Saturday, March 1, 2014

Herpers Birding. 3-1-2014

Well Spring is showing no signs of arriving any time soon so, like many other herpers at this time of year, we decided to keep our legs in shape with some birding. I might as well work on my Big Year while I await the return of herps to the Northeast.

Not to say we didn't look. It was mildish (high 30s) last Sunday, so we took a hike through Brook. But it was super snowy. Andrea looked pretty cute, though.

I had seen Big Year #23 outside of work earlier this week, an American Robin.
#23 American Robin (Turdus migratorius)
but wasn't happy with the picture.

So, we thought we'd try to add to our Big Year with a walk through the nearby Arnold Arboretum. It's an avian-centric place. We saw a bunch of Robins right off, but I had just counted one. Still, I attempted better shots, but came up with crap. Andrea spotted this guy up a tree...

#24- Red-bellied Woodpecker.
#24 Red-Bellied Woodpecker ( Melanerpes carolinus)

#25 Red-tailed Hawks.
#25 Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)

Andrea again... #26- White-throated Sparrow.
#26 Yellow-throated Sparrow (Petronia xanthocollis)

Birders. A weird bunch. But we saw a guy and he asked if we'd seen "the owl". We said no, and he told us where he'd just seen one. We looked at his picture and had a good idea how to find it. Sure enough, further up the walk...

#27- Eastern Screech Owl (Red phase).
#27 Eastern Screech Owl (Megascops asio)
#27 Eastern Screech Owl (Megascops asio)
Damn, that's cute!

It was cold, but I swear I heard my favorite call of the warmer climes... the Red-Winged Blackbird! We did... there were a few there, but we were unable to get a photograph. A birder that we talked to for a while said they had just migrated up in the past day or two. My most welcome sign of (hopefully) improving weather.

Funny thing about birders... they cheat. This guy was saying I could count the Red-Winged Blackbird because we saw and heard it. I explained the herper's motto... "pics or it didn't happen". You can take the herper out of the viable climate but you can't take the herper out of the herper. Or something.

A nearby bird-feeder had a lot of action. I missed a Cardinal and there were shitloads of sparrows, but I managed a shot of...
#28- European Starling.
#28 European Starling ( Sturnus vulgaris)

and #29- Mourning Dove.
#29 Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)

Well, I'll be damned... we were getting cold, so we headed back. We got #30 (Common Grackle) on the way out.
#30 Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula)

And finally, a good shot of our #23... American Robin.
#23 American Robin (Turdus migratorius)
This fella looks a bit like Vic Diaz, no?

So 7 more species towards our Big Year. Not bad. 70 more to go until I hit my goal for 2014. If it stays frigid, we might have to take more bird-only hikes. But I'd rather get my herp back on.


  1. ¡Qué lindos,qué lindos!!!!!!!!Un beso x2 Martha

  2. Hola Mike y Andrea;Son muy bellas las fotos de los pájaros.Les mando un beso. Martha

    1. Gracias, Martha!!! Love love love!!!