Returning Terns at CBEC.

The first time I saw Terns feeding in a flock, diving headlong into a school of small fish, I was hooked.  Master flyers, master fisherbirds, what’s not to like?

I’ve spent a lot of time since then trying to get good images, and it ain’t easy. Terns don’t understand straight lines, and they are quick! Anyway, here’s my latest efforts.

A few other birds were around as well, and CBEC might be getting much better soon if the water level keeps dropping and there’s some mud for the Sandpipers.

CBEC 313

Sunrise in the Marsh.

Great Egret 2020-199 Great Egret 2020-197 Great Egret 2020-196

Wood Duck 2020-13

I’ve heard a lot of Wood Ducks at CBEC, but I don’t see them often.

Great Egret 2020-197 Great Egret 2020-196 Great Egret 2020-203 Forster;s Tern 2020-69 Forster;s Tern 2020-68 Forster;s Tern 2020-66 Forster;s Tern 2020-65 Least Tern 2020-10

Great Egret 2020-200

Many Egrets dine all summer at CBEC.

Great Egret 2020-203

Chipping Sparrow 2020-9

There are many Chipping Sparrows at CBEC.

Bald Eagle 2020-6

I saw this bird out of the corner of my eye, and snapped a shot while I was watching the Terns. It was a surprise to see later that it’s a Bald Eagle!

 

Forster;s Tern 2020-56

I spent way too much time with these Forster’s and Least Terns who were just a little too far away.

Diamondback Terrapin 13

Diamondback Terrapin 12

Diamondback Terrapins are laying eggs now.

Eastern Box Turtle 20

CBEC is a good place to find Eastern Box Turtles.

 

Snowy Egrets at Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center.

Egrets to the left of me… Great Egrets outnumber Snowys about two to one at Lake Knapp. I’ve seen as many as 9 Great Blue Herons at one time, which Ebird says is unusual. Mallards and Canada Geese make up the rest of the lake birds. The usual Blackbirds, Cardinals and other passerines make up the rest in the warm months.

On most days I circle the lake clockwise from the parking lot, usually pausing to try for a sunrise image at the North end of the Lake. I walk from the parking lot to the end of the trail in darkness, accompanied by birdsong. Cardinals, Chats and Mallards are noisy at this time.

When I figure out where the birds are congregating,  I move to the location and start taking pictures. I’ve been using a tripod lately to  get better shots and perhaps get a video or two. When the Swallows are active, I’ll stop on the entrance road to try for a flight shot.

CBEC 305 CBEC 302

CBEC 303

CBEC Sunrise.

Snowy Egret 2020-145 Snowy Egret 2020-143 Snowy Egret 2020-142 Snowy Egret 2020-140 Snowy Egret 2020-139 Snowy Egret 2020-136 Snowy Egret 2020-135

Snowy Egret 2020-134

When a single bird finds a good spot, he may be joined by others.

Red Winged Blackbird 2020-110

Red Winged Blackbird 2020-111

This young Red-winged Blackbird was looking for a handout.

Great Egret 2020-185

Great Egrets are much bigger than Snowy Egrets.

Eastern Box Turtle 12 Eastern Box Turtle 20 Eastern Box Turtle 21 Eastern Box Turtle 16

Eastern Box Turtle 18

CBEC has always been a good place to find Eastern Box Turtles.

American Avocets at Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center.

I’ve continued the routine: CBEC, occasionally Greenbury Point or Kent Narrows and one trip to Schoolhouse Pond, which was a total waste.

Lake Knapp continues to be the source of the action. Lots and lots of Egrets and Herons, and today, American Avocets! I’ve never seen them there before, but regular readers know we see them at Bombay Hook.

The Egrets are sometimes close, sometimes far, and I’m learning to deal with both. I like to get close, but you can get some nice compositions at a distance, as well.

I expect to start seeing Wild Turkeys soon,  and maybe last year’s Yellow Throated Warbler will visit again.

