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Thursday, April 02, 2020

Swainson's Warblers arriving!

Swainson's Warblers are now arriving in the South, have gotten as far as North Carolina. This skulky, rare warbler breeds in the Southeast in wooded lowland swamps, canebrake and also rhododendron thickets in southern Appalachians. Best place to see it is on migration hotspots. This was photographed on Sanibel Island, FL.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Migration is starting soon, herons and songbirds returning!


Migration is starting and soon migrants such as herons, warblers, hummingbirds and more will be flooding into the U.S. and Canada on their way to their breeding grounds. Watching birds will help take your mind of the virus crises we are in. I photographed this Black-crowned Night-Heron yesterday on Sanibel, FL. This is a bird that occurs year round in many coastal areas of the U.S. but breeds in much of the country. So look for them soon arriving on their breeding grounds this spring. They are active mainly at night and can be found in marshes, lakes and streams. For more information see the new The Stokes Field Guide to Birds, Eastern or Western Region.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Tree Swallows are Back!

They're back! Happiness is seeing four Tree Swallows flying around our bird houses and landing on them. We have a large Tree Swallow colony here at Bobolink Farm our 23 acre NH property, with about twenty nesting pairs each year on the houses in our large field near the water. These are not the first Tree Swallows we have seen, one passed by here on March 14th but it flew on. These four look like they have been here before and right away are settling on some of the houses which they will have to defend as other swallows arrive. Bluebirds have to compete with the swallows and sometimes we put three houses together to help with the competition. Love the swallows they bring joy.

Friday, March 20, 2020

World Sparrow Day Appreciation!

American Tree Sparrow 

Something to take your mind off virus anxiety - today is World Sparrow Day, a day to appreciate biodiversity and these wonderful birds. Here is an American Tree Sparrow I photographed in fall, eating goldenrod seeds. We always used to have a little flock of Tree Sparrows arrive at our NH home and stay the winter and enjoyed their musical twittering calls. Their breeding grounds are in the far northern areas of North America. Take time to watch and appreciate birds, it's stress reducing!

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

American Woodcocks Have Arrived!

The males make a nasal "peent" sound then launch into an aerial display where they make twittering and chirping sounds. Then they land and again "peent." The displays attract females and the males mate with them then the females go off and nest in the woods.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Canada Geese arriving!

Canada Geese flying overhead this morning on their way to the newly opened water. Spring is coming.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Corgis watching

The Corgis watching from the snow cleared deck. Abby, Andre in middle, Phoebe right. Always keeping track. Pileated Woodpecker is drumming in distance.

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Gary Cole, Goodbye.

Gary and Don waiting at Blind Pass for the green flash.

 Diane and Gary

Blind Pass sunset, Goodbye Gary.
Gary Cole, our good friend, passed away Monday, Feb. 3rd at his home in Illinois. Gary was generous and funny and passionate about bird photography, native plants, prairie restoration, conservation and of course, his grandkids! He was my photography buddy on Sanibel and we had many wonderful times with he and his wife, Diane Elizabeth Bell Cole there. Gary led many plant walks on Sanibel for the Weeds and Seeds group. Here are some of his bird photographs he last posted on his facebook page. He was sometimes shy about showing his photos, but I don't think he would mind me posting these. Gary was one of the good guys. We will miss him very much. In my photo of he and Don and the sunset they are waiting at Blind Pass for the Green Flash. My heart goes out to Diane and her family. Love you Gary, goodbye.

Monday, February 03, 2020

Bluebird Happiness!

Bluebird time! Yesterday our pair of Eastern Bluebirds were checking out their nesting box, going in and out, thinking about the upcoming breeding season. Happiness is bluebirds!

Sunday, February 02, 2020

Happy Groundhog Day! Early Spring Predicted!

Happy Groundhog Day! It's official, Punxsutawney Phil, the famous predicting groundhog, did not see his shadow so we will have an early spring. Where I am in eastern MA it is overcast so any groundhog who emerged would not see it's shadow, however all groundhogs here are still hibernating in their burrows despite the spring-like weather here (no snow on ground, mild temps). What's the weather where you are?…/2020-01-30-groundhog-day-punxsutawney…

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Great White Pelican, Here We Go Again!

Great White Pelican, Sanibel, FL 2016, ©Lillian Stokes

Great White Pelican, Sanibel, FL 2016 ©Lillian Stokes

Great White Pelican, Merritt Island, FL 2020 ©Kristina Fisher

Here we go again! A Great White Pelican (a species found in Africa, Asia and Europe) showed up Thursday at Merritt Island, FL. Experts are trying to determine if this is the same Great White Pelican that showed up at Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel FL in Feb. 2016, 2017 and 2019. The Sanibel sightings were rejected by the Florida Ornithological Society as a first North American record even though there was no evidence that this was a bird escaped from captivity in the U.S. Experts keep track of that plus this bird had no bands. Will this open the case again? Amazingly this new sighting, as with previous sightings, had the Great White Pelican showing up the same month, February, in the company of American White Pelicans. The photo on top I took at Ding Darling in Feb. 2016, the photo on bottom was taken by Kristina Fisher Thursday at Merritt Island. Stay tuned. To see my blog post on the Sanibel bird go,


Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Short-eared Owl, Wonderful Winter Owl!

Thinking about winter owls. Here's a Short-eared Owl I saw several years ago in Salisbury Beach, MA on Christmas day. What a gift! This wonderful owls breeds across all of Canada and AK and the uppermost part of the West, but winters across most of the U.S. in grasslands and open areas where they hunt voles and mice.

Sunday, January 05, 2020

Happy National Bird Day!

Happy National Bird Day! Celebrate birds, protect birds, go birding, feed birds and most of all enjoy birds! I chose to show this Hairy Woodpecker at a feeder because that is the way the majority of Americans interact with birds.

Saturday, January 04, 2020

Purple Sandpiper, winters in New England

Sweet Purple Sandpipers are a wintering sandpiper here in New England. They breed in the tundra and winter on the rocky Atlantic Coast. Some may migrate through Greenland and winter in Europe. Not very purple but beautiful to see against the ocean landscape.

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Carolina Wren First Bird of 2020, What's Yours?

Carolina Wren was my first bird of 2020. Sign of the times and the warming climate as this species has been moving its range northward, also helped by bird feeders. What was your first bird of 2020?