Busy fall in Delaware, but the semester has come to a close. The blog is not dead, though it might appear to be... I haven't been birding too much or taking many photos, but maybe that will change in the coming months. I do hope to get into some coastal birding in Boston, find a Snowy Owl, and maybe some northern specialties, as I'll be in Massachusetts starting tomorrow until the end of January.
Here's a Ruby-throated, long gone, but replaced by a few Rufous in this area.
Also, this monster, the babiest Northern Cardinal I've ever seen.
After a summer of field work in coastal New Jersey I've finally started up at school at UD. Classes are a few weeks in and the fall birding has been great so far. Today was probably the best day of the fall in terms of warblers and we did pretty well at Middle Run, but that's not surprise.
Though not its own species, this bird was a first for me, a Brewster's Warbler. It is the death of the Golden-winged Warbler, a hybrid between Golden-winged and Blue-winged Warblers.
At the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, just before leaving for NJ for the summer, I heard a crash in the leaf litter, finding this Red-tailed Hawk picking at its feet, searching for the mouse/squirrel/bird it was going after.
I don't think it actually caught anything and quickly found itself vulnerable to harassment as a Blue Jay repeatedly mobbed it.
I am back to birding, just about two weeks after my back surgery. Though I did have a great time slowly meandering around the yard in western mass, seeing what I could without exerting myself too much (finding a number of yard birds), it was nice to go looking for a specific, slightly out of place, bird today.
After wandering around the garden for an hour, with little hope of finding the bird due to high winds, I spotted him on the ground feeding (with a cigarette perfectly placed for scale).
Apparently these birds do a lot tail flicking and fanning as they feed.
And as a result you get great views of the white in their tail.
A pause for breath.
It spent most of its time close to a small maintenance building, flycatching from perches, or feeding in a bush, staying clear of the wind.
Stopping at multiple drizzly sites along the way, I made my way back around Kauai and out to Kilauea Point NWR.
A variety of seabirds nest on, in and along the cliffs of this refuge, including Red-footed Boobies, Wedge-tailed Shearwaters, Red-tailed and White-tailed Tropicbirds, Great Frigatebirds and Laysan Albatross.
Though nesting season hasn't started yet, the Red-footed Boobies were there in force, staking claim over territories on the cliff's vegetation.
There were a few Albatross flying around, but many more were on the edge of the cliffs.
After visiting Hanalei NWR I decided to make my way around the island and up Waimea Canyon to Koke'e State Park to reach some higher elevations. These high elevation sites include much more native vegetation and host some of the more rare endemics that can be found in Hawaii.
The drive up was beautiful.
But of course, by the time I reach my destination the rain had started and birding was not really an option. I did scurry around in the rain until it became a downpour, spotting my one and only Apapane, a beautiful red, black and white honeycreeper.
I decided to spend the night up in the mountains, hoping rain would subside by morning. It did not. So I missed out on some great species and headed down hill to the coast again. Along the way I did score some crappy pictures of these two species!
After an initial day on Oahu, a few of us made the very quick flight to Kauai. The plan was for everyone but me to hike the Napali Coast, camp for a night or two while I birded around the island, and meet up again before heading back to Oahu.
Things generally followed that plan, but the rain threw a wrench in everyone's plan. The hike they were doing required a few stream crossings, but as the rain kept coming, the streams turned to rivers and complicated things quite a bit.
Before the rain really came down I was able to explore a bit along the northern coast of the island.
Somehow I made it until this weekend to do my first Christmas Bird Counts. I managed two in one weekend, doing the Pinnacles National Park count on Saturday and the Panoche Valley count on Sunday. While Pinnacles provided more diversity, Panoche gave me looks at two species I've been hoping to see for awhile.
Here's my best look ever at a California Condor. We ended up seeing at least five individuals, though maybe more, as we sighted a few of them on multiple occasions.
Other favorites from Pinnacles included Canyon Wren and Rufous-crowned Sparrow.
Panoche Valley views.
Before even arriving at the count I laid my eyes on two Lewis's Woodpeckers, not lifers, but it'd been almost two years!
I DID get a lifer though, MOUNTAIN PLOVERS! There were about 250 feeding on the driest of dry fields. They were a bit far away, but still great views of a bird I'd been pining to see for awhile.