Thursday, May 31, 2012

New York City Night Sky SWF

1. city view from pier-kab New York City at night 5-18-12

The night sky has always amazed me and though I love to see stars, I must admit that the lights of the city are dazzling.

2. city streets-kab Whether sitting on a city bench…

3. lights of NJ-kab or down along the river,

4. painting with light-kab the world is painted with light,

5. nightbird-kab and there is always a bird to guide you home!

You can see more amazing skies by clicking on the link below!

Skywatch Friday

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Scenes from Maine

1. DSC_0001 Luna Moth Luna Moth on garage in Norridgewock, ME 5-26-12


2. DSC_0004 2nd Luna Moth on garage


3. DSC_0007 A wild turkey darts across the road with her brood along the Sandy River


4. DSC_0009 

5. WITU-kab Wild Turkey hen with chicks along the Sandy River in Norridgewock, ME


6. Indigo bunting-kab Indigo Bunting along the Sandy River in Norridgewock


7. spotted sandpiper-kab Spotted Sandpiper on rock in the middle of the Sandy River 5-26-12

As you can see, Fancy Pants roosters were not the only birds we saw on our drive along the Sandy River in Norridgewock. The Luna Moths were hanging out in the shade on my in-law’s garage, but once the sun came around they flew off. I am currently down in Connecticut for the week spending time with my mom. She is nearing the end of her radiation treatments for breast cancer and she is doing very well. I am going to help her get a few things done around the house and drive her to her treatments. I haven’t even finished my New York City Posts and I am sure I will return with more photos and stories from my days down here! Happy Birding everyone! Perhaps I will stay home and get caught up one of these days…but what would be the fun in that! Carpe Diem!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mr. Fancy Pants!

1. fancy pants-kab Mr. Fancy Pants!

While I am not done with the New York City posts yet I just had to post these photos of a rooster I saw on the back roads of Norridgewock, ME this weekend. My sister-in-law, Rita, and I went out birding together on Saturday. Little did we know that this rooster would be one of the best shots of the day. I have no idea what breed it is but we cracked up at those puffy bloomers! This domestic bird made me smile. I hope it does the same for you!

2. DSC_0012 

3. DSC_0015 

4.  bloomers DSC_0018 Rooster in Maine 5-26-12

Monday, May 28, 2012

In Remembrance…Memorial Day 2012

1. dog tags-kab 

2. garden-kab 

3. sign-kab 

4. St. Francis-kab 

Last October my friend Kathryn and I found this little garden while walking the streets of Boston. It is in the area of the Old North Church and I was deeply touched by it since I have a son who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan. My father-in-law is also a veteran of the Korean War. I am so thankful to have my men around me, safe and home, but my heart breaks for those who do not. To all the mothers and fathers; spouses; sisters and brothers; and daughter’s and sons of soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen out there, my heart goes out to you. To those who have served or are currently serving, I honor you and thank you for your service.

Our World Tuesday 

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Birds of Central Park

1. magnolia warb-kab Magnolia Warbler 5-18-12

Though I am in New York City with my husband to celebrate our anniversary I cannot help but take a bit of time to count birds in Central Park. I have never been here during spring migration and I am hoping to add at least a few warblers to my New York Life List. Gus and I arrived on a bus Wednesday evening. After unpacking and eating pizza at our newest favorite pizza place we walked down to Columbus Circle and then on to Times Square. I was so tired by then and did not take a camera. It was near midnight and I was shocked by all the bright lights and all the people! Sorry, no pics! We fell into bed after 1 AM but I read for awhile before drifting off to sleep. The next morning it soon becomes apparent that we have different agendas, so while Gus goes in search of tickets to a show, I head to Central Park.

2. the lake-kab The Lake 5-17-12

My first instinct is to head for The Ramble but I soon find my way obstructed by construction at Cherry Hill. Opting to walk down the west side of the lake instead I soon find a little path down towards the water where there is a little shaded bench to sit on. As I start down the path a dull brown bird hops up on the branch in front of me. I know immediately that it is a thrush, but what species? It does not have the big dark spots of the Wood Thrush, nor the rusty warmth in its wing and tail feathers of a Hermit Thrush. However, it does have the buff spectacles of a Swainson’s Thrush, but it is gone before I can get a photo as a group of people comes down the path behind me headed for the little pavilion to look out over the lake.

