Thursday, June 22, 2017

Hunting the Wiley Wild Otter...will it never end?

 An Eastern Notanotter....very rare beast...

Here I am at Pond Brook once again...this time earlier in the morning. As you can see, I heard more splashing, jumped up and get another shot of a Muskrat...I could hear him laughing too. Nutz...

 I know they're over there somewhere!
I find you, you stinkin' otters!!!


 I did find this Groundhog baby chillin out at the edge of the parking lot.

 It was an unusually quiet morning with very few birds out and about.
I did see lots of dragonflies along the brook.
I believe this is a female Common Whitetail.

 ...and this is the male Common Whitetail.

 There was also a large group of Eastern Forktail damselflies ovipositing along the edge of the brook.
Healthy water!

 One of the few birds that came out...sort of...a Gray Catbird.
I heard Yellow Warblers, Common Yellowthroats and Song Sparrows singing, but none came into view....just like that otter...

 Ooo...another lil Groundhog...cruisin' low and slow...
 I chased this Rose-breasted Grosbeak from tree to tree, before he finally sat still for a second.

 In other news...
 On a walk after work at Wood Hollow I had a little excitment!

When I stepped onto the boardwalk, a Wild Turkey hen exploded off the side of the trail and into the trees...scaring the, uh, stuff out of both of us! I could hear her squawking somewhere in the distance. Then I noticed a few of the leaves seemed to be moving! I looked down and right along the path a half dozen little Turklettes were scurrying about! After a bit they all froze in place, heads down hoping that I wouldn't eat them. No chance, they aren't ripe yet...

No camera on the walk, but I had my trusty cell phone...much lighter...

Little Turklette pretending to be invisible...and not well.

*Don't forget to check out Wild Bird Wednesday

I'll see you soon!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Hunting the Wiley Wild Otter...

 I ain't movin' til I see that otter!
Well, maybe when I finish lunch I'll go home...probably...yep...I'm out.

Yes kids, once again into the wilds of Pond Brook Reservation on the trail of the ever elusive wild Otters of northern Ohio...

I had a pleasant wander through the woods and meadow searching for what ever birds wish to come out from hiding in the dense foliage...not many came out. Oh well, I had a nice ramble round the reservation. I decided to not think about those wacky otters today. I'll just have a seat at the picnic table and eat my lunch...and not look in the brook for anything furry that may be swimming past..."be vewy, vewy quiet! We're hunting wabbits OTTERS!

I was just sittin there minded my own business when I heard a loud splash directly  across from where my lens is pointing! After choking on my ever tasteful turkey bologna samich, I jumped up to see waves leading in to that hole in the brush on the other side of the creek...then dead silence...other than that Song Sparrow laughing at me.

It was an otter! And you're right, I never saw it...the hunt week...maybe...or the week, we'll see...

 The tell tale sign of an otter...POOP!
Right in front of the picnic table.
Must be a popular place to dine....and, uh...
I'll use the public restroom though...

 One of these days! Pow!

 Well, I did see a Common Wood Nymph butterfly...
 And a few dozen American Goldfinches feasting!

 The lone shot of this very fast Baltimore Oriole...too much sugar in his diet...

 In the deep woods, I spotted this Empidonax flycatcher perched on a dead limb.

 He was very quiet and never called.
I thought maybe a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher.

 But I think his bill is too big.
He has a full eye-ring...

 I've heard both Acadian and Willow Flycatchers in this park.
Being so deep in the woods, I'm leaning towards Acadian.
(These photos are all of the same bird.)
I'm looking forward to some comments on this one...please!

 This one I know!
It's my favorite little Song Sparrow!
 This Gray Catbird was giving me the crazy eye while I was eating my lunch.
I asked if he wanted some...apparently he's pickier about his lunch than me.

 Oooooh....pretty flowers!

 Seeing a warbly always makes my day better!
This Yellow Warbly was perched right above the alleged otters...

That's all for now...I'll post more from Pond Brook in a few days!
I'm off to Chautauqua Gorge and the Brushwood Folklore Center for the weekend!

Don't forget to visit Wild Bird Wednesday!

Monday, June 12, 2017


O-boy! I try to avoid checked the bird house for life because I wouldn't want to endanger the young or eggs. But, I couldn't resist any longer. I've had this box for many years now, from the old house in Bay with a few successful broods of Black-capped Chickadees, to the new apartment in Stow.

The chickadees had tried to nest to nest last year, but the House Wren that patrols the area destroyed the eggs and started his own nest...and abandoned. The same thing happened in Bay before, so I wasn't going to get my hopes up. I moved the house after I saw the wren in it earlier in the spring. It's now hanging behind lots of limbs in the evergreen next to my suite. That seemed to do the trick!

I've watched the adults flying back and forth and last night I decided to take a peek and maybe get a quick photo with my phone. They look so cozy in their warm little nest. I'll leave them alone now...

 Well camouflaged!
Hanging under the arbor in the old neighborhood...

More birds coming soon!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Watching and Seeing...

