There was a ferocious storm last night, hugh winds and heavy ran such that there were a lot of power outages and the governor may declare a state of emergency. We got an automated phone call to conserve water until July 2, as the power is out at the water plant and they are running on a generator.
I was especially concerned about my flycatcher nest, so I went to Truxtun Park to check up on it. There were downed trees to the left and right, but she and the chicks were fine. Mother Nature is a powerful force.
This another low light shot (ISO 3200), and I kind of like the look of this Red Winged Blackbird. It’s vaguely oriental.
I’ve often had trouble getting Crows to stay around long enough for a decent shot. but this guy was very cooperative.
This Great Crested Flycatcher was very active.
There were several Robins feasting on worms driven to the surface by the heavy rains.
Look just below the butterfly to see the open mouth of one of the two chicks.
Here’s a better shot of the nestlings. (ISO 3200 again)
You’ll never go wrong with a Cardinal close up.
Several Chickadees were flitting about, as usual.
I like this shot of a Red Eyed Vireo. I have often had trouble getting a good capture as they frequently inhabit the higher branches.
I returned to Patuxent Wildlife Refuge, planning a short day as it was already hot at 5:30 AM. The entrance gate was still closed, even though it’s supposed to open at sunrise. I entered through the exit gate. Later, I found out from an employee that the guy responsible for opening at sunrise has Fridays off. OK.
I would bet that this is the same Mockingbird who greeted me yesterday. He would occasionally fly straight up a few feet and return to his perch. If I knew songs better , I could tell you what birds he’s imitating, and he seems to have a large repertoire.I made a YouTube video you can see here: Mockingbird Singing
[caption id="attachment_329" align="aligncenter" width="1160"] A couple of Great Blue Herons flew off as I approached the lake, but this Canada Goose, and a large family nearby, continued on in serenity. It was very cloudy, so this shot was at f 6.3. 1/125 ISO 3200, giving the grainy effect.
There were two female Orchard Orioles feeding in this small evergreen bush near the lake. f6.3. 1/125, IO 2800
This Flycatcher was poised on a branch to catch breakfast in typical Empidonax fashion.
This Tree Swallow posed on a tree branch, instead of a sign, as all the others have done.
This Chipping Sparrow kept picking at the white string you can see, attempting to carry it off, probably for nesting material. It was all tied together, so he wasn’t successful during the time I watched him.
I arrived at Patuxent Wildlife Refuge, South Tract, about 6:00 AM and had the place to myself. The plan was to stay until 8:00 or so, then get a look at North Tract, which I haven’t visited before. It was a cool morning, but warmed up very quickly, so I only stayed at North Tract about an hour.
This Mockingbird was the first bird I saw this morning.
This Carolina Wren was singing loudly, greeting the morning, and was a very willing subject.
For a brief while, I had two Carolina Wrens in the viewfinder.
A classic Carolina Wren shot.
This juvenile Robin was foraging in what appeared to be newly planted grass.
I’m not sure which Sparrow this is, but I like the shot.
This female Cardinal was a little camera-shy.
This Bluebird was quite distant in the low light.
I’m not sure of this ID (Again). This little guy was very active, and I was able to follow him for several minutes.Update:It’s a female Orchard Oriole.
This family of Canadian Geese was out for a walk. Later, I saw them foraging in the tall grass.
It was nice of this Sparrow to pose so neatly.
This Great Crested Flycatcher is a little too bright, so he’s just here for the record.
This butterfly was feeding right outside the visitor center at North Tract.
I couldn’t pass up this Dragonfly who stopped for a while right in front of me.
This Blue Gray Gnatcatcher was at the pond near the North Tract bridge. He flew around quite a bit, but kept returning to the same tree.
Another look at the Gnatcatcher.
Maybe it’s a moth. Someday I’ll find the time to ID these guys.
I decided to visit Patuxent National Wildlife Refuge this morning. I called ahead to verify hours and places, and was misdirected by the biologist who answered the phone. A staff member at the North Tract directed me to the South Tract, which opens at Sunrise, my preferred birding time. I met a couple of interesting birders, including a guy from New Zealand who knows Lucy Lawless, star of the greatest TV series of all time.
There is a nesting box attached to the pole this Bluebird is sitting on.
I haven’t seen a Great Blue Heron quite this deep in the water before.
As soon as I started down the path, I saw a shaking in the tree nearest me, and managed this shot of a rather elusive Yellow Billed Cuckoo.
This Sparrow has me confused, so I’m checking for an ID. Update:Juvenile Chipping Sparrow
Yet another unknown Sparrow, but I’m working on it. Update:The experts are still unsure.
Another unknown bird. I was with an expert who got only a quick look, and thinks it’s a juvenile of some kind. Update-it’s likely a Juvenile Bluebird.
This appears to be a Common Yellowthroat female, but I’m double checking.
I’m not positive of this ID yet.
This Great Blue Heron was being harassed by a swallowas he flew across the lake.
I’ve seen a lot of Great Blue Herons, but this one is particularly colorful, in a nice setting.