CBEC 301 CBEC 302

CBEC 300

CBEC Dawn.

Great Egret 2020-180 Snowy Egret 2020-116 Great Egret 2020-178

 

Great Egret 2020-177

I saw 18 Great Egrets this morning.

 

Red Winged Blackbird 2020-109

Every MD marsh has hundreds of Red Winged Blackbirds.

Forster;s Tern 2020-3

Forster;s Tern 2020-6

Forster’s Terns have just returned to the area.

Snowy Egret 2020-117

Snowy Egret 2020-113

A few Snowy Egrets are hanging out as well.

American Avocet 2020-3 American Avocet 2020-2

American Avocet 2020-4

American Avocets! I could hardly believe my eyes, and I quickly moved to get a better look.

Osprey 2020-115

Osprey nest repair.

Egrets and Tree Swallows at CBEC.

I’ve been spending most mornings at CBEC because it’s easy to be alone, and there’s often plenty of birds. Sunrise can be exciting also.

The Egrets, both Great and Snowy, often gather in a corner of Lake Knapp, and may offer the best chance to get close. At other times they seem to be laughing at you as they gather on the West side, where they can be quite distant. You may see other birds such as Ospreys, Eagles, Herons, Terns, Wood Ducks, and Swallows, or Muskrats, Gophers and Deer.

The Tree Swallows nest in the Boxes along the entrance road, and this offers a chance to get fairly close, in good light, without harassing the birds. They’ll dive at you if you’re too close. When they’re feeding young, they are very active, and you may have to wander out into the grass to get the best shots. Bluebirds and Barn Swallows hang out here also. I keep hearing about the Nelson’s Sparrows here, but nobody ever seems to see them. A great spot to find Diamondback Terrapins in the Summer.

CbEC 200

Dawn, from the Blind.

Great Egret 2020-146 Great Egret 2020-145 Great Egret 2020-144 Great Egret 2020-143 Great Egret 2020-142 Great Egret 2020-141 Great Egret 2020-140 Great Egret 2020-139 Great Egret 2020-138 Great Egret 2020-137 Great Egret 2020-135 Great Egret 2020-136 Great Egret 2020-134 Great Egret 2020-133 Great Egret 2020-132 Great Egret 2020-131 Snowy Egret 2020-107 Snowy Egret 2020-106 Great Egret 2020-22 Great Egret 2020-21

Great Egret 2020-19

If you’re lucky, you can get fairly close and watch the action.

Great Egret 2020-20 Green Heron 2020-100 Osprey 2020-109 Osprey 2020-108

Osprey 2020-110

Repairing the nest.

Snowy Egret 2020-108

Snowy Egrets aren’t as numerous as Greats.

Tree Swallow 2020-17

Tree Swallow 2020-167

I confess to be a bit addicted to these guys.

Tree Swallow 2020-166 Tree Swallow 2020-165 Tree Swallow 2020-164 Tree Swallow 2020-163 Tree Swallow 2020-162 Tree Swallow 2020-161 Tree Swallow 2020-160

Egrets at Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center

I haven’t posted since mid-May, mostly because I’m not finding much. I’m only going places where I’m alone or nearly so, and I leave early to avoid any crowds that may arrive.

I had a computer crash during all this, so editing has become a bit slower and more difficult until my new computer arrives.

I’m not seeing much exciting, and good photo opps were in short supply.

I’m going to post the best of the recent stuff. Current conditions appear to promise better birding soon.

CBEC 2020-110 CBEC 2020-100

Posssum Point 2020-107

Morning at Possum Point.

1-DSC_4176

Morning at CBEC.

Common Loon 2020-104

Common Loon 2020-102

I found this Common Loon at ossum Point.

Ring Necked Duck 2020-102

This Ring Necked duck should have migrated by now.

Eastern Kingbird 2020-101

EAstern Kingbirds are plentiful.

Eastern Towhee 2020-100

Eastern Towhees are often heard but not seen.

Great Blue Heron 2020-100

I have several shots this Great Blue Heron, and he appears to have only one leg.