 I've often heard that when out in nature you need to open your eyes and SEE whats all around you, not just look and watch. When the birding gets "slow," that's when you really must be aware of your surroundings. This day at Magee Marsh(where else?) was one of those days. The trees and scrub were leafed out and movement was difficult to spot. Being "color challenged" things tend to blend in with all of the greenery for me, so I need movement to be able to find my next victim for my backwards camera!

This was one of those days. I saw something zipping along the ground and had my hopes up for a Mourning or Connecticut Warbly. This turned out to be even better! It was a Ruby-throated Hummingbird buzzing along the ground through the scrub, then picking at something along the trunk of a tree. I followed it as it came out then up...straight up over my head and into the green leaves.

I backed up a few feet to get a better view with my bins, and what a great treat! It was a female building a nest directly over the boardwalk! Just high enough to be completely out of sight unless you knew where to peek through the bare limbs. The beginnings of a tiny nest of spider silk and lichen. Carefully placed and tamped down by her minuscule little feet. She'd flit away, then soon return with more materials, getting inside the cup and walking in circles to press things down to make a comfy home for her future charges.

I watched quietly and discreetly for over an hour and showed a number of people what I was seeing. All were amazed. And I told them to do more than "bird watch." Open your eyes to be astounded by the things going on all around us every day.
 Walking in circles making a cozy home.

 Not much farther along I saw a couple sitting on the boardwalk with video cameras pointed at the ground close by.
They had found an American Woodcock resting in the leaf litter.
This would have been a bird you would just walk right past as it blended in so well.

 After a good rest, a little preening is needed...smell better yet?

 I like when they're close enough that I don't have to crop the image.
It eventually got too close to photograph...and off we both went...

 This recently fledged Bald Eagle was being strafed by a pair of Yellow Warblies!
Brave little birds.

 This Baltimore Oriole was just flying away from the nest, making sure it would do.

 THe female was taking a break from all of her work for a nice snack.

 In a tree within fifty feet was this Black-billed Cuckoo.
There was a lot of talk of both of our species of cuckoo in the same tree.
I stared for a long time with a few others before I spotted him way in the back through the leaves.
I always look for the odd shape in the tree!

 As I was walking away thinking I would only see the one, this Yellow-billed Cuckoo came zipping by! If you only see them from the back, look at the spots on their tails. Small spots are on the Black-billed, large on the Yellow-billed.
Lucky me!

 Another lucky find through the scrub!
A female Blackburnian Warbly...facing the proper direction as well!

 This is cropped a LOT!
I saw this female Blackpoll Warbly working in the lower branches of a tree on the other side of Crane Creek from the boardwalk.
ALWAYS check out any movement, it may not always be leaves blowing in the wind.

 Oh! The Cedar Waxwings were NOT cooperating today!

 I have no idea how someone spotted this Common Nighthawk resting on this limb.
I am holding my camera directly over my head...arms get a shot of this bird!
Thanks to the folks that were also trying to see it, I don't think I would have found it on my own.

 I need to practice my dragonflies again!
This is a female Eastern least I'm pretty sure it is.
One of the few that still long enough for me...

 Still love those Gray Catbirds!
There's never too many for me!

 The Green Herons were making me work hard today!
Every one I saw was camouflaged amongst the branches and limbs.

 Hairy Woodpeckers are supposed to be common, but I rarely get a chance to photograph one.

 Don't flip your computer screen over!
This House Wren was walking upside down searching for goodies.
Made me dizzy just watching...

While hanging around Black Swamp Bird Observatory and annoying Karen, someone said there had been a Hudsonian Godwit in the marsh along the causeway.

I knew I didn't have a photos of one, so I thought I would try to locate it. I stared and stared into the marsh. I saw lots of peeps out there, but nothing that looked big enough for the Godwit. I walked down the edge of the road, careful to not get run over, and started to scan again. Up popped a large bird, bathing and preening. Without a spotting scope, I started to photograph, slowing focusing back and forth, hoping that something would be clear enough to ID through the heat waves. 
I could tell that it was too dark and large to be anything other than the Hudsonian Godwit...AND I managed to get one shot from behind!

This was from a great distance and with the sun directly over head...not the best time of day for this. I was speaking with a photographer from the Detroit area that just got into birding...he was surprised how difficult it could be. I think he got on the bird, as well as a number of other that I pointed in the general direction.

When I got home I discovered it was ABA lifer  number 343! ( Yes, I have a list and obviously don't check it often!)

 While speaking with the Detroit birder, this male Northern Harrier zipped past us then disappeared in the for lunch?

 Maybe one day...

 Like I said, not an easy day out there.
This Red-eyed Vireo sat for just a moment off in a distant tree.

 I was watching some "mud" floating down the creek and thought something looked odd.
Turned out to be a Snapping Turtle!

 This tiny Wilson's Warbly had me walking back and forth from one side of the walk to the other, one end and back...over and over.
He would catch a few bugs, then pop out to see if I was still there and then give me the crazy eye. That went on for 10-15 minutes! I actually bumped into my friend Sally, we spoke for a bit and he was STILL there going back and forth! There must have been some mighty juicy bugs in there!

 Well, that's all for today!
I'll see you soon, out there somewhere...looking closely for the interesting creatures that live around us!

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