Friday, February 10, 2017

Feathers on Friday for 2/10

Snowy Egret 

Happy Friday!  It is pretty ironic that I found a bird named Snowy Egret in Florida while trying to get out of the snow and cold of New York.  But this smaller egret does migrate south and is a common site around the beaches of Florida all year-round.  

Showing of it's yellow "socked" black feet

I had a lot of fun watching this guy forage in the surf.  It kept running away from the waves when they came in.  

Then in between waves, It looked for something to eat.

Have a great weekend and I hope all those in the Northeast have gotten dug out after the big storm.   Happy Birding!  

More Feathers on Friday Posts:

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Eagle Report for 2/8

The Eagle Pairs are Busy

Early February is an exciting time for Bald Eagle nest watchers like myself in the Northeast.   All the pairs at the nests that I watch are now busy getting ready for the season.   They are fixing their nests, reestablishing their bonds with their mate,  and removing younger eagles from their territories.  It seems that Eagles have a romantic side too.   Usually, most of the eagle pairs have eggs in the nest for Valentine's Day.  Who needs flowers when you can give little ones instead?

Eagles do have some time for some fun too!  The female in the above picture in particular was ready to take a ride.  At one point, The pair flew down on a thin ice sheet on the mostly unfrozen creek.  They loudly chattered at each other until the male flew off to perch in a nearby tree.  The female stayed on the ice sheet and like one of those "magic carpets" at airports rode the sheet up the creek.  She started out right under the nest and by the time she was done was at least a 100 yards upstream.  I guess this is public transportation for eagles.  Stay tuned for more updates throughout the nesting season.  

A male perched by one of the other nests.

Here are someone of the highlight from last season:

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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Florida Trip

Hovering Style of Hunting

We took our annual trip to Treasure Island, FL after Christmas to enjoy some beach time and warmer weather.  Our two boys battled illnesses for the trip but we still enjoyed the time there.  I got some time in the mornings to do some beach birding.   

Two types of birds that were very active fishing in the morning were the Ospreys,  and the Terns(Royal Tern and Common Tern).  They use a very similar hunting style.  Both hover over the water looking down to locate a fish.  

When they spot a fish, the terns lead with their long beak and dive into the water.   The Ospreys lead with their sharp talons and plunge into the water too.

The Bald Eagle uses a different approach.  Here is a Eagle perched by the Hudson River looking for a fish on the surface.  The much larger eagle uses the perch then fly when a fish is locate approach.  They usually just get their talons wet while the terns and Ospreys submerge most of their entire body into the water.  They use very different approaches but both are very effective in catching fish.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Feathers on Friday for 2/3

White-throated Sparrow

Happy first Friday in February!  This beautiful White-throated Sparrow will be even more impressive in the spring but right now it has a duller plumage.  I came across about a dozen of these guys eating some berries in a bushy area along a trail.  It is perched on a Rose(I think) bush as can be seen from the thorns.  Have a great weekend and Happy Birding!

More Feathers on Friday Post:

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Hawk Report for 1/31

Trying to Stay Warm

Until recently, it hasn't felt much like winter here in the Capital Region of New York.  We finally got our first major storm of the season last week.  All was quiet after the storm with the Red-shouldered Hawk pair in our backyard for about a week.  Then the activity picked up over the last few days.  Especially, the female has been spending a lot of time in our backyard.  The above picture is of her perched high up in a tree in the sun.  She is puffed up to help keep warm and it makes her look much larger.

Here is her from Monday morning.  She is doing some preening on the feathers on her back.  It's still awhile before they will start the nesting season but typically they start showing up more and more in February and March.  Maybe to reassert their territory or it might just be that they like to perch in the sun in the tall trees to stay warm.  Whatever it is, it is great to see these beautiful hawks more and more over the next few months.  

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Happy Couple again

I apologize for the lack of posts lately.  I have been spending a lot of my free time which, is not much with two young kids, working on the upcoming Bald Eagle Watch program. As busy as I have been, the Red-Shouldered Hawk pair in my backyard has been busier.  I have seen one of them practically every day for a few weeks now.  Today, they both showed up to perch together for a little while before the male headed out to probably catch some breakfast.  He is on the top with the more reddish head and smaller size.

Here is an older picture of the two trying to stay warm on a cold winter day.

Here is a more recent one from a week ago.  It never gets old watching and photographing this beautiful pair.  Happy Birding and Happy Holidays!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Feathers on Friday for 11/4

A Hawk and His Shadow

Happy first Friday of November!  This week, I went a little artsy.  This is the male Red-shouldered Hawk in my yard perched in the sun.  It didn't last for long but his shadow was cast on the tree behind him.  His coloring goes perfect with the foliage right now.  Don't you think? Have a great weekend and enjoy the fall weather!  Happy Birding!

More Feathers on Friday Post: