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Friday, May 25, 2012

Muck Birding

Last night I dreamed I was in a swamp and almost put my hand on a Cottonmouth.  I should have known it was going to be one of those days.

A good day, but a mucky one!  After finding a Semipalmated Plover (2012 County Bird #204) I got a text saying there was a singing Prothonotary Warbler at the other end of the reservoir.  Boots would be required to see the bird.

How bad could the mud be?  How badly did I want this local rarity for my year list?

20 minutes later, I'm in a swamp that looks like my dream, ankle deep in mud.  Fortunately I did hear the bird.  I was even able to photograph it with my Nikon CoolPix P500.

What?  You can't see the bird?  It was 100 yards away, how good a shot did you expect me to get?  Does this help?

 Maybe this will help you out...

OK, the photo stinks.  But at that distance with my handheld camera at maximum 36x zoom, could have been worse!

At one point, for maybe a couple seconds, it was actually closer, but mostly 2012 County Bird #205 was just heard singing and gave me only a quick glimpse. 

Hiking back out of the swamp we ran into this mother giving birth:

Looks painful.  And muddy.

Here you can barely see a couple of her eggs under the mother snapping turtle's hind digging foot.  This was her second hole, about 10 yards away from where she was seen digging a bit earlier.

It's a tough world out there for little turtle eggs.  Here's hoping a few evade the raccoons, and are able to make it out of this newly planted field alive.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hayseed Snow Goose

Snow Goose, Spruce Run, Hunterdon County, NJ, 22 May 2012
Most Snow Geese left New Jersey months ago, this young bird apparently isn't going to Arctic Canada this year--he's been hanging out with some Canada Geese at Spruce Run.  I think he's a redneck wannabee.  What makes me say that?  He's a real hayseed.  Check out the closeup.

Might as well be auditioning for a spot on Hee Haw!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Color Banded Cormorant

Digiscoped with HTC Incredible phone through Kowa 883 scope.

This morning I found this young Double-crested Cormorant at Spruce Run.  Note the orange color band on the left leg and silver federal band on the right. I submitted the color band code I was able to read (0F9) to the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center Bird Banding Laboratory, and look forward to hearing where this bird comes from.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Bobolinks are Back

The Bobolinks are back at Hoffman Park just up the road from my house.  The males are chasing each other and the females across the large fields.  Hard to get close enough for a photo--especially when they seem to fly to the other end of the field whenever I get out my camera!

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Party Wren is in Da House Tonight!

Everybody's gonna have a good time!

I watched this House Wren building a nest in a box at Voorhees State Park in Hunterdon County, NJ today.  Interestingly, he didn't want to use the official nest entrance hole, but insisted on going in and out of the more protected ventilation hole at the top right above the "real" nest hole!

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