Saturday, May 30, 2015

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Kirtland's Warbler

Today we met the Audubon tour to see the rare and endangered Kirtland's warbler. The best view we had of the bird was of the above female (above and below left) who was gathering twigs to make a nest. We heard many of the males calling to designate their own territory, where their mate could make a nest.

The tour meets at the Hartfield Pines State Park and proceeds to the managed habitat that's kept perfect for the breeding birds. Unfortunately the tour was crowded and an inconsiderate fat lady elbowed Lenny out of her way when a bird was posing, but we enjoyed most of the trip, and later went to a location where the birds can be seen from the road, which is where we saw the one in the tree. It's a $5000 fine if you enter their territory without the guide!

Kirtland's warbler, male, Len's photo.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Dogma Catmantoo

In the window of the pet store Dogma-Catmantoo -- a poster from the Cat's Gallery of Art.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Magee Marsh

A crowd of birdwatchers looking for one little Connecticut Warbler, May 16, 2015
Magee Marsh is a beautiful preserve in Ohio, where large numbers of migratory birds stop briefly as they migrate from their wintering locations in the south to summer breeding grounds in Canada. They wait in the marsh until just the right moment to fly across Lake Erie.

Connecticut Warbler by
John James Audubon
This weekend was particularly crowded with birders who come especially to see the many species of warblers passing through, as well as those that stop here to nest.

We joined the huge crowd depicted above, all hoping to catch at least a fleeting glimpse of a shy Connecticut warbler that was in the woods. Since we didn't succeed in photographing the poor bird, I included the John James Audubon picture.

Sadly, the crowds of birders appear to be putting enormous pressure on the birds along the boardwalk that allows access to the marsh. We read that a prothonotary warbler and a woodcock that were nesting near the boardwalk have abandoned their nests because of all the people nearby.

Environmental pressure from groups often occurs slowly, so that no single individual realizes that his innocent actions have tiny but real consequences. I've seen the term "future eaters" applied to this situation, where environmental damage accumulated slowly but inevitably. Birdwatching seems to be about as non-destructive as any activity could be. Is it?

A prothonotary warbler (photo from last year at Magee Marsh).
A woodcock we saw from the boardwalk a few weeks ago.
Birders like these who were there on Saturday love Magee Marsh and who can blame them?
I have already posted this on my food blog.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Birdwatching trip in the Nichols Arboretum

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While Len and the rest of the members of the Audubon Society who were on the trip were watching the warblers, I mainly enjoyed the beautiful blue sky and the wildflowers lit by bright May sunshine.

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Monday, May 04, 2015

Warblers, Woodcocks, Snakes, and the Blue-Crested Hoopoe

Birdwatching at Magee Marsh. 
It wasn't exactly a coincidence that Carol arrived at Magee Marsh just when we did this morning, but we weren't expecting her.We were very glad to birdwatch with her until it started to rain. Magee Marsh is famous because the birds rest there on the way north for the summer. This morning the wind changed and blew in lots of them from further south in Ohio -- motivating us, Carol, and large crowds of other birdwatchers.

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Above: a palm warbler, one of many warblers we saw from the boardwalk.

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Woodcocks are marked to look just like the leafy background. I call this one Waldo Woodcock as in "Where's Waldo?" Obviously since you can hardly see them it's even harder to take their photos. For more bird photos, see Len's Flickr page here.

We also saw this snake. I hope he doesn't eat warblers.
More for birdwatchers: the Midsomer Murders TV show called Rare Bird includes a large number of birdwatchers, some of whom are the victims. They are squabbling over whether one of them has seen a very rare bird -- a blue crested hoopoe. We watched this rather funny episode last night: it's quite wrong about birds in several ways.