Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Lifer and Snow!

So has many of you probably have heard, the South got a big wave of snow! Now, everybody in Atlanta is freaking out over an inch of snow but it's not so bad up here in NC. It definitely made the birds hungry, though!

The feeders were rather busy yesterday: Busy Feeder

And here's a full shot of the feeder area:

'Snow'

So the snow wasn't too bad, but school was canceled for two days (yesterday and today) and tomorrow we have a delay. Hooray, I guess?

Anyways, on Sunday we went out by Concord Mills, where I saw many species of ducks previously. When we finally visited, dusk was well on its way and it got pretty dark. But amid the darkness I saw many species of ducks, including a lifer, the Redhead!

I have an image but Flickr doesn't like to upload my pictures sometimes.

Also at the ponds were coots, mallards, Ring-billed Gulls, Ruddy Ducks, Buffleheads, Northern Shovelers, three Blue-winged Teal a single Lesser Scaup, and some red-winged blackbirds. Not bad for a pond in front of a mall!

~Martina

Friday, January 24, 2014

New Year, New Semester, and hopefully new birds!

So I didn't make a post for New Year's, which I was still rather sad about Peanut's death. But with a new year, I can finally keep track of all the species I've seen! As of this post, I have seen 35 species, which isn't too bad. This year, I hope to see some lifers, such as the Northern Harrier or maybe, if I'm lucky, a Snowy Owl. In Dare county there have been a HUGE amount of rare birds- and anywhere on the coast, really!

Snowy Owls, Harlequin Ducks, Sandhill Cranes, flycatchers, and warblers!

Here is a beautiful shot of a Snowy from one of my friends on Flickr:
Snowy Owl

The Harlequin Ducks:

Harlequin Ducks 01

And there's also a Band-tailed Pigeon too, by the coast. Of course, I would love to go see them, but from where I live to the Outer Banks? 6 hours! South Carolina's coast is only 3 hours away!

There was a Snowy two hours west of me, but it turned out to be a young female who was starving. They had to take her in (and she was dubbed 'Tundra') so there goes almost any chance of me seeing a Snowy.

However, hummers have been reported and so far a Calliope and a couple of Rufous Hummingbirds have been reported. Way back in November, I did see a hummer visit my feeder, but it was gone by the time I got my camera. My feeder is still up just in case, since it's been a really cold winter!

Now, onto the common birds! After Peanut, I kinda lost my will (after all, that's what happens when you lose something you love) but a couple of days ago i went out to ,my pishing spot and managed to snap some good pictures!

I was greeted by a handsome male cardinal at first:

Cardinal

And then a handsome Chipping Sparrow, who have replaced the normally numerous juncos:

Chipping Sparrow

And when I came inside, a pretty male Eastern Towhee jumped out!

Male Eastern Towhee

Later that day we went to Reedy Creek Park, in hopes of finding an owl (I had a very up-close experience once, it was amazing! Only a few feet away, a beautiful bird!). We didn't see any Barreds, but heard one faintly. In that same park a pair of Muscovy Ducks were apparently very tame and walked right up to me. They might not be the prettiest but they have a beauty of their own!

Pretty Face

Muscovy Duck

Muscovy Feathers


Later in the year I want to see if I can try out in the ABA's Young Birder of the Year contest. I love to write, draw, and photography, and since I'm a bit shy, I think I'm going to do the notebook module, as I already keep a notebook. And, I'm also in Art I, which will help me with watercolors (which I plan on painting with!)

So yes, another long overdue post. The will be coming soon!

Happy birding!

~Martina

Friday, November 29, 2013

Exotic Bird Show, and Winter Birding!

It was a bit of a while, but I do have some updates! We went to the Greater Charlotte Cage Bird Society's bird expo on November 16-17 and it was great!



Male Pin-tailed Whydras. Fun fact about this species- it is very hard to get it to breed in captivity because it's a nest parasite, not unlike our own Brown-headed Cowbirds!

Long-tailed Finches.

Scarlet Macaw.

Turquoisine Parakeet.

Blue Indian Ringneck (also known as Rose-ringed Parakeet to most birders).

Umbrella Cockatoo.

Female Eclectus Parrot.

I know that's a ton of pictures, but there's a lot more where that came from! Anyways, we can't go to a parrot expo without leaving with more birds than we started with! We gave Diva, our untame parrotlet, to a breeder who was looking for a female. We may get a tamer baby from her later.

We also adopted a cobalt budgie (budgerigar, or the classic parakeet) named PJ. He's very sweet!



We also have a pair of button quail (Chinese Painted Quail) both females. I was hoping I had gotten a couple but I was unlucky.


Birders, if you wanted to skip all that then you should start reading here. I've learned that Spring = Warblers, Summer = Buntings, orioles, songbirds, Fall= More confusing warblers and sparrows, and Winter = Waterfowl! I've been trying my best to locate waterfowl, as I have only Blue-winged Teal and Ruddy Duck checked off (not counting mallards, canada geese, coots, etc. etc.) and I don't live near water.



