Dark Birds Bring Dark Words

Dark Birds Bring Dark Words

Happy Halloween!
From my archives 2011

Great Egret

My cat Sookie spotted this Great Egret hunting lizards in my front yard.

Sunrise 10.30.2013

Sunrise 10.30.2013

Sunrise with Common Grackles

Sunrise 10.28.2013 with a Red-shouldered Hawk

I woke up before the sun rose. Not on purpose mind you, but I just couldn’t fall back asleep. So I made a cup of coffee and went out to the patio to watch the sunrise over the lake. As the sun was coming up I could hear a lot of warbler noise but I couldn’t see anything but ducks on the water. I could hear the mockingbird starting to sing, ever so gently. The blue jays began their squawking. I went out to snap a pic of the sun rising when something caught my eye in the palm tree. It was a juvenile red-shouldered hawk having a sunrise breakfast right there in the palm.

I took a video and snapped a pic, and so goes a morning of backyard birding:

Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk at Sunrise

Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk at Sunrise 

The Checklist

This book is big!

This book is big!

The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. This is one big-ass birding checklist! I had no idea when I ordered it how big and all-encompassing it would be. It’s nothing but the list. Of every bird known in the world. The Amy Farrah Fowler in me squealed with delight over the idea of such an organizational undertaking. Then, I realized how few birds I have actually seen in the wild and how many I need to see, how many I’ll probably never get to see. Sigh.

London Wetlands

I have been going to London once or twice a year since 1999. And in all those visits I had no idea there was a nature preserve right there in the city! The WWT London Wetland Centre is located on the Queen’s Walk. In addition to all the great parks London has to offer, the wetlands were another peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. Here are a few of the shots I got there:

Eurasian Coot with Chick

Eurasian Coot with Chick

Canada Gosling

Canada Gosling

Rooftop Mallard

Rooftop Mallard

Common Pochard, Female

Common Pochard, Female

Ruddy Duck, Female

Ruddy Duck, Female

I’ll have more to share if I ever find the time to process them all!

Warbler Love

Yesterday I had a free morning to bird Tall Cypress Nature Preserve where I linked up with some other birders in hunt for the Yellow-billed Cuckoo as well as any of the migratory warblers. I managed to add both the Yellow-billed Cuckoo and the Indigo Buntings to my life list and snag a picture of a Black-throated Blue Warbler.

Black-throated Blue Warbler, 1st Year Male

Black-throated Blue Warbler, 1st Year Male

I was able to identify it as a 1st Year Male, thanks to my new book, The Warbler Guide.

The Warbler Guide. A must have for any birder.

The Warbler Guide. A must have for any birder.

Probably the best identification book I have seen in quite a while. A lot of work was put into this guide and it has absolutely every little facet of info you can think of to help you identify these sweet little birds. Get your copy here.

Hoping to get out this weekend for a bit and see if I can find more warblers and maybe a grosbeak or two! Stay tuned…

A Bird in the Hand…

…is worth two in the bush. Unless of course it’s a rarity and then two in the bush trumps one in the hand. 😉 Here are a few images of a bird in my hand: Great Tit, Rose-ringed Parakeet, Starlings and a European Robin.

He loves pine nuts!

He loves pine nuts!

I loved feeding these cuties!

I loved feeding these cuties!

Sit for a spell and let's connect!

Sit for a spell and let’s connect!

The Starlings are so quick, just a split second connection, and then gone.

The Starlings are so quick, just a split second connection, and then gone.

So sweet.

So sweet.

Parking Lot Grackles

Someone left a sandwich and some fruit for the Boat-tailed Grackles. Love how the female holds her ground!

The Dawn Chorus

The Great Kiskadee, leader of the Dawn Chorus. Sitting in the tree outside my room in Costa Rica.

If you have ever paid attention to the sunrise, you will know that with the revealing of light comes the most beautifully composed piece of music, the Dawn Chorus. If you have not paid attention before, I invite you to rise a bit before the sun this weekend, go sit outside on your porch or patio, or simply open a window and then listen. One bird always starts the dawn chorus and that bird is different depending on where you are. Here at my house in South Florida, it’s the Northern Mockingbird who starts it off with a bit of warbling before reaching a crescendo of full-out song, filled with a variety of connected notes. Both times I’ve stayed at the Pura Vida Spa in Costa Rica, it was the Great Kiskadee who squawked one note to start the dawn chorus. Every morning, I would get up at sunrise and sit out on my balcony overlooking the treetops, sipping coffee and watching the world come alive, starting with the dawn chorus. Here is an entry from my travel journal when I was there this past June:

I ♥ the DAWN CHORUS… An hour of the birds greeting a new day, joyous to have made it through another night. Singing to warm up, to establish territory. And then…an hour AFTER sunrise, a flurry of activity as they hunt for food, repair their nests and feed their chicks. Outside my room in Costa Rica at the Pura Vida Spa, the rooster crows at 4:45am. Morning arrives early here. The GREAT KISKADEE perches in a favorite spot with two females. Atop a tree similar to the Poincianas, balancing on a large seed pod, fighting for position with the RUDDY DOVE, who also covets this prime piece of real estate up above the treetops. The swallows glide through the air with such grace, their blue and white bodies flashing as they flit from side to side, over the rooftops and the trees. They are slower in the morning than they are in the afternoon, still it’s difficult to photograph them. Hummingbirds zip through the trees, a rate of speed so fast, one blink is all you get before they disappear into the thick blanket of forest tree leaves. Buzzing, chirping, wings flapping, calls, whistles. These are the sounds of the morning. The sounds of nature. The sounds of sun, sky and earth. The sounds of GLAD TIDINGS for a new day.