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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bad Photos of Good Birds: Tufted Duck

Today was the first time I've had a chance to slip over to see the female Tufted Duck that's been hanging out at a small sewage pond in Chester County. When I got there about 9:30 this morning, a couple of guys were already watching her. For the next hour, the duck mostly slept or loafed on the pond, only occasionally swimming actively for a few seconds or preening.

Unfortunately, I was only able to get some ugly photos of a sleeping duck.

Not much to look at. The Tufted Duck is the dark one in the middle, flanked by a female (left) and male (right) Ring-necked Duck. Notice how dark the bird is compared to the female Ring-necked Duck: no white on the face, colder chocolate coloring, etc.

But here's my field sketch and notes.

Sometimes you get great looks and satisfying photos. Other times, not so much. But a great little bird and I'm glad it has stuck around long enough for me to drive over to see it.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Birding with Steve Martin, Owen Wilson & Jack Black

Rumor has it that Steve Martin, Owen Wilson, and Jack Black will be starring in a movie production of The Big Year, based on Mark Obamscik's book about three men trying to set the North American Big Year birding record. I'm guessing Steve Martin will play an acerbic Sandy Komito ("a retired industrial contractor from New Jersey who loves birds, winning and getting people's goat")? I love all these guys. Can't wait!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Grackle flocks=Spring

So this week I've been seeing the Common Grackle flocks moving through the area--one of the earliest bird signs of Spring in the Mid-Atlantic States. Of course, birds have been singing for months now, especially the cavity nesters, checking out territories. And Mourning Doves have been cooing since January, and Great-horned Owls are on nests. There may not be any leaves on the trees, or flowers out yet, but the birds know--Spring has sprung!
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