3. COYE-kab Common Yellowthroat 5-17-12 by The Lake on west side

I continue down the path and past the benches along the lake edge. I soon find myself alone watching bird. I spot a Canada warbler in the leafy undergrowth and then another small bird appears. Just as it hops up on the fence my cell phone rings. It is Gus and he is ready for me to join him, so I snap off a few shots of a Common Yellowthroat and leave, thus ending my birding expedition before it even gets started!

4. AMRO-kab American Robin in Central Park

The next morning we take our coffee and pastries over to the park together and sit on a bench. It is Friday morning now and more people are starting to gather in the park. While Gus valiantly stays with me, I am wanting to be alone to find birds. I know he would rather be elsewhere but I have never been in Central Park alone and I think he is wanting to protect me. I tell him I will be fine, and so he finally leaves me at Bethesda Fountain. He is going shopping and to buy tickets to a play and I am going birding!

5. the ramble-DSCN1183 Entrance to The Ramble behind Loeb’s Boathouse

It is a gorgeous sunny day with perfect temperatures and a dry air mass. I quickly head past Loeb’s Boathouse where I turn the corner to head into The Ramble. I have only been this way one time before with my brother but I remember that we saw a lot of birds over here. It isn’t until later that I discover this part of the Ramble is known as The Point and it is a favorite place to bird.

6. Mag warb-kab Magnolia Warbler

I have not gone very far down the path before a Magnolia Warbler makes an appearance! I am just thrilled as I have only seen this species of bird once before in Aroostook County, Maine! 

7. magnolia-DSC_0031 Magnolia Warbler in The Ramble flashing tail spots

Magnolia Warblers are identified by their yellow throats and bellies with black streaks, white wing patches, a white eyebrow and white tail spots which they kind of flash like a redstart. I snap several pictures of this little beauty with my heart racing with joy!

8. CEWA-DSC_0039 Cedar Waxwings in The Ramble

Right past the Magnolia Warbler I hear the “zee, zee, zee” of waxwings. I soon find them eating fruit from the branches of a tree along the lake edge.

9. Lake view-DSC_0052 View across The Lake from The Point in The Ramble

As I follow the path down to The Point I not only get a great view of The lake, I also find a Yellow-rumped Warbler, a Canada Warbler, some house finches and some grackles.

10. black n white-DSC_0057 Black and White Warbler in The Ramble

Around another bend a little black and white bird comes creeping along the bark of a tree. Always on the move, it is difficult to get a shot of this Black and White Warbler for it never stays still! This is the first time I have found this species all by myself and I am glowing with pride and excitement! I am wishing that my brother was here though so I could show him the birds of the park and the city that he loves so much! But, he will not be joining us until tonight. So, I take more pictures hoping that he will get to see the birds of Central Park this way.

11. Redstart-kab Out-of-focus female American Redstart

For the most part I keep to the water’s edge at first as that is where I am seeing all the warblers. A female Redstart puts in an appearance, as well as a Wilson's Warbler. Then I spot a Green Heron as it moves through the undergrowth down the bank near the lake. It is so lovely, cool and green in here. I pass other birders with bins and cameras and while we have a brief chat, we each move on to our own birding adventure. I must say that I am enjoying this chance to go at my own pace and find the birds on my own.

12. NOCA-DSC_0070 Northern Cardinal in The Ramble

Of course, there are always the “normal” birds to be found!

13. Mallards on path-DSC_0077 The Ducks take a walk in The Ramble

But I am surprised to find this pair of mallards taking a stroll down the path!

14. female mallard-kab Mallard Hen


15. male mallard-kab Mallard Drake

The male finally got tired and laid down for a snooze in the sun!

16. BAOR-kab Baltimore Oriole in the Canopy

I continue on to find a Baltimore Oriole high in the tree canopy!

17. WOTH-kab Wood Thrush in The Ramble

But then I hear the song of a Wood Thrush and go in search of this sweet bird. I come around another bend and find a larger wooden pavilion on the crest of a hill. The Wood Thrush is moving in the leaf litter around it. I watch as it comes boldly towards me. I sneak up behind the trunk of a tree and, using the tree as a blind, brace myself and snap away. The Wood Thrush pictures are my favorites of the whole trip and the best I have ever gotten of this species.

