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Saturday, September 19, 2020

Broad-winged Hawk mega migration in New England!

The motherload of Broad-winged Hawks passed over the hawkwatch sites in NH and MA yesterday with Pack Monadnock Raptor Migration Observatory, NH, reporting 2,886 Broadwings (out of 3,000 total raptors), Mt. Watatic, MA, reporting 2,988 (out of 3,078 total raptors) and Mt. Wachusett, MA ,reporting 3,898 (out of 3,964 total raptors). Counting was aided by some highly experienced spotters at these sites as large "kettles" rose up then peeled off overhead especially during the afternoon hours. These Broadwings are on their way to hawkwatch sites south of here and eventually past places like megasite Corpus Christi HawkWatch, TX, where 23,451 raptors were seen yesterday. The Broadwings will winter in Central and South America then return in the spring. There are still favorable winds this weekend for more migration, but after that most of the Broadwings will be gone and it's onto migrating falcons, accipiters and eagles. To track the migration visit (photos from other times)


Friday, September 18, 2020

Prime Time Broad-winged Hawk Migration Now!!

Broad-winged Hawks in New England did migrate yesterday finding lift mainly for a few hours in the afternoon. Pack Monadnock Raptor Migration Observatory, NH, saw 2,269 raptors, 2,195 of them Broadwings after 2 pm. The other New England hawk sites south of Pack missed that big number. Mt. Watatic , MA, saw 414 raptors, 378 of them Broadwings just about the same time Pack was getting their big numbers. Mt. Wachusett, MA, saw 33 raptors, 22 of them Broadwings. Meanwhile over in VT, Putney Mt. hawkwatch had 1,308 raptors, 1,270 of them Broadwings. The biggest migrations were seen yesterday at the mega sites, Corpus Christi HawkWatch, TX, 36,515 raptors, Hawk Ridge, Duluth, MN, 12,049 raptors and Holiday Beach Hawk Watch, ON, 17,372 raptors. There are still a few more days left in the prime time window for Broadwing migration and now through the weekend, which has clearing and northerly winds, should be good. All of these numbers can be seen at the amazing website, you can follow the numbers there and hopefully get out and see some raptors yourself.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Go Hawkwatching Now Is The Time!

Go hawkwatching! If you are a birder in the Northeast the next several days, Tues. to Sun. will see a major push of migrating Broad-winged Hawks out of New England. Tues., Sat. and Sun. maybe look especially good with favorable northwest or north winds, the kind of winds Broadwings like to move on. To find a hawkwatch near you go to the awesome website where daily results from all the major hawkwatch sites are posted and there are directions to the hawkwatch sites. Be aware that some sites are limiting visitations and may have other social distancing restrictions during this pandemic. Happy watching!

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Broad-winged Hawk Migration has started!!


Here we go, hawk migration has started!! There was a big push of Broad-winged Hawks in NH yesterday and peak migration time for these raptors here is Sept. 12-25 with historically especially big flights several days on either side of the 15th. Big numbers have been seen on northeast and northwest winds so watch the weather and get out and look!! (My composite photo from our Stokes Pocket Guide to Birds of North America)

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Clueless young Red-tailed Hawk


It's the time of year for birds to molt and young birds to learn the ropes. This Pine Warbler is hunting in our lawn, Eastern Phoebe is hunting from a post and this young Red-tailed Hawk dwarfs its bird house perch, while it figures out how to catch voles.

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Buff-breasted Sandpiper migration

 While we wait for the big hawk migration push, don't forget to look (observing socially distancing) for the many migrating shorebirds now, some common, some rare, like this Buff-breasted Sandpiper I photographed on the NH coast in 2011. This is a juvenile bird, told by the whitish margins of the back and wing feathers and paler underparts than the adult.

