Saturday, December 07, 2013

Snowy Video

Got two different owls on with a faint black cap the other more pronounced. I sat 100 yards or so from them as they hunted along the beach.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

From the Tropics to the Tundra

Tons of Snowy Owls popping up all over the tri-state area. They are definitely one thing I would miss about winters in the US. I spent the day walking Island Beach State Park and was rewarded with three Snowys. One was pretty shy and would only allow 200 yards, but the other two were very cooperative to 100 yards. From what I can tell they were working their way down the beach towards Barnegat, hunting along the shoreline. Snowy Lighthouse The birds made several forays onto the beach to scare up either a gull or peep. Snowy Attack Snowy Attack Snowy on Beach Nearby was this decapitated loon with the breast cut out. Loon Head Scanning around I found the remains of this waterbird arm, Duck Arm and this tail from a yellow shafted flicker. Flicker Feathers I also found quite a few Snowy Owl tracks! Snowy Owl landing But why would these birds be hunting birds along the shore and not all the rodents around? Just inland I realized why. Island Park has a lot of foxes so far less rodents around. This is also the reason they crossed the inlet to Barnegat, no foxes over there. Foxy As they worked their way down the beach I set up in front of one hoping it would cross in front of me. I just sat in the sand and waited. The key is to not space off while you are waiting but the bird needs to feel comfortable with you there. So sometimes you just sit and sit, in this case almost 1 hour. The best tell is the body language of the bird will change before she flys off. In this sequence, she went from dozing till suddenly a bird on the beach catches her eye and she locks on. Snowy Owl Perch Just before it flew off, its head bobbed and it stood up. From there it was a 1/2 second till this. Snowy Owl Perch Snowy Owl Perch Snowy Owl Flyby Snowy Owl Flyby Just a very special day under special circumstances. If you go, please dont get to within 100 yards and also respect the dunes. On the way out, I collected about 20 lbs of plastic garbage. Snow Glo

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

No Es Oro Todo Lo Que Brilla

Pero los pajaeros siepre brillan, especialamente los quetzales. El macho crestado, Male Crested Quetzal la mujer, Female Crested Quetzal y juntos. Crested Quetzal Pair El macho quetzal dorado. Golden Headed Quetzal Tambien hay los trogones, la mujer: Female Masked Trogon y el macho. MaleMaskedTrogon Tambien muy brillante pero tambien timido son los tucanes. Plate Billed Mountain Toucan Red-rumped Toucanet

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Ecuador Hummingbirds

It is often cloudy and rainy in the Cloud Forest. As a result getting direct light with high shutter speeds becomes almost impossible to eliminate blur. That being said, there were great hummers at any of the places with feeders that I went. At 2000+ meters you find the violet tailed sylph which is one of the longest hummingbirds in Ecuador, VioletTailedSylph and one of the smallest with the purple throated woodstar. LittleWoodstar One of my favorites is the Empress Brilliant. EmpressBrilliant Due to the prevalence of feeders, the hummers become agitated if the bottles go empty too long. Its not uncommon for them to land on you while "demanding" breakfast. One of the most daring is the buff-tailed coronet. I had more than a few land on my head while up early with the sun. Buff-tailed Coronet Once deployed, every hummingbird in the nabe comes in for a drink. FeedingTime Meanwhile at 1800m at the feeders in El Mirador, you get the tiny green-thorntail in the woodstar's niche. Thorntail4 Down at 1500meter, in Mindo proper the fabulous Andean Emerald. Andean Emerald Also at the Mariposario was the fantastic White-whiskered Hermit. WhiteWhiskeredHermit

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Ecuador Redux

Had a nice opportunity to revisit Ecuador and peel back some of the layers of this country. I spent the majority of my time between Nanegalito and Los Bancos with Mindo Mariposarios being a favored stop. It was a special and needed break from the insanity that sees to be breaking out on daily basis back in the States. In Ecuador I am reminded that birds have lived on this planet for millions of years and survived earthquakes, volcanism, meteor strikes and a few wars. So somehow if I can find them, I too can navigate the cataclysm du jour. So here's what some of that looks like: Las Tangaras! Blue-winged Mountain tanager. BlueWingedMountainTanager Golden Naped Tanager. Golden Naped Tanager Flame faced tanager. Flame Faced Tanager Beryl Spangled Tanager. BerylSpangledTanager Golden Tanager. Golden Tanager Male White lined Tanager Whitelined Tanager Female White lined Tanager. Female whitelined Tanager Blue Necked Tanager. Blue-necked Tanagers Rufous Necked Tanager. RufousThroatedTanager These Swallow Tanagers. Swallow Tanagers Coming next, Hummingbirds!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Amigos Nuevos

Making lots of new friends down here, like this buff-tailed coronet! Buff-tailed Coronet

Friday, September 13, 2013

Ecuador 2013

Im away for all of September touring Ecuador and seeing all of their beautiful birds. Ill be back in October with a full report so enjoy this pix till then. Mi amigo Nuevo

Friday, August 30, 2013

Return to Cape May

It is always a wonderful experience to visit this place. There's just so much here that's awesome, its hard not to be impressed. What enthralled me most was the fragrant smell from all of the wildflowers in bloom. Subtle and sweet, it left me almost drunk like a bee. Not many people were birding along the nature trail. There were a good number of colorful birds to go along with the many colorful dragonflies and butterflies. Blue Dasher Deep in the underbrush many red-starts and yellow warblers were feasting on the bugs. Yellow Warbler There was also this guy and another warbler which I think was a Magnolia Warbler. Catbird and Warbler Also lurking were marsh and carolina wren and thrashers in the bracken. MarshWren Up in the crowns were the juveniles of many species all chasing each other around. That included orioles, JuvyOrioles Kingbirds, Kingbird Family and this Blue Grosbeak who rose up to exert his dominance but was trumped by a fiesty RT Hummingbird. BlueGrosbeak vs RT hummer But the mockingbirds eventually won the day through sheer staring down a rough-winged swallow. Mocker vs Rough Winged Swallow But the real ruler of the marsh was this clumsy Cooper's hawk. Cooper's Attack Brown Dasher Also seen were this Great Crested Flycatcher, Great Crested Flycatcher and a mute swan. SilentWitness On the ocean side the sun was setting on a huge colony of Black Skimmers! BlackSkimmers BlackSkimmers Black Skimmers Black Skimmers An Osprey hovered long and low along the beach like a good night kiss. Beach Skimmer And even some Bottlenose Dolphin were fishing close to the beach. Dolphins Flipper An interesting note is that the 4x4 riding guy said the Skimmers are here almost two weeks longer than last. This corresponds with the 2 week late Spring that we had this year. At least the dolphins seem ok, phew!