Sunday, January 30, 2011

Blog Post #100

This is my 100th post. I was standing at my kitchen window pondering about what I should post for this memorial event. I sipped my coffee and stood there for a total of about 20 minutes. At the beginning I remember thinking, man there are a lot of birds today. During the whole time, I had bird after bird after bird hitting my feeder. I finally had to get my camera and take some pictures. One of the things that I am really  proud of is the total number of birds that are dining on my seeds. When I first started, it was 1 Cardinal and then maybe 1 Goldfinch. Now after tramping out in the dark and cold weather to restock my feeders, I am finally getting some remarkable results.

Now as I stood there watching, I saw many multiples of the birds that normally come to visit daily. There is now a chickadee family. There are some 7 total Northern Cardinals. There are several Wrens, Nuthatches, and Titmouse. The pictures of the birds feeding were taken one after the other in about 5 minutes.

Again, there may be more total birds of a species coming in to feed, but my point is that I am finally seeing multiple birds of the same species at the same time. I had always suspected it, but I am finally seeing it. 

Northern Cardinal

White-Breasted Nuthatch

Dark-eyed Junco

Tufted Titmouse

Carolina Chickadee

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The big DC storm of January 26th

The Northern Virginia area experienced its first big snow storm of the year yesterday. Anything over 3"s is pretty big for around here. My birdbath did not freeze! YAY!

I got my feeders cleaned off and put some fresh food out there. I had a flock of cardinals in my backyard all day today. There were at least 6 males and 2 females. I could never get more than 3 into the same picture.

3 Cardinals

I made a picture with some of the bird types in it that have been in my backyard. There were a lot more.

Birds of the big storm

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Freezing Rain - World Bird Wednesday

After getting an inch or so of snow before dawn, it has now changed over to rain/freezing rain/sleet. I had to post a picture of this female Northern Cardinal sitting out in the tree. Poor thing. It is about 31 - 34 degrees so it keeps slipping in and out of the type of precipitation that is coming down. I got outside and put a bunch of seed out in case the birds are hungry. Maybe a cup of coffee would help.

Female Northern Cardinal in the cold Virginia sleet

Sunday, January 16, 2011

3rd new bird of 2011

After having such a great birding year last year, I wasn't sure how I was going to be able to add more permanent resident birds to my list. Today I was down by the lake and finally got a picture of an Eastern Bluebird. There was a male and a female. I got a ton of great pictures, but these 2 birds really made the cold day a little more tolerable.

The Eastern Bluebird is a permanent resident to Northern Virginia. Bluebirds don't come to my feeders, so I have to go out and find them. I have seen them at a distance from time to time, but was unable to get a great picture. I finally got some pictures of them in a tree near the lake. Interestingly enough, a hawk came across the lake and buzzed the tree. The bluebirds got nervous, but did not fly away.

Male Eastern Bluebird

Female Eastern Bluebird

Trying to get in a little closer

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Woodpecker or?

Man it is cold here. It has been below freezing every night and barely above freezing everyday. Even with that, my bird bath experiment has been kind of a bust. Well, it might be a bust. I have seen a few birds using it, but not the large numbers I had hoped for. It is still early in the winter, so time may tell. The water does not freeze in the bath though. The heater is working as advertised.

With that being said, I looked out my window this morning and there were actually some Northern Cardinals drinking out of the bird bath. I am going to save that picture for later on as I gather them up throughout the winter.

While I was watching them, I caught something big out of the corner of my eye. I looked over at my neighbors yard (2 neighbors over) and and saw what looked like a partridge. It had some red on it and then it disappeared in the yard where I couldn't see it.

That neighbor has no feeders and just a bunch of wood piled up that he puts in his fireplace. I grabbed the camera and waited patiently for the large bird to fly out of his yard to a place where I could see what it was. Eventually it flew up in a tree nearby and I got a few pictures.

In the first picture you can tell what it is and the 2nd picture shows it in all of its glory. It is a very large Northern Flicker.

Northern Flicker

Nice full shot of a Northern Flicker

Guess what? The Northern Flicker is a permanent resident in Northern Virginia so I get to add it to my list. That looks like a male Northern Flicker as it has a black malar under its eye. What is a malar? Think of the black eye shadow that football and baseball players put under their eyes.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

World Bird Wednesday VIII

How often do you see birds waiting in line for food? Here is a picture of 2 Carolina Wrens, a Dark-eyed Junco and a Northern Cardinal waiting for a squirrel to finish up before they go and eat.

Hurry Up Squirrel, we are hungry!

Cranky-looking Carolina Wren

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

World Bird Wednesday VII

When I was out walking around this weekend, I saw lots of Sparrows. I learned a lesson from one of the blogs that I read daily. The person kept an eye on all of the sparrows that he saw and he eventually found a rare Sparrow in his yard. So I have been taking a photograph of nearly every Sparrow I see and checking them when I get back into the house. I did get a nice picture of a White-throated Sparrow, my World Bird Wednesday bird. 

Classic White-throated Sparrow

Monday, January 3, 2011

Huntley Meadows and Dykes Marsh

I went out to Huntley Meadows today as it was a day off of work. There were hundreds of Geese, Ducks, Crows and Gulls out there. Nothing really special. I did get a nice picture of a White-throated Sparrow which will be my World Bird Wednesday Bird.

I did get a new bird for me during my walk. A Red-tailed Hawk circled and circled and circled but would never come down. I had to take the picture almost over my head. This is part of my new action shot practice of 2011.

The Red-tailed Hawk is a permanent resident to Northern Virginia and is the first one added to my list in 2011.

Red-Tailed Hawk

I tried to zoom in a little more

I drove over to Dykes Marsh and walked to the Potomac River. There were also large rafts of Geese and Ducks there as well. I was able to get a new duck there as well. I found 2 male and 2 female Lesser Scaup among the many Ruddy Ducks and Mallards. The Lesser Scaup is a winter visitor to NOVA.

Male Lesser Scaup

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sunday walks

Aren't Sunday walks the best? I decided to walk down around the lake to see if the ice was out yet. There was still ice on the lake although there was open water near the shore. It was a little cold, but there were birds everywhere.

Flock of Ring-billed Gulls on the ice

Very vivid colors on the Mallards

Got pretty close to this Great Blue Heron

This House Sparrow looks cold