Tundra Swans at Hillsmere Shores

It was a cold morning, but warmth and sunshine were promised, so I set out for Quiet Waters Park after a much needed trip to the grocery store. I’m trying not to resent these chores that keep me from birding.
The park was not as productive as previously, but I met a guy who steered me toward some possible spots, and told me where to find some Tundra Swans.

Flicker

I was lucky to get this Flicker, who paused only briefly.

Unknown Duck

I only got one quick look at this bird. I’m working on an ID.

Double Crested Cormorant

I’m used to seeing the Double Crested Cormorant on the bay, so it was a mild surprise to see one in the backwaters of the park.

Ruddy Duck

This small flock of Ruddy Ducks seemed to be enjoying a quiet snooze.

White Throated Sparrow

This White Throated Sparrow seemed eager to pose.

White Breasted Nuthatch

This White Breasted Nuthatch disappeared into a hole in this dead tree.

Yellow Rumped Warbler

Small flocks of Yellow Rumped Warblers are doing well in the park.

Common Loon

Common Loon

This non-breeding Common Loon is only the second I’ve seen.

Tundra Swan

Tundra Swan

These Tundra Swans were part of a small flock feeding in the shallows at Hillsmere beach.

Tundra Swan

I don’t know what the neck-stretching is all about.

Tundra Swan

This may be a display of some kind.

Bald Eagles at Conowingo Dam

A friend posted some images of Bald Eagles from Conowingo on Facebook, so I decided I had to have a look despite the distance (About 75 miles).
I left home around 5:30 and arrived about 7:00, and it’s quite a place. The area has been nicely landscaped, with excellent viewing facilities, and the regulars tell me it was completely re-done after the hurricane of two years ago. Speaking of regulars, there were easily 100 photographers and tourists there to see the eagles.
It was quite cold and cloudy early on, but the Sun came out after a couple of hours and I got a few decent shots.
In truth, this is not my kind of birding, because there’s really only one species involved, and you have to wait for some time to see any action.
Still, I’m glad I went and I might consider another trip sometime.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Some of the viewing area is elevated, so you get a chance to look down on the birds sometimes. This is an immature bird.

Ring Billed Gull

Large flocks of gulls, including this Ring Billed Gull, fish alongside the eagles.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

This mature bird is looking for a fish.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

This guy also flew right at me.

Bald Eagle

I counted 17 Bald Eagles and one Black Vulture in this picture.

Bald Eagle

The loud, raucous call of the Bald Eagle is quite common at the dam.

Bald Eagle

The overcast conditions meant some great shots were merely good enough.

Bald Eagle

Regal Eagle.

Bald Eagles at Conowingo Dam

A friend posted some images of Bald Eagles from Conowingo on Facebook, so I decided I had to have a look despite the distance (About 75 miles).
I left home around 5:30 and arrived about 7:00, and it’s quite a place. The area has been nicely landscaped, with excellent viewing facilities, and the regulars tell me it was completely re-done after the hurricane of two years ago. speaking of regulars, there were easily 100 photographers and tourists there to see the eagles.
It was quite cold and cloudy early on, but the Sun came out after a couple of hours and I got a few decent shots.
In truth, this is not my kind of birding, because there’s really only one species involved, and you have to wait for wait some time to see any action.
Still, I’m glad I went and I might consider another trip sometime.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Some of the viewing area is elevated, so you get a chance to look down on the birds sometimes. This is an immature bird.

Ring Billed Gull

Large flocks of gulls, including this Ring Billed Gull, fish alongside the eagles.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

This mature bird is looking for a fish.

Pileated Woodpecker at Quiet Waters Park

Today began gray and gloomy, but with the promise of sunshine later on in the day. I had decided the day before to give our local Quiet Waters Park a try today, even though it’s been disappointing in the past.
The Sun was beginning to shine by the time I arrived around 9:00, and it turned out to be a good choice.
I went to the Blue Heron Pavilion, as it leads down to the water, and I found a few ducks, one of which turned out to be my first Hooded Merganser. Subsequently, I headed back up the path and ran into a large mass of varied birds, including woodpeckers, finches, Cedar Waxwings and sparrows. A Pileated Woodpecker soon came into view and hung around for a while, which was a thrill for me, as I’ve only seen two others.

Hooded Merganser (Female)

Hooded Merganser

Hooded Merganser

This Hooded Merganser was quite distant, and I thought it was a ruddy duck when I first saw it. I’m getting a teleconverter soon, which might allow for closer looks at these far away birds.

Yellow Rumped Warbler

Yellow Rumped Warbler

This appears to be a Yellow Rumped Warbler.

Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

This Pileated Woodpecker was a real thrill for me.

Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

He was eating berries as well as pecking at tree bark.

Red Bellied Woodpecker

Red Bellied Woodpecker

You always know when there’s a Red Bellied Woodpecker around, but it’s much easier to get a photo when the leaves have fallen.

Downy Woodpecker

I’m always impressed by a Downy Woodpecker’s thorough probing of their food source.

Flicker

Flicker

Flicker

This Flicker made it a four woodpecker day.

Cardinal

The brilliant red color of the male Cardinal is easy to spot in the leafless woods.

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

A very large flock of Cedar Waxwings was feeding in the area. Look closely and you can see the red “Wax” droplets on the wings which give this bird his name.

Chickadee

It’s not always easy to get a Chickadee to stop long enough for a photo.

Sharp Shinned Hawk at Terrapin Nature Park

It was an absolutely gorgeous day for birding, so I headed to Terrapin in hopes of finding hawks and eagles. I did, indeed, see both, but the picture taking opportunities were limited. Three hawks and a Bald Eagle flew off before I could get a picture, but a couple cooperated. A good day.

Great Blue Heron in Flight

Great Blue Heron in Flight

This Great Blue Heron in Flight is from yesterday at Possum Point.

Red Bellied Woodpecker

Yellow Bellied Sapsucker

This Yellow Bellied Sapsucker is one of three different woodpeckersI saw in the same small tree in ten minutes.

Belted Kingfisher

I haven’t many images of a Belted Kingfisher with his dinner, so here it is despite the distance and low quality. I had an opportunity to get a closer look, but I spooked him despite my stealthy approach.

Great Blue Heron

I spotted this Great Blue Heron flying over a meadow early in the morning, and I liked the silhouette effect.

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

This Downy Woodpecker hung around just long enough for a quick look.

Dark Eyed Junco

My sister is fond of the Dark Eyed Junco.

Deer

These deer were right on the beach.

Sharp-Shinned Hawk

Sharp-Shinned Hawks are quite small (About 11″) and I nearly walked past this guy.

Turkey Vulture

OK, he’s no great beauty, but Turkey Vultures often pose willingly.

Red Shouldered Hawk

I was lucky to see this Red Shouldered Hawk at all. His coloring provides excellent camouflage in the Fall foliage.

Herring Gull

This appears to be a Herring Gull.

Carolina Wren

This Carolina Wren is also well camouflaged.

Bufflehead at Thomas Point State Park

It was quite cold and windy this morning, so I did some chores, waiting for the Sun to rise a little higher and bring some warmth. I could tell it wasn’t going to be a good day to stay out for long, so I headed for Thomas Point to see what might be there. I saw no songbirds at all, but I could see some ducks a few hundred feet out in the bay, so I climbed down in the ricks to get a little closer.

Thomas Point

This is Kent Island as seen from Thomas Point.

Bufflehead

There was a small flock of Buffleheads feeding offshore. This breeding male is just preparing to dive.

Pied Billed Grebe at Truxtun Park

Once again, work is interfering with my birding, but I managed to get to Truxtun Park briefly, where I found a few nice, but distant birds.

Pied Billed Grebe

This is only the second Pied Billed Grebe I’ve seen, and I had to get some help with the ID.
From Cornell:
“A small diving bird with a chicken-lke bill, the Pied-billed Grebe is common on lakes and ponds across North America. It is rarely seen flying and prefers to sink out of sight when danger threatens.”

White Breasted Nuthatch

This White Breasted Nuthatch was quite distant, so I’m happy with the image.

Bluebird

It’s been a couple of months since I’ve seen a Bluebird at Truxtun.

Mallard Hen

Mallard

Mallards are quite common here, but still very attractive.

Belted Kingfisher

This Belted Kingfisher Belted Kingfisher was acting in typical fashion. They’ll perch on a branch overlooking the water, launch suicidally straight down after a fish, then return to the same branch.

Belted Kingfisher

Taken just as he hit the water.

Belted Kingfisher

Returning to the branch.

Brown Thrasher at Terrapin Nature Park

Perfect weather doesn’t seem to be the answer to a scarcity of birds. I explored Terrapin for a good three hours without seeing anything new, and little worth photographing. Still, it was a good walk and a Brown Thrasher posed nicely.

 Brown Thrasher

This Brown Thrasher, like many I’ve seen, was in a thick tangle of branches.

Red Winged Blackbird

Red Winged Blackbird

There are hundreds of Red Winged Blackbirds in the marsh ponds.

Mockingbird

This Mockingbird was quite content to soak up the sunshine while I took his picture.

Ring Billed Gull

This Ring Billed Gull seemed to be resting.

Bufflehead

Bufflehead

A small flock of Buffleheads was fishing offshore.