Thursday, January 21, 2010

Birdin' with Bob...

Whine, whine, whine! Bob wants his own binos now...what will be next?

Never go birding in the winter with a Chipmunk. All they do is complain..."I could be hibernatin', all warm and cozy in my den with my nuts!" In truth he's not hibernating, he's free loading off me and the Doodles.

We left home for the weekend to visit our BirdMobile buddies, Hugh and Judy and some of our friends from Black Swamp and Ottawa NWR. I decided it wouldn't be a wise thing to leave the Bob at home alone, think of the film "Home Alone" and you may get an idea of what could happen. Being the kind fellow that I am, I shoved him in my coat pocket and off we went!

Our first birding stop, and his last, was Ottawa NWR. They opened the hidden areas for a driving tour and we thought we may see something a dark headed Herring Gull or a Canada Goose, you know, something REALLY thrilling! Anyway, we never drove through in the winter, so what the heck...

Good eye Bob! His only spot before he took a nap was this American Tree Sparrow in the road.

You know it's cold when the Bald Eagles take a break from nest building to cuddle together!

And cue the Canada Goose fly by...
You can't visit Ottawa without the Canadians or the Bald Eagles giving a fly by.

Judy got sick of Bob and decided to get out of the car and scout ahead.

HI! That's me and my face is frozen...I think Bob is making a face from the dashboard.
Speaking of 'face!" I have a Face Book page more free time!

A Northern Mockingbird, mocking me from behind!

This is what Ottawa looks like when it's frozen.
Ignore the sign, no ducks...

Oh, but there WERE hundreds of Trumpeter Swans!
Judy and I have hundreds of photos of them also.

"Ewwww, my paws are cold!" He spent most of the time over the heater vents.

By the way, I know Bob is really a Ground Squirrel, but HE doesn't know that! Please, if you see him out birding with us, keep it hush-hush. Thanks!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Loopy and the Doodles in...

The Mistake by the Lake!

Photo number one...emailed...
So, there we are, me, the Doodles and Hudy driving through Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge in my happy little bird car...looking for birds. When all of a sudden, Judy (aka Hudy) perks up and calls out that one of the three gulls she sees has a black head, and I don't mean acne!

Now this time of year on the shores of Lake Erie, one does not see black headed gulls, and if you do, something exciting is about to happen. After I hear her sighting, and being the spry fellow that I am, I burst forth from the vehicle, camera in hand to capture this odd bird in our gray sky.

I get off a couple of shots before it flies off into the murkiness of foggy Lake Erie. When we return to the warm comfort of the Black Swamp Bird Observatory we share our sightings of this mysterious visitor. BSBO is a-buzz!

Later that evening, among a number of guests at the abode of the Hudy's, the gull was the center of discussion. many field guides were consulted. Paul Baicich, Judy, Hugh, Rene and myself, all puzzling over this strange traveller from a distant land. Many gulls were named...Franklin's Gull...Laughing Gull...Franklin's Gull again...could this be it? I pointed out a common gull in my Sibley's guide, no silly boy, everyone was dreaming big! Something important had arrived on the North Coast and we needed to make a positive id!

When in doubt, send photos to an expert...who do we know close by that is an expert? Maybe Kimmay will know who to contact! She tells us there's this guy named Kenn, he's pretty good with odd birds! After many long attempts at emailing my photos from an unfamiliar computing station...success! Now to wait...

Photo number two emailed....waiting...

Photo number three...emailed...still waiting...

I received the answer the following morning...I opened the email...slowly..cautiously...reading the details of the proper identification of a gull by a professional...going step by step from bill to butt...colors...hmmm...patterns...hmmm...primaries...yep...secondaries...dromedaries...wha?
It was...a...a...a...
...Stoopid Herring Gull with odd markings. Nothing exciting on the North Coast after all. Nothing to post on the list serve. Nothing to write an article about and become famous. Nutz.
Sorry I wasted your time with this blog, but boy did I have fun!
We did see a few other birds out in the freezing weather. You'll have to wait a little longer to see those! Thanks!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I'm STILL bored with snow!

I think this Magnolia Warbler has turned it's back on me...I'm sooo sad now...

Yep, still not liking it.

We had a weekend at the BirdMobile, actually we stayed at our neighbors, Judy and Hugh's place (aka HUDY). Seeing that we don't have heat or water, it wouldn't be a comfortable visit in our little hideaway. Plus they're great hosts and always have wonderful meals to share.

We had a great visit with a group of bird buddies, I showed my Ecuador presentation to warm everyone up! A group of folks are planning a February trip to the Mindo area of Ecuador and we thought that this would give them an idea of what they may see.

We also did a little birding in the snow and slush. The weatherman said the temps would be above freezing. I guess 32.7 technically IS above freezing, but my fingers couldn't tell! Bob the Chipmunk came along to do a little birding also. He's been a good boy, so what the heck, he's bored with the hibernation thing, let's get out for a road trip. When I download and edit a few pics I'll post them for your viewing pleasure.

In the it spring yet?

This is a hard one to figure out!
A female Common Yellowthroat...from behind of course!

My one and only shot of a Connecticut Warbler.
I'll bet he's having better weather than me!

Magnolia's are plentiful in May at Magee and every one is gorgeous!

I wonder if Nashville is having a cold and snowy time?

I'll bet this Northern Parula is having a nice time in Central America right now...I'm still waiting for his postcard...

Stayed tuned for some snowy, icy, frigid, uncomfortable birding posts...without many birds. After all, they are smarter than us!