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Showing most liked content since 06/26/17 in all areas

  1. 19 likes
    It was a good morning for bird photography at a marsh near me. I photographed these birds, along with others, within a couple of hours at the same location. Common Yellowthroat Cerulean Warbler (this is a different one from my previous posts, seems to be a lot of them in the area this year) Bald Eagle ~ juvenile
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    Mountain Quail by mattag2002, on Flickr
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    Black-billed Magpie by jeffroscoe, on Flickr
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    Another Common Nighthawk Anahauc NWR 7-17 Common Nighthawk 2 Anahauc NWR by johnd1964, on Flickr
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    I have 2 favs, again, today An immature Mississippi Kite. I think they are so interesting looking, and so different from what they will end up looking like! MIKI07122017 by Michelle Summers, on Flickr This Northern Cardinal was enjoying a cool sprinkler bath, on a hot Summer day in Texas. Even has his tongue hanging out, to catch a few drops LOL NOCA07122017 by Michelle Summers, on Flickr
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    A couple of my favs, so far, from my trip to Lubbock, Texas a week ago... Burrowing Owl, saying "Don't mess with Texas!" BUOW07162017 by Michelle Summers, on Flickr The Burrowing Owl in this shot was an accident, because I'm easily distracted and the beautiful Black-tailed Jackrabbits are very distracting Not a technically good shot, because the light was low and they were far away, but I still like it a lot BUOWJackRabbit07172017 by Michelle Summers, on Flickr
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    Spruce Grouse - July 17, 2017
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    Yellow Crowned Night Heron chicks
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    My favorite shots from this week... Eastern Bluebird family EABB07022017 by Michelle Summers, on Flickr White-eyed Vireo WEVI07022017 by Michelle Summers, on Flickr Eastern Tiger Swallowtail TigerSwallowtail07022017 by Michelle Summers, on Flickr
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    Great Horned Owls - July 4, 2017
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    Just got back from a week of birding in Arizona. Added 71 lifers, thanks to everyone who gave me tips on where to go and what to see! Highlights were Say's Phoebe (lifer #300), California Condor, Common Crane, Rose-throated Becard, Tufted Flycatcher, Thick-billed Kingbird, Violet-crowned Hummingbird, Lucifer Hummingbird, Varied Bunting, Montezuma Quail, and more!
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    DSCN5909 common nighthawk by Brian Marra, on Flickr DSCN5905 common nighthawk by Brian Marra, on Flickr DSCN5870 burrowing owl by Brian Marra, on Flickr DSCN5880 grasshopper sparrow by Brian Marra, on Flickr
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    Now that I've gotten to the few shots I took today, I do have a best photo of today Painted Bunting, peeking in my kitchen window today I love the view in Paradise!! PABU07232017 by Michelle Summers, on Flickr
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    Mississippi Kite,only breeding pair in jersey,its a little north of its range..
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    Barn Swallow Barn Swallow (Juv.) by Johnny, on Flickr
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    Great Horned Owls - July 11, 2017
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    My 2 faves from today... Bewick's Wren, in my garden BEWR07112017 by Michelle Summers, on Flickr This Giant Swallowtail really looks like a giant, compared to the tiny Sweat Bee!! GiantSwallowtail07112017 by Michelle Summers, on Flickr
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    I recently came back from a four day trip with my mom to Virginia Beach and the Outer Banks, which was mainly focused on birding. I had a list of targets in mind, and surprisingly succeeded in finding most of them! On the first day of my vacation, we stayed in VA Beach. We visited a lot of the same spots my YBC went to in Winter, so I was somewhat familiar with the area. I arrived at the hotel at night, and quickly went to sleep - I had a long day of birding coming up! I went to Fort Monroe first thing in the morning where I got lifers Common Tern and Black Skimmer! We then drove over to Pleasure House Point where I got brief views of lifer Clapper Rails in flight and swimming through the reeds. Our third stop for the day was Back Bay NWR, where my main target was the continuing Fork Tailed Flycatcher. After three hours with no luck on the bird, I left, but a walk on the beach with a couple other birders did provide life bird Sandwich Tern, on a sandbar with Royal, Common, and Forster’s terns as well. We then started on the drive to Fort Macon in Morehead City, North Carolina, a place that has reliable Wilson’s Plover, Painted Bunting, and has hosted a pair of Shiny Cowbirds for the past two months. However, on the drive to Morehead, I checked the eBird hotspots around the area and found out that we were only minutes away from Croatan National Forest, a place with consistent sightings of Brown Headed Nuthatch, Red Cockaded Woodpecker, and best of all, Bachmans Sparrow! I decided to go there first thing in the morning, when the sparrows would be singing in full force, and bird at Fort Macon later in the day. Croatan was very remote; the most recent birding that has been done there was in June, and we only encountered one other vehicle, a maintenance van, on the drive through the forest. Apart from picking up