Monday, October 5, 2015

Books and Books and MORE Books!

 Oboy! It's just like Christmas when I get new bird and bug books to peruse! They come in handy for trying to figure out what the heck I took a photo of last weekend...or a few years ago. Here's four of my latest additions to the library...

 I discovered hoverflies (or flowerflies as they're known in the U.S.) a few years ago when I started using a macro lens to shoot flowers and bee bumbles in our garden. These little beauties mimic bees and wasps and gather nectar from flowers. Their mimicry makes them appear as an insect that can sting and should be avoided as food by predators, but they're harmless tiny pollinators.

An image from the guide on their life cycle.

"Britain's Hoverflies, A Field Guide" by Stuart Ball and Roger Morris is a wonderful guide to these tiny gems of the gardens. Illustrated with photos of 167 of the most common and easily identified species of Britain, it also has a complete list of the 283 species recorded in Great Britain.

It has at least one member of each genera with ID info, similar species and observation tips, whether it's a large or small species or a fuzzy bee bumble copy cat, colours and other noticeable features.. A range map with expected dates is shown for each as well. If you have the slightest interest in what may be lurking in your gardens, this would be a great addition to your buggy library. I would love to find a version of this guide for North American flower flies!

This Eristalis transversa sp. was taken here in Ohio, but, like me, they have relatives in Britain too!
(Page 200 if you're curious!)

Me and The Doodles made a visit to Britain a number of years ago to visit a friend and chase birds. This book would have made a great addition to our luggage! We didn't see a lot of butterflies as we spent most of the time looking up into the trees and worrying about driving on the "wrong" side of the road!

"Britain's Butterflies, A field guide to the butterflies of Britain and Ireland" by David Newland, Robert Still, Andy Swash and David Tomlinson is another great book in the "Wild Guides" series.

Like the hoverfly guide, this is a photographic guide with outstanding photos throughout. It covers all 59 species species commonly found, plus a dozen rarities that could also be spotted on a fine sunny day. Each species has a detailed description, habitat and behaviour information, population and conservation facts and info on the life cycle from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis. Also listed are look alike species and where to look to find your favorite.

If you're new to butterflies, what took you so long?! If you're out birding, you should be looking at butterflies also, they're closer to the ground normally and it will give your neck a rest! For the beginner, this guide describes the life cycle, biology and habitats that you will need to know. It also has a nice "key features" illustration to teach you the parts of a flutterby.

All in all, a tremendous and compact guide to carry in your pack or place on your desk.

This is a Silver-studded Blue, one of the many great photos in this guide.

 This is a Peacock butterfly, the only butterfly I photographed while in England.

 The "Wild Guide" series from Princeton also have plastic covers to keep them clean and dry when you're in the field, handy when you drop the book running and screaming with something a little larger buzzing after you!
Now we're going a little south of the equator...

 "Birds of South America, passerines" by Ber van Perlo would have been wonderful to have on our trips to Ecuador and Panama! Very compact and excellently illustrated, it amazingly covers all 1,952 passerine species that may be found south of Panama to the Antarctic mainland.

This guide would be easy to use for anyone familiar with the Sibley's or Peterson's style of guide. As you can see by the sample page below, each species has range maps, descriptions of coloring and calls and plumage variations between males, females and juveniles where needed. I liked the family descriptions in the beginning of the book, broken down by Tyrannidae, Cotingidae and more, it gives you a quick reference of which family of birds o further research.

While the guide we carried on our trip was VERY thorough  and was split and rebound between illustrations and descriptions, it was heavy and left at our lodge the entire time. This book, on the other hand, is compact enough to be easily used and carried daily. If you should have the chance to visit South America, DO IT! The amount of birds you will see is dizzying. The views, the rain forests, cloud forests, rivers, mountains, jungles and the friends that you'll make, are things that will stay with you for the rest of your life...just like this guide.

A beautifully illustrated page from "Birds of South America."
 This Glossy Flowerpiercer was near Mindo and Reserva Las Gralarias in Ecuador.
Its description can be found on page 152!

"Birds and Animals of Australia's Top End" by Nick Leseberg & Iain Campbell is another one of the fine books in the Wild Guides series from Princeton University Press.

This guide covers most anything you could possibly see while visiting the Northern Territory of Australia(on my list of things to do when I win the lottery!) Nick and Iain are excellent guides from Tropical Birding that I've met several times at Magee Marsh here in Ohio. I don't think I'll be able to find any of these birds up here though...

Filled with vivid photographs of everything from Egrets to Echidnas, this would be an ideal small guide to keep on hand during your visit to the land down under. This has all the most common creatures you're likely to spy while wandering the varied habitats up north.

It gives you great information on equipment to bring, when to watch and the best parks and reserves to visit to find Cockatoos and Crocs. The species descriptions are great with wonderful photography, detailed descriptions and where to find them.

I thoroughly enjoyed my "imaginary visit" by reading through this book. If you're planning a trip south for the winter, this would be a perfect addition to your binoculars and camera...and me.

And there ya are! Waaaayyyyy up north!
 The ever so cheerful Iain Campbell. I have that effect on people...that's why I take photos of birds...

Okay kids, while you're at the book store browsing for your new guides, I'll get a few birdie photos for next time!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Out Birding at Last!

 It must be autumn cause this is an Autumn Amberwing...