Red Headed Woodpecker 2020-101

Red Headed Woodpeckers are nesting at CBEC.

Tree Swallow 2020-118

Tree Swallow 2020-119

These are about 40 Tree Swallow nest boxes at CBEC.

Trumpeter Swan 2020-2

I found these Trumpeters at Governor Bridge.

Yellow Breasted Chat 2020-101

The Yellow Breasted Chat has a bizarre song.

Orchard Oriole at Lake Artemesia.

Graeme and I spent some time at Artemesia this morning, then tried a new spot Graeme found not far away. It looks very promising, with marsh, hardwoods  and a meadow. We saw Egrets, Herons, Swallows and Wood Ducks, so  I’ll be heading back soon.

I’m still getting out locally when weather permits, but I’m not finding much interesting yet. It’s been very cool so far, but warmer weather is coming tomorrow.

Ebird:https://ebird.org/checklist/S69019525

https://ebird.org/checklist/S69022968

Chipping Sparrow 2020-5

This Chipping Sparrow was at CBEC.

 

Eastern Kingbird 2020-5

Eastern Kingbirds are appearing everywhere I go.

Great Blue Heron 2020-5 Great Egret 2020-3 Great Egret 2020-2 Great Egret 2020-1

Great Egret 2020-4

This Great Egret only flew a short distance.

Northern Flicker 2020-5

This Northern Flicker was foraging on the ground.

Wood Duck 2020-11

Wood Duck 2020-12

This Wood Duck mother led her flock into the tall reeds for safewty.

Great Blue Heron 2020-4

A single Great Blue Heron stood motionless.

Song Sparrow 2020-1

This Song Sparrow was singing for a mate.

Orchard Oriole 2020-1

This Orchard Oriole will probably nest at Lake Artemesia.

Tree Swallow 2020-8 Eastern Kingbird 2020-5

 

Tree Swallow 2020-9

Tree Swallows return to Artemesia every year.

Robin 2020-1

Robin 2020-1

Robin 2020-2

This Robin is taking food to his chicks.

Birding Close to Home.

There are several decent birding sites near my home, but some have been closed or otherwise limited. Some places are scheduled to open soon.

I’ve been sticking mostly to Quiet Waters, but I managed a trip to Possum Point and  CBEC in the last couple of days. Wooton’s Landing wasn’t productive at all.  I’d like to try Lake Artemesia, but it’s in PG County, which is a virus hotspot at the moment.

So, here’s what I’ve been seeing, including a couple of nice Foxes from this afternoon.

CBEC 72

CBEC Sunrise.

Downy Woodpecker 2020-5

This Downy Woodpecker was eating at Quiet Waters Park.

Chipping Sparrow 2020-2 jpg

This Chipping Sparrow was also dining at Quiet Waters.

Eastern Bluebird 2020-5

You can hear Eastern Bluebirds in most areas of the park.

Pine Warbler 2020-3

This Pine Warbler was at CBEC.

Canada Goose 2020-22

A Canada Goose hybrid at CBEC.

Eastern Kingbird 2020-4

Eastern kingbirds are just arriving for the season.

Starling 2020-1

Starlings are always around.

Red Headed Woodpecker 2020-1

These Red Headed Woodpeckers will probably nest at CBEC.

Yellow Breasted Chat 2020-1

Yellow Breasted Chats are regulars at Greenbury Point.

White Breasted Nuthatch 2020-7

A White Breasted Nuthatch, nesting at Quiet Waters.

White Throated Sparrow 2020-3

This White Throated Sparrow will be heading North soon.

Fox 126 Fox 127 Fox 123 Fox 124

Fox 128

Fox 125

These Fox kits are learning the ropes at Quiet Waters.

Birding in the Time of Coronavirus.

If we had to have a pandemic, the timing could have been far worse. We’ve had some bad, windy, rainy weather, and migration is really just getting underway. A few more weeks of this will definitely make for slow birding if we can’t travel any distance.

