Monday, December 31, 2012


Well we saw this bird on the same trip as the last post and I thought this bird was a Double-crested Cormorant but it was actually upon closer looking it turned out to be a Great Cormorant.

Well that makes our 2012 BIG YEAR TOTAL TO 351!!!!!!!!

Stay tuned for more birding adventures!! Tomorrow we are planning on going to Salton Sea, California!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Last Trip of the Year

Hello fellow birders!! Our last Big Year Birding trip was on the 23rd of December and we did pretty good. We headed out to Assateague Island National Seashore arriving at 7am. We stopped at the visitors center and walked around there and was going to walk over the bridge but the sidewalk on the bridge was closed. Near the bridge we saw Brants! One of our target birds!

Next we saw some Buffleheads then we headed over to the Island.

Red-throated Loon
All the new birds we saw are also lifer birds for us too. Our second lifer was a bird that everyone wishes they could get a photo of and we failed to do that. But I must saw we were so close to it we were just in awe of the bird! This bird was perched on the railing of the bridge and we were driving up to it and it didn't move but once we stopped it stayed there for a second or two and it flew away. We got a good enough look at it to say it was for sure a Peregrine Falcon! What a beauty that was.

We stopped off at a pond that had some American Black Ducks, and American Wigeons. We were hoping for an Eurasian Wigeon that had been spotted in the area with other wigeons, but no luck.

Next we spotted some other common birds that we had already seen this year. Then as we were heading out of the park and driving over the bridge I spotted a Red-throated Loon!

Once we had that we headed north for Ocean City Inlet. We saw lots of Ring-billed Gulls there and I hope you don't mind if I share a photo of them as our nephew was feeding them.

After not seeing any Purple Sandpipers on the jetty and we walked all the way out to the end and my husband actually fell on the rocks :( We headed for Delaware State Park. We stopped at the marina and then headed over near the bridge and walked over to the other side and saw the rest of our lifers! Long-tailed Ducks, Black Scoter, Surf Scoter and Purple Sandpiper. Sadly we were unable to get a clear picture of the Surf Scoter but clear enough for us to tell what it is.
Purple Sandpiper
Black Scoters

Long-tailed Ducks

I hope you have all enjoyed our birding trips and we do plan on doing another big year in 2014. We want to be able to plan it out much better. So if you have any tips or suggestions feel free to leave a comment below. Also who would like keep reading about our birding adventures? I'm thinking about keeping this blog going. :)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

It's finally over!!!

Hello everyone!! Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. I must say Christmas isn't really a joyful time of year for me; my Grandma passed away 16 years ago on Christmas. Died in her sleep I was the last one to see her alive and I try to enjoy the holidays but really I can't wait til they are over. This year we were at Simon's moms and her house was fully decorated with Christmas this and that...still couldn't get in the Christmas cheer. So I am looking forward to getting back on the road, which we just left MD, and being done with all the holiday cheer that everyone seems to have but me!! Maybe it's the fact that I don't have a tree to decorate this year or that I'm getting older. But whatever it is to me this year it's just another day.

Anyway, we did make it out birding while there and went to Assateague National Seashore Park, Ocean City, and Delaware State Park. I will be blogging about that tomorrow just wanted to get my lack of holiday cheer off my chest.....

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Revised Goal!

We have revised our goal for a big year. We realize that we can NOT get to our original goal of 400. So we are now shooting for 350 species by the end of the year.

We will be going to Maryland for Christmas and while we are there we will be going over to Assateague Island National Seashore and Ocean City. We have 10 birds we want to get while there.
~Long-tailed Duck
~White-winged Scoter
~Peregine Falcon
~Surf Scoter
~Red-throated Loon
~Common Eider
~Iceland Gull
~Purple Sandpiper
~Winter Wren
~Snow Bunting
~Pink-footed Goose

The Pink-footed Goose and Snow Bunting has also been spotted in Maryland and Deleware so if we can spot those that would be an added bonus!!

We will be going out to the coast a day or so after Christmas and I will be updating you on the birds we saw after that. Hope everyone has a wonderful and safe holiday!!!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Antelope Island State Park

Oh boy, it's been a while since I've posted! Well lets see we've gotten six new birds since then sorry I haven't posted. I've been busy with non bird related things and also due to the fact that we just haven't really seen much of anything these past few months.

In August, we got a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher in South Dakota. Only new bird we got that month. South Dakota really didn't help us find any new birds, except that flycatcher.

September rolled around with no birds at all, but then again we really didn't go out looking either!

