Saturday, September 3, 2011

Stirling Bog Before the Storm

1. deer-kab Eastern White-tailed Deer 8-26-11
I’ve been to the bog twice this week before the predicted hurricane arrives. Though the summer is winding down, I know fall migration is about to begin and I am hoping to see more species here at the bog.
2. bog green-kab Summer Green Bog 8-24-11
It is quiet now when I visit the bog. I spot most of the birds when they fly and not by voice, except for the mallards, which always seem to have something to quack about! The brown and gray bog of winter and early spring has now given way to bright greens, rich browns, silver trunks, and a rainbow of wildflowers.
3. flowers-kabThis weed now fills the edges of the bog blocking my way and my view of areas that were revealed to me before.
4. purple loosestrife-kab Purple Loosestrife now dots the landscape, and though considered an invasive weed, it sure does look pretty against all the greenery.
5. purple loosestrife-kab Purple Loosestrife 8-24-11
6. blackbird sky-kabThough most of the blackbirds have already moved on, I did find this flock of starlings filling the cerulean blue sky.
7. BCNH-kab On four of my last five visits to the bog I have spotted Black-crowned Night Herons. They usually fly far away from me and this one was no exception. It flew to the far eastern edge of the bog, but I zoomed in as much as I could and snapped a picture of him trying to blend in with the stumps. Do you see his red eye?
8. waterlilies-kab We have had a lot of rain lately already and the bog is full of water. I wonder if it will be able to absorb the predicted downpours from Hurricane Irene.
9. RTHA-kab Red-tailed Hawk 8-26-11
Either a young or a pale red-tailed hawk flew in and hung around the bog the whole time I was there on the 26th. He swooped and dove and chased mallards up and down the swamp for an hour, landing in the trees directly over them and staring as if he didn’t know what to do with them. It was if it knew it wanted one but didn’t quite know how to go about the operation. For such a majestic bird, it was pretty comical!
10. EAPH-kab Eastern Phoebe 8-26-11
Eastern Phoebes were everywhere. I counted at least 6 on this day alone!
11. kestrel n flickers-kab Kestrel and two flickers in trees 8-26-11
Then, to my utter surprise a kestrel showed up! While the red-tailed was occupied with the ducks, the kestrel decided to play tag with some Northern Flickers! I watched them chase each other around the bog for 15 minutes!
12. kestrel Kestrel in flight 8-26-11
Just look at that magnificent tail! The kestrel is a new species for the bog.
13. cormorants-kab Then, I saw a flock of something fly up into the sky in a ragged line at the eastern edge of the sky.
14. corms-kab It wasn’t until it started flying my way that I was able to distinguish what species I was seeing.
15. corms-kab Double-crested Cormorants 8-26-11
With their classic long necks and tails you can just see a bit of the orange-red face pouch as this flock of Double-crested Cormorants flies west and inland over my head. Another new species for the bog! Yes, flyovers count. As long as I can see them from the bog they go on my list.
16. NOFL-kab One of the Yellow-shafted Northern Flickers resting after chasing and being chased by the kestrel.
17. RTHA-kab Here goes that Red-tailed Hawk again!
18. deer-kab White-tailed deer 8-26-11
I have been coming to the bog for almost a year now but have never seen a deer here or anywhere in the neighborhood until today. This young buck popped out from behind a tree right in front of me! I was breathless in wonder as I watched. If you scroll back up to the photo at the top you will see a spotted fawn hiding behind the tree!
19. fawn-kab White-tailed Deer Fawn 8-26-11
I did not see this little one until it emerged from behind the tree. The two of them stayed together as they traveled across the swamp, the fawn always following the young buck.
20. turtle-kab Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta) 8-26-11
If the storm is coming, this turtle doesn’t seem to care! He’s just soaking up some sun before it arrives!
21. Hurricane Irene-kab Bog in evening on 8-28-11 after Tropical Storm Irene
Tropical Storm Irene did not hit here nearly as hard as some other places. Though we got some wind and rain, it did not flood the bog and I did not see any unusual birds here that night or since. Still, things are changing at the bog. I have not seen a Song Sparrow in weeks. The Red-winged Blackbirds and most of the grackles are gone, while Black-crowned Night Herons have arrived as well as more and different raptors. I saw a peregrine falcon fly over on the 24th and a Belted Kingfisher flew towards me before veering away on that same day. I tried to get a photo but it was too fast. Still, for the month of August I added 6 new species to the Bog Life List. Not too bad!
New Bog species seen in August: (view the complete list in the sidebar)
  1. Black-crowned Night Heron 8-12-11
  2. Belted Kingfisher 8-24-11
  3. Peregrine Falcon 8-24-11
  4. Double-crested Cormorant 8-26-11
  5. Purple martin 8-26-11
  6. American Kestrel 8-26-11


  1. What a diverse series of shots. Love the picture of the kestrel! Right place at the right time, I'd say!!

  2. Kathie, your bog seems magical. Thanks for giving us the tour. I love the kestrel photo with light shining through the tail! Although purple loosestrife is pretty I have seen too many wet areas totally taken over by it. See what it does to your bog over the next years.
    Thanks for your comments on my blog. You'll have to wait till next summer to see many Purple Martins. Here is a link to Tom Wetmore's site. He keeps a record of the birds on Plum Island through the months:

  3. This Bog is proving to be very productive for you Kathie.

  4. Hi Katie...well after a crazy week with power and then loss of internet, I am back "I hope"

    At a bog there is always so much to see and full of many creature like you have captured here...!!

    The third photo is Orange Balsam..or as I have always know as "Jewel Weed" or "Touch me knots" kids we would pop the seed pods ..great fun..I still like to do that lol!!
    The Balsam and the loose strife are very invasive, but I love them both!!
    Nice to see the was lucky..and the spotted fawn : }
    Enjoyable post!!

    Have an eventful weekend!!


  5. Kathie, it looks like you had a great day at the bog. I love all the birds, critters and the deer. neat shot of the Cormorants in flight and I like the BC Night heron. Wonderful post and photos. Have a great weekend!

  6. Looks like you've got a great patch Kathie!

  7. What strong blues and greens in your beautiful photos.
    I am here to say thankyou for calling by and taking the time to comment on the Our Garden in August post and to become a follower of your lovely blog. I do hope you will be calling by mine often now we have discovered each other :)

  8. Once again, marvelous sightings and captures. Must be nice to watch the bog happenings through the seasons and see the passing visitors.

  9. Who would have known that so much interesting life is going on around the bog:)

  10. all sorts of good stuff in this post! lots of great birds, i love the loosestrife mixed in with the grasses too!

  11. Beautiful shots Kathie, that red tail on the hawk is very striking.

  12. Wonderful post filled with stunning, colorful nature images! So many beautiful sights to see. All of your photographs are terrific but I was especially taken with the kestrel and two flickers in a tree, the Black-crowned Night Heron and the White-tailed buck photos. Fantastic!

  13. ...fantastic shot of the kestrel's tail. The sun was backlighting it perfectly!! What a great place to bird...

  14. Hi Kathie

    Your spotting is pretty good you are seeing lots of interesting things. I love the Kestrel in flight the tail is indeed beautiful.


  15. Black-crowned Night Heron, Purple Martin, peregrine and Kestel-pretty impressive species to find there! Nice photos-especially like seeing the fawn.We had some pretty good migrant action in CT this weekend-you might be in for a good weekend this week.


Welcome to my nest! I hope you will enjoy spending time here with me and the birds. Thank you for your comments. I will try to get back to you as soon as I get back from counting more birds.