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Archive for the ‘bird watching’ Category

Hi everyone! It’s Cindy here. I know some of you are disappointed that Millie & Walter aren’t here today but I’m having fun taking pictures of other subjects too. Don’t worry the pups will make an appearance soon, I promise.

This past Saturday Charlie and I went on a field trip with the Rochester Birding Association to Ontario Beach Park. We started out seeing what was among the crowd of birds on the beach. It was fairly early in the morning and the lighting wasn’t coming from the best direction for photography but I managed to get a few keepers.

First Winter Ring-billed Gull

Bonaparte’s Gull – Non-breeding Adults

Next we moved to the pier to see what might be hanging around there.

Great Blue Heron

There wasn’t much other action beside the heron so the group decided to walk back to the cars. I kept my eyes on the rocks along the pier and spotted a little bird hopping quickly from rock to rock. The leaders stopped to see what had attracted my attention and were surprised to find this little guy.

Least Sandpiper

He was moving fast and pecking at all the cracks and crevices in the rocks.

Hey lady are you happy I stood still for you?

According to the experienced birders this was a unusual find for this location. At this point the group was going to head to another location further down the Genesee river but Charlie and I decided to head home. On the way home we decided to make a stop at North Ponds Park to see what was there too.

One of the three Great Blue Herons at this park

Double-crested Cormorant

Other than the many herons we saw, this lone cormorant was the only other unusual find for this location.

I hope you enjoyed going along on our field trip. I’m joining the Wild Bird Wednesday blog hop. You should stop by and see some more birds.

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Hi everyone! It’s Cindy here to show you a little more of what we saw at North Ponds Park a few days ago. There were quite a few wild flowers.

Cattails

Queen Anne’s Lace with a Lady Bug

Unfortunately we found a couple of invasive wild flowers too.

Loosestrife

Spotted Knapweed

There were plenty of dragonflies around but many were too fast or too far away. I was lucky to catch this little guy.

Blue Dasher – Pachydiplax longipennis

In addition to the Great Blue Heron I showed you earlier there were other waterfowl around. I found these young ducks near where the heron was.

Young Black Ducks moved away as I approached.

The ducks cut a path through the algae.

The babies were hanging together but what were the adults up to?

Maybe if we can’t see them the kids won’t find us.

I hope you enjoyed seeing a little more from our walk at the ponds.

Join the Nature Friday Blog Hop

We are joining the LLB Gang for their Nature Friday Blog Hop. You should pop over to their blog to see all the other posts.

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Hi everyone! It’s Cindy here. A couple of days ago Charlie and I headed up to North Ponds Park in Webster, NY. It’s only a few minutes drive from our house and offers a nice paved walking path around the two ponds. We left Millie & Walter at home and took our cameras instead (don’t worry we made it up to them later).

The first loop around the ponds I had my 50 – 230mm lens on my FujiFilm X-T3 camera but my longer lens was in the car too. In the west pond we saw a Great Blue Heron wading just off shore. (Remember you can click on the images to see a larger view…I highly recommend it)

Great Blue Heron

After we completed a loop we stopped at the car so I could put my 100 – 400mm + 1.4x TC lens combination on. I had my fingers crossed that the heron would still be fishing when we got back around to him.

Great Blue Heron wading in the water

Thankfully the heron didn’t disappoint and treated us to a nice show.

A little grooming interlude between fishing

Back to fishing

Wading further into the water getting ready to…

…Strike!

He hooked a beautiful sunfish

The heron fought to regain his balance as the fish wiggled on his bill.

Determined not to loose his catch…

…the heron flew off to find a secluded place where he could eat in peace.

We lost sight of him but are sure he enjoyed a nice lunch. That was just the series I was hoping to capture. I can’t believe how lucky I was that the heron stayed in place while I changed lenses. From the first picture I took, (at the top of this post) with my shorter lens on, to the time the heron flew off with lunch it was about an hours time. I’m not sure I would have had the patience to sit for an hour waiting for some action but I happened to time it just right.

I hope you enjoyed this Great Blue Heron fishing adventure. I’m joining the Wild Bird Wednesday blog hop. You should stop by and see some more birds.

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Hi everyone! It’s Cindy here. Our yard offers birds lots of trees to perch on. Some of the favorites are the evergreens where they are often watching over their young or on the hunt for food.

American Robin on Alaskan cedar

Female Eastern Bluebird on spruce tree

One of our favorite backyard birds is the Eastern Phoebe.

Eastern Phoebe on Alaskan cedar

After a quick bath the phoebe perched on the cedar to dry off.

The phoebe keeps watch for its preferred food

Is that a fly down there that I can catch?

According to the “All About Birds” website phoebes “typically place their mud-and-grass nests in protected nooks on bridges, barns, and houses.” We’ve looked around our house and there isn’t a nest on it that we’ve found so we aren’t sure where these little birds are nesting but they must be close by as they are frequently hunting all around our yard.

Female or Juvenile Baltimore Oriole with bug in beak

Sometimes even when the birds are eating berries they can find a tasty bug right under their beaks. You may have to click on the above image to see the what the oriole found.

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the birds we see around our yard. I’m joining the Wild Bird Wednesday blog hop. You should stop by and see some more birds.