October came with four new birds. Two in California and two in Arizona. In California we stopped along highway 58 by a stream and got some shots of a White-tailed Kite and Lawerence's Goldfinch. Arizona got us Jupiter Titmouse and Palm Warbler. The warbler was in fact out of range! That one was in Flagstaff, AZ behind a truck stop in some trees. The Jupiter Titmouse was out in the desert!
White-crowned Sparrow

Here are our monthly totals so far~
January- 117
February- 35
March- 53
April- 47
May- 76
June- 6
July- 3
August- 1
September- 0
October- 4
November- 1
December- .....

Well you're probably wondering what is the one bird we came across in November was. Well it was a great find. A ground bird that you can apparently always find on Antelope Island State Park. A Chukar! We spent the day there and saw nice wildlife and birds there.

We saw lots of gulls, ring-billed and California Gulls, and some Northern Shovelers along the 7 mile causeway to get to the island. Once we made it to the island we spotted a Bison! The bison are the most populated animal on the island. There are also Mule Deer, Coyotes, Bighorn Sheep, Porcupine, and plenty of birds.


Our first stop was the visitor center where the bird feeders are. There was actually no feed in the feeder so the only birds around was White-crowned Sparrows. On our way to the ranch we spotted a Prairie Falcon flying by. So we made our way down to the Garr Ranch in search of a Barn luck, but did see American Robin, Song Sparrow, and about 8-10 Northern Flickers.  After taking some photography shots for my Facebook
Prairie Falcon
page we then headed back to the visitor center stopping often to take photos of deer, bison, coyote, and a rare shot of a porcupine.

When we returned there was feed in the feeder and an assortment of birds at the feeder ~ Red-winged Blackbirds, Black-billed Magpies, California Quail, Chukar and White-crowned Sparrows. With a new lifer and a new year bird our trip was turning out great! Will have to try and get back there in the spring.

Wish us luck in finding more birds to finish our big year!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sweetwater Wetlands

Molting Mourning Dove.
Very beautiful shot.
Song Sparrow
Hello everyone! It's been a few days since out last birding adventure! We went to Sweetwater Wetlands, where there was reports of a Peregrine Falcon. That would be a nice addition, but we did not see that falcon.

We did see a lot of dragonflies and other birds we already have on our list. I have some pictures of the things we saw there~

Arizona Cotton Rat

Pied-billed Greb

There was many interesting species there including a Pied-billed Grebe with two young chicks. They were so cute! We spent a good amount of time there taking pictures and enjoying watching them swim around.

After we left the Grebes we came across some Neotropic Cormorants and an American Coot sitting on her nest! Wish we could have gotten to see the babies but they hadn't hatched yet.

Neotropic Cormorant

Eastern Amberwing
Coot on her nest

We saw three different Arizona Cotton Rats on our way out. We have never seen them before. We also saw some different species of frog; not been able to identify it yet. Nice variety of nature was out and about in Sweetwater that morning, but by 8:30am we were sweating and it was time to get on the road.

Sweetwater Wetlands, Tucson, Arizona

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Three More and A Non-ABA

Mallard Chicks
Well, we were at Whittier Narrows Recreation Park, El Monte, CA, yesterday and picked up three new birds! We haven't been out too much lately; I believe the last time was up in Montana over a week ago. It sure was nice to get out and bird again!

Caspian Tern

Before we arrived there, we did an search for any new sightings and their was three birds that we did not have yet. Those birds were Caspian Tern, Hooded Oriole, and the other a non-ABA Yellow-chevron Parakeet. Every time we go out birding anywhere we always check out the reports on eBird. It gives us a much better idea of what may be there and what to keep an eye out for.

House Finch Yellow Variety
Once we arrived at Whittier Narrows we saw all the domestic geese and then we spotted some bird flying over the water, could it really be the Caspian Tern already. It was indeed the Caspian Tern and then it did a dive bomb into the water. What a amazing thing to watch and they dive into the water and then a second later they pop out and fly away. After we watched the tern for a little bit we made our way around the lake and spotted some Canada Geese. There was about eight geese floating in the lake some of them walked up on the shore there was one who had it's neck extender, I thought that to be the mamma. She was in alert mode; I was using a tree for cover and I decided to come out in the open and squat down. That was when they all started coming out of the water and began eating grass. I got a few nice shots of them close up.

Domestic Goose Napping
Hooded Oriole
After taking a bunch of pics of the geese and so me Mallards, we walked a little further I heard some chirping that was not a familiar to me. I pointed this out and Simon was still searching for the bird when I came back from the bathroom. We finally found the bird that was making all the noise and it was actually a Hooded Oriole standing on top of her nest tending to her chicks! We took some shots and tried to get a little closer, but that was too close for her; she flew away. Well took a few pictures of the nest, backed away and waited for her return. Her chicks were starting to call out for her again and within a few minutes she came back. Click, click on the camera and we got her! We left her alone so she could feed her chicks in peace!