An Arctic breeder, it usually migrates through the interior of the country and can be found during migration in plowed fields, upper beaches, margins of wetlands and short-grass habitats. Birds found outside the main migration route are often juveniles.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Red Crossbills

The big news is that there is a Red Crossbill influx in NH and other areas this year. Saw a flock of 15 Red Crossbills yesterday at the Harris Center for Conservation Education in NH. They were picking up grit in the parking lot. Cone specialists, they can breed at any time but usually breed late summer into autumn or late winter into early spring. This species is complex and different populations or "types" have different flight calls and bill shapes. Identification as to type requires a recording of flight calls. There may be 10 North American types and this is still being studied. Very cool to see them. We have recorded them and sent recordings to Cornell for identification as to type. The Harris Center birds seem to be type 10, who come all the way from the Pacific Northwest!

Red Crossbill

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Happy Birthday Phoebe

Yesterday was our precious Corgi Phoebe's birthday. She turned 14! Photo from a few years ago, Phoebe in crown then Chanel her mom, then cousins Abby and Bubbles.

Monday, August 03, 2020

Lookout for Birds trapped by Tropical Storm Isaias

Here we go again. Dreaming of Black Skimmers coming to our inland NH property so we can count them as a yard bird, as Tropical Storm Isaias approaches New England on Wed. According to BirdCast be on the lookout for birds entrained by this storm such as Black Skimmers, Royal, Sandwich and Sooty Terns, and Band-rumped Storm-Petrels. And stay safe!

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Blue-headed Vireo Song, zzzzzzzz

Blue-headed Vireo was singing in our yard this morning, its song not always easy to tell from Red-eyed Vireo's. The pauses in between its song phrases compared to Red-eyed's is so long make me think I could fall asleep during the pauses, ZZZZZ (that is one way I remember it). The quality of the song phrases are different between the two species as well. Learn bird songs, you will hear many more than you ever see.
(photo from another time)

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Indigo Bunting Late Comer

Indigo Bunting, male has been singing from tree tops in our NH yard for last several days. Good luck to him getting a mate this late in season. (photo from FL)

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Friday, July 17, 2020

American Goldfinch beauty!

Tis the season for American Goldfinches to look their best in their breeding colors. Just when other birds are winding down their breeding, goldfinches are nesting in summer. Attract them with thistle (nyjer) or finch mix bird seed. Enjoy them now!

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Forster's Tern Here, inland NH!

Yesterday saw a Forster's Tern flying over the pond (really a shallow lake created by a dammed up river) we view from our deck here in SW NH, headed south. It is rare to see terns inland here so this was a special treat. These terns usually are seen on the coast of NH from July 9th to Dec. 28th. There are only a handful of records inland according to Eric Masterson's excellent book, Birdwatching in New Hampshire. Ironically we also saw a Forster's Tern from our property here on 10/2/07 and that one stayed for several hours flying over the pond and sometimes landing on a rock. We are used to seeing many Forster's Terns in FL in winter and that is where this photo is from.

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Great Spangled Fritillary Butterflies are out now!

Great Spangled Fritillary butterflies are now in my pollinator garden. I caught one in flight! Love these large butterflies. They are found across much of the upper three quarters of the country and into southern Canada. Look for them now in moist open areas including meadows, gardens, pastures.

Friday, July 03, 2020

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July!!! Red, White and Blue Birds

Northern Cardinal

Great Egret

Indigo Bunting

Eastern Bluebird, male

Flowers from our garden

Here are some red, white and blue birds plus an Eastern Bluebird, male, that gets our vote for most patriotic bird as he has the combined colors in his plumage. Happy Fourth of July! Hope you have a safe, great holiday and see some red, white and blue birds!

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Baby Birds!

Eastern Bluebirds
American Goldfinches
Hairy Woodpeckers
Babies are everywhere now! Here are some photos of fledglings getting fed by their parents. For many nesting birds, they are fed in the nest and once the young leave the nest they are fledglings and still dependent on their parents to feed them for a while, "college age" we joke. These are know as "altricial" birds. "Precocial" birds are capable of moving around and feeding on their own once they hatch. Examples of altricial birds would be these shown, all your feeder birds and many others. Precocial birds would be species such as turkeys, pheasants, grouse, waterfowl and shorebirds. It's a fun time watching all the young birds now.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Rare Terek Sandpiper Being Seen Now!!