With a little luck I got this Great Blue Heron as he was landing.
This family of Canadian Geese headed serenely across the lake.
Here he is again, just because I like this shot.
I saw this Hermit Thrush just as I entered the woods, which abounded with insects. I was stung on the lip shortly after this, and had a fat lip for several hours.
This Eastern Kingbird posed very nicely.
Tree Swallows and Bluebirds seem to compete for nesting boxes at Patuxent Wildlife Refuge.
I got an email last night saying my Great Crested Flycatcher on the nest is an Acadian Flycatcher, so I’ve changed the text accordingly. Taking a closer look, I can see the person was right, and I’ve been seeing too many Great Crested Flycatchers lately. If you look up Flycatchers, you’ll see how many of them are very similar, but this little guy is 2-3″ too short.
I started the day at Possum Point, limping from a slightly sprained ankle due to an encounter with a hole at Truxtun Park yesterday. I didn’t stay long at Possum Point, but elected to go by Truxtun, where the walking would be less strenuous. Tomorrow I’m going to the North Tract at Patuxent Wildlife Refuge as I’ve heard good things about it.
I’m pretty sure this is a Blue Gray Gnatcatcher, but I don’t know these birds well. I’m checking with my experts at Bird Forum.Net.
This Blue Jay was very vocal, scolding loudly for several minutes. I saw some hawks in the area, and that may have been the cause.
This Red Tailed Hawk made even more racket than the Blue Jay, calling very loudly long before I saw him, and after he flew over.
This female Red Winged Blackbird hovered among the fragmite a while, then landed in the mud.
Here, it looks as though she’s captured a grasshopper.
The Acadian Flycatcher was back on her nest. I’m going to try to get a shot of her feeding the chicks, if I can do it without disturbing her too much.
Another typical Summer day. a litttle cooler after a short rainfall last night.
I got to Truxtun Park early, and got a few decent shots.
Red Winged Blackbirds are fairly common around marshes at this time of year, but they are still very handsome, and willing subjects for the photographer.
Many birds, like this Bank Swallow, perch on this cable that crosses the creek.
This Cardinal is contemplating the day’s activities.
Cardinals are as likely to perch on the cable as any other small bird.
This Osprey has made her nest on top of the ball field lights, and doesn’t appear to be disturbed even when they are turned on for night games.
When I arrived to check on the nesting Acadian Flycatcher, the nest was empty.
I saw this Red Shouldered Hawk fly from his perch when I entered the woods, so I was pleasantly surprised to see he didn’t fly far. This seems to be a favored area, as I’ve seen him here several times before.
This close up lets you see the red shoulder patch and the excellence of nature’s camouflage.
I’m including this image because I really like these birds.
I had to leave Truxtun Park for a computer repair, and it was convenient to stop by Hillsmere Elementary afterwards, where I captured this Chipping Sparrow feeding on grass seeds.
I’ve seen this female Bluebird on almost every visit to Hillsmere Elementary.
There are many Crows overlooking the playing fields.
After returning home and running some errands and taking a nap, I returned to Truxtun Park to check up on the Acadian Flycatcher nest, and at least one of the eggs has hatched.
Mama soon appeared, carrying what appears to be a moth to feed the chick.
Possum Point is a fishing/.hiking area set aside by the US Naval Station at Greenbury Point, the old site of submarine communication antennas. It’s probably worth multiple billions to developers, so it’s amazing some lobbyist or other crook hasn’t bought the proper politician to erect something tacky and soul destroying. I understand some mionor amenities are to be added, such as “Cabins” and a picnic area, so this ideal birding, hiking and fishing area will eventually be at least partially ruined.
The blue marker indicates Possum Point.
My Nikon D3100 with Sigma 150-500 zoom attached, at Possum Point.
Chesapeake Bay Bridge from Possum Point.
There are several Osprey Nesting Platforms at Possum Point, and most are occupied.
I’ve always had an interest in nature, and spent a great deal of my youth fishing, swimming, biking and generally exploring the outdoors. I lived in 14 houses by the time I was 14, in places that include Mississippi, Maryland, New York, Florida and Ohio. My father was a college professor, and got better jobs as he got more experience.
I got involved in bird watching in my 30s, and more or less stopped in my 40s due to pressure of life and work.
Recently, my doctor told me to lose some weight, change my diet and get more exercise (I spend a lot of time in front of the TV or the computer and repair computers to supplement my retirement income).
I don’t like to exercise for the sake thereof, so I took my trusty Nikon L120 to the local park and began photographing the local birds. Since then I’ve upgraded to a Nikon D3100 with two telephoto zoom lenses, a Nikkor 70-300 and a Sigma 150-500. These lenses have enabled a huge improvement in my pictures, and I’ve also lost 30 pounds.
This Carolina Wren was one of my favorite early photos.
In almost all cases, images are posted the day they’re taken, in the order I shot them. I intend to post many of my favorites, usually with some dialog about the circumstances, location and information about the bird in question .
To see the full size image, just right-click and select”Open In New Tab”.