"A Sand County Almanac"

"THERE ARE SOME WHO CAN LIVE WITHOUT WILD THINGS AND SOME WHO CANNOT."
"FOR US IN THE MINORITY THE OPPORTUNITY TO SEE GEESE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN TELEVISION.".....Aldo Leopold




"LOOK DEEP INTO NATURE, AND THEN YOU WILL UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING BETTER".....Albert Einstein


Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Cuckoo, She's A Pretty Bird, She Sings As She Fiies....



My apologies to the unknown author of this old folk ballad.  When I see one of these birds this song always comes to mind.
It is a rare treat to observe a yellow-billed cuckoo long enough capture a decent image...


Cuckoos prefer caterpillars and other insects. It is usually found in dense foliage or in tree tops... 


This one is wiping it's beak.  A common behavior for many bird species.  It is thought that birds do this to (a) clean their beak after eating a juicy bug or berry; (b) sharpen and shape their beak, the edge of which is made of the protein keratin and continues to grow for their entire lives.  Birds hone their beaks into the shape that is best for grabbing their preferred food; (c) Birds produce preen oil through a gland and use it to maintain and waterproof their feathers. This oil contains odors and chemical signals that play a role in mate choice.  Birds slather preen oil on nearby surfaces to release those smells and lure a mate...


In my youth whenever we heard the call of a yellow-billed cuckoo usually on hot, humid afternoons, my Dad would announce that we were hearing a "rain crow," imagining that it was calling for rain.  It was not until many years later that I learned the true identity...


I often encounter people who mistake their song for that of a mourning dove, which it does resemble...


Thanks for visiting, be well, and come back soon.




Friday, October 4, 2019

BIRDS Of Mid-Maryland


When the temperatures are high and the foliage is still abundant, it can be hard to locate wildlife to photograph.  That is when I am especially grateful for birds such as the male pine warblers shown above and below..(Note: I had incorrectly identified these images. Thanks to a sharp-eyed reader for the correction)...



Perched  on a fence post, the next two images are of a juvenile blue bird....





A juvenile cardinal is the subject in the next two photos...





I was hoping to photograph a coyote when this gray catbird posed nicely...





While hoping to find a warbler this chipmunk appeared instead...



The next three images are of common yellow-throat warblers, the first is a male...



Next is a female...



Finally a juvenile male...



Eastern phoebe's are often fearless...





A gold finch searching for seeds...



This grasshopper sparrow is a "first" for me...



A house finch drinks from a muddy puddle...





We still see the occasional hummingbird in our yard...







I had trouble identifying this indigo bunting...



I am drawn to leaves suspended from spider webs...





The mud puddle still attracts mockingbirds...





And a thirsty mourning dove...





A few late migrating monarch butterflies are still around...



Persimmons are ripening and providing food for many species ranging from deer to opossums...



I came upon this drenched red-shouldered hawk during a recent downpour...



This female American red-start was in our yard...



I found this song sparrow early one morning...



This yellow-billed cuckoo was enjoying caterpillars in our yard...



This adult and juvenile bald eagle were feeding on a road-killed deer...







Another suspended leaf...



A nuthatch with a stink bug...



This inquisitive gray squirrel came quite close...



Rough-winged swallows are preparing to migrate...





All of these photos were taken within five miles of our house near Jefferson, MD...





I found this black and white warbler just yesterday...




Thanks for visiting, be well, and come back soon.