Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Recovery - and on to Cape May

The last couple of weeks since my last post have been rather trying. Instead of enjoying the delightful Fall weather in Vermont, I dealt with a computer crash/infection/or some - @#$% - thing. Stress and lost time, but its working, and I seem not to have lost anything of importance.

Finished the recovery job in Philly, then celebrated yesterday with a trip to Cape May - a delightful, pleasant Fall day. Just being outside meandering about some of my favorite spots was fulfilling - the kind of day when you don't have to see anything "special," because everything is special.

Just a few samples, beginning with the Carolina Wrens - they were singing and chasing one another. Since breeding season is over, I presume the rivalries had to do with older males chasing off younger males, and younger males trying to find some territories of their own. Whatever it was precisely, it was entertaining.

Carolina Wren

My cats awakened me very early for breakfast, which meant getting to Cape May at dawn ... which in turn meant some wonderful early morning light. A few samples ...

Northern Cardinal
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Great Blue Heron
 No dawn light on this Ruby-crowned Kinglet, but this one was much more accommodating to my camera than the ones I tried to photograph outside my kitchen window in Vermont - no keepers from Vermont, but a nice, if fleeting, pose from this one.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet
 Cape May is famous during the Fall for hawk migration. I did not spend much time at the watch platform, but that hardly mattered. The hawks were visible overhead all over the area. On several occasions, I looked up to see several accipters (sharps & coops). Here is a Sharp-shinned Hawk ...

Sharp-shinned Hawk
A few butterflies were still flying - one Monarch, Clouded Sulphurs, Common Buckeyes, and in several locations, American Lady ...

American Lady
No trip to the coast is complete without some time watching the Sanderlings chase, or be chased by, the waves ...

... and finally ... just because it is Fall, a time of glorious color before the bleak monotones of winter.

Good Birding!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Butterfly Catch-up

Several butterfly photos have been been preempted by the Fall Hawk Watch on Putney Mountain. Other activities during the past week have prevented me from getting up to the ridge, so this seems a good time to catch up on some butterflies seen in the Philadelphia area and in southeastern Vermont mostly during September ...

Common Wood-Nymph - South Newfane, Vermont
Hackberry Emperor - Philadelphia, PA

Red-spotted Purple - Philadelphia, PA
Spicebush Swallowtail - Philadelphia, PA
Variegated Fritillary - Cape May, NJ
Eastern Comma - Philadelphia, PA
Question Mark - Putney, VT
Alas, most butterflies will be "disappearing" soon - one reason to look forward to Spring.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Sharpie Show

After a week of dismal weather and even more dismal hawk watching (for the few who ventured out), the cold front yesterday blew out the crummy weather. Cooler temps and a decent northwest wind had the birds flying again along the Putney Mountain ridge.

Sharp-shinned Hawks were the predominant bird, although there were a total of 11 migrating raptors & one vulture recorded. (SSHA, COHA, NOGO, PEFA, MERL, AMKE, RTHA, RESH, BAEA, OSPR, NOHA, TUVU)

Sharpie not only dominated the count, but also provided a great aerial show. A few images, beginning with a hatch year bird  ...

Sharp-shinned Hawk
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Sharp-shinned Hawk
For a change of pace, this Red-shouldered Hawk, flew so low across the hawk watchers, that some felt compelled to duck ...

Red-shouldered Hawk
 Good Birding!!

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

More Attitude than Brains

Many young raptors have more attitude than brains (Sharp-shinned & Cooper's Hawk, Merlin) - which is why the hawk watchers on Putney Mountain put up a plastic decoy owl.

If the young sharpies, coops, or merlin had any brains they would know that a Great-horned Owl is nothing to mess with, but they don't have brains, they have attitude.

This morning, it was the sharpies. Two hatch year birds and one second year bird (who should have been old enough to know better) made repeated dives on the decoy, to the delight of the three watchers.

Here are a few images ...

Sharp-shinned Hawk (hatch year)
Sharp-shinned Hawk (hatch year)
Sharp-shinned Hawk (hatch year)
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Sharp-shinned Hawk (after hatch year - partial barring on chest)
 While the youngsters demonstrated their "attitude," the occasional adult just cruised on by ...

Sharp-shinned Hawk (adult)
Good Birding!


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