I’ve been spending time in Quiet Waters, which is only a few blocks from home. I got to CBEC a couple of times, but nothing’s going on there yet.

So, a few images from previous years for your amusement.

Possum Point 36

Sunrise at Possum Point.

Swamp Sparrow 2020-1

A Swamp Sparrow from yesterday.

American Redstart 2016-17

American Redstart male. A favorite.

American White Pelican 2016-5

American White Pelican.

Bald Eagle 2016-4

A Bald EAgle from 2016.

Baltimore Oriole 2016-19

A Baltimore Oriole male.

Barn Swallow 2016-17

Squabbling Barn Swallows.

Birding with the Virus.

We’ve been sort of locked down for a week or so.  We slowed gradually over a period of several weeks, then the governor issued a stay at home order, which, fortunately, didn’t forbid birding.

We’re just coming in to Spring migration, so it might get interesting. Some spots, Like Sandy Point and Greenbury Point are closed, but, so far, plenty of places are open. I’d hate to have to be a birding pirate to get a look at a warbler.

I haven’t found much recently, but I’m sure we’ll be seeing some cool migrants very soon.

Osprey 2020-2

Dawn at Possum Point.

 

Canada Goose 2020-19

A few Canada Geese may stay at CBEC and breed.

Canada Goose 2020-20

Chipping 2020-1

I found this Chipping Sparrow at Quiet Waters.

Belted Kingfisher 2020-1

A female Belted Kingfisher at CBEC .

Great Blue Heron 2020-3

This Heronry is near Greenbury Point. I plan to go back soon.

Osprey 2020-4

There are many Ospreys settling in at Possum Point, but the area is closed and likely to remain so for some time.

Osprey 2020-3

There must be thousands of Osprey Platforms on the bay.

Tree Swallow 2020-5

Tree Swallows are very active now.

Northern Flicker 2020-3

This Northern Flicker was at CBEC.

Pied Billed Grebe at Lake Artemesia.

I met Graeme Simpson at Lake Artemesia this morning, and we had a pleasant morning. Early Spring weather and a light breeze made for a pleasant walk, and we encountered a lot of migrating arrivals who cooperated nicely.

A few Mergansers, Wood Ducks, Geese, Hoodies and Grebes were foraging vigorously and ignored us as they went about  their routine.

We didn’t pay much attention to social distancing, but that needs to change, I suppose. Still, Spring is coming and that’s good news.

In talking with Graeme, I heard that some parks are being overrun with photographers who are now home from work. We saw several other photographers at Artemesia, but not an unusual number.

Lake Artemesia 152

Artemesia Dawn.

Wood Duck 2020-9

Wood Duck 2020-8

Wood Duck 2020-7

A single pair of Wood Ducks posed for several photographers.

Hooded Merganser 2020-16

Hooded Merganser 2020-15

A few Hooded Mergansers were feeding near shore.

Double Crested Cormorant 2020-2

A single Double Crested Cormorants was resting on a nest box.

Ring Necked Duck 2020-18

Carolina Wren 2020-4 Carolina Wren 2020-3

Carolina Wren 2020-2

Singing Carolina Wrens are so commonplace you may overlook them.

 

Eastern Bluebird 2020-4 Eastern Bluebird 2020-3

Eastern Bluebird 2020-2

These Eastern Bluebirds are nesting in a Tree Swallow nest box. Conflicts may arise.

Bald Eagle 2020-5

This Bald Eagle was being harassed by two nesting Ospreys.

Rusty Blackbird 2020-1

I found this Rusty Blackbird at Possum Point. I don’t see many of these diminishing birds.

 

Pied Billed Grebe 2020-15 Pied Billed Grebe 2020-14 Pied Billed Grebe 2020-13 Pied Billed Grebe 2020-11 Pied Billed Grebe 2020-10 Pied Billed Grebe 2020-9

Pied Billed Grebe 2020-8

Pied Billed Grebes are always fun to find.