Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Anybody Seen Any Otters Out There?



 So...a couple of weeks ago(obviously) it was quite warm and I suddenly came down with a mysterious illness and couldn't make it to work! I decided to take an aspirin and a convertible hoping that would ease my pain. It seemed to work and I figured I may as well go for a ride and see if I can some silly otters. I went to Pond Brook Reservation. I should know better by now. I found plenty of mud. Yep, mostly mud. My car is muddy now as well. Stoopid otters...




I did feel better though...(don't tell my boss...)
 
 The first sign of spring up here...no... not the American Robin! 
The real first sign is the Red-winged Blackbird. I didn't see one.

 Another good sign! The "weeds" are coming up!
I love dandelions.
We have a foot of snow now.
I don't think the dandelions are still there.

 With all of the unseasonable warmth(not climate change by the way) the frogs were out singing en masse.
Again, as of today, that water is frozen. Hopefully some of those green guys will make it through.

 Seriously?

 This Green Frog popped up to say hello.
I think he saw his shadow and we're going to have 5 more weeks of winter.
More accurate than a silly ground hog.
It's true.

 I watched for a while....not because I thought the Woodpecker may be home, I was stuck in the mud.
Oops.

 This White-breasted Nuthatch was laughing at me.
Some folks think that's their call, nope, that's them laughing at us.

 O-boy! A new book!  The NEW NEOTROPICAL COMPANION is a fantastic book covering all of the American tropics. It covers the species and the habitats from rain forests to cloud forests and more. It's an outstanding book if you're planning any trips to South or Central America for birding.
PLUS it features some wonderful photography by my good friend(and amazing guide!) Edison Buenano!

Not to change the subject...well yeah, I'm changing it...can't help myself!
Maybe the president and his staff of intellectuals should invest in a White-breasted Nuthatch!
As you can see, they are excellent at finding bugs...

Happy trails my buddies! Until we meet again...
 Vía con Dios amigos!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Oooooo! A Small Furry Mammanil!!!!

 Yep...it's a muskrat...
 Still no stoopid otters! BAH!

 So...there I was, about 4 o'clock in the afternoon. I'm bored and sick of doing chores. Why, I have a swell idea! I think I'll go birding! Hey kids! Let's go to Cuyahoga Valley National Park and look for otters...or beavers...or maybe even a bird or two! Gee, this sounds like a peachy keen idea. Maybe we can put on a play after.

Okay, so I was watching Little Rascals and Leave It To Beaver that afternoon...ah, life in simple black and white with no smart phones...

I really did go to my local national park. How lucky am I? It was very peaceful when I arrived at about 5pm. Just a few bikers, joggers and wanderers like myself. As I got closer to the large wetland where I've heard rumors of otters and beavers, they do call this area the "Beaver Marsh," but I have yet to see one, a boy about 4 or 5 came up to me and said "Sir(very polite youngster!) have you seen the beavers today?"  Remembering to be kind to young people, I didn't go off about how I've never seen a single one of those blasted beavers OR the otters and I think they don't truly exist and are actually alternative facts playing games with our minds...nope, I just smiled and said "Why, no young lad, I have not seen the aforementioned beavers scurrying about on this fine afternoon." Of course, no sooner did I say that when we heard a splash close by in the water. (Of course the splash was in the water, Dave! Where else would it be?!) We all ran to the edge of the path to see....a muskrat.

Those are real. I've seen them before. Lots of times. Too many times. The boy was really excited anyway. Which put me in the proper frame of mind. Everything can be new and wondrous to someone and we shouldn't take everything in our natural world, no matter how common, for granted. With the changes our environment is going through, any day these wonders may cease.


 The Canada Geese were kind enough to pose...facing the proper direction for me.

 There's an Eastern Screech Owl that roosts in this hole...except for today.
I watched it anyway.
You never know HOO may show up!

 Even though there are many Great Blue Herons in this area, I'm always fascinated by them.
Something tasty caught his eye...

 His head went like an arrow into the muck.
KERPLUNK!

 And he caught a nice appetizer!

 Gotta let it wiggle for a minute...

 I sure am glad I don't have to fish with my face.

 Let's zoom in a bit...hmmm...looks like it may be a tadpole!
Nummy!

 Swallowing it whole...nah, I like my food cooked...and de-boned.

 The show is over. 
He's going to find a place without some skinny guy shooting a hundred photos of him while he eats...
I'm so rude some times...

 I love the iridescence of Mallards heads.

 Every time I heard something in the water in the reeds and weeds I shot a photo.
Ya know, those otters and beavers might be real...

 Fresh from a winters muddy nap, this Midland Painted Turtle came out for a little soak in the sun!
Seems like a great idea to me!

 I liked how this Mourning Dove ducked his head out of the sun so he could see what I was doing.
And people say they ain't so smart...

 One of my favorite little feathery friends!
I love hearing the Song Sparrows singing their hearts out for love.
Good luck lil buddy!

 I managed to sneak up behind this Cedar Waxwing to get a shot of his special presidential do.
They're such trendy stylish birds...

Well, that's all for today...aawwww...You'll get over it!

Until next week, get out there and rekindle YOUR sense of wonder!



Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Success at Last...More From Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge...

 I heard a splash in the little crrek just across from me...was it an Otter?
Nope, I couldn't find a thing...nary a Soul...
One day you blasted otter! ONE DAY!

So...after viewing the Northern Saw-whet Owl...A LIFER... I went over to the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge just down the road.They were having an anniversary event...with cake!...for the Friends Of Ottawa (of which I am a proud member!) After saying hello to friends inside, I went on the driving tour around the refuge. Though it was late in the afternoon, and I was full from the delicious food from Blackberry Corners (shameless plug for THE best pie!) I made it around the loop and even managed to see a few birds....just a few...

 Yep. M R DUCKS.
M R Gadwalls.
O S M R.
Yep.

 I've been to Ottawa quite a few times.
I always love it when someone asks "Have you seen any eagles?"
I always say, wait a second then look up.
There was a least a dozen or more that I saw this day!

 A good day for Northern Harriers too!
I saw one at Magee and there were two in this field at Ottawa.
This guy chased the other away.

 It was fun watching him zoom back and forth low over the fields.
...sometimes hovering a bit in the wind...

 ...then dropping in to say "hello" to the critters below.
I never did see him catch anything, but he was on the ground for a few minutes a couple of times...enough for a quick snack?

 Northern Pintails...you can tell by the pin tails...and they're flying north...
See, you learned something today...alternative facts...that's what we got here!

 The real sign of spring around here is the Red-winged Blackbird.
This was a noisy one that loved hearing his own voice...hmmm...reminds me of someone...and not me!

 Trumpeter Swans love to play hide and seek.
Another fun fact!...that I made up...
I gonna run for prezidenk...yep.

 There were a number of young Trumpeters too!
Would they be Cornets?

 Did I mention my LIFER NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL?
Oh, okay...just making sure...

By the way, Trumpeters DO NOT like being photographed from behind.
Just so ya know...I'm here for you...

See ya soon!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Success At Last!...


 HA!
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...