January 29, 2015

Another life bird



Our Florida trip has been excellent, We have 6 new life birds so far.
I don't have sophisticated photo editing software so except for a slight crop this is straight from the camera.

Porphyrio martinicus

The Purple Gallinule is essentially a tropical marshbird that just makes its way into the United States. But some go even farther afield. The Purple Gallinule, despite appearing to be an awkward flier, regularly turns up in northern states and southern Canada. It has even been found numerous times in Europe and South Africa.

January 28, 2015

Are you sure about that?

It seems like an oxymoron.
Parking for the drive thru?
Only in the North american car culture.

Of course I took this from the car.

January 27, 2015

Looking for supper




We found this red-shouldered hawk sitting on a fence post near Sarasota Florida.
It was intent on something in the ditch.

Buteo lineatus

Red-shouldered Hawks return to the same nesting territory year after year. One Red-shouldered Hawk occupied a territory in southern California for 16 consecutive years.


The oldest-known Red-shouldered hawk was at least 22 years, 5 months old. It was banded in Florida in 1989, and found dead in Florida in 2009, the victim of an attack by another raptor.

source Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

January 25, 2015

The look of absolute concentration.




This black crowned night heron was starring down some small morsel just before it pounced.
Photo taken at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary near Naples Florida.

Nycticorax nycticorax

Young Black-crowned Night-Herons leave the nest at the age of 1 month but cannot fly until they are 6 weeks old. They move through the vegetation on foot, joining up in foraging flocks at night.
The oldest Black-crowned Night-Heron on record was 21 years, 1 month old.

source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

January 24, 2015

Red-cockaded Woodpecker



We have been in Florida this week and have had problems with internet access.

This is a life bird for me, the Red-cockaded Woodpecker.

They are best seen at sunrise or sunset. Not wanting to get up at 4 in the morning to drive to the location and be ready for sunrise we opted for sunset.

Picoides borealis

The Red-cockaded Woodpecker nests only in live pines. But, it often selects ones that are infected with the red heart fungus. The fungus softens the wood and allows the woodpecker to dig out a cavity. The live pine tree then "bleeds" pitch around the nest hole. The heavy flow of gum helps keep tree-climbing snakes away from the nest.

January 18, 2015

Common goldeneye



We went looking for a Barrow's goldeneye on the St. Clair River a few days back.
We didn't find the Barrow's but we did see this common goldeneye.
Still a good looking bird.

Bucephala clangula

The eyes of a Common Goldeneye are gray-brown at hatching. They turn purple-blue, then blue, then green-blue as they age. By five months of age they have become clear pale green-yellow. The eyes will be bright yellow in adult males and pale yellow to white in females.

January 14, 2015

Yah. I enjoy winter.



Sure. That's it. I like freezing my feet and tail feathers.
I even enjoy sticking my bill in snow banks in search of seeds. Sure I do.
Which way is south?

Horned lark.

Eremophila alpestris

Female Horned Larks often collect “pavings”—pebbles, clods, corncobs, dung—which they place beside their nests, covering soil excavated from the nest cavity. The “paved” area resembles a sort of walkway, though the birds don’t seem to use it that way. While nobody fully understands the function of these pavings, they may help prevent collected nesting material from blowing away while the nest is under construction.

January 12, 2015

Is it still acupuncture?


Saw this sign over in Michigan and at first glance, Anne thought it said Needless Acupuncture.

If you don't use needles isn't it acupressure?

January 08, 2015

Black and white.



The black swan is a large waterbird, a species of swan, which breeds mainly in the southeast and southwest regions of Australia. The species was hunted to extinction in New Zealand, but later reintroduced which is where we saw them.

In proportion to its size, the black swan has the longest neck of any swan species.
The chicks hatch covered in light grey down.

Cygnus atratus

January 07, 2015

House finch



One of the regular birds at our feeders.
The total House Finch population across North America is staggering. Scientists estimate between 267 million and 1.4 billion individuals.

Haemorhous mexicanus

The oldest known House Finch was 11 years, 7 months old.

January 06, 2015

Spring can't come soon enough.



This is from last June. Listening to the wind blow and watching the temperatures drop to ridiculous lows is depressing, so I'm thinking warm thoughts.

Cardellina canadensis

A colorful, active warbler of northern forests, the Canada Warbler spends little time on its breeding grounds. It is one of the last warblers to arrive north in the spring, and one of the first to leave in the fall, heading early to its South American wintering grounds.

January 05, 2015

On Frozen Pond



We had a cold snap last night with more frigid weather on the way.
This red-bellied woodpecker visited for a cold drink and dribbled a bit.

Melanerpes carolinus

A Red-bellied Woodpecker can stick out its tongue nearly 2 inches past the end of its beak. The tip is barbed and the bird’s spit is sticky, making it easier to snatch prey from deep crevices. Males have longer, wider-tipped tongues than females, possibly allowing a breeding pair to forage in slightly different places on their territory and maximize their use of available food.
The oldest known Red-bellied Woodpecker was 12 years 1 month old.

January 04, 2015

The towel warmers

There is something special about a nice warm towel when you get out of the shower especially when it is cold outside.
Have you ever stayed at a fancy hotel where they have a heated towel rack?

Well this is the home version.

January 01, 2015

Cat on a Hot Toaster Oven



One of Tennessee Williams lesser known plays.

Anne had just used the toaster oven and it was still warm. Crash immediately went over and lay down.
Anything to beat the wind chill.

Ice sculpture by Mother Nature.



While out looking for snowy owls, we found two, we saw this tree along the lake covered in ice.
The wind was blowing hard and the crashing waves threw up cascades of water which coated the tree.