We went to Lake Norman on Saturday and I was very happy to check off my first Common Loon! Unfortunately I can't get the pictures up now (which I'm sure you don't need more pictures already...)



Today I did go to Colonel Francis Beatty Park, where some Buffleheads and Green-winged Teal were reported, but the on;y waterfowl I found were Canada Geese and Mallards. :( Hopefully over the long weekend I can wake up early and head over to Lake Wylie to see some waterfowl. Earlier this year we saw many coots and some Red-breasted Merganser (I didn't get to see them- some boaters scared them off!) so maybe I'll get lucky this time (lucky? Hah! Apparently teals and ducks are so common that they're invisible to me!)



Also, I count myself lucky because on Wednesday I found the Carolina Young Birder's Club! I was very happy with this because I've wanted a birding club since 6th grade but I'm just really shy and timid... Glad somebody has the same thoughts as me! :) If you're a birder in the Carolinas between 11-18, join here:



In other news, I really need to work on my novel! November for me is not just birds; it's also NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month! In the span of 30 days you have to type or write a novel! I'm almost at my goal of 15,000 words, and unless I don't type like crazy, I won't reach it! I did the contest last year and got 5 free copies of my novel (which was terrible- this year is much better!) So I better get writing!



Happy birding!


~Martina

Friday, October 25, 2013

Huntington Beach State Park Trip

On Sunday my dad and I woke up at 3:30 am, drove 3 hours to Huntington, only to find none of the Audubon members were there! We made the most of it, however. My checklist is here if you want to skip everything: ebird.org/ebird/ybn/view/checklist?subID=S15461683 So, first we took a walked up to the beach to see if any Audubon members were there. There we saw some Mimidae (brown thrasher, mockingbird, catbird) and blue jays. We found a pretty cool Horseshoe Crab in the sand, although it was dead. Horseshoe Crab We also saw a rather tame Marsh Rabbit. Marsh Rabbit Nobody was there and I saw no birds there (other than a squadron of pelicans who flew by) so we went back to find another trail. We finally found it, the Sandpiper Pond Trail. There was a lookout point over the first part of the pond. There we saw around 8 Blue-winged Teals and 3 Pied Grebes. Pied-Billed Grebe Blue-Winged Teals Along the trail there were some other stopping points, where we saw around 14 more teals and a Tricolored Heron. Along the trail, I think I heard a lot of Black-and-white Warblers (or another species) and at one point we were surrounded by angry birds that were wondering who was pishing. There we saw chickadees, titmice, a few Yellow-rumps, possibly a Pine Warbler, and a lifer- a Black-and-White Warbler! Black-and-White Warbler She flew right above my head on a branch. I was so excited I couldn't keep the camera still. As we continued, we saw a juvenile Bald Eagle (we saw him earlier) and a Roseate Spoonbill flying over. I was really disappointed that I didn't get a picture. My dad was exhausted from the walk so we went back and slept in the car. I went to the beach, almost stepping on a Sanderling who was all alone and spotting a Willet, a lifer. Willet The Great Sanderling Race I also saw an Osprey and a lone Brown Pelican. After my dad's nap and lunch we went out onto the causeway. There we saw the same 5 Caspian Terns, Wood Storks, White Ibises, Great and Snowy Egrets, and Tricoloreds. Caspian Tern After tat, we went onto the boardwalk over the mash. Near the beginning we saw a young Yellow-crowned Night-heron, a juvenile who didn't care that humans were watching her. She (that's what I think she was) was a lot more intent on crabbing than humans. Juvie Yellow-crowned Night-heron Around there we saw some Clapper Rails, also a lifer. Before we had heard about 70 of them calling out to each other- it was a great experience! Clapper Rail Along the boardwalk I also saw an adult Bald Eagle, a Little Blue Heron, some cormorants, some Tricolored Herons, and a Great Egret who liked to pose for me. My Boardwalk Buddy oIo At the end of the boardwalk I saw some Dunlins and a Semipalmated Plover, both lifers. Also, a Marsh Wren was spotted in the reeds, who I managed to pish out. Another lifer as well! Dunlins + a Semipalmated Plover Marsh Wren When we got back to the beginning, another Black-and-white Warbler along with a pack of a titmouse, chickadess, cardinals, and some wrens. Tufted Titmouse B&W Warbler House Wren This House Wren was a lifer too. That was the end of my trip, I had a lot of fun and saw so many birds. 56 in total! In November, there will be a bird show in Belmont, NC. I'll be going to get some stuff for Peanut, Steve, and Diva. (Note: CAGED birds, not wild birds!) As far as I know, I won't be going on bird walks for a while.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sorry for the inactivity!

Sometimes I forget about this.

