Sunday, May 1, 2016

A Sparrow Surprise

I often comment to my husband, jokingly, that I'm bored with the birds at our feeders. My dream visitor would be a cardinal, but I would welcome any birds that have yet to stop by. The last few days there has been a new sparrow. I finally managed to get some decent pictures today which allowed me to better identify it from the web.

Check out this little cutie.

I'm pretty sure this is a White-Throated Sparrow. It is definitely one of the pretties sparrows I've seen. I love the mix of grey, white, yellow, brown, and black. Here is a wonderful site describing them.

I love to watch the sparrows stir up seed. They dance and jump around. One sparrow actually looked like it was having a seizure today with its unique dance.

I look forward to more new visitors this summer.

Dominican Birdies

I was blessed to spend April 1 to 8 in the Dominican Republic. This was my first vacation south, and it was so needed. Although our winter was not as bad as last year, I'm a sunshine girl at heart, and my soul is happiest when it is near a beach in the sun. I didn't have my zoom lens with me, but I did manage to photograph a few birds while I was there.
These birds were plentiful. I think they are Bicknell's Thrush. 

Although I didn't capture a picture, we would see this Frigate Bird every afternoon.

Airport Birds
The airport was open throughout so birds could come and go.
A pair of what I think are grackles flew in to look for food. 

These little birds were building a nest in the airport
with these long black thread-like pieces. I believe they are Bananaquit.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Pheasantly Surprised

What a delight and surprise to look out my window this morning and see the feeders busy with such a variety of birds. Much to my delight, the two male pheasants I had seen last weekend were among the guests. They looked like giants next to the tiny finches, junkos, chickadees, and siskins. The mourning doves were even dwarfed in their presence. 

I was able to grab my camera and take a few shots before they moved on to the brush.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

First Day of Spring

Today is the Vernal Equinox. On this first day of spring, the sky was a brilliant blue with nary a cloud to be seen. The morning air was cold with a temperature of -8 degrees celcius. Brrr!

A nor'easter is predicted for tomorrow so I made sure that the feeders had plenty of seed. I recently heard that birds can sense a storm coming, and that activity at the feeders explodes in advance of one. The feeders have been busy today, but no more than usual. Lots of chickadees, pine siskins, and goldfinches.

The afternoon delivered much warmer temperatures which made spending time outside photographing my visitors much more enjoyable. Feeling the warmth of the sun on my face was delightful.

downy woodpecker, male, Nova Scotia, Canada
Friendly downy woodpecker,
March 20, 2016, Nova Scotia Canada
As I was examining two of the dead trees that had fallen, a male downy woodpecker appeared. He cooperated, scurrying down the tree to greet me. Sharing the tree was a friendly chickadee who flew over to greet me. Its behaviour made me think s/he may have been trying to prevent me from getting close to a nest. It almost seemed to be saying, "Follow me" as it led me away.

black capped chickadee
Black-capped chickadee, March 20, 2016, Nova Scotia, Canada

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Reference Guides

My reference guide of choice is Birds of Atlantic Canada by Roger Burrows. I keep this handy reference close for identification and information. The pages contain beautiful illustrations of each bird.

The ISBN for the book is 978-1-55105-353-0. It retails for $29.95.

Although the illustrations in the book are extremely detailed, I usually search for photographs on the web when identifying, particularly when birds have similar markings and colouring. Wiki books has reference guide called Field Guide/Birds/Eastern US and Canada that is most helpful.

Let Me Introduce... My Birds, My Blog, Myself

Me, hand-feeding a black-capped chickadee, February 2016.

Birds. Yes, I like them. I like to watch them. I like to photograph them. I like to sketch them. I like to back-yard feed them. When lucky enough (aka... when the birds cooperate), I like to have them close enough that their feathers tickle my cheek, or they feed from my hand. Yes, I like (love) birds!

My sister recently said to me, "You should start a blog to share some of the photographs you take of the birds." So folks, here we go! 

A little about me. I'm married, in my 40's, and have a teenage son. I work in administration at a university. I have loved animals and birds my entire life, but the camera lens has given me a greater appreciation for everything, especially birds.

I live in Nova Scotia, Canada, an island-like province on the east coast of Canada. My home is in the Annapolis Valley, famous for apple growing, and in recent years, wine production. My 3.5 acre rural property contains a variety of deciduous and evergreen trees, but marshes and fields are nearby. The Minas Basin and Bay of Fundy, famous for high tides, are just a short drive away.

We have four seasons, summer being my absolute favourite. I am a beach girl at heart, and I spend as much time as I can camping near the beautiful south shores of Nova Scotia. I can be found snorkeling for hours on end, despite the cooler temperatures of our waters. It's always exciting to observe our abundance of shore birds while I'm there.

Many species of birds dwell here year-round.  Daily visitors to my feeders include black-capped chickadees, pine siskins, american goldfinches, dark-eyed juncos and nuthatches. Mourning doves come in flocks to ground feed. The stunning blues of the blue jay never fail to delight. Even the starling, who regularly sets up house in an old building on my property, is a joy to photograph because of its magnificent array of iridescent speckles. Woodpeckers, both downy and hairy are sighted regularly, and it is always exciting when the grand pileated variety stops by to hammer away rotting trees on the outskirts of my property. Bald eagles and a variety of hawks soar above, and the occasional owl hoot can be heard at night. 

First red-winged blackbird
of the year.
March 19, 2016.
Our winter, at least according to the calendar, is coming to an end soon. The timing for this blog could not be better as the vast array of migratory birds will soon return. In fact, just this morning I was thrilled to hear the tumbling song of the red-winged black bird, and to witness my first pair of sparrows (either song or fox) joining my 'regulars'.

I'm excited about sharing my love of birds with you. I hope that my musings and pictures will bring enjoyment when you stop by.