Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Northern Cardinal


Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis
  I have noticed a few vocal male Northern Cardinals out and about in NDG over the last couple of weeks.
  Lately I have been gleefully fussing over my birding gear in preparation for spring.  Spring!  And I've got some big old birding plans for spring.
  Oh, on the subject of cardinals, here's a cool link I saw on the BPQ group about a gynandromorph cardinal - half male, half female: http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2012/09/04/a-gynandromorph-cardinal-one-half-male-the-other-half-female/

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Ozzie memories 2 - May 24th, 2008 - Epic!

Black-shouldered Kite Elanus axillarus
Eastern Yellow Robin Eopsaltria australis
Grey Fantail Rhipidura albiscapa
Galah Eolophus roseicapilla
Laughing Kookaburra Dacelo novaeguineae
Little Corella Cacatua sanguinea
Purple Swamphen Porphyrio Porphyrio
Rockwarbler (aka Origma) Origma solitaria
White-eared Honeyeater Lichenostomus leucotis
White-throated Treecreeper Cormobates leucophaea
female Superb Fairy-wren Malurus cyaneus
  Of course summer is winter in Australia, just to keep visitors on their toes.  Here are some pics from what was probably my most epic day of birding to date.  On a sunny Friday in May I met up with an amazing birder, Keith Brandwood.  Originally from England, Keith has been living in the Hawkesbury District northwest of Sydney for the better part of four decades, and he took a whole day to show me every nook and cranny of his patch, which he knows well.  
  We ended up seeing 99 bird species that day, 2/3 of which were lifers for me.  Whoa.  Apparently we were pretty lucky to have spotted the Rockwarbler, which is high on the wishlist of even local birders.  When I saw and heard my first Kookaburra, everything seemed right with the world.
  It was epic.  EPIC!  Thanks again, Keith.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Ozzie memories - Summer 2008

Australian Magpie Cracticus tibicen
Australian White Ibis Threskiornis moluccus
Australian Magpie Cracticus tibicen
male Australian Wood Duck Chenonetta jubata
male Chestnut Teal Anas castanea
female Chestnut Teal Anas castanea

Crested Pigeon Ocyphaps lophotes
Common Myna Acridotheres tristis
Masked Lapwing Vanellus miles
Noisy Miner Manorina melanocephala
Silver Gull Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae
female Australian Wood Duck Chenonetta jubata
  Slow bird week, I've been busy.  I'll have to get out there soon though, spring is knocking.  The Red-winged Blackbirds are back, along with the gulls.  Funny, in Korea, winter is when the gulls come back in force.
  So here are a few pics from my memorable trip to Australia in May-August of 2008.  It was glorious!  The first installment is stuff from the Royal Botanical Gardens in Sydney.  Strewth!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Île-de-la-Visitation, March 9th






House Finch Haemorhous mexicanus
Pigeon!  Pigeon!
  It was a super sunny and warm day to join a BPQ field trip.  Always good to compare notes with other birders.  Pretty quiet day overall.  Spring soon!  Oh, I saw a squirrel with no tail, and it was hideous.

Monday, March 4, 2013

In search of Snowies - St-Hubert, March 4th

Snow Bunting - unmistakable pied wings
Snow Bunting

Snow Bunting

Horned Lark (female)

Horned Lark (male)
Roadside Snow Buntings
Lost in suburban hell
Snow Bunting / Horned Lark location
  Dan and I decided to have a nosy round St-Hubert airport to scope for Snowy Owls today.  We hallucinated quite a few Snowies made of actual snow, then proceeded to get lost in suburbia hell.  After finally making it back to the fields around the airport, we spotted a bird flying low across a farmer's field.  The wings flashed a bold pied pattern and Dan quickly had it tagged as a Snow Bunting.  We eventually encountered a roving flock of 24, and got great long views of them as they flew back and forth between the fields, a large dirt pile, and the gravel at the side of the road.  After looking at a few field guides, I'm going to guess that most of them were adults in the process of assuming breeding plumage (darker blackish backs/very little breast banding, while retaining brownish on the head and yellow bills).
  These were soon joined by a few more small 'ground running' birds that turned out to be Horned Larks.  We counted about a dozen.  The other bird of note was a large Rough-legged Hawk patrolling near the Armed Forces choppers.  It was not a great day weather/light-wise and we didn't get our owl, but we both got a pretty big kick out of prolonged views of birds we don't have much experience with.
  One of these days I'll get a proper picture editing program and learn how to edit pics properly.