Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Success At Last!...

Nope, not yet...

So...last Saturday I was planning on a trip to Magee Marsh (bird heaven!) to see if I could find an otter Northern Saw-whet Owl, another one of things that everyone else sees but me and I believed must be some kind of joke and everyone is laughing behind my back as they tell me "to go right to this spot and stand there and you'll see the owl right in front of you...really."...oops, was I rambling again? Sorry. So, where was I? Oh, I was planning on a trip to Magee, when, lo and behold!, I received an email from the Black Swamp Bird Observatory (the finest banders I know) stating that Kimmay and Kenny Kaufman were leading a walk to find that notorious NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL! Jeepers I said to myself...they wouldn't kid me, they're too nice! I think I shall sign up for this little foray into the land of owl. Really, I said that out loud to myself.

I was beside myself all week, easy to do when you have as many personalities as me! Oh my...a owl of the northern saw-whet variety I kept thinking. I slept nary a wink Friday night...with dreams of sugar plums...no...OWLS...dancing in my head! I left bright and early at 6:30am to make sure I wouldn't miss anything! Phil would never get up that early, so I didn't ask him. ( If you're reading this, Hi!zzzzzz....)I was the second to arrive...and soon there were about 25 happy owly birdy types in the parking lot...plus a group of Ohio Young Birders.

We were soon off to the lot of the Magee Marsh Sportsmen Center. I was amazed that I actually got to see one of these amazing little owls that visit us every winter! THEY ARE REAL! And soooo cute too. They had been in the same area for a few weeks, even with all the hub bub of folks walking up to see them and take photos. PLEASE...I you go to visit our little friends, be courteous, keep your distance and if you take photos, DON'T USE A FLASH.

 This was the first one I saw!
Special thanks to Kenn for pointing it out for me!
Lifer happy dance!!

 All this ruckus!
"I just want to sleep..."

 A few of the BSBO members spying on the little guy hiding in the pine.

 This was number two!
I'm still excited...looking for years with no luck and this I saw TWO!

 Oh, yeah...there some Bald Eagles flying around too...
Ho-hum...just another eagle...

 Seeing a Northern Harrier, though, IS exciting!

 I think this is my first Harrier from behind!

 The other reason for visiting the marsh was to try to get a better photo of a Northern Shrike.
Not today! He was WAAAAAY back there!
See him?

 EXTREMELY cropped and he's still tiny.
Maybe next time...
I did get the owl...I'm still happy!

 In the tree above BSBO I spied a Woodpecker of the Red-bellied variety.

 And there were plenty of Trumpeter Swans tooting all around us...even a few Tundra Swans!

 More Sandhill Cranes than I've ever seen in the past!
What a great day to be out!

 And even more Sandhill Cranes flying past!

 We all heard Rusty Blackbirds singing in the trees.
All I could see were Common Grackles, European Starlings and Red-winged Blackbirds.

 Did I mention Bald Eagles yet?
Yeah, there were two or three...or ten or twelve...

 Kimmay pointed out the size difference between the female on the left and the male on the right.
He better listen.
Way down in the lower right corner, rudely blocked by my name, is their nest.

 Just in case you were wondering, I did manage to get an "Owl From Behind" shot!
Lifer butt!!!

Until we meet again...out there in the wilds somewhere...contact your local politicians and let them know how important our natural areas are! 
Thanks on behalf of the owls... 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

RUN AWAY!!!....

*If some of these photos look a little fuzzy, thank Blogger for crashing non-stop as I write this...
 American Robin...NOT a sign of spring.

In another feeble attempt to escape the non-stop nonsense of the current administrations insistence on using "alternative facts" and "incomplete truths" I went to the woods. It actually seemed to work! Now if only I could do this everyday...

So...where was I you may be asking...or maybe not...but I'll tell you anyway because this is my blog! Jeez...after all that I forgot where I was...uh...hmmm...Munroe Falls Metropark!  If you followed me you would have wandered around 4 miles of trails listening to me talk to my feathered friends, asking them to come out for a chat and a photo. For the first couple of hours they talked a lot, but not to me. They all kept to themselves back in the woods or in the tree tops. I managed a couple of shots of a Black-capped Chickadee.

I had a nice walk and did manage to escape and have some great quiet time out there. When I was heading back to the lot and my car, a flock of 20 or more American Robins buzzed over me and into the scrub along the drive. I decided to try to at least get some robin shots...then I saw some grackles(ick) and noticed another trail leading to a neighboring nursing home. That short little trail provided all of the birds of the day. You never know what you'll find when you're ready to pack it in...

 My lone little Chickadee.
Thanks little buddy for coming out to say hello!

 The not so wet wetland between the woodlands and the meadows.
Lots of ice...and no ducks. I heard Northern Flickers in there, but never had a clear shot.
I would starve to death if I had to hunt for my meals...

 An American Robin leading me down a path to BirdLand!

 If I gave up I would have never seen this American Tree Sparrow.

 A sign of the screwy weather we've been having.
Lots of trees have buds already...but there is no climate change...nope.
A professional reality TV star and businessman that has run a number of companies bankrupt and has no education in science said so. And if he's says it enough, it must be true...or wait...false...wait...
I didn't vote for him. Let's hear for the corporate takeover of America...they're looking out for your best interests...
Sorry...mom said "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything."
Pretend I didn't say anything. You should be getting used to that by now.
 I spent a long time watching, and trying to get a photo of this Black-capped Chickadee bouncing around in this pine pecking at the cones.

 You know it's a slow bird day when I shoot European Starlings!
There had to be close to 50 bouncing around in the scrub.

 Yep, even a House Sparrow chirping his brains out.