life bird Brown Headed Nuthatch, the first hour was very slow at the forest. The habitat, open pine forest, was nearly identical to the forests at Piney Grove, where my YBC went in June. I spotted a tree with two spray painted red rings on the base. I remembered those rings were used to mark the nesting trees of RCWO at Piney Grove, so I waited by the tree, and of course, in less than two minutes, a pair of Red Cockaded Woodpeckers, with one looking like a juvenile, was foraging in the tree less than 50 feet away from me! After a good ten minutes of looking at the woodpeckers we continued down the road, until I heard the distinctive song of a Bachman’s Sparrow! I traced the bird to a pine tree, about sixty feet away. I moved in closer for photos until I was only about thirty feet from the bird! Then more birds started singing, and soon it seemed like this small patch of woods was completely filled with the sparrows. I counted at least eight, and I was glad to see a few fledgelings among them. It was reassuring that this declining species has a stronghold here at Croatan. I really do hope they go through with the plan to reintroduce them to Piney Grove, it would be spectacular to have this sweet little sparrow back in Virginia. Fledgeling: We then proceeded on to Fort Macon, where almost instantly I found the male Shiny Cowbird and a female painted bunting, both lifers, at the feeder. It was interesting seeing a close up “white-eyed” eastern towhee at the feeders as well, since VA got it’s second or third record of the subspecies just a short while ago. I then walked to the beach, which was full of Wilson’s Plover. I even managed to see two chicks! The plovers had an interesting defense strategy; whenever I came too close to a nest, one of them led me away with dramatic calling and movements. The plover then flew back to it’s nest, only to be replaced by another plover, shooing me even further from the nesting site! It was strange seeing a mix of birds in nonbreeding, breeding, and weird "in-between" plumages. The bird in the photo is in nonbreeding plumage. Getting dive bombed by lifer Least Terns was also an odd experience. But I only saw the female Painted Bunting, and never got a shot of the Shiny Cowbird, so I went back to the feeders, and sure enough, after a solid ten minute wait time, both birds popped up. I even got them both in the same (bad) photo! The wait time seemed much shorter though, as I was talking with two other birders, Mr. Jason Strickland and his wife, about areas where I can get some of my target species. I found out that I was in the wrong place at Fort Monroe, I was supposed to be at the northernmost point to see gull billed tern, one of my biggest targets, while I was at the southernmost point. I thanked him for the help, and showed him where to see the Bachmans Sparrow, a bird he really wanted. That’s when I realized my life list was at 299!!! I started out the next day at Pea Island, hoping for Gull Billed Tern, Marbled Godwit and Seaside Sparrow but only coming out with a ton of mosquito bites. After this failure, We went north to Fort Monroe for another shot at the GBTE. In less than half an hour a pair of gull billed terns flew right over me, just as Mr. Strickland had said. That’s when it dawned on me- Lifer number 300, Gull Billed Tern! We had around two hours before we had to head home, so I decided to give the fork tailed flycatcher another shot. After a full 90 minutes I saw no FTFL, and surprisingly no Seaside Sparrows either, another trip target. I did, however, get nice photos of a close immature great blue heron. It was a fantastic trip, and I succeeded in getting eleven out of my fifteen target species! The biggest misses were FTFL, PIPL and Seaside Sparrow. The trip also more than doubled my tern list, bringing it up from four to nine. Some other fun stuff that happened in late June and early July include getting lifers Willow Flycatcher, Yellow-breasted Chat and Cliff Swallow- a pair is nesting under a local bridge and drawing in birders from reasonable distances away; I never knew they were this sought-after in my area. I chased the Willow Flycatchers three times in May, as there are a couple breeding pairs in a local marsh and it seemed like everyone who birded there was seeing them - everyone except me. It's funny because I went in the early morning and evening in May, which are supposed to be the best times to see them (and hear them sing), but the time I actually got them was around noon in late June. I'm going to visit my cousins in Northern New Jersey, in Warren, over the weekend, and since they'll probably be out of the house for most of the day I'm planning to go bike to some hotspots around there, where I'll be looking for Bobolink, Veery and Marsh Wren. I'm super excited for Camp Colorado, which is in sixteen days, and if all goes well I could easily get my life list over 350 by the end of the summer!
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    We found some Swallow-tailed Kites today—one of my favorite birds. They are quite large with a wingspan of up to 4.5ft.. One has to witness their speed and grace to fully appreciate it. They eat insects in flight, and also eat snakes, frogs, caterpillars, crickets and beetles. Forbush says, “It sometimes alights and walks about in pursuit of grasshoppers.” They drink like swallows by skimming the surface of the water.
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    Way behind...just going through photos from a couple weeks ago. This young Red-tailed Hawk was very calm. It let me walk right under its perch about 15 ft high.
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    From today...King Rail Two adults and at least three fuzzy black babies: Some King Rail would taste good about now...
