowbird

Grey Cat Bird

Two Tree Swallows perched on their nesting box

 This Song Sparrow looked like a tiny hawk!

 Baby Canadian Goose

Different kind of bird

Yellow Warbler
These were all over the place but most of the time they were just little flashes of yellow zipping past you. I love the bright red streaks.

Black and White Warbler  
He was eating bugs out of this knot in the tree

Upside down!

White-eyed Vireo?
Not sure about this guy, we only got his back side but he is distinctly yellow.

American Redstart

Red-winged Black Bird
This was the first bird we saw when we arrived at Jamaica Bay.  It occured to me after the fact that since I can't see very well in my left eye (the one I was shooting with) all of my manual focus shots were just a bit off.  Oh well, plenty more opportunities to get a good one of this bird, they were all over the place!

Juvenile Black-Crowned Night Heron
The parent was sleeping in a large tree just behind this pond.  We were excited and had never seen a black-crowned night heron before so we had no idea what it was.  "Penguin?", somebody said.  Then the baby came by, along with a more experienced birdwatcher, and the mystery was solved.

Forgot to turn on the red-eye reduction. 
Yellow-billed Cuckoo (AKA STORM CROW!)
This was probably one of my favorite spots during this trip.  I think it was a juvenile, the white on his chest was soooooo fluffy. 

Eastern Towhee
Textbook, really.