Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Adams Family Tree Climb

DSC_0360 The Adams Family 2011 on the occasion of my mother’s 75th birthday!

On June 18th we celebrated my mother’s 75th birthday with a party held in her honor at her home. After the party was over we gave her the one thing she requested: she wanted to climb a tree with her five children and have our picture taken. You see, my mom eloped when she was only 17. She never had a proper wedding or wedding shower or even a 50th wedding anniversary because my father abandoned all of us when we were between the ages of 2 and 10. My mother raised us all as a single mother and after putting herself through college she became a teacher. On this day all her family, friends, and some of her students came to honor her. It was quite a day, but the best part of all was climbing this tree together in the yard of the house we grew up in.

DSC_0362 Happy Birthday Mom! (I love my family!)

From left to right: Rick, Mary Grace, Stephen, Mom, Kathie, and Chris.

P. S. I still have more family stuff going on until the middle of July so it will be awhile before I can post more photos or visit any of you on your blogs. I know I will have a LOT of catching up to do. I hope you are all having a great summer!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Life Birds in Acadia N. P. (WBW)

1. black-throated green warbler-kab Black-throated Green Warbler 6-10-11

On our trip to Acadia national Park this weekend of course I brought my bins and camera. Our first night there we drove into the park and found this quiet little place called Schooner Lookout. We followed the short trail down through the forest to the rocky cliff overlooking a bay. As Gus went ahead of me with his camera, I stayed behind following the song of a bird that I suspected was a warbler. I am just getting to know these Northeast warblers and their songs so it wasn’t until I saw the bird that I knew who was singing it. I pulled out my smart phone and listened to the call on my iBird Pro for comparison. As I did, this little fellow came closer for me to see. I don’t like to agitate the birds, so I shut off my phone and listened to the real thing. What a sweetie pie! I have only seen this bird a couple of times before so this was a real treat for me. I was so proud of myself for figuring it out all by myself!

2. BGWA-kab Acadia NP Black-throated Green Warbler

However, the fun was not done for me yet. As I wandered down the path to join my sweet husband on the rocks we sat and watched Common Eiders in the water and a Double-crested cormorant fly in and take a bath (more on the later). I also watched two Great Cormorants flying low over the water. While I did take pictures they are very fuzzy due to the distance and the motion, even though I panned to follow their flight. But, I could definitely see their chunky bodies and white throat patches instead of red. Great Cormorants were Life Bird number 1 for me on this trip.

3. black guillemot-kab Acadia NP Black Guillemot 6-10-11 *Lifer!

However, as I sat on the rocks with Gus looking out over the bay he suddenly said to me, “Look, there’s a bird!” and right there at the base of the cliff where we were sitting this little guy popped up! I got all excited crying out, “It’s an Alcid! It’s an Alcid! I have never seen one of them before! However, I did not know which kind of Alcid it was and had to look it it up! This is my first ever Alcid, which is a family group of Ocean going birds who only come to land to nest in rocky cliffs. The species is a Black Guillemot. What a thrilling way to start the weekend! Perfect for World Bird Wednesday don’t you think?

CLICK THIS PICTURE!

Please visit World Bird Wednesday to see more amazing birds!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bucksport Bridge (MWT)

DSC_0001 Bucksport Bridge, Bucksport, Maine 6-10-11

Gus and I just returned from a weekend spent in Acadia National Park where we celebrated our 34th anniversary. We were married on June 4, 1977. After the wedding we gathered up al the loose envelopes from the pile of gifts and jumped in our Volkswagen bug and headed north. As Gus drove I opened the envelopes to see how far we could go! we made it all the way to Acadia National Park and across the state of Maine then, down through New Hampshire. In all these years we have never gone back to the park to stay though we did make at least one or two day trips. So, I was very excited to go and to get there we had to follow route 3 from Augusta, ME and cross this magnificent bridge. What a sight! I know Gus got some even better photos which I hope to post soon, but here is the first peek at our fun weekend! And yes, I did count birds here but only saw a couple of species! More later. Enjoy!

DSC_0002 The new Bucksport Bridge with the old one in the background.

DSC_0004 View of Penobscot Bay

DSC_0006 Green and gray the Maine way.

DSC_0009 Blue Penobscot Bay!

And that’s…My World Tuesday

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Harrisville Sky (SWF)

1, harrisville church-kab Harrisville, NH Church taken with the Nikon D80 and the 70-300mm lens

On May 6, 2011 I took a trip with my mother to Harrisville, NH to visit her friend. While there I counted birds and took numerous photos. I used two  different cameras. I am posting two of the photos here for comparison. I liked the color and the composition in both.

