Monday, May 31, 2010

31 May 2010

Happy Memorial Day.

I can't believe the number of birds that continue to come into my feeders on most days. I sat outside for about 2 hours today and had a large variety of birds coming in over and over again to feed. It makes me feel good.

I decided to put out some grape jelly to see what might eat it. I'll let you know.

Took a couple of interesting pictures down by the lake. A couple of ducks starting swimming out of the shadows in front of me and my first thought was Wood Ducks. And they were.

The Great Blue Heron also decided to pose for me. It looks like there are 3 of them now on my little lake in NOVA.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

29 May 2010

I had a male and female Downy Woodpecker eating out of my hanging suet feeder today. I really didn't get a great picture of either one. I will try again tomorrow.

The suet package I bought had oranges in it and the birds really seem to like it. Besides the woodpeckers, I had a lot of other birds in there eating it instead of the regular seeds I have out.

Since it looks like a favorite, seems like I will have to continue putting it out.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

23 May 2010

(Answer to my last post)

I sent the following email to Wild Bird Unlimited about my unknown bird:


I read your blog daily as it has great information even though you are in Michigan and I am in northern VA. I get a lot of transit birds through here on the way up to you. The other day I thought I was taking a picture of one of the two Green Herons that are on a lake that I walk around. When I got home and looked at the pictures, I was stumped. Is this a Least Bittern or?


Birding in Northern VA.

Here is the response that I got this morning. I appreciate her getting back to me so quickly.

I think your first guess was correct. It looks like an unusual pose of a Green Heron (Butorides Virescens). They are stocky birds with a greenish-black cap, a greenish back and wings, a chestnut neck with a white line down the front, grey underparts and short yellow legs.
The long neck you captured in you photograph is not usually seen. Most of the time the Green Herons perch in the shadows, near water with their head pulled in tight against their body. When they spot fish, their neck can dart out quickly to stab its prey with a long, sharp pointed bill.

The Green Heron spends its winters in the southern U.S. and further south to Venezuela, Panama, and the West Indies. However it breeds across most of the U.S including your state and mid-Michigan. You can find the birds along the shoreline of rivers, oceans, lakes, and ponds.

The Green Heron are fun to observe. The birds feed normally at dawn and dusk but those hours are extended when there are hungry young to feed. They are one of the few tool-using birds. They prefer to hunt for frogs and small fish in shallow, weedy wetlands and are often seen dropping small debris, like bugs and feathers as a form of bait to attract fish within their striking range.

The following video shows the Green Heron fishing with bread at:

Thanks for your positive feedback. I really appreciate that. My intention is to write a short blog every day with little tidbits of information you can take away and share with others to spread the joy of birdwatching and nature. I tend to write about mid-Michigan because that is where our two Wild Birds Unlimited stores are located but everyone is welcome to ask questions or share stories and photos. Please write again anytime!

Sarah Zarka

Wild Birds Unlimited
2200 Coolidge Rd. Ste.17
East Lansing, MI 48823
ph. (517) 337-9920
fax. (517) 337-9921

Saturday, May 22, 2010

22 May 2010

I have a couple of new pictures from the lake. Here is a picture of a Greater Yellowlegs and a Spotted Sandpiper.

I also took a picture of a heron-like bird that I have absolutely no idea what it is. If any one knows, please let me know.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

15 May 2010 (part 2)

I forgot to add this picture of a Great Blue Heron eating a fish.

15 May 2010

Today is a wonderful day. The temperature is in the low 70's and there isn't a cloud in the sky. There is a slight breeze just in case it gets too hot.

There were more babies down at the lake. It seems like the loner goose baby has a brother or sister now and the mallards have quite a few babies as well.

This was just an interesting picture that I took today that I had to include.

I also took a great picture of the red in a Red winged Blackbird.

This must be an American Crow. It is isn't, someone please tell me. The American Crow is a permanent resident of NOVA.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

9 May 2010

Happy Mothers' Day.

This is a picture of the baby goose that was hatched out of my nest. I ran into a guy today that actually watched this little guy or girl being hatched. It was in the morning a few days ago. Although there are normally more than one baby, it looks like this one will be an only child.

I saw a Green Heron not too far from these geese. It is a summer resident in NOVA.

I got back from my walk and was making lunch. I looked out the window at my feeder and saw a Rose-breasted Grosbeak. I took one picture through my sliding glass door but it flew away when I tried to go outside. I waited all day for it to come back, but he didn't. They are transit birds through Virginia, so it is probably going to head up north soon. I don't ever remember seeing that type of Grosbeak in my feeders in five years. Maybe it was because I bought a new feeder to replace my beat-up one.

I did also get 2 more permanent resident birds to add to my number. I finally took a good picture of a Blue Jay and a Carolina Chickadee.

I don't have a huge yard so it is amazing how many different types of birds are coming to my feeders all day long.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

6 May 2010

I walked over to the lake to check on the geese. When I got all the way over to the nest, it was empty. There was no mommy and looked like 1 egg still in it. (click on all of the pictures for a more detailed picture).

I'm not sure what it means, but I hope it doesn't mean that the nest is now abandoned. I saw 2 adult geese with 1 baby nearby but couldn't get a great picture. I walked a little farther around the lake and was startled when a hawk flew right at me and landed in a tree nearby. A jogger came by and it flew farther back down the trail. I walked right up to it and got some great pictures. While I was taking the pictures, a high schooled aged boy walked over and was as much in awe of the hawk as I was. It was very cool to see that he cared. It really looks like a Red- shouldered Hawk which is a permanent resident of NOVA

I got to the other side of the lake and there was a large flock of geese. It looked a little like fight club as they were going at it. Right in the middle were 8 baby geese sitting on a little island. They swam right over to where I was was.