Pre-snow hawk watch

The first day went smoothly, minus the various encounters with curious dogs and their unconcerned owners. You would think people would be embarrassed to have their dogs sniff thru perfect strangers bags but no, instead its our fault that we “don’t like the dogs.” Never mind that the dogs are supposed to be on a leash.

Well, Tree Swallows are back. Had a couple come through individually and then a group of four flew past the hawk watch. One the drive home, they were everywhere that there was water. Phoebes were also vocal.

Raptors for the day were 11 Turkey Vultures and 4 Red-tailed Hawks, plus one Red-shouldered Hawk that was going the wrong direction.


The Long-billed Murrelet Quandry or "Would you Count it?"

Well, I was there. And I most certainly saw an alcid. Could have been a murrelet. Definitely not a Razorbill. Hmm… So is this the record that I put on my life list? It seems questionable, for all I know, I could have seen a Marbled Murrelet. But most of the people there were looking at a Red-throated Loon and will probably mark it down as a lb murrelet. Does that justify my tick? Anyways, the wind was ridiculously strong and the surf rough which made seeing any bird well almost impossible. If you were in this situation would you record it or not. Please leave me a comment about what you would do!

Stop lurking and leave me a comment!

So I just heard this on multiple posts and thought I would pick it up before the weekend came. I won’t be posting for a few days because I am moving to Frostburg, Md to start grad school but I would really love comments if in fact anybody does read this blog. It would be great to hear what you like, don’t like etc. Expect in the future to start hearing lots more about grassland birds and reclaimed strip mines in western PA and MD because thats what I’ll be studying.

A quiet January day

Today I met up with a friend to do some birding around Lake Ontelaunee and Blue Marsh Lake. It is the beginning of January so the expectation is that there should be ducks and geese in large flocks. Unfortunately this was not the case. Only 5 species of duck made an appearance and two of those species (Bufflehead, Gadwall) were represented by lone birds. Gulls were in good numbers but too far away so we took a small hike where we saw some dickey birds. The highlight was 1 Yellow-rumped Warbler which pushed my yearlist up to 39 birds. That is not so hot of a start by I feel that I have been thwarted by the rainy weather on New Years Day and today was lacking because its been so nice and balmy here rather than freezing.

I will leave you with a photo I took last week at Barnegat Light of a Common Loon. I was surprised it came out so clear because all my other pictures of birds in water have resulted in pictures where the water is perfectly in focus and the bird is a shimmery blur. Enjoy!


Strike on shrike

I have a brand new miss for my list. There was a Northern Shrike reported around the same area as that mystery empid (probably Least Flycatcher) during the Solanco CBC. It was in an easy to locate area and close to my girlfriends house so I decided to give it a shot today. There was at least one other birder on location trying to find the shrike but we both came up empty handed. My ability to show up after a bird has disappeared continues to amaze and frustrate me.

Here is a picture of the N. Shrike taken by one of the guys who found it. I have seen shrikes on various occasions but I am still looking for one in Pennsylvania. Seems like it has been a good year for them with several being reported across the state so maybe I will find one yet.

What is luck?

Well, first of all let’s look at my luck so far. There was a Rufous Hummingbird only 15 minutes from my house for over 3 weeks. As luck would have it I was busy working at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary and did not have time to chase this bird. When the season was over I went home and the (almost) first thing I did was head to the house where the Rufous had been seen daily. Every 15 minutes most mornings to be exact. Well, after 2 hours I realized that I was one day too late, the hummingbird had waited to make its last appearance when I could not make it. So that is my most recent dip.

Then there is the Fork-tailed Flycatcher that was in Bucks County, Pennsylvania earlier this year. I managed, once again to go the day after the last day it was seen. I spent about 7 hours there waiting and looking before I went home. The next day there was a rumor that it had been seen again so I drove the hour once again, only this time I got to stand in the drenching rain for several hours and be interviewed about why I was crazy enough to be there. And I struck out on this one too.

Then there was the Saw-whet Owl, the Varied Thrush and Townsend’s Solitaire’s that I kept missing at Indiana Dunes State Park. The list goes on with the reported Northern Hawk Owl and Black-backed Woodpeckers in Glacier National Park, Montana. I am starting to wonder if the birds have something against me.

Blogger messed up

And my previous blog is inaccessible…so I will start a new one. My lost blog has some great pictures that I have taken so check it out on Blogspot. This Red-tailed Hawk is giving the blogger in beta folks the evil eye for letting my previous blog disappear somewhere between the two blogger worlds.

Red-tailed Hawk