 

2. Harrisville chuch and graveyard-kab Harrisville Church taken with Nikon Coolpix S4000

Recently we bought a Nikon Coolpix S4000 so that we could take snapshots more easily. The Coolpix is small and slim and easy to carry. for me, it also means that I can get landscape shots without having to change the lens all the time on my D80. I like to have it at the ready for bird shots and when Gus is not with me to take all the landscape photos, the Coolpix comes in handy. Both these photos were taken on the same day at the same time. You can easily see the difference.

Happy Skywatch Friday!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Eastern Phoebe

1. EAPH-kab Eastern Phoebe Norridgewock, ME 5-29-11

Every spring or summer when I visit my in-laws’ house in Norridgewock, ME I always find a pair of Phoebes nesting under their garage roof. In fact, my father-in-law built these nesting shelves just for them. He is the one who first introduced me to phoebes. I recorded my first ever sighting of the species here in this yard on July 4, 1996. Since then I have seen the species in several other places and in several other states, but I always looks forward to coming here and seeing the sweet little birds nesting in the summer.

2. EAPH nest-kab Phoebe on nest 5-29-11

3. Phoebe on wire-kab Phoebe on wire 5-29-11

I saw both parents nearby on this day, one had a plainer and slightly yellow breast and belly but this bird had this dark “belly band” which I found unusual and it almost threw me off on my identification but after observing the bird feeding the nestlings and consulting my bird guides I could only conclude it was still an Eastern Phoebe. After I off-loaded my photos and looked at it more closely I started to wonder if the dark area was from the moss used in the nest. Perhaps this is the mother bird who spends the most time on the nest and the moss has stained her belly feathers? Anyone with insight, please leave a comment.

5. nest-kab Look closely and you can see the chick in the nest with its beak open and the tail of the parent on the roof of the garage! (All photos click to enlarge).

6. EAPH-kab Eastern Phoebe 5-29-11

(All photos taken with the Nikon D80 and the 70-300mm lens set in sports mode)

CLICK THIS PICTURE!

 
4. EAPH-kab Eastern Phoebe 5-29-11
 
 

Eastern Phoebe

Kathie’s Life List # 58

Alpha Code

EAPH

Family

Sayonaris

Date of First sighting

July 4, 1996

Location

Norridgewock, ME

 

First Sightings in other States

Dates

Colchester, CT

July 8, 2008

Warren County, Ohio

April 25, 2009

Fayetteville, WV

April 27, 2009

Seabrooke Rest Area, NH

June 25, 2009

Lake Hefner, OK

March 18, 2010

Stirling Bog, Andover, MA

April 5, 2011

Monday, June 6, 2011

Birding Norridgewock, ME

1. Swainson's Thrush _361-kab Swainson’s Thrush in parent’s yard, Norridgewock, Maine 5-13-11

Gus and I have been travelling to Maine whenever possible since moving back east. We are trying to visit our parents on a regular basis. And, since we are here, I also count the birds in Norridgewock on a regular basis. My in-laws used to feed the birds and their feeders would be so full, but now it has gotten to be too hard for them as they age. The only feeders they maintain nowadays are the hummingbird feeders in the summer. Still, the birds are hanging out in their yard and I hit the jackpot when we arrived there on May 13th!

2.Catbird Maine-kab Gray Catbird 5-13-11 Frederick’s Dairy Whip Norridgewock, ME

Before we went to their house, we stopped at the local ice cream stand called Frederick’s Dairy Whip. I counted 8 species of birds including my first Broad-winged hawk for New England and Maine! My sighting of a Gray catbird was the first record for the year of this species in Somerset County in the eBird data base!

3. Bluettes-kab Bluets houstonia caerulea 5-13-11

When we drove into our parents’ yard I was greeted by the sight of hundreds of Bluets blooming in a carpet across the yard. This is one of my favorite springtime flowers. I called them May flowers as a child but my mother-in-law told me she always knew them by the name, “piss-a-beds.” According to one gardening site I checked out their botanical name is Houstonia caerulea. All I know is that they don’t grow in Tucson, AZ where I used to live! I am so happy to see them again.

4. Northern Parula-kab Northern Parula in birch tree 5-13-11

I could hear birds calling from the far end of the yard and so I walked on past the house where birds were everywhere and I could not look at them fast enough! I found this Northern Parula high in the birch trees along with some American Goldfinches. I could hear scuffling and scraping down in the duff and soon found a Swainson’s Thrush. Later on in the afternoon before we went to pick up pizza I found a Canada Warbler in the same area. It was a Life Bird for me! I tried to get a picture of it but it kept hopping in and out of the brush and when I tried to get closer, of course it flew away. Still, the vision of that yellow throat with the black necklace has burned itself into my brain! Oh, I want to see one again. But, here is where my ignorance is showing. I thought these birds would be here the next time I came up. I thought that as long as there were trees, there would be birds, but when we came back on May 29th the woods were strangely silent. Although I saw a few birds, I did not see any thrushes, warblers, or even the hummingbird! all I saw were the phoebes and 2 robins. I also heard a chickadee, a blue jay and an ovenbird.

