Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Carolina Wrens

I recently joined the PABirds listserv and for the past few days have seen several posts regarding Carolina wrens in PA; posts from people like me who were surprised to see these beauties coming to feeders in this rather inclement weather. According to some of the seasoned birders, Carolina wrens were not always year-round residents of PA but are now and are actually quite abundant in some areas. The wrens use seed and suet feeders during cold weather, but, alas, many die because of the cold weather:( I guess all I can do for my part is to keep providing the seed and suet they need. I have also kept my wren houses up in case they would want to roost out of the elements but I'm not sure if they will do that.
These shots were taken in the late morning on Saturday, November 22nd.

Where there's a will, there's a way!Ladies with an attitude,

Fellas that were in the mood.

Don't just stand there, let's get to it.

Strike a pose, there's nothing to it!

Vogue, vogue, vogue, vogue

There are way too many chickadees at that feeder. I'm outta here!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Oregon Junco, YES!!!

I sent some of my junco photos to my birding instructor, Jerry McWilliams. author of The Birds of Pennsylvania, The Birds of Erie County, etc... and this was his reply:

Yes, your junco is an "Oregon" Dark-eyed Junco. I am not familiar with name Cassiar junco. Oregon's are rare, but regular in Pennsylvania. I have only seen a handful of them in Erie County and only a couple were males.

I then sent him this excerpt describing the Cassiar Junco to which he replied:

According to this description of Cassiar junco, I probably have seen a few of these, especially females. I would still call any ADULT MALE juncos with a distinctive hood and orange-brown flanks, "Oregon" Dark-eyed Juncos. It really becomes a problem making this distinction between a "pure" subspecies and hybrids between the two subspecies when trying to identify females and immature males.

As of Saturday the "Oregon" was still hanging around and I took "a few" more shots. I'm not sure how I expect to catch up with all the categorization I need to do if I continue taking all these photos! Looks like rain for the next few day so maybe that will keep me in the house and focused on the task at hand:(

This guy's sure packin' it in!
Notice how distinct his hood is from the rest of the body. I've seen them darker in pictures but according to Cornell's website the hood can be dark to dull gray.

Here is a male dark-eyed junco, slate-colored form. Not sure if he's singing or yawning:)

This is a female slate-colored junco chomping on a sunflower seed. This cute little female adorned one of my Christmas cards from last year.

As the afternoon wore on it started getting pretty cold and windy...

so I headed indoors for some hot coffee and a cozy warm blanket!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Not Your (My) Usual Snow Birds!

OK, maybe a few of them, like this goldfinch, are but they are all so darn cute they deserve there 15 minutes. With the snow here now the birds are coming into the feeders by the score. I started shooting at about 3:00 p.m. and by 4:00 p.m. it was already starting to get too dark to get decent shots:( But I guess that's OK since I took over 250 in the one hour period and saw 13 different species. Because of the poor lighting I was having to shoot at 800 ISO which is why some of these are a little grainy. Also, most of these are shot at 1+ exposure to compensate for the bright snowy backgrounds.
Of course, there were lots of noisy little chickadees!And the quintessential "Snow Bird", the slate-colored junco.But then, I spotted this fella, which I am fairly certain is an Oregon Junco!According to Sibley's this species is a rare visitor to the eastern US.

I can always count on this white-throated sparrow to show up with the juncos!

Not to be outdone, there were the always-entertaining tufted-titmice!And this downy that waited patiently for his turn at the suet.

And last but certainly not least, guess who's not gone after all. That's right! The Carolina Wren is still hanging around. I was very pleased and a little surprised, but I thought I had been hearing him in the mornings.
He looks a little mad doesn't he. Bet he's upset that he's here in over a foot of snow! Maybe next year he'll take off sooner.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Photographic Pot Pourri

My apologies for the tardiness of this post. I have been working on organizing all the photographs I have stored on my hard drive including deleting a lot of duplicates and flops. I bought a new external hard drive and want to get the organizing done before I copy everything over to it. I have also started, again, to develop a website for my photo galleries, etc. Since I've been going through so many photos I thought I'd post a little pot pourri, mostly of our fine feathered friends. The lead shot and the one below is a female yellow-rumped warbler that I had the great joy of seeing in my own back yard. I've not seen one here before although they may be around. I do have a few warbler residents in the gully in the summer including a hooded warbler, common yellow throat and Louisiana waterthrush. I've also seen redstarts once in awhile. "Where," you may ask, "are those pictures?" Hmmmm...maybe next year.

This is one of the many chickadees that frequent our feeders. This was taken about a week and a half ago. The background is compliments of a burning bush plant that, sadly, is now bare until next spring.
Here's a shot of a tree top full of cedar waxwings and another of a waxwing with a crab apple tree berry. Like the other shots of the waxwings, I took these in Titusville, PA near one of the facilities I worked in.
A pretty mourning dove. I think these guys may be more plentiful than the chickadees. Some people find them a nuisance; I think they are beautiful and quite photogenic.
I never did finish my series on Put-In-Bay but here is a shot of a great egret I took at the Ottawa Nature Preserve which is near there.

Especially for Toni, this is my first junco of the year.
And last but not least, here is a fox that was in the gully last fall. I've not seen one here before or since and neither has my neighbor who's lived here in the gully all his life. P.S. If anyone is looking for a house to rent my neighbor is renting out his house here in the gully. Anyone intrepid and interested, leave a comment!