Birds through my Office Window

The leaves are starting to swirl…but there are still enough on the trees to block the view of birds there. I’ve been lucky enough to catch some coming to our deck for seed or water. There was a Blue Jay with a scruffy head; most that I see are better looking. Sometimes the birds come alone…sometimes with buddies. They seem to like investigating the contents of the gutters.

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The Carolina Chickadee was in a rush….I barely got one picture!

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My favorite this month was the White-breasted Nuthatch. The birds seemed to be coming to the feeder very frequently. Did they have a late season nestlings they were feeding? They have such distinctive postures….always seem to move with precision.

The Chipping Sparrows also enjoy the feeder. One small one sat at the feeder looking around and I wondered if it was newly fledged.

The juvenile Red-Bellied Woodpecker is still around too. I’ve seen adults but they tend to be faster moving. The juvenile sits for portraits.

Overall – September was a good month for birds through the office window!

Belmont – April 2019

The Howard County Conservancy spring field trips at Belmont and Mt. Pleasant are into prime time. The two I volunteered for last week had beautiful weather for hiking – almost perfect temperature and dry. I always arrive more than 30 minutes before the students. It’s a short walk from parking to the Carriage House….long enough to get some pictures. Birds that are around: chipping sparrows, robins, and red winging blackbirds. There is at least one resident mockingbird which I heard but didn’t get a picture.

The warmer weather is also causing things to bloom and new spring green leaves to unfurl.

As I wait for the bus, I take pictures toward the manor house, down the entrance road, and down toward the pond. It’s the calm….before the students arrive.

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The students, teachers, and chaperones come on buses and there is a flurry of activity to get the groups sorted into hiking groups and activity groups.

The hikes are about an hour. There are forest and meadows…lot of opportunity for good observations. One of my hiking groups was making BioBlitz observations…documenting a common blue violet blooming in the middle of the mowed path!

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Zooming – May 2018

Sometimes I use the zoom on my camera to capture botanicals that I can’t get close to – like this weathered sycamore seed ball.

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And sometimes I capture an insect on a plant that I don’t see until I look at my ‘take’ on the big screen after I get home. This is a grass seed head I photographed at Belmont while I was waiting for the bus with the students coming for BioBlitz.

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Most of the time I use the zoom to capture things like frogs (yesterday’s post) or birds that would move away if I tried to get closer to them. This month I photographed two birds that were singing: a Grackle in the black walnut and a Caroline Wren on our deck railing.

There was a Mourning Dove with an iridescent patch on its neck near our birdbath

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And a Robin alert to what was happening in our backyard.

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I managed to get one good image of a Chipping Sparrow on a split rail fence at Belmont; it kept flying ahead of me even with the distance the zoom was providing.

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Finally – I got some pictures of Tree Swallows at Belmont. They were protecting their nest along the path to the pond – would dive bomb hikers (to the delight of all the BioBlitz groups) and return to the top of their box between rounds.