Greetings! and Welcome to my Blog. A place for me to share my latest pictures and ramblings. :-D As always, I give all glory to God, because it is his creation that he is revealing to me.
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Solo Deo Gloria
Well, Spring has sprung at Lawrence Woods State Nature Preserve. Most of the migrating birds that nest here are dealing with territorial disputes with the local year rounders. The reptiles are coming out of hiding and starting to soak up the sun. And the mammals are out and about as well. Here are a few things that I have seen this Spring.
First a couple of the migrating through birds. These birds breed in Canada, and migrate through Ohio...some stop over, some continue on north. The Rusty Blackbird is one of those that is migrating from somewhere further north. It is listed as a Vulnerable species...meaning that at present, their population is on the decline. You can find out more about them and the work trying to understand their decline here: http://rustyblackbird.org/ .
Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers are a woodpecker that poke holes in trees to get at the sap. When you see anywhere from 5 to 10 holes in a row on the side of a tree...a Sapsucker has been there. Sometimes they stay for winter...sometimes they continue south. This year two were seen in The Woods, below is a male.
One of the local birds is a Hairy Woodpecker. It looks similar to a Downy Woodpecker, but bigger in both body and bill.
Prothonatory Warblers are my personal favorite...their call is SWEET! SWEET! SWEET! they are listed as Least Concern, but here in Ohio, their breeding grounds are threatened. The nest in swampy/wet forested areas in old cavities left by other birds and bird houses that were designed for them. Lawrence Woods generally supports one pair a year. Below is a male.
The Warbling Vireo is a plain looking birds with a wonderfully melodious song. They are one if the birds that go south for the winter.
The Ovenbird is a Warbler that is rather large as warblers go. You usually see them on the ground eating spiders and other small bugs.
The Black-and-white Warbler gets its name because...well..it's black and white. :-D
And now my second favorite bird. The Cerulean Warbler is the bluest warbler. It is listed as Vulnerable as well. Lawrence Woods usually holds a couple of nesting pair. They love the high canopy trees and usually you have to look WAAAY up to see them. Without the high trees that Lawrence Woods is known for..they would have to look elsewhere. I bring this up because just today a person suggested that they needed to come in and log the place...I gently explained to him that the reason why the trees aren't turned into furniture is because of this beautiful bird...hopefully he and his family got the point. :-D
Every once and a while you are just walking down the boardwalk and you see movement out of the corner of your eye. Sometimes its deer, sometimes another bird...This time it was a Mink! MinkCan you see me?
Share the boardwalk with the wildlife. :-D
And finally, possibly one of my favorite snakes a Common Watersnake will crawl up on the button bush and take in the sun. Similar to the Lake Erie Watersnake, they are not poisonous...but they do bite when picked up...so no touching. :-D
EXTREEAM closeup. :-D
Well, that's it for now...except to remember most of our State Nature Preserves are just that; preserves. Lawrence Woods is one of the only places in Ohio where Heart Leaf Plantain grows, Many birds and animals can be found in it's confines. So please be respectful to the park, and others visiting the park by taking out whatever you take in and if you find someone else's trash please pick it up if you can...within the rules of the preserve of course. so far this year, I'v picked up bottles, cans, fast food bags...and a CAKE! Who throws away a WHOLE CAKE!
Anyhew, have a great Spring.
Sola Deo Gloria
Well, I finally got the rest of my bird pictures finished...It's a lot harder when you have to work during the week. :-D Lots to go through. Here are some of the better ones.
10. Willet are a shorebird that Ohio gets some passing through in the Spring and Fall. At Chincoteague/Assateague, they nest in the same beach areas that the Piping Plovers do, but they nest in the grassier areas...and while some birds like the Plover feign illness to lure you away from the nest...Willet do everything but smack you across the head When you get too close. :-D So if you see one of thes acting aggressive, kind of like the last two pictures, best just back away...you are too close. ;-) WilletChincoteague VA 7/1/2015
Willet parental figure defending nest site.
11. Black Skimmers are one of those weird looking birds that are really cool. They LOOK similar to Terns, and they are part of the same Order (Charadriiformes) and they both eat small fish. However, Terns will fly around and dive bomb into the water. Skimmers, skim along the water with their lower bill in the water, just waiting to snap closed when a minnow can't get out of the way in time.
