Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our loyal followers! We are very thankful that so many of you are interested in all of our birding adventures and look forward to continuing to share our stories with you.

Thanks to our friend Brian Zwiebel for this awesome photo of a Wild Turkey that he photographed on Mount Lemmon in SE Arizona. There are several subspecies of Wild Turkey and this one is the Merriam's subspecies that occurs throughout parts of the Western US. In parts of SE Arizona, two subspecies are possible, Merriam's and Gould's. If this were a Gould's it would show a pure white tip to the tail in addition to other identification points. You can learn more about Wild Turkey's here!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Eagle Creek Park-Eared Grebe

The Eared Grebe from Eagle Creek Park.  Thanks to Aidan Rominger for the photo!
The last few days of birding around Eagle Creek Reservoir has produced at least one unusual bird, each day.  The first was a White-winged Scoter, an uncommon bird away from Lake Michigan (in Indiana).  On Saturday, an Eared Grebe arrived and provided great looks.  The Eared Grebe also continued through today.  Then, today, a single Red-necked Grebe was present on the south side of the reservoir.  The question now, when will the Western Grebe arrive?


Monday, November 17, 2014

Enjoying the South Texas Specialties in the Rio Grande Valley

Rob writes: A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to lead field trips during the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Birding Festival. I always love any opportunity to bird in the RGV and this trip was fantastic as always!

My trip started out with leading four days of field trips for the festival. I got to visit some of my favorite birding locations in the RGV as well as a place I had never visited, a very cool private ranch north of Harlingen called El Canelo. Although it rained for the first two days of the festival, there were plenty of birds around and we all made the most of the bad weather and found lots of birds anyway!

After the festival, Stephanie and I spent a couple of extra days relaxing and birding out on South Padre Island. It was great to have a couple of slower paced days to recover after birding like crazy during the festival! It also allowed us to spend more time taking photos of all of the awesome birds that we had been watching all week.

Although it was very cloudy, we did manage to capture a couple nice sunrise shots one morning on South Padre Island.
The Convention Center on South Padre Island is a great place to work
on photographing terns in flight, like this Forster's Tern.
This Osprey flew a bit to close for the 400mm lens I was using.
While on the way to Laguna Atascosa NWR, we spotted a pair of Harris's Hawks. They remained perched until a pick up truck went flying by and I was able to capture a few images as they took off!
Stephanie photographed this Green Jay while we were birding at Laguna Atascosa.
Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks are common throughout the RGV but I find that Estero Llano Grande State Park is a great place to find some that are close enough for photography.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Spruce Grouse in the UP

A male Spruce Grouse
I guess the best way to describe it is laziness.  There are a few reliable locations for Spruce Grouse within twenty minutes of Whitefish Point but, it took me about two and a half months to go watch them.  The grouse didn't disappoint; within a few minutes at the first location, I had found a group of 12 along the road. The highlight was watching an aggressively displaying male.

I wasn't really looking for Spruce Grouse at my second stop (even though it is a historically good location for them) but, a male popped up on the side of the road and gave some great views.  The light was also much better which made for a marginally better photo.

It was a little dark for photography at my first stop, but you can get the idea
of the experience (even if you can't see the birds well).