Songo Blue Skies

Friday, July 30, 2010

Birding N Truro and Wellfleet - Cape Cod

Feeding a Black-capped Chickadee in Beech Forest Trail.
I spent a few days in N Truro on Cape Cod with a friend last week. It was great fun and we saw a variety of birds. These are just a few for now.

Tufted Titmouse (juvinile I believe)
Chipping Sparrrow
Orchard Oriole
Saltmarsh Sharp-Tailed Sparrow
Eastern Phoebe
Male Northern Cardinal without head feathers - the naturalist who lead our walk said it probably had head mites. Can you see the ear?

Green Heron- This was the first green heron for me, but before the walk was finished we stopped in at the pond again and there were 4 of them!

The birds I saw on the Cape before and not including South Beach - * the ones with the asterick after it were life birds for me:
Wild Turkey with 3 chicks
Carolina Wren *
Green Heron*
Short Billed Dowitcher *
Field Sparrow *'Saltmarsh Sharpe-Tailed Sparrow *
Lesser Yellowlegs
Great Blue Heron
American Goldfinch (male and female)
Blue Jay
Red -breasted Nuthatch
House Finch
Northern Cardinal
Ruddy Turnstone *
Red-winged Blackbird (male and female)
Cedar Waxwing
Chipping Sparrow
Orchard Oriole * (male and female)
Eastern Towhee
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Least sandpiper
Semi-palmated Sandpiper
Piping Plover
Semi-palmated Plover
Bank Swallow *

I'll post about birding on South Beach in a couple of days. Actually didn't get as many good photos but saw some great migrating shore birds.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

American White Pelican, Immature Forster's Tern and Others

American White Pelican - East side of  North Channel Bridge
Below -Immature Forster's Tern West Pond Jamaica Bay

Lesser Yellowlegs-East Pond Jamaica Bay

Snowy Egret
Semipalmated Sandpiper

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Ruffed Grouse

The day school let out I was off to Maine with my sister. We stay at a small lake called Songo Pond (the picture above) which is about 5 miles south of Bethel. Bethel is located in the Western hills of Maine. We spent a great week relaxing. One day we were driving around Sunday River area and came upon this chicken like bird. Checking the book quickly I found out it was a Ruffed Grouse.  This female stayed in the middle of the road for quite a few minutes before hurrying across the road into the bushes. We went up the road a bit and turned around. As we came back we spotted a smaller grouse in the middle of the road. This was one of the female's chicks. We watched and after the first one was across, a second one came out of the bushes and hurried across the road. We watched as one by one about 5 of them crossed the road. The female stayed in the bushes barely visible and watched and waited also.

Looking into the ruffed grouse a bit there are two morphs; the brown and the gray. Over all this female looks like the brown morph, but her tail looks gray, but perhaps that was the light. Also the book says that the gray morph is more common in the northern parts of their range which is what I would say Maine falls into. They have a tuft of hair at the top of their heads, visible on both this female and the chicks. The males have a ruff usually black around the neck which is seen during display. The male drums by flapping its wings faster and faster to attract a female. After mating takes place the male has no further role;the female rears the chicks.  They live in mixed desiduous woods and are not usually seen unless flushed and then they rouse so quickly you don't get a very good view.  I felt very priviledged to get as good and as long views as we did.