Thursday, August 23, 2007

Kauai Birds

I'm finally getting around to posting my final set of bird pictures from Hawaii! Ironically, these are some of the best ones I got, but I just haven't viewed the folder in so long I forgot.
White-rumped Shama:

Correction! This is not an Elepaio as I naively though- it's actually a Female White-rumped Shama:

Red-crested Cardinal:

These were all taken on the first part of the Kalalu Trail on the Na Pali Coast. We only had time for a day hike but it was definitely worth the trip to Kauai.

I'm not sure about the second bird and I'd really appreciate some feedback if anyone knows what it is. I've spent a lot of time with my Hawaii's Birds published by the Hawaiian Audubon Society but I still can't figure it out. I've been doing Google image searches, which have been pretty helpful but this bird just seems bigger than most of the forest birds I'm seeing the book.

As for the Red-crested Cardinal, those pictures are pretty exciting I think. We took those at the end of our hike when we were right up on cliff where most people stop to take panoramic pictures of the coast (like the one below). He was up in a tree and it was pretty cool that he didn't move at all, which helped us to take those great close shots. He kind of has a disdainful, angry look on his face, but I think that helps give the picture some personality.

Miscellaneous Kauai Pictures

Na Pali Coast:

Banana Spider (I'm pretty sure):

Orb Weaver Spider:

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Little Blue Heron

I know I've been slacking in the photo department so I decided to take my camera out last night and go birding along the Charles. I went at dusk and unfortunately by the time I walked down there I realized my batteries were dead. It wasn't such a big deal because I really didn't see anything too interesting. Lots of catbirds as usual, and I also saw a female cardinal that I got a few pictures of before my camera died. Unfortunately they're too blurry, but it was good to get back out there again. My batteries are all charged up and I can't wait to go out again soon.

Today I spent some time walking (the key word here is walking since I never have time to stop and identify birds when I'm jogging of course) along the river again. It was Green Day at work and I took the bus in and decided to walk home since it was nice out. It took me an hour exactly and it was nice to have time to get even more familiar with the trail and where the best areas are for birding.

The most exciting sighting occurred at the beginning of my walk home. I saw a little blue heron wading in shallow water pretty close to where the Charles River Yacht Club is. I stopped for a minute to look at him and I was happy that he didn't walk away but rather was checking me out at the same time. He gradually took a few steps away, still keeping an eye on me over his shoulder.

I've posted about seeing some great blue herons in flight, but I never identified a little blue heron before. It's really too bad I didn't have my camera with me but I just didn't think of it this morning. I'm 99% positive that's what it was and based on my Sibley Guide and images I've seen online, I think that's what it was. If anyone has any other ideas though please let me know.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Mashpee Birdwatching

I was at my friend Chelsea's house on Sunday and was lucky to see some lively birds in her backyard. Her grandmother has one of those wire basket birdfeeders in the backyard that is actually pretty big and can feed a lot of birds at once. She had a lot chickadees, titmice and other small birds on there. One bird that I saw a lot of and I'm having trouble identifying is a small sparrow or finch with a red mark on its crown. I'm sure if I spend some more time with my Sibley Guide I can figure it out, but I'm anxious to get posts up so I'll come back to it later.

Another Mashpee sighting that was pretty exciting was an osprey. Osprey are pretty common on the Cape, and there are several nest perches within my town. I usually notice the mother up there with her chicks, but I've never really paid attention to one in flight, and certainly when there isn't a nest in sight. I saw what looked like a hawk with a white head flying above me while I was in Mashpee I believe (I only briefly stopped by my parents' house in Bourne so it must have been in Mashpee while I was at the beach). It was screeching, which should have been a big indicator what it was but again, I don't think about ospreys away from their nests. Anyway, I just looked it up and that's what I'm pretty sure it was. I need to get better about bringing my National Geographic log book and my Sibley Guide with me in the car so I can get better about recording locations and times.

Birding While Jogging

Based on a reader's comment about my birdwatching while jogging along the Charles River I thought I would write a post on the subject.

I went for a 6 mile jog along the Charles this past Saturday, which was the first long run I had done in a long time. I left around 10:45-ish, is not optimal for birding but I was still happy to get out in the fresh air. I saw a lot of repeats on my run, which included:

Tufted Titmouse
Female Cardinal
Gray Catbird (tons of them)
Mourning Dove

I also had a lot of chipmunk sightings. I must have had about five or six cross the path in front of me.

Unfortunatley I didn't stop to try and identify any of the birds up in the canopy, but I was happy to catch the ones I did. I particularly like catbirds because they're so lively and I like how they point their tails up. We have a lot of them at my parents' house on the Cape and I've always liked them. I also find it interesting how low-flying they are and how they keep to the lower branches.

I can't wait to make another trip down there to walk with my camera!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Bird Habitat Conservation

Here are seven helpful tips to conserve bird habitat I came across on the Birdfreak Birding Blog:

7 Things You Can Do Now to Conserve Bird Habitat

Join a birding organization is one tip that I know would be really beneficial to getting my birding hobby off the ground and would help me learn about conservation. I'm fortunate to live close to several Audubon bird sanctuaries and also very close to Concord, MA, home of David Sibley. There are unbelievable areas I have yet to explore and that is something I really want to look into in the coming weeks.

I should also take advantage of my trips home to the Cape. Here's a recent article from the Cape Cod Times about summer birdwatching:

Birding heats up during summer stormy weather

Cape Cod Birdwatching

While I was at my parents' house this weekend I got to see lots of birds up-close at the bird feeders and suet basket in the yard. They're so used to my parents and dog being out in the yard that it takes a lot to scare them away so the whole weekend they were in close proximity.

Birds I saw this weekend include:

Purple Finch
House Finch
Downy Woodpecker
Tufted Titmouse

I also saw a female Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, with the beatiful green back. My dad did some tree-trimming in the yard on Sunday and unfortunately one of the falling trees knocked over a hanging plant that they like to visit. However, after I repotted it and hung it back up she returned as if nothing happened! My mom also has two hummingbird feeders but the past few times I've been home I've seen them favoring this plant.

I'll have to bring my camera next time so I can get some pictures to post.