18. algae-kab Green Water

If the water looks green in the photos, it really is. I assume it is some kind of algae.

19. path-kab Path along the lake edge in The Ramble

As I walk up a steep and shaded path I look out over the tree canopy toward the lake and the oak bridge. I let my Nikon D80 drop to my side and pull out my smaller Coolpix to take a landscape shot. Suddenly I notice a male Blackpoll Warbler sitting on a snag right in front of me! However, before I can get it put away and get my Nikon up for a shot the bird flies off! Sometimes one can have too much gear! I like to use the Coolpix for landscape shots and keep my D80 with the 70-300mm zoom for bird shots. So, I turn back to taking more landscape photos when Gus calls again. Time to head back to civilization. Besides, I am starting to get hungry! Coffee and a pastry just isn’t enough to last all day!

20. bridle path bridge-kab Westside Bridle Path Arch

So, down to the bridle path I go…

21. arch-kab Under the Arch

…and under the arch where I meet my husband and we spend the rest of the day shopping and napping, because I know that when my brother arrives tonight we will hit the ground running and who knows when we will go to bed!

22. Centra; Park lake-DSCN1184 The Lake at Central Park

Birds seen in Central Park on May 17 and 18, 2012:

  1. Rock Pigeon 5-17-12
  2. Blue Jay
  3. American Robin
  4. European Starling
  5. Common Grackle
  6. House Sparrow
  7. Canada Goose
  8. Mallard
  9. Swainson’s Thrush*
  10. Common Yellowthroat*
  11. Canada Warbler*
  12. Red-tailed Hawk 5-18-12
  13. Gray Catbird
  14. Green Heron
  15. Mourning Dove
  16. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  17. Downy woodpecker
  18. Eastern Wood Pewee*
  19. Wood Thrush
  20. Cedar Waxwing
  21. Ovenbird*
  22. Black and White Warbler*
  23. American Redstart*
  24. Magnolia Warbler*
  25. Blackpoll warbler*
  26. Yellow-rumped Warbler*
  27. Wilson’s Warbler*
  28. Northern Cardinal
  29. Red-winged Blackbird
  30. Brown-headed Cowbird
  31. Baltimore Oriole
  32. House Finch

*New York Life Birds! (First time seen in New York for my personal list.)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Who Am I?

5-24-12 What bird-kab

When I was offloading my photos of New York City I saw this bird in this interesting pose and it made me wonder if anyone could identify the species just from this photo. I took this photo near the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park while waiting for Gus. Do you know what bird it is? Leave your guess in the comment section below. The answer will be given in a few days!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wood Thrush in Central Park WBW

1. Wood thrush-kab Wood Thrush in The Ramble of Central Park 5-18-12

Last Wednesday Gus and I headed to New York City to celebrate our 35th Wedding Anniversary. Our anniversary isn’t until June 4th, but this is when all the details worked out for us to take this trip. We spent 5 days in the city and of course, I did manage to squeeze some birding time in, though not as much as I would have liked! My best birding day was the 18th, when I went to Central Park alone in the morning. I took lots of photos, but I consider these to be the best bird shots of the whole trip. I kind of felt like a wood thrush myself, a forest bird enjoying nature in Central Park!

2. woodthrush-kab 

Wood Thrushes are in the same family as the American Robin and the Veery. They have such a beautiful song and I first heard this bird before I saw it. When I came around a corner and found it out in the open I was thrilled! I snuck up behind a tree and braced myself, then snapped away!

3. digging-kab Do you see the thrush?

4. peeking-kab 

5. thinking-kab 

6. WOTH-kab 

7. WOTH-kab 

8. woth-kab 

9. wood thrush-kab 

10. Central park WOTH-kab Wood Thrush in Central Park 5-18-12

I later joined Gus at one of the local department stores and as I stood by while he looked at shirts and belts I was dreaming of warblers. Later on I posted this thought on my Facebook page:

“You know you are a birder when you are in New York City and it is your husband who would rather be shopping!”

I have more photos and stories to post but for now, enjoy seeing even more bird photos by clicking on the link below!

World Bird Wednesday