06 de mayo de 2017

May 2: Ethan Allen Park

I got to Ethan Allen park on Tuesday, May 2 and could hear the song sparrows singing as soon as I got out of my car. The weather was about 60 degrees and sunny with some clouds. I walked into the park and the first bird I saw was a blue jay in a tree. I started to see other things as I got deeper into the park, like goldfinches, house finches, house sparrows, song sparrows, common grackles, crows and ravens, eastern phoebes, robins, chickadees, downy and hairy woodpeckers, a chipping sparrow and a white-throated sparrow, and a northern flicker. I saw a pair of red-tailed hawks nesting as well.

Anotado en 06 de mayo de 2017 a las 03:34 AM por nickvance17 nickvance17 | 19 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

28 de abril de 2017

April 25: Red Rocks Park

This time I went to Red Rocks Park. This is around the time of year that the birds that pick their mates, so naturally there will be a lot of singing and calling going around. I got into red rocks and immediately heard the song and chipping sparrows singing loudly, presumably to attract mates so that they can nest. Many song sparrows prefer to nest in bushes that are low to the ground, and I saw many doing just that in the nests at red rocks. Chipping sparrows usually nest on the edges of branches, and they can have a very rapid song when looking for mates. Many song sparrows have nests close to the ground because they forage on the ground, specifically insects and seeds. This way their nests are close to where they forage so it is easier to bring food to their young. When I got deeper into the park I started seeing juncos, blue jays, cardinals, downy and hairy woodpeckers, and ruby-crowned kinglets. As I got closer and closer to a blue jay, it started calling out at me loudly, so I can assume that its nest was nearby and it was trying to protect it. This blue jay' s nest seemed to be in an oak tree, which is a good spot for blue jays. This shows that this bird is fit and dominant because it was able to secure a good habitat to nest in. The same thing happened with a dark-eyed junco I saw on the ground, so I can presume that it was guarding its nest as well because they nest on the ground. They make their nests out of grass, bark fiber, twigs, moss, and maybe some other vegetation. They can find most of these on the ground where they nest or up in trees as well. I got even deeper into the park and saw two warbler species, a pine warbler and a yellow warbler. They were very hard to get a good view of because they were flitting around the trees so fast, but I was able to get a good enough view to ID both of them. I then got to the water and saw some turkey vultures soaring around, along with a great blue heron and 2 cormorants.

Anotado en 28 de abril de 2017 a las 05:25 AM por nickvance17 nickvance17 | 13 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

21 de abril de 2017

April 17: Lone Rock Point

On Monday I went to the trail at Lone Rock Point. The weather was not rainy, but it was a fairly cold and windy day. As soon as I got to the trail, I could hear plenty of song sparrows singing. Some looking around found me 3 of them in a tree not far from the trail. I continued on the trail towards the water and saw 2 blue jays flitting about in the pine trees. I followed them around, but they were pretty wary of me so they left the area. I then spotted about 5 turkey vultures soaring in the sky, presumably looking for prey. They were giant with silver on the inside of the wing, so I knew they were turkey vultures. Soon after, I heard the distinct liquid call of the brown-headed cowbird, which was a lifer for me, so I got really excited trying to find them. I soon found them in a bush. They weren't nesting, because brown-headed cowbirds lay their eggs in other species' nests, so they were presumably foraging for food. After that, I heard the distinct "phoebe" call of the eastern phoebe. I saw 2 of them on a branch nearby before moving on. I continued on the trail and then saw a yellow warbler hanging out in a tree, which was another lifer for me. I watched it for a bit before it flitted away. Soon after, I reached the water, and it was pretty hoppin'. The first thing I noticed were a group of tree swallows, another lifer for me, so I was excited about that. There were also some buffleheads, double-crested cormorant, common mergs, ring-billed gulls, herring gulls, american crows, and a common raven.

Anotado en 21 de abril de 2017 a las 03:47 AM por nickvance17 nickvance17 | 15 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