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    Black-billed Magpie - July 7, 2017
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    Pretty bird of Mexico! Red-legged Thrush
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    Here are two more from Hackberry Flat (from 6+ weeks ago, as I will never be caught up). DSCN6089 texas horned lizard by Brian Marra, on Flickr DSCN6057 texas horned lizard by Brian Marra, on Flickr
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    I'm liking this Dickcissel very much. Sometimes a good photo just makes me think " ahh yes, that's a keeper!
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    Barred Owl, Radnor Lake by hbvol50, on Flickr Barred Owl, preening 2017 by hbvol50, on Flickr
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    Green Heron Green Heron by Johnny, on Flickr
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    Broad-billed Hummingbird by Max Leibowitz, on Flickr
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    DSCN6188 greater roadrunner by Brian Marra, on Flickr DSCN6204 barn owl by Brian Marra, on Flickr
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    Tag!! You're it!... What the...!!??
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    This one Yellow Crowned Night Heron chicks or this one Glossy Ibis chick
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    Spent the past couple days up in the Adirondacks, camping with a friend of mine and of course birding (also getting hailed on during a storm) to target the boreal species I'm still missing - which is to say all of them. I started on Whiteface Mountain, with no shortage of Winter Wrens - had them at both the summit and trailhead 3000 feet lower. Also had some Bicknell's Thrushes, but in classic Bicknell's fashion they never wanted to get all that close or even a look. The Bicknell's were best heard from the same rock we had this view from so not all was lost: On the way down I got a quick glimpse of a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, another one of my targets, most likely visiting a nest. http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S37853514 We took a midday nap at our lean-to and then began another two hour hike up hoping to see a Bicknell's this time. Instead, about halfway through the hike we hear distant thunder; I look up to see the southwest side of the sky uniformly dark gray and text my mother to see what's going on. She checks the radar and advises we head back down, curbing our chances of seeing Bicknell's but also curbing our chances of getting caught in the storm. Not long after, a piece of ice falls into my hand and realize it's hailing; a few minutes later the trail looked like this: This morning my friend and I woke up at 3:30 to hike back from the lean-to to the car, and headed out to Bloomingdale Bog for other boreal treats. It was not more than 5-10 minutes after exiting the car that a couple Gray Jays flew in and investigated us. I took out some pecans we still had, put a couple on my hand, and lo and behold one of the jays landed on my hand and took their snack. The other jay soon followed when my friend put his hand out holding a couple tantalizing nuts. Since we were a bit pressed for time we moved on, although the jays followed us for a bit. Not long after I heard and located a Black-backed Woodpecker, which gave nice views for about 30 seconds and then flew off. There wasn't too much else of note in the bog; I probably would've had more success if I could have stayed beyond 8:45 but I'll take hand-feeding Gray Jays any day. http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S37852796
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    Summer Tanager by Mark Goodwin, on Flickr
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    My favorite processed yesterday, taken 6/18/17. These Tree Swallow babies didn't seem to notice the bird landing was a Purple Martin, and not their Mom. They just wanted it to insert food into their mouths LOL TRSW06182017-6 by Michelle Summers, on Flickr
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    Maybe not the best photo from today, but it's definitely the best subject!
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    A normal bird for you Easteners, but special for me!! Eastern Phoebe by Elisa Yang, on Flickr
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    Western Kingbird by jeffroscoe, on Flickr
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    Guess people briefly realized they have lives outside of Whatbird... what a notion!
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    Heatwave in N California today - this is the birdbath in my front yard. Hawks often use my front yard for their drive-through dining needs.
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    Not exactly what I expected to see when I woke up this morning... Magnificent Frigatebird, Point Pelee, Ontario : Fregata magnificens_2017-06-30_00089_small on Flickr
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    I just got back from my month long family vacation in Kauai. Although I hadn't been primarily birding recently, I still picked up some lifers since last time I posted including Black Noddy (over a hundred) and Pacific Golden-Plover. The real treat however, was seeing this awesome and sadly very endangered Akikiki, or "Kauai Creeper", with an estimated 460 individuals remaining in the world (endemic to Kauai). The species isn't building any sort of immunity to the avian malaria that keeps spreading higher in altitude in sync with the disease bearers, mosquitoes, which are advancing into the last remaining Akikiki habitat. Long day hikes or camping trips are required in order to get into the good habitat. This guy gave me great lifer looks, and sat still preening for a long time, yet never positioning itself in very good lighting. Akikiki - Kauai Creeper by David Tonnessen, on Flickr Other shots: Kauai Amakihi preening by David Tonnessen, on Flickr Kauai Elepaio front by David Tonnessen, on Flickr Black Noddy by David Tonnessen, on Flickr Despite an incredibly fulfilling experience on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, it's great to be back for another two summer months in Colorado!
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    My favorite processed today...Carolina Wren CAWR02102016 by Michelle Summers, on Flickr
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    Momma Wood Duck-2.jpg by chipperatl2, on Flickr Baby Wood Duck-3.jpg by chipperatl2, on Flickr
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    Pueo ( Hawaiian short eared owl)
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    one more piping plover chick