12. Speaking of Terns...:-) below are a couple of Sandwich Terns, they are a coastal Tern that isn't seen in Ohio. They were hanging out with a group of other Terns, Skimmers and Gulls right near the end of the day. I didn't know what they were till I got back home. I thought they were some other tern species I had seen before. But the yellow tip on the tip of their bill distinguishes them from others. These were rather far away and I couldn't get closer due to the Plover breeding area, so this will have to do till I go to the coast again.
The Sandwich Terns are the ones on the far right.
The following birds are birds that I had seen before. But I still had a blast photographing them.
13. Laughing Gulls...In Ohio we have thousands of Ring-billed Gulls and maybe one or two Laughing Gulls. Along Chincoteague and Assateague...It's the exact opposite Laughing Gulls are EVERYWHERE fulfilling every beach scene, sandwich stealing, video reference you can muster...and we saw maybe two or three Ring-billed Gulls.
14. Marbled Godwits we see in Ohio every spring and Fall, but it was cool to see these...plus apparently I saw more than they usually see in late June/early July, so I got to set a new high count on eBird for them in June/July. 15. Brown Pelicans are in Ohio once every ten years or so, and Chincoteague had about a dozen of them. They are not as prevalent as they are in the southern states. But we did see some every day we were there.
16. Black Vultures are in portions of Ohio. They are similar to their cousins the Turkey Vulture, but missing the ugly red head. They are also slightly smaller, and the underside of the wings are patterned differently...But they are part of God's cleanup crew, just like their more recognized cousins. :-D
Last one...whew. :-D
17. Brown-headed Nuthatch. I didn't include it with my lifer pictures just because...well...I normally would throw this away. but I needed one for the records. This and three other birds that are in the region just give me a reason to go back in the spring. :-) We don't get these here...unless they get blown in from somewhere. so I will have to make another trip to find a better subject.
Bird wise, that is it. 53 species, 10 lifers. Next time...the other wildlife that we saw while there. Until then...
Sola Deo Gloria
Ibises are interesting wading birds. Instead of catching fish with their bills like others in their order (Pelicaniformes), they use their bill to probe for insects and shellfish in the mud. In the US we have three of the nearly thirty Ibis species.
When I went to Chincoteague, one of the birds I went for was a White Ibis. In Ohio, they have been reported twice in the past ten years. So I don't get to see those at all. Even though they were at the northern edge of their range, they turned out to be rather plentiful.:
Another Ibis that resides there is the Glossy Ibis. In the US, they are found along the east and south east coast. But we get them occasionally here in Ohio during migration.
8. Glossy Ibis in flight.
When I got home, I was looking through the photos and got a surprise. A White-faced Ibis was feeding with the Glossy Ibis. Looking at the range maps for White-faced, they are not normally seen in that area. Usually they are east of the Mississippi, we get a couple of them every year in Ohio during migration. But they are usually gone within a couple of days. So it was a surprise to me that it was there. I asked the Birding Virginia Facebook group if one had been reported recently, and it turns out that like Ohio, one or two get reported every year. There was one that had been reported in the spring, but not recently. This one is probably the same one reported earlier in the year. A White-faced Ibis doesn't really have a white face...weird I know. :-D It has some white feathers around its face...but the Glossy Ibis have a similar band. The easiest way to tell the difference between the two is that a White-faced has pink eyes and a pinkish face. I guess if you look at it from far off, it looks sort of white...
9. White-faced Ibis feeding with two Glossy
That's it for now. :-D I have one more round of birds to post as well as one for some of the other local critters. Until then...
Sola Deo Gloria
Well, I have a few more of my pictures of the wildlife ready from our recent trip to Chincoteague Island in Virginia. My first post is here just in case you missed it.
I saw a lot of different Herons and Egrets while I was there. Some like the Great Egret, Cattle Egret, Snowy Egret, Green Heron, and Great Blue Heron live here in Ohio. So on this post I will share some of the pictures of the Herons I saw.
4. Little Blue Herons are medium sized herons. Larger than Green Herons, but smaller than the familiar Great Blue Heron. The juveniles are almost all white, and can be confused with some of the egrets, but Little Blue Herons have blue bills and blue on the tips of their feathers.
