Belmont Field Trips

BioBlitz for middle schoolers and Nature Tales for pre-K – the Howard County Conservancy field trips at Belmont had quite an age range.

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Early in the month before a middle school BioBlitz, a red-tailed hawk sat on the Carriage House roof watching the flurry of preparation below. It stayed until the first groups of students arrived to fly away.

The last field trip of the season was a pre-K group. My station was all about trees. I took a picture of it before they arrived. I’d had pulled some tulip poplar seedlings to show since the nearby sycamore trees that I used to talk a lot about had been cut down (before they fell on a nearby building).  The was the calm before the 56 4-year-olds with their chaperones arrived on 4 buses. I was glad that they came to my station in 4 separate groups rather than all at once! The weather was near perfect…the children thrilled to be outdoors…and a good time was had by all…and maybe they learned a little about trees too. It was a good finale to the spring field trip season.

Festival of the Cranes – part 8

After the fly out, we headed to the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge visitor center to meet the bus for a Raptor ID tour.

The refuge is home to many red-tailed hawks…several different morphs. The basic ‘football’ shape is what we were looking for in the trees.

The bald eagle was in the snag in the middle of the flight deck pond. Nothing happened when the eagle opened its wings and moved all little (just as I snapped a picture…good enough to identify it as a bald eagle but not much else).

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Later the bird suddenly flew away….and caused a cloud of snow geese to rise all at one time from the water’s surface.

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There are a lot of northern harriers this year too. Every time we drove the wildlife loop, we saw a few. They fly low over the fields looking for their prey.

There were other birds that were not raptors that we saw too. The ravens seemed to pose of us.

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My favorite birds to watch were the hooded mergansers. At first there was just one pair interacting…then another male came along and then another female. They were almost beyond the range of my camera without the monopod. The first pair was acting a lot like is was time to breed but New Mexico is far from their breeding grounds.

The tour was an enjoyable 3 hours around the refuge wildlife loop.

Birding through a Window January 2018 (2)

Continuing from yesterday….

The goldfinches come to our bird bath frequently. They are still drab in their winter plumage. Maybe it is wishful thinking but sometimes think they are looking a little more yellow.

The house finches keep their color even in winter. They seem to like the sycamore and the maple more than the bird bath.

Northern Flickers visit our yard during this time of year. They are hard to see with a back drop of pine needles or fallen leaves….but stand out at the bird bath. The amount of yellow in their wing and tail feathers can be seen sometimes.

The dark-eyed juncos are winter visitors to Maryland…and come in groups to our feeder and bird bather. They explore the gutters too.

The pileated woodpeckers are infrequent visitors to the woods behind our house. If I added a suet feeder maybe they would come….but I’m content to see them in the forest. I got a fleeting glimpse of a red-bellied woodpecker this month as well….but was not fast enough to get a picture.

There is a red-tailed hawk that visits the edge of the forest – watching the open area between the trees and our house. Typically, the small birds leave the vicinity when the hawk is around.

The Titmouse always seems to have bigger eyes than other birds of its size.

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