Sunday, March 20, 2011

it must be spring... #122-124

So a few things to cover here!

1. Redpolls in the yard!
On Wednesday I noticed a few birds near my yard in the distance that looked a little different than the normal visitors. I waited around and got a new yard bird! Five common redpolls came, which is pretty exciting for me. They have been at the Hilda feeders by the hundreds, really not all that far from my house, and I wondered why they weren't at my feeders. Not sure if I will see them again though, since it's warmed up so much.

2. NH + MA
We took a quick trip to New Hampshire and Massachusetts from Wednesday to Saturday. It wasn't intended to be a birding trip by any means (although I'm always a little hopeful when I venture away from home). However we did manage to get one life bird, and another bird that I've seen but never counted because I've never been able to get a passable photo.

Anyways, we were very surprised to see a Northern Mockingbird at a gas station in New Hampshire. Apparently they are quite common, but their range doesn't extend to Ottawa and they are only spotted here rarely. Matt caught them doing some sort of song and dance thing. I missed it. :(

#122: Northern Mockingbird; A gas station somewhere in New Hampshire; March 17, 2011

I was hoping we would see some more ocean birds when we were in Boston but we didn't have much time and the time we had we were doing other things. Here's a Great Black-Backed Gull chilling on the Charles River.
We stopped at this really awesome spot on the way home, the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge and the Joppa Flats. We were a little late, but there was a Massachusetts Audubon centre there (already closed for the day). We parked the car and got out to look, and the two guys working there let us in anyway which was super nice of them! (birders are great people!) They said it was sort of a shoulder season but a flock of snow geese landed as we were talking to them, and I would love to go the beach there was awesome.

On the drive back home we saw some hooded mergansers.
#123: Hooded Merganser; On the road somewhere in New Hampshire; March 19, 2011

Hoods up!
Lady friend

3. Back to Otts.
Lovely day! Today we did a little bit of west-end birding back in Ottawa. First stop was Mud Lake, which was relatively quiet but should be picking up soon. An American Robin was eating some sumac.

Saw my first green-winged teals on March Valley Road. There were a bunch of mallards in a field with a bunch of melted ice. I noticed that a few were quite a bit smaller. It was hard to get a good look but we finally determined that they were 3 green-winged teals--1 male and 2 females. Here's a shot of a male and female beside a mallard; as you can see, they are much smaller!

#124: Green-Winged Teal; March Valley Road, Ottawa; March 20, 2011
I'm loving the warm weather but it's supposed to snow again tomorrow. I don't think that winter will be around much longer...the red-winged blackbirds are back, the ducks and geese are returning and I saw the first grackles of the year today!

I'm keeping a 2011 list and it's interesting that at this time last year, I'd only identified about 20 birds (I did start late) and this year I'm at some 40 birds already.

Oh yeah, picked up a new bird book in Boston for $5.99...the National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America (the 4th edition, which is why it was on sale). It's got some good stuff that my guide is missing, like comparison drawings of hawks in flight and all the gulls and each year and all that good stuff. Time to study up!


Funkysandman said...

Are they controlling their hoods?

the green-winged teals look like the Mallard babies!

deepdowndawn said...

Presumably they do to show the ladies how big it is.

but yeah...apparently they do in courtship displays: (gotta love the background commentary).

Not sure why it's up while he's landing? For balance? To brake (aero-resistance)?

dwaynejava said...

Jenna, congrats on three great lifers. I think HM's are the coolest looking ducks. Great shot of the lady HM as well. Keep up the great work. Things will only pick up from this point on :-)