Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Got That Right

Copyright 2003 Mick Stevens and Conde Nast

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Another Fall Must

Here's another great binocular 
Vortex Diamondback
 if you want to see these winter birds!
 We invite you to visit us at...
Happy Birding!

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Monday, September 1, 2014

Fall into Migration

Fall Migration is underway and has been for a couple of weeks.  As many as 1400 Mississippi Kites have been spotted in one day at the hawk watches on the coast of Texas.  Uppies are moving as well.  Yellow warblers have been spotted migrating through Central Texas.  All this means the end of summer and the beginning of one of the great birding seasons of the year.

So, whether you’re traveling or not, you need to have a good pair of binoculars available.  Consider these 8x42 Vortex Crossfire II’s, light and compact to carry in a daypack or purse or place in the glove compartment of a car.  Good to have available for a visiting friend.

Get outdoors and go have some fun.

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Love that Jay

Most people have nothing good to say about Jays.  Of course, they are speaking mostly about the Blue Jay.  Yet, there is one member of the family that gets rave reviews.  People travel from all over the world to see this particular Jay, the Green Jay.

Like the Blue Jay, it is gregarious, bold and noisy. Unlike the Blue Jay its range is limited.  The Blue Jay ranges over two-third of the United States from the Atlantic to the Rockies.  The Green jay is restricted to South Texas and the eastern regions of Mexico and Central America. While the Blue Jay is common within the suburbs and woodlands, you are more likely to find the Green Jay in brush near streams or flowing water.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Urban Hawk

Many are absolutely surprised upon seeing a bird of prey streak through their very urban back yard.  Landing in the neighbor’s tree was this Red Tailed Hawk (note the belly band) while we visited Pittsford Village in upstate New York.
Enjoyment is the word more than surprise for me at these kinds of events.  It’s all because of the heat island effect.  Cities generate heat making the climate more attractive to wild creatures such as chipmunks, squirrels, groundhogs and songbirds.  In turn here come the predators to this concentration of food.  (There were many chipmunks to be had—everywhere.)

So, here is my challenge.  Start a list of all the birds and animals you see around your house.  I’m willing to bet there is an abundance that may have gone unnoticed by you.  I’m thinking you’ll be surprised and delighted and even become quite knowledgeable.


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Friday, August 15, 2014

The Kingbird's Mecca

This guy has drug his family all over to places he wished to see, and there was always an objective, be it historical, cultural, or otherwise.  However, this place was and would always be a place I would love to visit.  We found ourselves in northern New York and I knew we were very close to this locale.  Yet, I did not feel the family would want to go having stated other activities and places they wished to do.  I stayed quiet and thought maybe some other time.  To my surprise, my dearly beloved noticed in a search just how close we were to the Sapsucker Woods and stated we must go.  She also asked why I hadn’t thought of it.  I had! But I didn’t think everyone would go along with the idea.
Birders know of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.  Anyone who has spent some time studying and reading about the birding community knows this is the place—the place of great research and knowledge.  It has a wonderful website replete with information.  And there are woods and wetlands and marches surrounding the lab. Go walk around or simply visit the center and sit at the windows watching the birds come to the pond or feeder garden.  ‘Tis worth it.


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Monday, July 28, 2014

Summer Birding

It is easy to dismiss birding in the Summer,  We know that the weather makes it difficult to want to suffer the heat and get out to bird.  It's hard on the birds, too.  The novice as well as the experienced birder knows the species above.  Yet, how much about this species and the family to which it belongs do we know.  So, my thought for today is that we should use the Summer to learn as much about the bird we see and not worry too much about the number of species seen.

Here goes...the first striking fact about the Greater Roadrunner is that it belongs to a family that is about as diverse as a family can be.  Other members of the Roadrunner's family are the Yellow Billed Cuckoo and the Black Billed Cuckoo and the Anis, the Grooved Billed and Smooth Billed.  Their looks and behaviors could not be more different. 

Second, all members of the family are zygodactyl having two toes in front and two in back.  Most of us think of woodpeckers when we think of toes being zygodactyl.  Now you have another group to add to those with that configuration.

Third, this family has members with weak legs, the anis and cuckoos.  However, the roadrunner has very strong, long legs and chooses to run rather than fly most often.  To illustrate,  I still have in my mind a strong vision from some 40 years ago the first time I ever saw a roadrunner take flight.  I had just come up on it as it was crossing a dirt road in SE Oklahoma when, to avoid my vehicle it spread its wings for a short flight to the top wire on a fence.

The Greater Roadrunner eats mainly lizards and snakes and is known as only one of the animals that will attack rattlesnakes. Sometimes they will pair to hunt the rattlers, one distracting the snake while the other grabs for the snake's head.  Then it is merely the bashing of the head against a rock to kill the snake.

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