ANyways, my summer was great. If you really want me to explain it all, please check out my Flickr. I took a ton of pictures of birds in Italy.

Today I went on a beginner's bird walk. I'm proud to say I checked off one lifer today- an American Redstart! It was a female. I glimpsed it, and remember IDing it as a female. I got no pictures, however, but I have trip in two weeks to Huntington Beach State Park, SC, where redstarts should be common. I'm super excited to go- there should be a wide variety of shorebirds, some straggling warblers, and the first ducks should be moving in, along with thousands of Tree Swallows and the possibility of seeing a Peregrine Falcon or a Merlin!

Next week is the Big Sit. I don't know if I'll be sitting, but I would like to travel around the park, checking out any interesting birds. The park (Cowan's Ford Wildlife Refuge) is near Latta Plantation, which is a great warbler spot. I'm hoping to check off some lifers there!

Short post, but I'm not dead!

Also- we have two new parrots. Steve is a turquoise Lineolated Parakeet while 'Diva' is a female green Pacific Parrotlet. I don't know if we're going to keep her- she's untame and scared of us. We may give her back to the breeder. Also, I've been thinking about keeping a pair of Zebra Finches, but I'm still researching them.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Sorry for the inactivity, Trip to FL, and other news

Well, I guess I haven't been able (what am I saying? I haven't been birding in a while and summer is lazy time.)

Okay, I'm gonna start out with my trip to Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Amazingest trip yet. Saw a TON of lifers and birds I really wanted to see. This is not in order, though.

Torry Island, Fl. On Lake Okeechobee. Very good birdiing spot, saw 2 lifers, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron and 2 Purple Gallinules. Checklist here: http://ebird.org/ebird/ybn/view/checklist?subID=S14529963

Pahokee, FL. We stopped by the lake and I saw a good number of birds. I'm going to let the checklist do the talking. http://ebird.org/ebird/ybn/view/checklist?subID=S14530018

We also went to the Keys and the Everglades, twice. Shark Valley was our second trip into the Glades, saw some lifers here.

http://ebird.org/ebird/ybn/view/checklist?subID=S14530077

At our hotel I saw lifer Magnificent Frigatebirds and some very noisy quaker parrots.

That was as short as I could make it. xD I have tons of pictures and I will share them soon.

Other News:

I want to make this not just a birding blog but also a parrot blog too. Peanut is my green-cheeked conure and sometimes I itch to write about her. So there will be posts about her.

I'll be going to Italy for three weeks, time for some European birding! :D

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Spring Break

Well, the last week has been my spring break. Honestly all I did was play Minecraft the whole time. But last Saturday was a special bird walk- a field trip to be exact, to Congraree National Park near Columbia, SC. I brought my camera but I still lost the SD card, and now the stupid thing needs to charge (but isn't charging!) Before it stopped working, though, I managed to get some decent pictures. I'll try to upload them if it wants to work for me.


 

Anyways, I have found my binocs. Just to clear that up.

At Congaree, we saw a huge amount of birds. The week before spring break, I saw a Barn Swallow (I was excited to see a migrant) but I had no idea so many migrants were already here! We saw…

-Lots of blue-gray gnatcatchers* (lifer, I'll put a * next to my lifers)

-Three Pileated Woodpeckers*, I got a blurry picture of one on a log, a gorgeous male.

-One Barred Owl, a beautiful bird. I got 2 decent pictures of him.

-A pretty singing male Hooded Warbler* (lots more were heard)

-Parulas and waterthrushes* (I didn't get the best looks, but I'm counting them.)

-Two Great Egrets

-Rusty Blackbirds* (these weren't at Congaree, just at a nearby area we scouted. I just looked these guys up, and I'm very surprised to see they're considered Vulnerable. L )

-Kingfishers

-Blue-winged Teals*

-Red-headed Woodpecker* (Near Threatened)

-Red-bellied Woodpecker

-Downies

-Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, we had a very nice close-up of a Ruby-crowned flycatching (almost 5 feet away)

-Anhingas (I'm pretty sure I've seen these before, but confused them with comorants.)

-Red-tailed Hawks

-Yellow-throated Vireo*

-White-eyed Vireo (I didn't see it, though)

-Black-and-white Warbler (Didn't see this one either)

-Prothonotary Warbler (Again, didn't see it)

-Lots and lots of Yellow-rumped Warblers (Butterbutts!)

-Northern Rough-winged*, Barn, and Cliff Swallows*

-An American Kestrel (I saw it flying and didn't know what it was.)

I know we saw more, but I really can't remember them all. We saw and heard the really common birds like cardinals, titmice, chickadees, etc.


 

It was really fun and I'd recommend Congaree any day.


 

Not much after that, although I haven't noticed any spring migrants, unfortunately. And today I was listening to the robins sing and realized that my Mystery Bird's voice sounds awfully like a robin's. I'm convinced it's some species of thrush. Hopefully it will come back soon.


 

Happy birding!