I finally escaped into the wild with my camera Sunday! I met up with my brother, the infamous Phillio, you know the guy who now is a birder, that I dragged out to Magee Marsh for a little too long...twice, the guy who set me on fire when I was a kid, AND broke my collar bone trying to impress a girl? Yeah, him.(I had to say that stuff because it makes him crazy!...I can hear him now "JUST LET IT GO DAVE!") Anyway, where was I?

Oh, Cuyahoga Valley National Park...that's where we was! Very close to the new homestead, saving gas and being more fuel efficient...or is it "fool" efficient...I'm one of those, you pick. Sooooo, anyway we went to the Ira Road trailhead and walked along the beaver marsh(no beavers) to see what was looking to be seen. And there were a few sights to see, including a few birds!

And here's a little photo trip for your enjoyment...or keeps me busy and out of trouble...sort of.

 I don't generally think fall warblys are that confusing...butt this guy zooming bakc and forth WAY overhead...eesh!

 He kinda sat still...for a second with the bright sky above him...yeah...that helps...not.

 Finally in some time to focus, just shoot!
He turned out to be a Bay-breasted Warbly!
(I even double checked with my buddy Jim!)

A nice warm day and the Bee Bumbles were busy on the wildflowers.

This Canada Goose apparently spent some time in the gardens at the Art Museum.
...posing like art...pooping like nobodies business.

Let's all watch the color blind guy try to find the Cedar Waxwing in the green tree!
They should all hold signs up for me...

 I don't know what this Eastern Chipmunk was eating, but he had that weird blank stare for the longest time.

This is a Green Heron in its famous "I'm a stick" pose.
I think he could have stretched his neck just a little further...

Midland Painted Turtles.
The one of the left is high centered and can't get traction.
The one on the right is pretending to be a rocket ship.
I asked him... that's what he said.

 Speaking of rockets(clever segue, eh?!)...this Red-bellied Woodpecker found a nice nut and was high tailing it out of there before the competition found out!

 Yep...that's a Red-tailed Hawk WAYYYYY up there.

 Not a hawk.
A Snapping Turtle sizing up my skinny bones to see if I'm worth a nibble.

 This White-breasted Nuthatch was ever so busy moving his stash from this part of the tree... this part of the same full view of all the other laughing nuthatches.
(That's the sound of a nuthatch laughing.)

That's a flower. I could tell because it didn't fly away. 

 I must thank the nice fellow birder that pointed out the Wood Ducks hidden away in the reeds.
We walked right past them and didn't notice...Lewis' don't always pay attention.

(Wood Ducks can be rude...)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Left Overs...

 This Eastern Kingbird was with its mate at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge.

No time to bird this summer with selling Birdland and finding a new humble abode(MUCH closer to work I might add!) These pics are from a newly discovered file from the end of Magee Marsh! My mostest favoritest place to see them lil birdie things. I like when I find folders that I forgot about...there's probably a few more floating in the crazy machine somewhere. One day...

In the meantime, until I get back out there, enjoy a day in the life of Magee Marsh! 
(Oh, yeah, and Ottawa NWR...and Metzger Marsh too!)

 "I spy with my beady eye...JUICY BUGS!"
Downy Woodpeckers get excited when they see lunch!

 I think this Yellow Warbly spotted that tiny flower fly zipping up behind him!

 Once again foiled by the ever skulking Wilson's Warbly!

 Red-eyed Vireos follow me around and watch...and laugh...that's why their eyes are red...too much laughing 'til they cry...rude.

It was fun watching these Ruddy Turnstones zigzag up and down the breakwall.

 They figured out I was watching them.
Very odd faces when you see them head on...

 I still love those singy Song Sparrows!

 Uh...Swainson's Thrush. Yeah, that's it. Maybe.

 "Hey fellas! Ya gotta check this out! Hubba-hubba!"
A male Tree Swallows big night out....

Aren't those Magnolia Warblys great?

It takes a special bird to get his beak stuck in a leaf...doh!

 I like when Grackles grack.

 I don't like it when Blandings Turtles smile at me.
They give me the creeps...

 Then I heard this Baltimorian type Oriole sing and I was all better.

Then he stuck his butt out at me...rrrrrrr.....

 Warbly booties are cute!

 I think this American Redstart was angry with me.
I think he has Marty Feldman eyes...

 Since I'm not running for president, I will offend cormorant lovers and say that Double-crested Cormorants look stoopid.
So there.

I'm always amazed when someone spots one of these out in the distance and hidden in the branches.
(If I made the photo bigger it would be too easy!)

 I don't think I'll be seeing anymore Eastern Tiger Swallowtails for a while...

 A very hard to get butterfly butt!

 This is a Flycatcher.
Yes it is.
A small one.
With wing bars...and an eye ring...yep.
It's definitely a Flycatcher.

 Taunting me with it's mysteriousness.

 I think that stoopid Cormorant laughed so loud he scared the Greta Egret(Yes, "Greta," we're close personal friends.)
Don't scare Egrets...they'll poke yer eyes out!

 Ooooo! Hiding in the leaves!
It's a Great Crested Flycatcher...hiding his great crest.
Elvis had a crest too.

I shall leave you with the flying fanny of a Great Blue Heron this week.
Don't be blue heron, there's plenty of fish and frogs!

 Thank you for visiting!