Saturday, April 30, 2016

So close

So close to that peak of migration.  There's birds around, birds everywhere, shots at vagrants and rarities ... but haven't quite connected yet.  There's been a few photo opportunities though.

We're still in that period where Yellow-rumps dominate the warbler scene.

This Swamp Sparrow was one of a few working the boardwalk while searching for Kentuckies.
 While photographing the Swampy, this Northern Waterthrush popped up, quite interested in the sound of the shutter.
 I once had a Scarlet Tanager fly in to a shutter click many years ago.

If it's late April then that means Smith's Longspur searches (which actually haven't been limited to late April)
 We're not the only ones who have been looking, this Harrier was working the same areas that have been scanned and scanned and scanned again.

I found my first White-eyed Vireo for my river bottom.
I heard the bird yesterday afternoon but it quieted quickly.  I went back down this morning and re-found it singing fairly actively.

Monday, April 25, 2016

One step forward

Well, last post focused mainly on flowers, this time we'll upgrade to some common insects!  Hey, there's many different flavors of awesomeness, only so much can be photographed.

There was a Short-eared Owl that went by Tiscornia this morning
 There were almost no waterbirds, but passerines were reverse migrating, highlighted by my first Indigo Bunting, Chimney Swift, and Palm Warbler of the year.

A walk around Floral did not turn up a Kentucky Warbler, though there may have been one or two or a hundred of these...

Insects are starting to appear, this Tiger Swallowtail was super fresh.

I assume this is a Common Baskettail, Green Darners have been out for at least a week, but this was my second ode of the year.

Buffalo Rd is still sadly lacking in the longspur department, but a little over 60 Golden-plovers are always fun.

Thursday, April 21, 2016


Mostly of a Swamp Sparrow

Seems like I should have some deep thoughts to go along with a title like that, but I'm not sure they're going to be forthcoming.  It feels like spring is accelerating very rapidly and will suddenly be past us.  Enjoying moments is important.  I spent a decent amount of time today questing after bitterns/pelicans/longspurs/meadowlark recordings.  It would have been rewarding had I found one of those birds.  The less goal-directed serendipity of an unexpected Waterthrush, or the first Swampie song of the year was maybe more what I should have focused on.

Some of the woodland flowers have been spectacular this year.

One of these years I'm going to start at Warren Woods (where the above Spring Beauties and Trout Lilies were taken) and just stake out a morning lit patch and wait for a bird to pose next to one. 

Or maybe I'll photoshop in a White-throat.

This Bellwort is from today

Long hours for the next 3 days, we'll see how the woods have changed next time I'm out.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Return to spring

The pipedream retirement plan for years away is to spend the winter in the tropics and return about now for spring migration.  The blog's following the plan at least (though maybe I did more than I'm currently admitting...).

Sapsuckers are one of the prototypical April migrants.

This one actually backed down the tree, a behavior I don't think I've seen before.

Brown Creeper is surely another of the annual signs of spring 

I don't really think of mid-April as shorebird time, but there were 3 Golden-plovers with a Dunlin on Buffalo Rd

Not sure on the (admittedly often subtle) difference in bill size and upperpart color between Golden and Black-bellied Plover?  Just wait for one to fly...
Black-bellied would have black armpits in any plumage.  This birds' are obviously white (also the next bird's...)

I guess if you can't have pure white plumage you don't mind taking a dirt bath the way this hen turkey is.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

the Monkey Hawk

I've been away for a while, more on that later, but for now the last (?) Panama post.

Our last evening of birding was on a side road off of or on the way from Achiote Rd.  I was hoping for one last bird (I think this was the first day that I've birded the whole day in the neotropics and not gotten a lifer), but even without new birds there was always opportunities to learn the ones we'd seen better.

 I don't think I ever noticed the little red band at the base of the yellow breast on the Keel-billed Toucans in life that shows up in this pic.

We saw a few last Howler Monkeys, this group had a baby.

A few White-chinned Capuchins made their appearance too.  They're smaller than the Howlers, but tend to be more active, shaking the vegetation (clearing out potentially dangerous dead limbs maybe?) and generally raising a commotion.

They had another observer, a young Double-toothed Kite
Note the fairly unique dark throat stripe; I can't think of any other birds that have this mark.
Double-toothed's apparently like to follow monkey bands in order to capture the insects they startle; this was the second time on the trip that at least some participants encountered the kite associating with the capuchins.

Another Black-breasted Puffbird appeared.

Finally a montage of an Aracari.

Frequently they move in groups, the first 2 got by me without pics, but the final bird made a decent montage.