Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I'm back!!!!!

Yay for new computers!! It'll be much more exciting when I get internet at home, but for now I'm hanging out in a hotel in Nebraska, so I'm using their wifi and I was determined to post something on this stupid blog :)

Most people are probably aware that I visited Nikki in England this summer, and of course I went birding, so I'm going to post just a few pictures of some birds I saw. If I get around to it later, I'll write out something more thorough with pretty pictures of England and Paris, but for now, to the birds! These aren't all of them (the Hawk Zoo will come later), just the ones that were easy to post and didn't require much editing because I'm still getting the hang of the commands on this laptop.

Common Moorhen feeding his/her babies!

Pied Wagtail

Mistle Thrush

Grey Wagtail

Black-headed Gull

Little Grebe


Mute Swan

Little Egret



Egyptian Goose

Grey Heron

Greylag Goose
Like I said, I saw a LOT more than this and I even have pictures of quite a few more, I just lack the ability to edit them into something worth seeing. On my birdwatching trip to Portsmouth, I saw about 30 species of bird, and then for the rest of the trip I bet I saw maybe another 10 or 15, so it was a lot of fun. It helps to have a patient sister who indulges your birding and a brother-in-law who's willing to get up at 5:30am to take you to the train. Thanks guys!!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Sorry I've been MIA. My computer keeps freezing so I can't post anything, but I CAN post from my snazzy new phone, so here you go! This is Izzie's Christmas present. It's a little blanket with toys on each corner. She pretty much sleeps on it every day. And sometimes she plays with the mouse too!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Family Photo 2011

I know Nikki posted this to her blog already, but for anyone that checks mine and not hers...

This is the family photo we took at Thanksgiving. It's the first time we've all been together since Christmas of 2009. We didn't include Hoss on purpose, he just kind of wandered into the picture, posed, then walked off. I think we should photoshop the rest of the pets into the background. We could put each of the cats on different parts of the fence and then put Molly and Kisses playing in the background down in the right hand corner of grass. It'd be awesome :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

American Kestrel - Montrose 11/13/11

This post could also be called "Fun with Editing Software". Just so you know.

I chased this poor Kestrel all over Montrose today. The pictures are in reverse chronological order and also go from when I was closest to when I was furthest away, although you can't always tell because of all the cropping and zooming I did on the photos. Sorry if some of them are grainy. It was not a sunny day.

He really had a thing for perching on man-made structures. I think I have one of him in a tree (sapling), and the rest are all on signs and lightpoles. I wish the editing wasn't necessary and you could see him as he actually appeared in the binoculars because his colors are just gorgeous! Not that you can't tell in these, but most had to be "enhanced" and you can kind of tell.

This is my favorite picture (just a zoomed in pic of the first one)

Although this one's kind of nifty too!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Birding Montrose 10/29 & 10/30

So I ended up going out to the hedge again today to see if the Sage Thrasher was still there. It was just starting to rain and the wind was blowing, but when I walked up, someone called me over to their car and pointed to the tree that it was in. So what did I manage to do? I flushed him, of course. Argh. So I stood there in the freezing rain while my pant legs got soaked waiting to see if he would come back.

He did not.

So I went back to my car and decided to bird from the car. I saw a bird fly back into the tree and ran out to see what it was. It looked like a robin, but it didn't much matter because I flushed that daggone thing again. I went walking after him and thought I'd finally found him, but realized that the movement in the grass was just a chipmunk. I'd nearly given up hope when I saw another robin fly back into the same tree as before. So I walked back, and from the back, he really does look like a robin, but it was the Sage Thrasher. Considering it was rainy and cold and overcast, the pictures turned out pretty nicely!

The previous day was when I found the Common Gallinule. Actually it was pointed out to me twice. The first time I had walked around the edge of the half of the harbor that he'd been spotted in, but couldn't find him. So as I was walking back I ran into a group of 3 men that had binoculars and cameras and they pointed him out to me. He was really far away, though, so I only managed a couple of pretty bad shots. At the end of the day when I was trying to escape the masses of people that had come to see the Sage Thrasher, I walked back around the harbor again and another guy with a camera told me where he was, which was much more conducive to picture-taking. I already posted the best pictures, but I like this picture even though the sun wasn't out because he's about to jump in the water. I can't get over how odd his feet are.
So after I ran into the guys who pointed me in the direction of the Gallinule first, I kind of stayed with them because one of them had a son that had found a LeConte's Sparrow. It's a fairly rare sparrow for our area, so we walked over to the bush that he was in. I got one ok picture of him. I should've been able to get a really good picture of him because he kept hopping out into the open, but all the other guys had these really big, expensive cameras and I was afraid I'd flush the bird if I moved, so I didn't try too hard.

I ended up spending the rest of the day birding with those guys which was really a lot of fun. They were all guys that post on the message board that I read, so it was interesting to finally meet some of them. One of them had seen some Redpolls out in the meadow and pointed us in the right direction. I got a wonderful picture of one of them except the stupid little bird turned away at the last second so all you can see is his back (which is not that exciting). Redpolls have a little red spot on the front of their head. The picture was perfectly zoomed and in focus and everything. Sigh. So no pics posted of the Redpolls. They're a sparrow-type bird and are a typical backyard bird, so some of you may see them at your feeders if you have them.

The juvenile Red-Tailed Hawk that I took pictures of last weekend was still there and he just doesn't mind people being around at all. The guy I was birding with probably got some amazing shots of him because he had a really nice lens and was within a few feet of the hawk. Over the course of the day I saw him flying around the hedge constantly and it wasn't necessarily because he was being flushed. Once I decided to take off, I walked back to my car through the back edge of the park that is in a overgrown area with lots of trees. I heard a very liquid sounding "plop" right in front of me. I thought to myself, "I wonder if that hawk is right in front of me and he just pooped". Sure enough, about 2 seconds later he flew away (he'd been obscured by leaves) and I walked forward and found the bird poo on the trail. You know you've hit a certain level of expertise when you can recognize the sound of a bird pooping. I'm so proud. Anyway, when he flew away he went and landed on a light pole out front and I got a few pictures of him up there.

Here are just a few more pictures of some birds that I took. This is a particularly cooperative Hermit Thrush (they were everywhere).

And here's a Horned Grebe that I saw in the harbor while I was trying to find the Gallinule.

All in all, I've had a great week. I've added 5 new birds to my list:
Sage Thrasher
Common Gallinule
Common Redpoll
LeConte's Sparrow
Snow Bunting

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Here's the Gallinule. It's called a Common Gallinule. Up until this year it was called a Common Moorhen, and then they decided to separate the North American subspecies out into its own species, so now it's a Gallinule. I have A LOT more to write about birding today and more pictures to share, but I wanted to post this right away. I saw three new birds today (LeConte's Sparrow, Redpoll, and the Gallinule) and also met a whole bunch of new birders. If I had cared to stick around after the hedge got descended on by rabid birders (after a rare bird alert went out), I could've seen a very rare bird for our area called a Sage Thrasher. However, as much as I like seeing new birds, I'm not really big on birding in huge crowds, so I left instead. :) I'll post again soon!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Montrose 10/27

I got home early from a trip for work today, so I checked my birding message board and then headed out to Montrose to see what I could see. There were kinglets, golden-crowned and ruby-crowned, a hermit thrush, some robins, a downy woodpecker, many yellow-rumped warblers and a few others. There was a storm coming in, so it was drizzling rain a little and the storm ended up out over the lake. I saw one really good streak of lightning over the lake which was very cool. So while I was birding, there was a wren that kept taunting me and I eventually got a few pictures of him, but they're not good at all. It's a House Wren I'm pretty sure, so that's actually the first time I've seen one of those. Wrens are fairly shy.
After seeing that I headed out to the beach and saw this:

Strangely enough, there WAS a jackpot at the end of that rainbow. Literally where the rainbow is pointing, there were these little guys:

Sorry the pictures aren't any good. They just kept running and it was dusk and overcast and my poor camera just couldn't keep up. These are Snow Buntings and I think they are just gorgeous!!! I was so, SO excited about seeing them. I was within a few feet of them. They actually behaved a bit like shorebirds that keep running up and down the beach so you can never get a decent picture. They really are beautiful, though. So on the way home I was so happy because I've been wanting to see a Snow Bunting for a couple of years now. I was thinking about how I was going to call Mom and be so happy and explain to her all about the pretty, adorable Snow Buntings. So happy. Just to clarify.

So I get home, and I check the message boards to see if any one else had seen the Snow Buntings because I wanted to post about it. I knew they'd been around, so this wasn't going to be major news, but I wanted to post my pictures and brag a little. I check the boards and I see a post that I hadn't checked before. Turns out that in the harbor there had been a sighting of a Common Gallinule (a species recently separated out from the Common Moorhen). It's a type of rail and it has only been spotted twice (TWICE) at Montrose in the last THIRTY YEARS. Seriously. I had briefly perused the harbor and hadn't seen it, but then, I didn't know it was there and apparently he was hiding in the walls of the harbor. It's not like that message wasn't on the boards when I checked them before I left. I just missed it. GAH!!!! The most recent sighting was within 30 minutes of when I got there and was looking at the harbor birds (of which there were none). Seriously? My previous snow bunting-fueled elation was entirely deflated. I had been SO happy, and then I was just...pth. To be fair, Gallinules (and Moorhens) are not uncommon. They're just uncommon at Montrose. Apparently they're all over the place in South Carolina. I just have to drive 14 hours to go see one. Ridiculous. I'm going to get up early tomorrow and head over to see if he's still there. We had a big storm tonight, so I'm hoping he stays in the harbor and is still there in the morning.

So anyway, to put it in perspective, I DID add two birds to my life list today and the Snow Buntings really are gorgeous :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Montrose 10/23/11

Brown Creeper
A friendly Robin
Female White-Crowned Sparrow
Hermit Thrush
Eastern Phoebe
Juvenile Red-Tailed Hawk (he was very cooperative)
Golden-Crowned Kinglet
A little closer
Total List for the day:
Brown Creeper
Hermit Thrush
Eastern Phoebe
White-Throated Sparrow
White-Crowned Sparrow (male and female)
Red-Tailed Hawk
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Horned Grebe
American Coot
Canadian Geese
Eastern Towhee (female - common in Florida, not so much up here)
House Wren
American Tree Sparrow
Fox Sparrow

Sunday, October 2, 2011