Thursday, July 23, 2009

Two Osprey, a Squid, and a Snow Goose

Before I get into the birding I did today, I have to say that I'm starting to get really excited for two different things. The first--family vacation to Rhode Island; right on the beach, directly next to a bird refuge. That's going to be in August, which seems to be zooming around the corner, wheels squealing. The second thing I'm excited about is the start of the school year. Wait, I can explain!!

Although the start of the school year means starting to retake classes (have I explained that part, yet? oh well, I will later if I haven't) it also means starting to take the Bird Banding course AND Fall Banding Season with BBBO. My schedule allows me two volunteer days a week instead of the one I could manage in the Spring (that was rained out about 5 weeks in a row). I. am. so. #*@$!^&. excited.

Unfortunately I'm missing the net set-up with BBBO, as well as BBRR's August Red-Tail Days. But, if you're in the Rochester, NY area at all August 21st and 22nd, you should definitely check it out! There's lots of stuff for kids this year, too.

Okay, on to today's birding.
Alarm off at 3 am.
Snooze for 30 minutes.
Alarm off at 3:30 am.
Out the door at 4:40 am.
Arrive at PRNWR at 5:50 am.
As is becoming my habit, I head for the live parking area next to the saltmarsh to watch the terns fish. I love watching terns fish. Didn't see any killdeer while I was there, which I thought was kind of odd, but dismissed it. When I left 4 hours later, I still hadn't seen any.

A Snow goose was munching on the grasses by North Pool Overlook. Lifer for me.
Then it was down to Sandy Point. I got to watch a pair of Osprey fishing for a while.
I didn't end up staying too much longer, by 10 am I was already feeling tired. Not sure why, just no pep, as my grandmother would say.

Take nothing but pictures (and maybe the trash of jerks who came before you), leave nothing but footprints.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Whale + Bird Watching

At work on the 12th I all of a sudden decided that I was going to treat myself to a whale watch the next day. So, I did. I went with the same company I went with last summer, Seven Seas Whale Watch out of Gloucester. Last summer I was brand new to birding, this summer I have at least a year under my belt, so I had a better idea of what I was looking for. I realize that a year isn't a terrific amount of time, especially if you've been birding for most of your life, but I learned a tremendous amount in that 12 months!
The day brought 4 lifers:
  • Wilson's Storm-petrel
  • Leach's Storm-petrel
  • Greater Shearwater
  • Sooty Shearwater
I couldn't manage a picture of the Wilson's, but I definitely saw the straight-across tail with the legs projecting beyond it. As for the whales, we saw three Humpbacks known as Cajun, Pinpoint, and Crown. We also got two brief looks at a Minke Whale, but when I say "brief", I mean brief. If you've never been on a whale watch before, I highly recommend it. Also for those of you who have never been, you may not be familiar with the way naturalists catalog and identify the whales they come across.

Humpback whales : fluke patterns :: humans : fingerprints
Every individual humpback whale has a unique pattern on it's fluke, and naturalists photograph and catalog the patterns. Then they can record sightings of individual whales and track their movements to some extent. After years of studying the whales, naturalists and marine biologists can easily recognize a whale's distinct fluke pattern--that's how we knew which whales we were seeing, thanks to our on-board naturalist, that is. Apparently the dorsal fin of a humpback whale is also a good identification tool for individuals.

Here are some more pictures from the day's trip:

Take nothing but pictures (and maybe the trash of jerks who came before you), leave nothing but footprints.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mount Auburn Trip

On Friday I decided to go birding at Mount Auburn Cemetery. It's been on my list of places to go birding for quite some time, since it's so popular. Just took me until now to get around to it. I suppose it was a decent first visit, didn't see too much, though. On the other hand, I was feeling really tired on Friday--no pep--and I only stayed for a couple of hours. I imagine things are completely different say, during the height of warbler migration.

This was the first birding outing I twittered about while I was out there (gosh that's an awkward sentence). I kind of liked it, pretending that people are following my movements and just dying to know what will happen next. ;-P

This was my favorite picture of the day (mother and son?):
Followed by this photo of a bee on Wild Bergamot:
other pictures from the day

Maybe by the end of the day I'll catch up and post about my whale watching trip yesterday. Until then.....

Take nothing but pictures (and maybe the trash of jerks who came before you), leave nothing but footprints.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Backyard Barn Swallows

There have been Barn Swallows zooming around our backyard and doing figure eights around the houses in my neighborhood for the past week or so at least. Yesterday after coming home from doing some errands I finally got the chance to photograph them.
Unfortunately I couldn't get pictures much better than these since those swallows are fast and it was cloudy and rainy out. I had fun standing in the middle of my backyard watching them swoop by me, several times within a few feet. When that happened, I didn't try to photograph them (after the first couple of failed attempts, anyway), just enjoyed observing them.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to go see the Henslow's Sparrow in Montague with my "new" red '98 Honda Civic! (lovingly named Moe)