14 de abril de 2017

April 11, 2017: LaPlatte River Marsh Natural Area and Shelburne Bay

On April 11, I visited the LaPlatte River Marsh Natural Area, and Shelburne Bay. This is the time of year that many birds migrate back to Vermont, and it was evident. I could hear many different warbler sings, although I did not actually see any. I also heard a pine siskin, which I had never encountered before. There were also many of the year-round residents out and about, such as the common merganser, bufflehead, mallard, brown creeper, song sparrow, black-capped chickadee, and hairy woodpecker, which were the first birds I saw upon entering the natural area. These birds can survive winters in Vermont because their feathers are warm enough that they don't get too cold and suffer. Additionally, birds that live in Vermont may have to change their diet for the winter. Birds that usually eat insects may have to eat berries and such in the winter because there will not be many bugs flying around. Birds such as sparrows that usually eat seeds and nuts can collect them and are able to survive throughout the winter. Woodpeckers can still find insects in the winter since they're found under the tree bark, so that is a reason that they forego migration. I saw some other water birds along that trail, such as the double-crested cormorant, great blue heron, great egret, canada goose, and a caspian tern, which was a really nice surprise. Another birder told me that the caspian tern just arrived here, would be sticking around the area for a few more weeks, and then continuing to migrate north. In the winter, caspian terns migrate to more southern bodies of water because there are more resources, such as fish. Now that it is getting warmer up north, the terns are coming back up north because there are resources in this region again. After spotting the waterbirds I saw an osprey that was looking for fish. Osprey are returning at about this time of year as well. Since fish make up most of the osprey's diet, they migrate south in winter where fish are abundant and where lakes don't freeze over. Now that spring has come, they are back because there are resources available.

Anotado en 14 de abril de 2017 a las 06:26 AM por nickvance17 nickvance17 | 24 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

24 de marzo de 2017

Field Observation 3: Huntley Meadows Park

On this excursion, I saw a lot of amazing birds! I went to Huntley Meadows Park in Virginia over my spring break. I started on the woodland trail and not a lot was out and about, but when I arrived at the marsh area, many species were singing and calling. I first saw an eastern phoebe, which immediately started chirping to its partner when it saw me. I assume that was a warning that danger might be afoot. They were very wary of me and flitted around whenever I got close. I then saw/heard several red-winged blackbirds, which were incredibly loud. I saw several loudly call and display their red plumage at the same time, presumably defending their territory. I saw two gaggles of canada geese as well, and they were extremely loud. They would not stop honking at each other the entire time they were swimming in the marsh. Occasionally two geese would honk at each other and fly at each other like they were arguing or trying to display dominance. There were many black-capped chickadees around, and they were all hopping between and pecking at the reeds in the marsh. I also saw an american coot, and when it saw me it used its wings and legs to run away from me on the water. I caught a glimpse of its feet, I had never seen anything like it.

I saw an amazing colorful wood duck in the marsh. This bird was beautiful, and I've been told he has a mate as well. Bright colored feathers are used to attract mates, and it is especially obvious in birds like the wood duck. In species like the american crow, bright plumage is not used to find a mate. They members of a group usually pair up and make nests during breeding season. With the crows' all black plumage, they can hide from potential predators much more easily than a wood duck can. The wood duck most likely has a very difficult time camouflaging because of the colorful plumage.

Something really amazing I witnessed was a great blue heron trying to find some fish to eat. This heron dragged one of its feathers over the surface of the water to try and get the attention of the fish in the water. The heron could have possibly been trying to mimic a water bug. This behavior fits into the bird's circadian rhythm because the body regulates processes on a schedule and that was obviously when the body told the bird that it was time to feed. I also witnessed a pair of mallards diving for fish together. It was obviously their time to eat as well.

Anotado en 24 de marzo de 2017 a las 04:52 AM por nickvance17 nickvance17 | 12 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

10 de marzo de 2017

Field Observation 2

I went on a 2 hour excursion to Centennial woods on Wednesday, March 8. I started the excursion at about noon. Right on the edge of the woods when I got there I saw 3 American Crows in a yard. They weren't doing anything, just standing in the middle of the yard. I got into the woods and immediately saw a white-breasted nuthatch. The nuthatch was fluttering from tree to tree, so I followed it and eventually it stuck to one of the trees and started hopping vertically down the trunk. This was the foraging pattern of the nuthatch; that's how it moves down the trunk to hunt for bugs. Nuthatches also forage for nuts and seeds to store for winter so they have enough food to survive.
Black-capped chickadees were all over the woods, but I only saw a few of them. I was able to hear their call and song pretty much everywhere I went, but only was able to spot about 5 of them. The ones I saw were pretty high up in the branches as well, so that may be why I didn't see many. If I buy some binoculars I may be able to see some more. Black-capped chickadees survive the winter by having thick winter coats and storing food in secluded roost cavities. Titmice are similar to chickadees and nuthatches because they forage for nuts and seeds and store them for winter as well. Titmice also nest in nooks in trees, but can't make them themselves, so they have to find ones that are already made.
I spotted one downy woodpecker near the exit of the woods. I had heard the pecking noise so I followed it until I saw the bird on a tree. I could tell this was a downy woodpecker rather than a hairy woodpecker because the beak was relatively short compared to its body.There were several holes below the bird, which meant that the woodpecker was most likely moving up the tree after pecking each hole. The woodpecker would peck, a few times, stop, and repeat. Downy woodpeckers peck holes in trees to find bugs that are under the surface of the tree bark. They also don't sing songs; they use the pecking sound for communication.

Anotado en 10 de marzo de 2017 a las 05:50 AM por nickvance17 nickvance17 | 5 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario