Tuesday, March 19, 2013

On the Way Home... Yearning For More Birding

On the way home from my afternoon of owling and then grocery shopping, I was still yearning for more birding! So I took the back road instead of jumping on the highway towards home. There is a natural bog/wetland area with a dead end road on one side and agricultural land on the other side of the road. I had never ventured down the dead end road before, but it seemed like a great place to bird!

The first bird I saw was an Eurasian Collared Dove hanging out on the phone lines. A different looking bird than I've seen around here, but I used to get Mourning Doves at my feeder when we lived on the west side of the state in Poulsbo. They look very similar except for the 1/2 necklace around the Eurasian's neck. This is a new life bird (#99) for me! After I took a few photos, it flew away...
Eurasian Collared Dove
Down the road a bit were thirty American Crow perched in some trees. I'm not sure I have seen that many crows together all at once. As soon as I snapped a picture of them...
A Murder of American Crow
They made a bunch of noise and then flew away...
American Crows in Flight
I was able to get some photos of some more birds in flight, I wasn't real sure what kind of birds they were and I couldn't tell much from the distant photo. But when I looked again on the computer and zoomed in real close I could tell that they were  some sort of Geese or Swan. My friend Jana from across the lake had text me this last weekend and told me the swans were here on the lake. So I researched swans some more and I do believe these were Tundra Swans! Another lifer bird for me! That would be number 100!!!
Tundra Swans

Flying away seemed to be the thing to do today. Here I caught a huge flock of blackbirds, that looked more like mostly brown birds when I looked at the picture on the computer. Not exactly sure what kind. Originally, I thought Starlings? Red-winged Blackbirds? Brown-headed Cow Birds? Can't really tell in this pic.

What kind of Birds???
There were a dozen ducks out in the field. I was leery of using the binoculars, as they have made me car sick before. But I was wearing my SEA-Bands for motion sickness, and so far, I have not been car sick since I have tried them. So I peered through the binoculars, and could see that they were mostly Mallards, except one odd man out. I snapped a distant photo to help with identification later. When I was able to zoom in on my computer and check my my new Stokes Field Guide, I deciphered it to be a Pintail Duck. Not a lifer for me, but definitely not one that I see often. I can't remember when I've seen one, but it is marked in my book with a date of October 2005, so there you go!
Pintail Duck with a bunch of Mallards
Now it's not a bad day when you see FOUR Bald EaglesI saw the first Bald Eagle of the year earlier in the day not more than a couple of miles from here on Highway 395 in Clayton.

I stopped and pulled over on the shoulder of the highway and snapped a couple of quick shots. To far off for decent photos, but at least you can see the eagle!

Here is another far off, distant photo of one of the Bald Eagles. I also saw two Bald Eagles together, but...

The two eagles took flight as I got my camera ready to take photos. It was all I could do to push the button on the camera and point it in that direction in hopes of catching the birds in the viewfinder. These pics didn't turn out well either, so I decided to use a new technique. I photo-merged the five Eagle flight shots to get this effect. Took me a few tries to perfect it, but how cool is that? Much more interesting than showing you the individual shots one by one like I was going to do.
Photo-merged Bald Eagle in Flight
The Red-winged Blackbird males have been seeking out the best ponds with cat tails for a couple of weeks. The males migrate back first to scope out their territory. The old saying... "The early bird gets the worm" applies here. The early birds get the best territory. Now that the females are showing up,  I love watching the males show off and broaden their shoulders and puff up the red and yellow part of their wings.
Red-winged Blackbirds
And there he goes... flying off...

On the way home from a family get together in town last weekend... I was enjoying being out and about and seeing some birds. I got excited when I saw a Northern Shrike, and wanted to turn around to go check it out (I don't have any pics of one). Bird Lady Assistant (a.k.a. my husband) murmured a resounding NO. But I was still yearning for more birding! So after I dropped off the family at home, I let my chihuahua Jack E. Cheez hop in the car, and come birding with me. I had seen some ducks back at the wetland a mile from my house. Now that the lake was starting to defrost and there was a little of the lake showing, the birds will start showing back up. It's an exciting time here for this Bird Lady! There were a dozen ducks, all Common Mergansers, and then one Common Goldeneye. Funny that each time I've seen a Goldeneye this year, they have been the only one in a group of other ducks. In this picture, the Goldeneye is... yep, flying off... from the group of Mergansers. The lucky ducks are the first (I've seen) to enjoy the lake this year!
Common Goldeneye flying away from the group of Common Mergansers
On the Way Home...

Finally, I'm at home, relaxing in my recliner, and I hear an all too familiar sound coming from outside. I leap up, open the slider to the balcony, and sure enough, I hear the resident Osprey, returning after a long winter to check out the annual nest that is just a few yards away from my balcony. However, there is a huge tree in between the balcony and the nest tree, and way too many branches blocking my sight of the nest. Oh what I would give to have a clear shot. Guess I'll have to use the neighbors deck behind us to get some pictures. They have a great view of the Osprey nest! As I'm out on the balcony, I also hear the Pileated Woodpecker that have been calling out to each other the last couple of days. It's great to be adding some new yard birds to the list. Be sure to check out my yard list, 2013 list, and life list on Bird Lady's Lists. I have 17 yard birds, 45 Species in 2013, and  finally 100 species on my life list!!!

and yet I'm still... Yearning for More Birding!

~ Sherrie (Bird Lady)


  1. So, that is what those doves are. In the last few years we have a great deal more around here and we see very few mourning doves any more. Your post is wonderful

    1. Thank you so much. The doves are so pretty.

      I love your baskets.

      ~ Sherrie (Bird Lady)

  2. When we first moved here I almost caught one of those doves. So pretty!

    1. So did you see the Tundra Swans Jana? If you hadn't told me about seeing the swans, I probably wouldn't have looked at them as a possibility! Thanks!

  3. Great birds and sightings, Sherrie! I love what you did with the eagle shot. Very cool!

    1. Thanks Eileen. I had fun making that eagle photo-merge! Once I got the hang of it, it was easy. I just may do more of this. What a great way to use multiple quick shots. Oh, the advances in technology!

      ~ Sherrie (Bird Lady)