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Hi everyone! It’s Cindy here. A few weeks ago I showed you some of the birds that were feeding on our serviceberry tree. We also have a shrub form that sets its fruit just a little later than the tree. These shrubs have been a hot bed of bird activity recently. As you will see each type of bird has their own method of feeding on the berries. Don’t forget you can click on the images to see a larger version.

Let’s start with the American Robin.

The stem is a good form of roughage.

Grasp the berry in your beak and then…

…toss your head up and pop it in your mouth.

Another bird that uses the swallow whole method is the Cedar Waxwing.

First you have to find the right berry.

Pluck the berry from the stem and…

…down the hatch it goes.

We haven’t see or heard from our Baltimore Orioles much in the past few weeks but I did see one in the serviceberry bushes enjoying some fruit.

Female or Juvenile Baltimore Oriole stabbing a serviceberry.

The last of the birds that usually snarf the berries whole is the Eastern Bluebird.

Let me see which one is the ripest.

I’ll take this one…

…but I’d prefer to take it to another tree to nibble on it.

The bluebird surprised me by flying off to another tree with the berry. He set it down on the branch and surprisingly it didn’t roll off. Then he settled in and picked away at it until it was gone.

Some of the smaller species enjoy the serviceberries too but they can’t eat them whole. Here the Tufted Titmouse demonstrates how they eat.

This berry looks tasty.

I’ll hold it in my claw so I can peck at it.

Finally one of the smallest birds in our yard, not including the hummingbirds, also enjoys eating the serviceberries. Here a Black-capped Chickadee demonstrates his method.

I like to grab the berry while it’s still attached and hold it in my claw.

It’s easy to peck at while you hold it.

Do I have some berry on my beak?

If you look closely at the last picture (click to make bigger) you can see a tiny piece of berry in the chickadee’s beak.

While I was shooting these pictures Charlie was on a photo safari of his own in the yard and captured this picture.

This is how I get pictures of such small birds.

Here I am shooting pictures with my new FujiFilm X-T3 camera. I have a 100-400 mm lens and a 1.4x multiplier. As you can see I am hand holding the camera. I could never do that with my old Nikon. This set up weighs about 4.7 pounds (2.1 kg) compared to the Nikon equivalent that weighed over 9.5 lbs (4.3 kg). I do use a monopod occasionally for extra stability and to lighten the load from hanging around my neck. I’m really enjoying getting back into bird photography. Our yard is so full of bird activity right now I’m having a difficult time keeping up with all the pictures I’m taking.

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the birds we see around our yard. I’m joining the Wild Bird Wednesday blog hop. You should stop by and see some more birds.

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It is a busy time of year for all the birds around our yard. Many of our feathered friends have babies that they are feeding and the parents are working hard to keep up with those voracious appetites. In addition to the fruit on many of the shrubs we have planted in our yard we offer two feeding stations.

Tufted Titmouse at mealworm feeder

Our mealworm feeder is always a popular stop for all our birds but our other feeding station is just as busy.

Tufted Titmouse at suet feeder

Tufted Titmouse grabs a beak full of suet

What you can’t see in these pictures of the tufted titmouse are the young ones that are screeching from the bushes behind the feeder. This titmouse made numerous trips to try to quiet her brood.

Blue Jay on suet feeder

One of the biggest users of the suet feeder are the blue jays. They are a bit sloppy too.

Blue Jay grabbing some suet

Blue Jay flies away after taking some suet
(notice how much is falling to the ground – you may have to click on the image to see)

The blue jays are some of the messiest eaters. There is quite a large area of crumbs under this feeder. A few birds are smart enough to feed on that too.

White-breasted Nuthatch picks some suet from the cake

We use C & S Hot Pepper Delight in our suet feeder. This works the best for us as it is a no melt variety and the hot pepper keeps the squirrels and chipmunks away. We’ve tried other brands of hot pepper but found the rodents weren’t deterred by them. In case you are wondering birds will happily eat the hot suet because they don’t have well-developed taste buds.

C & S Hot Pepper Delight

Don’t forget you can click on the images to see a larger version.

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the birds we see around our yard. I’m joining the Wild Bird Wednesday blog hop. You should stop by and see some more birds.

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Our serviceberry tree and shrubs (Amelanchier) are full of fruit right now and the birds are enjoying the feast.

Gray Catbird

Cedar Waxwing

Eastern Bluebirds are normally insect eaters and are regulars at our mealworm feeder but I also caught our female bluebird snacking on a serviceberry. She is looking in the direction of their nest box where their young are still growing. I wonder if she is trying to decide whether to eat it or share it with her babies.

Female Eastern Bluebird

This last couple of shots I didn’t even see happen when I took the pictures. It wasn’t until after I downloaded them to my computer that I saw what really took place. I was focused on the Cedar Waxwing on the left and didn’t see that another one was approaching on the right with a serviceberry in its beak.

Incoming!!!

Thank you!

My guess is that the “giver” is a male and the “recipient” is a female. It’s too early in the season for this to be a parent/child pair and many bird couples court by the male feeding the female.

Don’t forget you can click on the images to see a larger version.

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the birds we see around our yard. I’m joining the Wild Bird Wednesday blog hop. You can stop by and see some more birds.

Read Full Post »

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