Sunday, March 17, 2019

March 17, 2019 Happy Saint Patirick's Day

What a beautiful day it was today. The skies were blue, the weather felt warm at 40 F (yes in New England that is warm!), there was a St. Patrick's Day parade in South Boston and for today - everyone is a wee bit Irish!  Had gone looking for a rare bird siting in Lexington, a Red Crossbill. Decided to continue my bird watching interests here as often as possible, in an attempt to improve my skills. So while I saw a few birds, such as a song sparrow, red winged blackbirds,  robin and towhee, I cannot say for certain if there was a Red crossbill to add to my list. 

Here is a little sparrow that kept me company on my walk today. It is still cold and the ground still covered with snow and ice in many places, alternating with mud! Mud season is upon us.

After the walk, decided it was a good time to go to CPYC for some good Irish company. The lasers were racing, the western wall is being redone secondary to storm damage these last few years. On the menu was the traditional boiled cabbage, corned beef and potato dinner. Sorry, not really liking that, I ordered something a little less traditional! We had the best day - Irish music and watching the parade in the comfort of the CPYC Pilot House. 

Here are a few photographs of the brave souls racing today.

Race committee boats and sailing racer.

Soon it will be time to get my little Rhodes 19 back on her mooring. Looking forward to the warm spring and summer days and sailing.

There are a lot of Irish sayings.  Hope you enjoy this little cartoon. I can imagine they are playing a favorite of mine - Black Velvet Band.

May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows you  are dead.

Until next time,  may your days be many and your troubles be few. And may all God's blessings descend upon you.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

03.06.18 March Snow and Bluebirds

We had one of our typical March snowstorms this week with well over one foot of snow! It is beautiful and once this cold front moves along, it will melt soon. But shovel I did.

It is a really peaceful time and I enjoy the quiet time and rhythm of shoveling. No one bothers you, probably for fear of being asked to help!  While taking a container out to feed the birds and squirrels, I listened to the calls of several different types of birds. I am trying to learn the songs. There on the branch just above the feeder was a male bluebird, singing as pretty as can be. Another male joined him and I was certain they were patiently waiting for me to put the seed in the feeder. Also there were several of my favorite tufted titmouse and even an evening grosbeak.

Had the camera ready for the bluebird.

Still snowing but his feathers are all fluffed up to keep him warm. And it is breakfast time, so he is ready.

He does look like he is watching me. He also is one handsome bird. There was a female by the front of the house last week, am hoping the become residents and build a nest. There are nest boxes on a nearby farm for them, so maybe they will come over for seed.

Can you find the bird?

This tufted titmouse was not going to let a little snow in the feeder keep him from breakfast!

And here is a little chickadee who was also able to find the sunflower seeds under the snow.

Once finished shoveling the back deck for the boys and feeding the birds, it was time to turn my attention to the sidewalk and driveway and kitchen porch. Lots to shovel there but I was rewarded by hearing the very loud call of a pileated woodpecker. He is a really noisy bird. I did not have the camera with me, but no matter. I followed his sound until I saw his bright red head in a nearby white pine tree. Then he flew. There is no mistaking this very large woodpecker. And I was able to see him fly even closer to me and get a really good look at his markings and wing feathers. What a gorgeous bird.

These are not my photographs, but I thought you might enjoy seeing what this bird looks like. These images are by professional photographers. Handsome, right? And he has been seen in my backyard woods for a few years now. Hoping to find a nest some time.

What luck to be able to watch this! What skill and luck for the photographer who was able to capture the image.

So shoveling snow does have its rewards. And I should always have that camera with me.

Until next time, stay healthy and be happy ...………..

Sunday, March 3, 2019

03.03.18 Rio Grande Valley and Shore birds

We saw many, many shore birds and I do not think I will ever be finished editing the many photographs! There are a few favorites that I wish to share with you.

We visited a lot of protected land and waterways. An excellent investment by our country to protect wildlife and to allow people to enjoy the natural scenery and birds and other animals. We visited the birding boardwalk at the South Padre Island Convention Center. A great place to visit, especially around just before sunset.

Watching me watching you.

Laughing gull.

Tricolor heron and great blue heron. I could watch these birde fish and fly all day. I had never seen a tricolor heron in the past.

Snowy egret.

Roseate spoonbills.

Red slider. OK, not a bird, just checking to see if you are paying attention! He is cute, too.

Yellow legs. It was very interesting to watch him feed. I could have watched this bird all day! I actually think I did.

Blue winged teal. We saw many ducks, including whistling duks, Mexican ducks, mallards, black ducks, blue winged teals, crimson teals, ruddy ducks, buffleheads, pin-tailed ducks, shovelers, widgeons,  red headed ducks and mergansers. Most of the ducks were old friends and I always enjoy watching them feed and fly. Never gets old.

Sora walking along the rushes. Another new bird for me. And very excited to see her.

Pair of green winged teals. Basking in the evening sunlight.

American coot.

Great blue heron wathcing the sunset through the fence.

Black Backed Stilts - look at those pink legs!

Black backed stilts. 

Ducks, stilts.

Great white heron in the front. Little blue heron (white phase) in the back.

Great white heron.

Look close at this next photograph.. Yes, there are cows, but what else do you see?

Is this a little more helpful?

Sandhill cranes. A first for me as well.

Now you can see them.

And a recap of  the reason for the trip - to observe the magnificent and endangered Whooping Crane.


The captain of the boat for the tour to see the Whooping crane said this viewing was in his top ten ever. Our guides said it was the best they have ever been able to see the cranes. Rain or not. They are lovely, and I hope that the continued efforts to save these birds are met with much success and public awareness. Wikipedia said only 505 on last count are in the wild (Aransas National Wildlife refuge-Wood Buffalo National Park Alberta/Northwest Territories, Canada) and approximately 300  more were raised in captivity and are on the Louisiana- Wisconsin or Florida flyway. A lot more efforts need to be done to protect breeding grounds. This concludes my 2019 book report on the whooping crane. Maybe I will do an update on the whooping crane in the future as my interest in the birds spans my lifetime from grade school to the present!

This was a wonderful trip. Not relaxing and not much sleep but I learned many things about birds, wildlife, conservation and the "border wall".  I observed many new birds and the opportunity to observe some that I seen in the past. Always good to refresh your memory on names, shapes, markings and calls. 

A very special thank you to our two skillful and very nice guides  Jake and Evan.  Without them I might have seen only a handful of birds. Maybe a handful. 

There are still many photographs for me to review, especially of the shore birds. If there are any special ones, I will post at a later date. Right now I need to get the house in order. And tend to my boys.

For me, travel is such a gift and blessing. I feel very fortunate when I have the opportunity to travel and see God's world in new places as well as visiting special and familiar stomping grounds. I do not know where this road may lead me next, but I am looking forward to future adventures, whether they are in my backyard or abroad to a new land.

Until next time, stay well ...……………..