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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Jinx Birds at Birding is Fun!

I have a new post up at Birding is Fun about jinx birds.  Check it out and share your own jinx bird stories!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Pine Run Pink-footed Goose

Can you find the rare goose in this shot?  Me neither!

Fortunately I was on my computer this afternoon at 2:30 when word went out about a Pink-footed Goose found by August Mirabella at Pine Run Reservoir, one of my old stomping grounds an hour away over in Bucks County, PA.  Dashing to the car I was there by 3:30, where I met August and Ron French, who had the bird in the scope.  Over the next hour up to a dozen birders rushed over to see the bird, which spent the whole time floating out in the middle of the small reservoir with over 800 Canada Geese.  Having chased and missed this rare European goose several times over the years, it was great to finally see one in North America!

At over 100 yards distance in the fading light, I was lucky to get these poor shots through my scope.  Just happy to have been there!

I won't inflict you with the shaky and blurry video shot through my scope, though it was nice to see the bird flap a couple of times and do some bill dipping.

More photos from others:
August Mirabella's photos

Monday, November 21, 2011

Hunterdon County Brant

After chasing and missing Brant at Spruce Run for the past two weeks, I finally ran into one this morning at nearby DeMott Pond in Clinton.  The young bird was there all day yesterday, and still there when I checked late this morning, and tame enough to walk up and take a picture of with my phone camera.  Other new arrivals and good birds for me this morning were Red-throated Loon and first of season Fox Sparrow and Hooded Mergansers at Spruce Run.  At home, a singing male House Finch was a new bird for the yard.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Snowy Owl with the Kids

This morning the kids were out of school, so we headed over to Merrill Creek Reservoir near our house to see the Snowy Owl that was found there on Wednesday.  After hiking almost a mile out onto the dam, the bird was easily seen perched on a rock out of the wind below the dam.

Here are my kids looking down at the owl.  See it?  Right there on the rocks to the left of the dark bush?

Does the red arrow help?

OK, how about this?

Not a great shot, but I am amazed that I could get an (almost) identifiable shot of a Snow Owl at 200 yards with my camera phone!

Actually, its not all that much better shot through my scope...

I shot several videos with my phone, but the owl ended up overexposed on all of them.  Bummer.

Kids really enjoyed watching this guy, even though it was quite cold and windy on the dam.  So not a great photography experience, but a great birding with the kids moment.  This wasn't my first Snowy Owl experience with the kids, or even the second, but it is the first one my youngest will remember, and a great day all around.

Note: For those who just can't read a bird blog without awesome bird photos, check out images of this Snowy Owl over at The Nemesis Bird.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Spruce Run Snow Buntings

Had to take my car for a spin after getting it back from the shop (still trying to get it to pass NJ inspections) and ran into ten of these great birds at the Spruce Run Reservoir boat launch parking lot.  I haven't seen many Snow Buntings over the years, so nice to get reacquainted.  At first the birds flew in and were resting in the shade, then they flew out into the open gravel parking lot. Photos shot with my HTC Incredible Android phone through my old Zeiss 7x42s.  

No other real surprises, other than these beauties it was a slow morning taking longer than expected to get my 20 Bird MDR, but any day with Snow Buntings is a good day in my book.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Got It!

I've managed to get my 20 Bird MDR each day this week, despite some heavy travel days and lots of driving to campus and back.  Today my best birds were Rusty Blackbirds at Assiscong Marsh on my way down to a faculty meeting at Rowan University.  While I haven't had time for hard core birding, by making the effort to get my daily bird MDR I have seen Merlin, Palm Warbler, and several other birds that I for sure wouldn't have seen this week without the extra effort.
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