Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Still Lost...Part 38...maybe...

 The only bird that sat still this day...a kindly Dark-eyed Junco...and he even faced the right way.

So, where was I? THAT was a good question! Every time I saw a sign with a new states name, I was surprised. I was driving on autopilot, letting my GPS tell me where to go(at least it's polite when it does it!) I'm not good at sitting in a car for more than 3 or 4 hours. Knees cramp up...boredom strikes and I keep seeing signs for parks at the "next" exit...oooo...maybe there's some good birds there!

Brian told me about a state park I should visit that was close to Asheville...Rocky Fork Sate Park. For some reason, I thought being close to Brian's home, this would be in North Carolina(AKA North Cackylacky.) Nope,it was in Tennessee!  I didn't find that out until I arrived back home. Yep, Loopy doesn't always pay attention.

What a great place to stop and stretch! I realize that 1:30 in the afternoon isn't the best time to go birding, but this place was gorgeous. A nice steep trail winding along side Rocky Fork Creek. Very peaceful with the sounds of the creek burbling over the mossy rocks and small waterfalls. I only tripped a few times watching the water...

I only saw the Junco and a fleeing Red-bellied Woodpecker...apparently news of my arrival traveled fast...oh well, back in the BirdMobile to continue the journey...

 Even the dead trees were interesting to look at.
( this was one of the places I tripped...camera is safe!)

 I looked at that bridge a long time...then turned around.
Why push my luck?

 Can you hear the babbling?
...of the brook! Not me!
 
 At last, I arrived in Asheville, North Carolina!

They've been in a severe drought for some time now. All that haze is due to forest fires not too far away. Every morning on our bird walk, you could smell the odor of the burning trees and scrub. It was a very disturbing feeling, know that the homes of so many of my woodland and feathered friends were being destroyed. And of course, none of this is due to climate change...my politician buddies told me so and they're smarter than anyone else on Earth....but anyway...where was I?

Oh, Asheville...more precisely, Biltmore Lake. There's a great trail that circles the man-made lake with a few side paths. At one end was a wetland area that will be great to explore in the spring and summer...next time...if I didn't wear out my welcome. Imagine dealing with me for a week? Let alone the more than 13 years I've worked for Brian and Caron...sheesh...I couldn't do it...

 That's my swell hosts at the North Carolina Arboretum...and my camera...
We went for a cruise down the Blue Ridge Parkway and a hike through the arboretum.
I think they were hoping I would fall in the creek...you can tell by the look on Brian's face.
 
 A good ole American Robin.
You can always count on seeing them no matter how lost you may be.

 Speaking of lost. This Chipping Sparrow was trying to hide.
I think he was hoping I would get lost and leave him be.

 " Don't even think about taking a photo of my butt...y'all!"
Even the birds said "Y'all."
Very odd.
Really.

 He did let me take of photo of his feathery crown.

 There were dozens of southern Eastern Bluebirds around us!

 He was nice enough to give me his southern exposure.
Southern hospitality extends to the birds as well!
 
 Them thar is some really BIG bugs!
They had a cool display of insects...and they moved!
Nothing like a few scared screaming children to give you a few laughs...
 
 And once again...a Pileated Woodpecker is right in front of me and I almost missed.
Of course all I ended up with was a blurry butt shot.
One day you Pileated! One Day!!!
 
 How many times do I have to say "Not Yet!?"
 
 A southern Northern Mockingbird not happy that I was mocking his southern end.
Sorry, I had to.

 I was so busy looking at birds that I forgot this was an arboretum and I should be taking a few of those botanically type pitchers!
(Get it? It's a PITCHER plant?...No? Oh well. I tried.)

 Yes, I even got a life bird bird while visiting my buddies at Biltmore Lake.
More on that next time...as the Adventures in Asheville continues...

 Until next time...



Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Ohh...I Got Lost...again...part 7...


 The view somewhere WAY south of Ohio!

 So, there I was, turning right out of my drive...and I blanked out! I awoke hundreds of miles away completely lost, or as I like to say "mis-directed." I must have been driving for hours. Up and down mountain roads, weaving round and round these crazy roads. Nothing was looking familiar. Uh-oh. Sometimes I like to take long drives to escape or to see a lost bird. But this?

By the way, I'm making this all up as I go along. I have a short attention span, and I need to entertain myself...as well as you. I was headed to lovely Asheville, North Carolina to visit my boss and buddies, Caron and Brian. (Shhh...we tell Brian he's in charge, it makes him feel better!) I had a fantastic drive through Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina. The weather was sunny and cool the whole way, made me sort of wish I was driving the convertible...next time...

You're probably wondering why it says "chapter 7" in the title...I decided to start with the last day of the trip...(because that was the easiest to edit!) I went birding every morning in Asheville and took more than seven or nine photos...AND I got a lifer to boot! So, stay tuned...
 
 Why is it that all birds, like this Downy Woodpecker, love to give the crazy eye?
Am I that odd?
(Shut up.)

