I love Central Park! Whether it was the Central Park Effect or I was just lucky, I saw tons of species of waterfowl on a bright and sunny Saturday, including three new species! More photos to come this week.
The Northern Shoveler was a life bird for me, complete with its iridescent colors. I have only seen one Red-breasted Merganser, the subject of my very first blog entry!
I am back in Maine for five weeks, which means some winter ocean birding! My father and I headed to the Scarborough marshes, walking an hour and a half on a long, grassy trail all the way through the marshes.
This juvenile Common Loon was the first bird we saw. I love loons, yet I almost always see them on freshwater lakes in the summer. Seeing the juvenile loon was fun, but seeing the bird fish for crabs was even better. The crab was right in its bill!
Though it was a cold day, there were sparrows feeding on the many berries ripening along the path, and a whole group of American Blackducks swam in the golden marsh grass. Gulls cackled and cawed to each other as we walked to the end of the path and back, and I definitely want to visit again. It must be amazing in the summer.
I can’t help it, I just love Carolina Wrens. They have no problem alerting the world to their presence, and they just love posing perfectly with holiday holly or on tree trunks!
Finally, after weeks and weeks of seeing half glimpses of dark-eyed juncos, I came across a whole flock of them feeding on open ground in the Duke Gardens. I had just spent five hours working at the Gardens, and I was walking home in the last few minutes of the afternoon when they finally revealed themselves to me before I headed back up to Maine for 6 weeks. They sure didn’t make it easy for me to take a good photograph; they hopped around even more than sparrows and were constantly flitting farther and farther ahead of me as I continued along a stone path. These birds are so distinct with their dark bodies and pink beaks (pink!). I especially like their ebony eyes, and can hopefully see them again in the future.
I had my last days in Virginia Beach a few weekends ago, and though I already miss it I’m glad I could see some of my old favorites. This cormorant was busy sunning itself on a channel marker, while great blue herons left footprints in the mud and laughing gulls fished amidst the waves.
A crabapple tree in Duke Gardens was an amazing place to photograph birds last weekend. Even though the day was cloudy the colors of the berries and the birds were absolutely amazing. All I had to do was stand still and watch as tufted titmice, yellow-rumped warblers, cardinals, kinglets, eastern towhees, and white-throated sparrows all came to me!
A beautiful close-up of my local great blue heron. Though they are widespread and fairly common, they really are majestic aren’t they?
I’m so loving Autumn in North Carolina. Even the sparrows look extraordinary next to some amazing fall foliage, not to mention birds’ nests.
I’ve discovered that birding is not something I can turn off - I am birding all the time. When I walk to class, around Duke Gardens for work, or driving down the highway, I am always on the look-out for an avian silhouette. Luckily for me, Duke’s campus and Duke Gardens are home to zillians of birds. The tiny quad up by the Nicholas School of the Environment is home to some beautiful white-throated sparrows that like to hop among the fallen autumn leaves, and the carolina wrens are constant companions in the Culberson Asiatic Arboretum of Duke Gardens.
Owls owls everywhere! These are two little guys that I created myself, including the pattern, with knitting needles and yarn I bought from the farmers’ market. I submitted them to my graduate school’s art magazine, but even if they aren’t accepted they are just so cute!