Songo Blue Skies

Friday, December 31, 2010

A Very Happy New Year To All and Thank You

I want to thank all my blog friends for visiting throughout the year. I wish you a very Happy New Year full of new dreams and old dreams realized.
Happy New Year

Happy New year to you too.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Making Tracks

It's the first blizzard of the season. There were three white throated sparrows making tracks and picking up seeds in the snow.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

A very Merry Christmas to all ... Wishing you and your families many blessing and very merry holiday.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Call me Crazy... The Lunar Eclipse

Yes, it was early..Yes, it was cold...but oh what a sight. The lunar eclipse of 2010 was spectacular. Over Brooklyn the skies were clear. This is the first lunar eclipse to fall on the winter solstice, the longest night of the year, since Dec 21, 1638. The moon was at its highest in the sky and I believe it is also closest to the earth at this point as well. I awoke at 2:30 knowing that the total eclipse would occur at 3:17. I used a tripod but the wind was really blowing so the pictures are not real crisp.  A couple of my neighbors apparently have wind chimes. However, I had never payed them any mind or do I ever remember really hearing them. But in the cold clear night watching the moon turn orange their tingles, chimes and clangs added to the mystique. Here are a few of the shots. Oh, in case you missed it, the next lunar eclipse on the solstice will be in 2094. Think I'll miss that one...

About 2:53

About 3:15

About 3:25

Monday, November 29, 2010

Two Lifers

In and around NY, CT and ajoining areas the buzz has been all about the vagrant Fork-tailed Flycatcher. Like everyone else I was hoping to get a chance at seeing this bird. Since my family lives in CT I made the decision to wait until Thanksgiving when I would be passing right by Cove Island Wildlife Sanctuary. However, prior to Thursday I was nervously checking daily to see if the bird was still there. Unbelievably he was. What a thrill to hang out and watch this beautiful bird. I was even able to take my mom to see it on Friday. She had been reading about it in her local newspaper. Thankfully the spot where the bird hangs out is really close to the parking lot which was great for my mom who tires easily. Thanks also to Mardi Dickinson of Kymry~A Look in Time  who gave excellent directions. I was able to meet Mardi and her husband on Thursday. I'm just hoping that this little guy can figure out his directions and head south before it gets too cold or snowy.

Fork-tailed Flycatcher

I picked this picture because you can see the different lengths of the tail feathers. As this guy matures his tail feathers will lengthen.
 The other lifer for me was a pair of Hooded Mergansers. On the way to my sister's for dinner we passed the old Cobb's Mill Inn that has a pond right behind it. I got a brief glimpse of a bird (since I was driving couldn't look too closely). I remarked to my mom I wonder what that bird is. She said it was one with a funny head. I was intrigued. So the following day I made a point to stop at the place. There was the pair enjoying a swim and dive. Mom says there are usually a whole flock of them, but I only saw the pair. What beautiful birds. While the bird breeds not too far distant from NYC, it does winter here and in CT on wooded lakes, ponds, rivers; and in winter tidal creeks and estuaries.

Just after I snapped this the female gave the male a good jab in the tail feathers. He got out of her way quickly

The female. She is just beautiful! Her coloring is subtler
A handsome fellow!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Some Fall Birds

A friend and I went horse back riding last Saturday and then we took a walk around Jamaica Bay. It was a lovely Saturday with a light wind but pretty warm for this time of year. No snow geese yet, though I read they have been spotted. We did see American Coots and American Wigeons both life birds for me. Then we saw Kinglets and sparrows- White throateed, Song and Chipping. The White-Throated Sparrow was the white-striped form. Previously I had only seen the tan striped form.

American Coot and American Wigeon

Chipping Sparrow

Dark Eyed Junco

Northern Shoveler

Nice Fall Leaves

Northern Mockingbird

White-Throated Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow

Monday, October 25, 2010

More Unique Backyard Birds

Since early October I have had several Yellow bellied Sapsuckers, a female Golden-crowned Kinglet  and a Yellow-rumped Warbler. It has been interesting observing them.
First there was a female and two juvenile Sapsuckers. One still seemed to want mom to provide food chasing her from tree to tree calling "knit-knit-knit." There is one Yellow-bellied sapsucker left now which flits from tree to tree while the Yellow-rumped Warbler follows.Occasionally the Warbler sees the Kinglet and tries to chase it out of the area, but she returns. Since all three should be migrating it is interesting that they have stayed so long in one place. We have another warmish week so I am wondering if they will head further south after the weather turns. But for now they are providing lots of viewing fun right in my own backyard.

The female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

I think this is the female and the juvenile that was following her around

This is the remaining Sapsucker trying to catch a bug

You can see the red starting to develop on the forehead
You can see the Yellow-rump  

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Female Golden-crowned Kinglet

Golden -crowned Kinglet

Notice the broken eye ring. It really makes its eyes look big

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Warbler Still in Breeding Plumage in Brooklyn Backyard

We were hit by quite a storm last Thursday and a tornado touched down not too far from my home. So, I was in the backyard late this afternoon looking at what still needed to be cleaned up. A tree man had come and gotten the top of my neighbor's tree out of the pool and from the branches above. Now if the cable company will come to get the wires out of the pool. Anyhow, my eye caught this flitting among the trees. The bird was so small I immediately thought warbler. He came and went and at a couple of points I saw two of them. At first all I could see was that it's belly was white and it had a black throat and it looked black above except for a white wing spot. I spotted it fly up from the ground once and got the impression that it was blue in it's upper parts. Could it be a black-throated blue warbler still in breeding plumage? I looked in my neighbor's yard and there he was foraging around; definately blue above with black face and throat. I was amazed and thrilled. The pictures are not great because it was so late in the afternoon and I had to run most of them through photo shop but I think you will agree with me that it is a Black-throated Blue Warbler. Two of them at least right here in a Brooklyn backyard. Who would have thought?

I had another small bird in the backyard as well this afternoon which I am trying to identify. I'll post the picture of that one tomorrow. I may need help figuring out its identity.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Great BwBTC Birding Adventure

What a gorgeous, weather wise, day we had for the BwBTC outing in RI on Sat. Dan of NatureObservances wrote a great account in detail and Larry of The Brownstone Birding Blog wrote a clever and very funny account. I believe we saw 70 different birds for the day.
My day started by oversleeping (of all days) and thank goodness I was already in Rhode Island and therefore only 15 minutes late.  I was the one who fell in the mud, "Baby Steps," Jeff advised afterwards, and it worked. At least it was the mud I fell in and not the water! After that the day went smoothly. Many laughs and good birding and other discussions with old and new friends. Dawn and Jeff of Dawns bloggy blog did a fantastic job of organizing and scouting out the places we birded, Thank You!

"Don't you even think about getting near my fish; somebody already ate half of it."

Western Sandpiper

Semipalmated Sandpiper (I think)

 Fledgling Black-billed Cuckoo
When we first saw this bird that John (Birdman from Bridgewater) found, the parent was feeding it a rather large green grasshopper. It was amazing to watch. The parent held onto the grasshopper while the fledgling would grab on and chew and then let go. This went on for a good five minutes until the fledgeling got the grasshopper to a point it could swallow it.

Female Ring-necked Pheasant
This particular bird just weaved in and out of the brush and across the path as if non of us were there.

American Painted Lady