 YEA!!!
I made it to beautiful Marietta, Ohio to visit my great friend, Dawn, at Bird Watcher's Digest magazine. I also met everyone that I hadn't met before in the office. Bill Thompson III was in and I got to speak with him briefly. (He thinks he's in charge too, but we really know Elsa is the boss!)

If you haven't seen this magazine, WHY NOT?! It's a great family run business with wonderful articles and photographs(including mine!) that comes out bi-monthly. Please go to there website and check them out. We all have to help small business!

After a great lunch with Dawn along the shores of the mighty Ohio River, I went to visit Kroger Wetland to get some natural healing before the long drive back home. It was only a block from the office and even in the afternoon, there was a lot to see...including a Cooper's Hawk being chased by American Crows...though I didn't get a shot of it. You'll have to trust me, hard I know...

Anyway, subscribe to the magazine and tell them I sent you...though they may charge you extra.

 http://www.birdwatchersdigest.com/bwdsite/

 A nice peaceful spot for a rest...

 There were lots of Black-capped Chickadees(that wouldn't hold still,) American Goldfinches and this House Finch that was pigging out on these seeds.
Oink.

 Oops. He must have heard me making piggy sounds...
Sorry.

 No stoopid Otters!

 There were a number of Orange Sulphur butterflies in the field.
We had snow this week, that may have been their last hurrah.

 Oh my!
That's one of my favorite non-warbly birds skulking there!

 So nice of this Song Sparrow to come out and say hello.
Truly one of my favorites.

 He even took a bow...so polite.

 I think these are the best shots I've ever taken of a Songster if I may say so.

And to top off an already lovely day with friends, both feathered and not, I saw a Swamp Sparrow! And finally a good photo!

Stay tuned for the further adventures of...
On The Road With Loopy!...y'all...

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

We Went Cuckoo...

 Yep, we saw a Yellow-billed Cuckoo along the shores of Lake Erie!


 I'll bet you thought I was going to make some sort of political wise crack! Ha! I would NEVER stoop so low...so, anyway...back to the program...


I managed to wake Phil up early again(he wasn't quite so cranky this time.) We went to an area near Lorain harbor west of Cleveland commonly known as the Lorain Impoundment. There's always something good to see out there and worth the drive. Lately, a Northern Shrike and a Cattle Egret have been spotted...and there's always a few ducks and coots to keep you occupied as well!

We never did see a shrike, but the cuckoo was a great find! My friend Ernie let me know about where it had been seen last..."Look for the crowd!" Out there a crowd is 4 or 5 birders...it's not very busy, just a few birders and fishermen on most days. All in all it was a great warm and sunny November day, quite a change in the climate from years past...hint hint...
 
 Enough of that...let's look at some birdies!

 A scope would be handy out here...but that would be too much for me to carry cause I'm lazy.
We could make out those Buffleheads waaaaay in the back!

 Ooooo...an American Wigeon trying to escape my view!
...and American Coots and Northern Sleepers...uh...Shovelers.

 I was surprised to see so many Clouded Sulphurs flitting about!
The weather had them confused...like me.

 A lone Dark-eyed Junco zipped through and sat for a second...not very patient...

 Talk about rarities! 
 How often does one get to see a Dock Owl sunning himself in the daytime?
Well?

 Wowie wow wow!
TWO rare Dock Owls sunning themselves.
Oh my, we were lucky boys!
Phil may argue that point...

 I do believe that is a juvenile Gadwall...with a stoopid coot trying to get in the pic...
Phil says I'm juvenile too.

 A number of Golden-crowned Kinglets were flitting faster than the speed of light through the trees.

 This guy was kind enough to sit still for almost a second!
AND he even turned around to allow me my prerequisite dorsal view!

 At first I thought it was Daffy Duck, but it turned out to be a Lesser Scaup.
I'm easily confused.

 No.

 This female Northern Shoveler was eye balling Phil and giving him the creeps.
I told him you get used to it.
I get the crazy eye all the time...never can figure out why...hmmm...

 When ya gotta itch, ya gotta scratch!

 That's a male Northern Shoveler by the way...
They must be rich...they always carry big bills!
Hahahahahaha...or not.

 Another rarity!
They had seen a Cattle Egret a few days prior...well that's nothing!
This is the rare sub-species known as "Notta."
Yep, Notta Cattle Egret.

 Pied-butt Grebe.

 Waaaayyy out there!
A lone Ring-necked Duck.
We gotta get Phil some 10X50's so he can see these things...

 Ruddy Ducks with an American Coot pretending to be one of the gang.
They try so hard...silly old coots.

 White-tailed Deer Duck.
Like I said, there's always something rare to be seen out there!
The nest on the top of the phragmities.
How could I make this stuff up?

 Okay, back to reality(or as close as I can get.)
Love those White-throated Sparrows!
I love their little whistley song!

 Well, it's time to sail off into the sunset until our never adventure in birding...real and imagined!
See ya out there somewhere!

 By the way...this guy wants Mr. Trump to give him his hair back...
Just thought I would help...