 A nice little creek cutting through the woods.
I've seen lots of birds in here during the warmer months...soon...

 I give up on ever seeing an otter.
I don't believe they're real...stoopid animals...

Those Northern Cardinals just don't like me...
 This Song Sparrow sang for a split second...then split.

 I think the nursing home has feeders out somewhere. 
The Tree Sparrows were flitting back and forth to the trees from the buildings.

 When I looked at this little Black-capped Chickadee in the wind I noticed his feathery comb-over was ready to take flight without him...great another reminder of "that guy."
Until we meet again...hang in there, it just has to get better...doesn't it?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

"Alternative Facts..."

 Oh those Gully things! Those are my FAVORITE birds!

I have decided to adopt the Untied(yes, that's what I meant) States glorious leaders motto of "Alternative Facts." From now on I shall use my alternative reality and its accompanying alternative facts on my blog.

Did you know?...there is no global climate change, no wars that can't be won with more weapons of mass destruction, no harmful pollution, chemicals in your food are good for you, drilling for oil is promotes healthier birds and the Trump administration is COMPLETELY TRANSPARENT with the public...Yes, it's all true...in our alternative reality.

Thank you for listening if you're still here. That will be my rant for the month, after all, it's been a while since I've lost my cool here. Lucky you.

Speaking of alternative facts...a couple of weeks ago I called in...uh..."sick" from work on a Wednesday. The temps were going up to 60f! Ack-ack...I don't feel well...ack-ack... Plus there was a special visitor near my old house that wanted desperately to be photographed from behind. And I got the mad skills yo!

 Early in the morning and it was friggin cold out there!
Maybe it was the wind blowing across the ice...

 Hey look!
Out in the clear water was a Hooded Merganser!
Of course they weren't going to come any closer for me, butt at least he gave me the right view.

 I should mention that I am quite close to downtown Cleveland at Wendy Park.
And of course there's a Double-crested Cormorant searching the Cuyahoga River for something unfrozen to eat...

 Yep, more of my favorite gully type birds...hmmm...are those Lesser or Greater Black-backed Gulls on the breakwall?
Who cares...they're gulls.
Oh wait! I care! I almost forgot that I live in Bizarro World now.

 Right, and I saw 79 Northern River Otters walking through Public Square.

 Cold Duck.
Mallards to be exact.

 A poor lonely Lesser Scaup looking for friends.
I wasn't good enough.
Maybe because I can't swim.
"It's cool...I'll be fine...don't worry about me..."
Poor lil duckie.

 Yeah, it wasn't 60 standing by the lake.
Not even close!
I've been out there in worse though.

 I watched this Red-tailed Hawk chasing pigeons.
No luck for him...he gave up and had a rest atop this pole.
I never saw one chase pigeons before.

 This is one of those hidden picture photos.
Find the gull.
Good luck.
Prize winners will be announced in 4 years...

 I'm still like a little kid(watch it!) 
I get excited when I see tug boats chugging through the harbor.
 This is why I took the day off...wait, I was sick...yeah...and on the way to the doctors office I saw this Ross's Goose!
Yeah, that's the answer...yep.

 Why are you looking at me like that?
Would I lie?

I'll leave you now with this lovely feathery fanny.

And good luck with that other behind in Washington. That's a butt shot I can live without.

See ya!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Just Some Burdz I Saw...part 797b...the finale...at long last..(you're welcome.)

 Just another old coot staring me down...

Yes kiddies, at long last we've reached the end of our rope...uh...I mean my travel photos from Asheville. And you secretly hoped it would go on forever didn't you? Imagine me with a slide projector and a monotone voice, what fun! Hmmm...must be why only 12 people showed up at my last presentation...
My audience at the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge presentation from December.
And you missed it...

So...back to Asheville, North Carolina...we did see a few ducks and watery type birdies on our morning walks...through the haze and smoke of the ever present forest fires(which have nothing to do with global climate change because our new president said so and he's a world renowned authority on all things, but I digress...)

Where was I?...watery birds! Yep, we saw a few. I was expecting to see more ducks, but you never know with things with wings. So...here ya go, the last of the photos...then next week...WHO KNOWS WHAT COULD HAPPEN!!! (Yoiks, I better think of something quick!)

 Appropriate graffiti eh?

 One of these days I'm going to get a Belted Kingfisher to sit still!
Maybe a little super glue here and there...nah...

 This is what a Belted Kingfisher looks like from way behind!
He made a nice "sploot" sound.

 A pair of Buffleheads before they spotted me spying on them...

 The same pair of Buffleheads after they saw me.
Rude ducks....or were they posing for "Birds From Behind?"
We'll never know for sure...

 Yep...just a little bit of mist and smoke out there!
There was a flock of Canada Geese hiding in that fog back there somewhere...

 Pied-billed Grebes were plentiful!

 I got a bounty of butts!
Everyone including this Great Blue Heron was trying to escape from my camera!

 Bad Killdeer.
He had to take a time out for using profanity.

There's a joke I want to use, butt I'd end up in profanity prison like the Killdeer.
What do you call a fat lazy Mallard?


  Did I mention plenty of Pied-bills?
Boy, I could go for some pie right now...

 I have no idea what was up with this Ring-necked Duck...
The look in his eyes scared me and I ran away.

 I think the female gave him the cold shoulder and he decided to try and play dead.
I don't think she cared...

 By the way, if you are ever in downtown Asheville, don't stand still too long.
They have knitting gangs and they'll cover you up!
Street sculptures, bicycles, parking meters and more were covered.
Very odd folks down there...but I mean that in a nice way!

I'll leave with some Pied-billed booty!
Have a great time out there chasing some birds!

Until next time...