Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas ~ 2010

Merry Christmas Everyone!
I hope your day is filled with fun,
love and laughter, and lots of cheer!
Wonderful memories that will last for years!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

American Kestrel

Whenever I can, I walk a 5K stretch of beach for exercise. During the winter months, I often see an American kestrel hunting the dunes for prey. My first kestrel sighting for this year was on November 7th and I have brought my camera along with me since in hopes to capture a photo or two.

Here are a few photos I took of the kestrel perched …

… and here are a few photos of it on the wing:

Seeing this American kestrel from time-to-time makes my beach walks even more special!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Autumn Waning

Some leaves are still clinging on to the trees,
no matter how strong the northerly breeze.
Those flowers that linger are still warmed by the sun,
while others now dormant their growing is done.
As we transition towards winter, the snow and the cold,
we need to remember that there's much to behold.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

4,000+ Tree Swallows

On August 22nd, Mark and I joined our friend Jim and his birding trip along the southern coastline of Massachusetts.  One of the spots that we stopped at was Gooseberry Neck, which is part of the Horseneck Beach State Reservation in Westport.  One of my favorite things about birding coastal areas during mid-to-late August is catching large flocks of staging tree swallows before they leave and migrate south to their wintering grounds.  On this day, we caught a flock of 4,000+ tree swallows at Gooseberry Neck!  We were able to walk right through the flock along a trail that bisects the area. 

It was such a thrill to be so close to so many birds!

Bon voyage little guys!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Hawaiian Shirt Shorebird Safari 2010

On Saturday, August 7th, twelve Shorebird Safarians, all clad in Hawaiian shirts and leis, joined Mark and I for our annual Hawaiian Shirt Shorebird Safari. We met the group at Morris Island at 8:00 AM and Rip Ryder had us on South Beach by 8:30. The weather could not have been any better! The temperatures were in the low 80's with no humidity, there was a slight breeze, and the sunshine was abundant.

When we first arrived on South Beach a mixed flock of shorebirds, including a beautiful Marbled Godwit, greeted us!

Our friend Dan was very excited, as this was a life bird for him.

Everyone was having a great time enjoying the beautiful day and shorebirding.

Despite the greenheads, which were bothersome if you were not wearing long pants.

We had wonderful looks at American Oystercatchers

and Ruddy Turnstones.

We tallied 39 species for the day. While the overall number of individuals were low we had wonderful looks at the shorebirds that were present. Following is our complete trip list:

Common Loon – 1 / Double-crested Cormorant – 59 / Great Blue Heron - 3
Great Egret – 1 / Snowy Egret – 4 / Canada Goose – 12
White-winged Scoter – 1 / Osprey – 9 / Black-bellied Plover – 11
Semipalmated Plover – 400 / Piping Plover – 8 / American Oystercatcher – 14
Greater Yellowlegs – 10 / Willet – 32 / Whimbrel – 9
Hudsonian Godwit – 5 / Marbled Godwit – 3 / Ruddy Turnstone – 36
Red Knot – 10 / Sanderling – 40 / Semipalmated Sandpiper – 300
Least Sandpiper – 800 / White-rumped Sandpiper – 3 / Short-billed Dowitcher – 50
Laughing Gull – 14 / Ring-billed Gull – 50 / Herring Gull – 110
Great Black-backed Gull – 35 / Roseate Tern – 42 / Common Tern – 800
Least Tern – 12 / Black Tern – 2 / Tree Swallow – 10
Bank Swallow – 3 / Barn Swallow – 7 / Cedar Waxwing – 3
Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow – 22 / Seaside Sparrow (juv) – 1
Red-winged Blackbird – 3 / American Goldfinch – 2.


Saturday, July 31, 2010

Wild Mountain Blueberry Picking

One of things Mark and I like to do in late July is hike up Piper Mountain in New Hampshire to pick wild mountain blueberries! A friend introduced us to Piper Mountain a long time ago and we have been making the trek up ever since to pick blueberries.

This is the type of habitat where the blueberries grow.

Mark is hard at work picking blueberries.

We once met a seasoned Piper Mountain blueberry picker who was using a set up like this to pick her blueberries. I like using it because once draped around your neck your container is always close by, when you bend over it’s close to the ground, and it also allows you to have both hands free so you can pick more blueberries!

This year’s crop was bountiful!

When you are picking wild mountain blueberries you spend a lot time looking at the ground but in this habitat there is a lot to look at.

So as you work towards filing your container with blueberries your senses are never idle.

The fruits of my labor!

There is always a beautiful view to take in on your way up and back down the mountain.

We picked 11 cups of blueberries during this trip! I froze much of our bounty and will remember this day when we take them out during the winter to make blueberry pancakes and bake blueberry breads.