Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year!

It has been quite a year here at Birding in Northern Virginia. I really started updating this blog in earnest this year. Birds seem to be everywhere and I took many days off work due to having the bird flu. I went back through my blogs from this year and it brought back a lot of good memories.

I photographed and posted 29 of the 53 permanent resident birds in NOVA. Including those, I saw a vast variety of birds. Here is the list from my earlier blogs of 2010.

American Coot
American Crow
American Goldfinch
American Robin
Bald Eagle
Belted Kingfisher
Black Vulture
Blue Jay
Canadian Goose
Carolina Chickadee
Carolina Wren
Common Grackle
Cooper’s Hawk
Double-crested Cormorant
Downy Woodpecker
Eastern Kingbird
Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Towhee
European Starling
Gray Catbird
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Greater Yellowlegs
Green Heron
Green-winged Teal
Hooded Merganser 
House Finch
House Sparrow
Lesser Yellowlegs
Mourning Dove
Northern Cardinal
Northern Shoveler
Palm Warbler
Pied-billed Grebe
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-winged Blackbird
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Ruddy Duck
Song Sparrow
Spotted Sandpiper
Swamp Sparrow
Tufted Titmouse
White-Breasted Nuthatch
White-throated Sparrow
Wood Duck

Wow,,, that is over 50 different bird types that I saw around my backyard and a few of my favorite places near here. I have to be honest, I had no idea that I saw that many. All and all, a great birding year.

Thanks again for reading my blog and have a great New Year! I will post my goals for 2011 early next week.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Water, water everywhere

Birds need fresh, clean and unfrozen drinking water throughout the year, but especially in the winter when water is hard to find. I have read that birds will resort to eating snow if there isn't a good supply of water available. With that in mind, I went to the Wild Bird store yesterday and purchased a small water heating rock for the middle of my bird bath. I checked on it this morning and although the temperature overnight was below freezing, the water was not frozen even a bit.

Few things can attract birds to my yard as much as a fresh water supply in the winter months. I set up my camera on the tripod inside the house overlooking the bath to see what will come to the bird bath during the next few days. I will post any interesting visitors.

Heater rock in the bottom of my bird bath

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

World Bird Wednesday VI

Here is a small collection of the many birds that I find and photograph around my house in Northern VA. I am going to recap my year in the next blog. While these are very common birds in Northern VA, I find them to be very interesting. In the picture is the Blue Jay, Carolina Chickadee, Downy Woodpecker, Great Blue Heron and the Ruby-throated Hummingbird. All of these have been staples in my travels throughout the spring, summer, fall.

Birds of Northern VA

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Very Warm Thank You

I want to thank everyone that has visited my site. Today I reached a milestone as the 1000th visitor viewed my blog site. It has been a lot of fun and very educational as I try and put up good pictures and blogs each week.

Thanks and have a great holiday season!

Birding in Northern Virginia (AKA Steve)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

World Bird Wednesday #5

Adding on to my last blog, to foil the squirrels I put some bird seed on top of the ice in the bird bath. This allowed the Carolina Wrens to come in and feed without the squirrels scaring them away.

I am really beginning to enjoy the Wrens. I remember seeing one last year, and up to four now one time this winter. The Carolina Wren Thryothorus ludovicianus is common in Northern VA in the winter. You can recognize it by its prominent white eyebrow.

Carolina Wren eating out of the bird bath

Carolina Wren in the snow eating suet

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dark-eyed Junco

I missed a few weeks of birding when I went out on a business trip. After I got back, I had to deal with Christmas prep (all done). While I was gone, the squirrels again were mad that there was no food and they decided to pay me back like usual.

This time it was a chewed up storage container and 2 of my 3 feeders on the ground. Last time it was 3 of 3 so maybe they spared me.

I cleaned up the feeders and restocked them. The squirrels came out of the woodwork. It looks like I have at least 6 squirrels eating out of my feeders. As long as they are good and don't stop the birds from coming in, they can stay. Stop chewing my furniture though!

Since there was an inch of snow on the ground and it was cold enough for the bird bath to stay frozen, I put some food in there so that the birds and the squirrels could eat at the same time. I will be putting some of the Carolina Wren pictures in Wednesdays blog.

Here is a Dark-eyed Junco that braved the squirrels.

Dark-eyed Junco

Dark-eyed Junco

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

World Bird Wednesday #4

I was on a trip and missed World Bird Wednesday #3. I even had a picture saved on my work laptop to participate but it was a no go. I must really be obsessed with birding.

Here is my entry for this week's WBW #4. It is the Great Blue Heron. No matter what time of the day, how cold or how warm it is, I can normally find a Great Blue Heron at the lake and get a new great picture of it.

Last year I noticed only 1. This year I believe that our lake is up to either 3 or 4 herons. We had a lot of snow last year, but it seems like the bird population survived and may have even thrived over that time.

Great Blue Heron