Juvenile Little Blue Heron Juvenile Little Blue HeronChincoteague VA 7/1/2015
5. Snowy Egrets are medium sized egrets, about the same size as the Little Blue Herons mentioned above. they have bills with yellow around the base and yellow "slippers" (feet)...unless they are breeding, then the bill and feet are more red than yellow.
6. Tri-colored Heron was the other Heron I got to see. They are a medium sized Heron that are larger than the two above, but smaller than Great Blue Herons. They look similar to Great Blue Herons, but Tri-colored Herons have a white belly, and a darker neck...as well as a few different facial features.
Next post will be about the Ibises that we saw there...including a "chance" encounter with one that isn't seen there very much.
Sola Deo Gloria
One of the great things about working for one of the major auto manufactures is that in July I get a paid week off work while the plant does major projects that can't be done while production is happening. Usually I stick around the house and just chill, but this year since one of my daughters was at camp, and my other is all growed up, I decided to take my beloved on a trip to the East Coast and get some shorebirding in.
eBird was showing my target birds all over the eastern shore, so I needed local knowledge to narrow it down. I made a general inquiry on my Facebook birding pages of where would be a good place to get some shorebirds that would be still within a days drive (9hrs), and not OVERly touristy. Chincoteague Island and the barrier island Assateague located in both Maryland and Virginia are better known for their ponies, but it was suggested for the birds I was looking for. Assateague is a National Wildlife Refuge, and the shorebirds have free reign over parts of the beach during breeding season. Barriers of pipe and rope are erected over parts of the Island that are considered above the high tide line, so that the birds can nest and human activity is minimized. This is mainly for the Piping Plover, but other shorebirds use the areas as well. Once the birds have fledged, the areas are opened back up for human activity. Here is the NWR's page for the refuge: Chincoteague NWR . Here is the Chamber of Commerce Website as well, they have lots of info for places to stay and eat etc.: Chicoteague COC . If you have a bike, bring it...or rent one while you are there...It will help out on the paths. Plus you can leave your car at the hotel, and bike anywhere on the NWR...for free...except where it is closed to all human activity. ;-)
We stayed at the Chincoteague Inn. VERY no frills. If you wanted to be waited on hand and foot...you might want to investigate somewhere else. :-D This place has coffee...and that's about it. But the rooms are clean, and they were the cheapest on the island for the days that we were there. they also had a microwave and fridge. There are not very many places to eat breakfast on the island...except for those higher priced hotels' continental breakfasts...There are a couple of places, but I would bring some fruit and cereal...JIC. Lunch, Dinner, and Dessert is a different story...Go to Capt. Zack's...nothing was bad there but the wait. Ask any of the locals about other places to eat. There are a few other really good places, but I never left Capt. Zack's , and Pico Taqueria (EXCELLENT Tacos!) :-D
On to the birds.
I was there for two days, and picked up 10 life birds in very short order. Plus I got some pics of birds I had seen before, but only fleeting glimpses.
Here are some of my better bird pictures in no particular order. I have tons more that I am still going through so I will make another post of them later.:
1. Least Tern
At less than 12 inches, it is a very small Tern by comparison to other Terns. In the pictures on the left of it is a soda straw. I left it in there to show scale...(I would have Photoshopped it out otherwise.) The eggs are about the size of a malted milk ball. they are flying around the refuge defending their nests, and feeding along the shore.
2. Piping Plovers are an endangered/threatened species which is the reason for all of the habitat preservation measures being taken by the NWR. While walking in an area that isn't in the protection zone, I happened across a family of them out for a stroll. This is one of those birds that I came here for, so I was thankful that God directed some into my path. :-) . They are in the same family as Killdeer, and there babies look real similar...but these are less noisy. :-D Full grown, they are about the size of a baby chicken. The first two are full grown, the last is a newly hatched chick.
3. American Oystercatchers are one of those birds that area a little weird looking. But do rather well there. They probe the wet sand and mud flats for things like small crabs, mussels, clams and of course, Oysters. :-D Several of these birds have "bracelets" or bands on their legs, they are there to help researchers learn about demographics, movement, habitat requirements, and survival. So whenever I see a band, I always report it to the USGS. They report it to the bander, and send me a certificate when the bird is matched up to a particular band. I saw two different ones while I was there. According to the AMOY Working Group, there are about 3000 banded.
That's it for now...more to come later.
Sola Deo Gloria
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