There is a super rare Terek Sandpiper at Napatree Point in Rhode Island right now. This is an Asian vagrant to w. AK and casual farther south. It was found by Jan St. Jean. Parking is limited in this area of Rhode Island, the lot at Napatree Point entrance is usually filled so parking at meters in town is an option if you go to see it (socially distancing safely). This is a page from our The Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America that shows Terek Sandpiper summer, winter, juv. and flight photos.…/…/0316010502

Sunday, June 28, 2020

House Wrens Fledged Today!

House Wrens fledged this morning. This was the scene yesterday where babies were coming to the entrance of box to get food sometimes nearly falling out of the box. Will miss their bubbly song and antics. Babies are dispersed in the woods, calling for food. We provide lots of different houses to accommodate all the species that use them. There are Tree Swallows nesting right next to the wrens.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

It's Atlantic Puffin Time but Trip Cancelled

Atlantic Puffins are one of my favorite seabirds and ordinarily this would be the time to get out and see them. These "parrots of the sea" live in the North Atlantic from Maine to Greenland to northern coastal Europe where they breed on rocky islands in underground tunnels and fly out to the sea to capture fish to bring back to their young. The trip to Machias Seal Island (where I photographed these puffins) with Capt. Andy of Bold Coast Charters is one of the best places to see and photograph puffins, but due to the virus, it is canceled until the end of July. However some people may still find ways to see puffins this summer.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

10 Tips to Help Birds in Hot Weather!

Birds need water to drink,

and bathe.

"Hey, where's the towel and the frozen daquiris?"

An extra roof cools off the bird house below.

This baby American Robin cooled off the only way it knows how, by panting. Birds have no sweat glands and so cool themselves by rapid respiration with their mouths open

I used the mister setting on the hose to cool off the robin nest by misting the air and foliage above.

Hummingbird Feeder with shade roof

In this extremely hot weather gripping much of the nation, here's some tips to keep your feathered buddies cool:

1. Bird baths, bird baths, bird baths! Birds need water to bath and drink in hot weather so buy
a bird bath. You can even use any wide flat container for a bird bath, such as the lid of a trash can or a large saucer that it used under a flowerpot.

2. Choose a bird bath that is shallow and has a non-slip surface. Small birds do not like to bathe in deeper water. You can add flat rocks to a bird bath that is too deep in order to create a shallow ledge for small birds to land on to drink and bathe.

3. Add a dripper, bubbler or to your bird bath. The sound of moving water will be a magnet for the birds and alert them to the presence of a water source.

4. Keep the water in your bird bath cool by adding ice cubes several times a day, or refilling
the bird bath with a hose.

5. Birds will feel safer if the bird bath is placed in a more open area so no predators can hide nearby. Provide a stake or branch placed in the ground near the bird bath, if no landing places exist near it, so birds have a place to wait their turn at the bath.

6. Air condition your bird houses. We nail on a piece of plywood, using long nails and only nailing them part way into the original roof. This leaves an airspace between the two roofs of about an inch. The second roof shades the first roof plus the airspace between the roofs acts as an insulator, keeping the bird house cooler. In some cases we have just shaded the roof of a bird house with piece of cardboard.

7. Misters are coolers. Misters can be bought to attach to a bird bath, or clip to shrubs near a bath. They spray a fine mist that birds can fly though, or rub against the wet shrubbery. Hummingbirds will often fly through misters, or even a garden sprinkler.

8. Use a mister on a hose. Our hose has a mist setting on the nozzle. We have misted the foliage and area above a robin nest to cool off the babies in extreme heat.

9. Think Shade. Birds will seek out shady areas and lie low in the worst heat of the day. If you do not have shade on your property plant some shade trees and big shrubs. Place bird feeders in a shady area during summer.

10. Shade hummingbird feeders. Place them in shade. Some feeders, come with their own shade/rain roof, including an ant moat on the roof. You can buy also by baffle-type shields and hang them above a feeder. Don't forget to change your hummingbird nectar solution every 2 days in really hot weather.

And tips for you....

Stay out of the sun and heat in the middle of the day, wear a hat and sunscreen when you do go out, and at the end of the day, after you have taken care of the birds, have a cold beer, gin and tonic or some Prosecco,,,aaahhh!