Saturday, October 17, 2009

We have Wood Ducks! We have Wood Ducks!

Wood Ducks 

Wood Ducks
Wood Ducks

Hooded Merganser
Hooded Merganser


This morning we were discussing whether we should head out anywhere for some birding since it wasn't raining yet. Before we had decided on a location, Chris noticed that our resident lake population of ducks had increased. Upon picking up the binoculars, she exclaimed to Mike, "We have wood ducks, we have wood ducks, we have wood ducks." So, we stayed home and crept outside and hid behind our camouflage and watched them. We counted two males and three females. A female mallard was trying to hang out with them also; probably thinking these males are more handsome than the males in her bunch. We saw a small duck fly overhead and assumed it was a third male wood duck to even out the group. We sat out for about 30 to 40 minutes, and the small duck landed in the water near us. To our surprise, it was a male hooded merganser. It's a great day on Lake Nelson when two of our favorite fancy ducks arrive on the same day. We have a saying that the worst weather brings the best ducks and it turned out to be true again.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Yellow Breasted Chat from Rutgers Newark

Yellow Breasted Chat  

Yellow Breasted Chat  

Yellow Breasted Chat  

Yellow Breasted Chat  


Things worked in our favor today. Mike has been wanting to go on the bird tour at the Rutgers Newark campus led by Claus Holzapfel. Chris had been hesitant to get up so early, but, boy, is she glad she finally agreed. Mike had a meeting on the Rutgers campus this morning, and with fall migration in full swing, it was a perfect opportunity. We picked up quite a few tips that will help us find and ID birds when we're on our own. Hopefully Mike has learned the value of patience and Chris can get him to stay in one spot for more than 2 minutes. Anyway, we think these pictures of the yellow-breasted chat show a couple things other than how beautiful this bird is. As you can see, it would be easy to miss seeing this bird because of the way it can hide under the shrubs and blend right in, and you can also see why it is so important not to litter as this poor little thing has to put up with garbage mixed in with the leaves while searching for a meal.

In addition to the chat, we also saw an oven bird, a variety of sparrows, a yellow-bellied sapsucker, a house wren, a cardinal, a common yellowthroat, ruby crowned kinglets, a hermit thrush, eastern towhees (both male and female), all in the middle of Newark in less than an hour. Amazing!

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House Wren from Rutgers Newark

House Wren 

House Wren 

House Wren 


We've been hearing wrens around our house, but haven't seen them in the shrubs or at any of our bird feeders yet. It was nice to see one this morning. In the last one, he was trying to have a little nap in the morning sun.

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Hermit Thrush from Rutgers Newark

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Common Yellowthroat from Rutgers Newark

Common Yellowthroat 


This little cutie was near the yellow-breasted chat, right in front of the Dana Library at Rutgers Newark.

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Female Towhee from Rutgers Newark

Eastern Towhee 

Eastern Towhee 


We saw a male eastern towhee but the bird didn't stay still long enough to photograph. Here's some photos of a calmer female towhee. Does this situation remind you of any people?

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Sparrows from Rutgers Newark

 

 

 

 


Here are some sparrows from our morning walk at Rutgers Newark. We'll identify them soon and update.

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Oven bird from Rutgers Newark

Anonymous Lynn said...

OMG- an oven bird. There's a Law and Society article that no one gets the point of called "the oven bird's song" and then it talks about law and people and agency or something- I'm guessing. I am pleased to know that these aren't just a completely random combination of words and that there is actually an oven bird.

October 28, 2009 at 11:48 AM  

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Great Blue Heron: Photo by Michael


Here's a contributed photo of a great blue heron on a boat.

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Piscataway Birds

Palm Warbler 

Palm Warbler
Palm Warbler  (previously misidentified as a yellow warbler)

Song Sparrow
Song Sparrow 


We took an afternoon walk and found these birds in the field behind the park.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michael,
the warbler is a Palm Warbler. Please note the marking on the head and cap. Nice shot though.
Claus Holzapfel

October 14, 2009 at 9:52 AM  

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A visit to Sandy Hook

Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Phoebe 

Dark-eyed Junco
Dark-eyed Junco 

Yellow-Rumped Warbler
Yellow-Rumped Warbler 

Sunday's weather was nicer than Saturday so Mike talked Chris into going to Sandy Hook again. We've been disappointed by Sandy Hook a few times. It's so large and confusing to someone new to birding. Today was a bit better. Still we didn't find the bobolinks, wood ducks, cuckoos, and vireos that others report. The first of season Dark-eyed Junko reminds us of the impending doom some call winter. We spotted quite a few kinglets, both ruby-crowned and gold-crowned.

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Warbler from Sandy Hook

 


Here's a warbler we are having problems identifying.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm kind of new to birding, but what about one of the empidonax flycatchers?

October 11, 2009 at 8:45 PM  

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Gold-crowned kinglet from Sandy Hook

Gold-crowned kinglet 

Gold-crowned kinglet 

Gold-crowned kinglet 



How Mike and Chris birdwatch. Mike: "There's a sparrow with a yellow head." Chris: "Looks more like a kinglet with a yellow mohawk to me." Mike: "Oh, then it must be a Gold-crowned kinglet; I read about them in your birding emails." Chris: "Really; I guess that's what it is then."

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Ruby-Crowned Kinglet from Sandy Hook

Ruby-Crowned Kinglet 

Ruby-Crowned Kinglet 


The Ruby-Crowned Kinglet is one of our favorites, even if it rarely shows its ruby crown. It's so small and darts around so quickly, but it really liked these flowers so it stopped to pose for a few photos.

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