5. Phoebe on nest-kab Eastern Phoebe on nest 5-13-11

When I stepped outside to go back to the pizza parking lot to watch birds I was surprised to see this animal come hopping out of the woods in front of the garage. If I had not just been reading Bernd Heinrich’s book, A Year In the Maine Woods I would not have know that there are snowshoe hares in Maine, yet here one was in my in-law’s yard!

6. Snowshoe Hare-kab Snowshoe Hare 5-13-11

 

7. Snowshoe hare 1-kab Snowshoe Hare 5-13-11 Just look at those FEET!

 

8. Snowshoe hare-kab Snowshoe Hare 5-29-11

When we went back on May 29th the hare was there once again. My mother-in-law loves this hare. She is trying to make friends with it. Since today is her birthday I am dedicating this post to her. Happy Birthday MOM!

9. Kennebec River-kab Kennebec River View from Oosoola Park, Norridgewock, ME 5-13-11

On the 13th I stopped by Oosoola Park to see if the Bald Eagles were hanging around. They were not but I did find a flock of  11 Mallards and they were all drakes!

10. EAKI-kab Eastern Kingbird at Oosoola Park 5-13-11

In one of the nearby trees I found this Eastern Kingbird. From this view you can easily see the white band at the end of its tail.

 

11.Thrush_0347-kab Swainson’s Thrush 5-13-11 in the yard.

Back at Gus’ parent’s house all is well with the birds in the yard.

 

12. EAPH nest-kab Eastern Phoebe on nest 5-29-11

Happy Birthday Julia!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Harrisville, NH (MWT)

 

1. Harrisville-kab Historic Harrisville, New Hampshire

Early in May my mother came to visit me so I could drive her to New Hampshire to visit a friend she met on the train over 6 years ago! Train people are their own culture. People who love trains love the whole train experience. I went on the train once with my mother from Connecticut to Florida in 2003. My mother always gets a sleeper car which also include all of your meals. We had a good time but I soon found myself wanting to stand on solid ground! Some people like the rocking motion of a train. Me? I need a break! Anyways, I am always game to visit a new place and see new things and look for new birds. So off we went on May 6 in search of adventure! It probably took us about 2 hours to drive to Harrisville, but the scenery was pretty most of the way and the little town of Harrisville was absolutely delightful!

2. mountan view-kab A view of the mountains beyond the town.

3. main st view-kab The day is soft and gray as we drive into town with all the subtle colors of spring in patches here and there.

4. factory-kab As we drive up the Main Street we pass the 1830 Bethuel Harris Mill building which houses Harrisville Designs.

5. mill alley-kab The sign says it all!

 

6. parking-kab Here is where we parked. I love all the old brick buildings.

 

7. harrisville designs-kab The view of the 1830 Bethuel Harris Mill as we walk up from the parking lot.

 

8. inside-kab Inside the store of Harrisville Designs

 

9. yarns-kab Colorful display in Harrisville Designs

As we toured the store we were told that they hold weaving classes upstairs in the building. One was going on now and we were invited to step upstairs and see for ourselves.

10. weaving class-kab Student in weaving class.

People travel from all over to take these classes. To open the door and enter was like stepping into another world. There was no TV or music playing, just the soft sound of voices and weaving and learning. It was a tranquil world unto itself. I am told that if you take a class here, they also have affordable accommodations nearby.

11. Mom-kab Harrisville Designs Building

Mom is all smiles as we leave the mill store and head for the Harrisville General Store where we are to meet her friend.

12. Harrisville store-kab 

13. Mom-kab Mom waits for her friend at the Harrisville Store while I run around counting birds and taking photographs.

14. brook-kab Brook running from Harrisville Pond down through mills. I saw song sparrows, chipping sparrows and a catbird here.

15. rocks Stones along the brook.

16. Library Harrisville Public Library

17. house New England Home

18. mill and pond-kab Lower Mill and Mill Pond

19. art studios-kab Old Mill converted to Art Studios. I saw yellow-rumped warblers in the trees on the hillside behind this building.

20. water-kab Harrisville Pond (I found 2 Bufflehead here)

21. Kathie-kab Me in all my birding gear!

And that's…

My World Tuesday!

Birds Seen in Harrisville, NH:

Location: Harrisville, NH
Observation date: 5/6/11
Notes: Counted birds along the main street and down through the town near the pond throughout the day while visiting a friend. Sunny, breezy, warm. Mid 60's.
Number of species: 14

Bufflehead 2
Turkey Vulture 4
Mourning Dove 4
Chimney Swift 5
Tree Swallow 2
Black-capped Chickadee 2
American Robin 3
Gray Catbird 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 5
Chipping Sparrow 2
Song Sparrow 2
Red-winged Blackbird 1
Common Grackle 20
American Goldfinch 5

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(http://ebird.org)


22. Mom and her friend-kab Mom and her friend.