American Coot with chicks

Next, we came to a flock of Domestic Geese, Domestic Mallards and a pair of American Coots with their two young chicks. Then a Caspian Tern flew over head again! The terns gave us plenty of chances to get a good picture of it!

Pied-billed Grebe
Simon was successful in getting a great picture of a Pied-billed Grebe! These little grebes are so little, only twelve inches long; head to tail! Such a cute little bird!

Next we saw more Caspian Terns, Forester Tern, Rock Pigeons, Downy Woodpecker and Black Phoebe. Along the back side of the lake we saw some Tri-colored Blackbirds! Wow! Every time we drive through California we look for that bird and we finally found it!

Yellow-chevron Parakeet

Tri-colored Blackbird

Great Blue Heron

Come check out my Facebook page for my photography! We are now up to 335 and as always Happy Birding!!!!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

~A Few More Birds Added~

Well, it's been a while since we have gone birding. We did do a little birding when we were in Montana, we stopped at my favorite rest area which we have had luck there before. This time we did not see anything new but we did see about 15 Spotted Sandpipers along the riverside. I've never seen so many Spotted Sandpipers in one place before! We also saw the regulars Gray Catbird, Cedar Waxwing, Red-eyed Vireo, American Robin, Eastern Kingbird, Black-capped Chickadee, American Goldfinch, and a new bird to this location, but not to our year list; Western Tanager. I was hoping once again to add the American Dipper to our list, but no luck.

I have been going through some photos and found a few birds that never got identified. So I will be adding two birds to our big year list. Eastern Wood-Pewee and Yellow-throated Vireo. That brings our total to 332! Hopefully we will be getting some more birding in some!

Happy Birding!!!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Another Bust....

On our second day we headed up to Voyageur National Park in northern Minnesota. We found a boardwalk through a bog; Orr Bog Walk. On this walk we saw Red-eyed Vireo, Nashville Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, and Black-capped Chickadees. We didn't get any new birds there.

Next trail was Blind Ash Bay Trail. The lady at the visit center told us to be on the look out for bears, as one had been spotted on the trail and also the deer ticks would be really bad. That is an understatement! Throughout the entire day I pulled off roughly twenty ticks and Simon pulled off two. We walked on the same paths and he only gets two ticks on him. We headed to the trail and this trail was uphill and was lacking in birds. Why are we having such bad luck in Minnesota? We saw only a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and heard many calls, but we are unfamiliar with many calls. We did see bear scratches on the ground but no visual. Another no new bird trail.

Our last trail for the day was Beaver Pond Trail; a short .15 mile walk to the pond. This pond was a nice view but no ducks or birds. We did hear a call I was hoping was a grouse but we listened to calls and didn't match up. We did hear a bird calling from across the pond and we were hoping to match that up with a Northern Hawk Owl, but no dice. The call didn't match up with any of the other owls in the area either, then I thought I'd try the Northern Goshawk and it matched up!! Just one new bird.

Oh my, we really need to get some more birds! We hope to have better luck in South Dakota this week. Happy Birding!!!

Sax-Zim Bog. Sax-Zim Bust!

Alligator Snapping Turtle
Our first day in Minnesota was not as successful as we had hoped. With only four new birds; half of them we got at a rest area and other other at Sax-Zim Bog.

To start our day we decided to head to the Sax-Zim Bog. Well, its all roadside birding and there are no trails and no public bird feeders so we didn't do very well there. We saw a Gray Jay fly by and calling and as we were leaving we saw a Bobolink hovering over some grass and then dived into the grass. So, we were unable to get a photo of both of those.
Ruby-throated Hummingbird

We were headed back to our hotel room in Eveleth, when we saw a rest area. There were feeders there, no activity when we arrived, but soon a Ruby-throated Hummingbird arrived. There was a hummingbird feeders and three seed feeders. The next visitor was to the seed feeder; a female finch of some kind, but I wasn't sure until it's mate arrived and perched on top of the feeder. There he was in all his beautiful red colors,; Purple Finch. What a great find and addition to our list.

Purple Finch
Purple Finch

 We added four to our list for the year and still have a few unidentified and added three to our lifer list!!

Happy Birding!!!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

~Our Plans~

I have finally caught up on my entries and we are very pleased with the number of birds we got there; 34 new birds and 32 new lifers!! We will be starting our home time tomorrow. We plan to head to Minnesota tomorrow. First, heading to Duluth area, then to Sax-Zim Bog and may head up farther in the northeastern part of MN. By Monday through Thursday we will be doing some birding around Sioux Falls and also enjoying some family time. Friday and Saturday we will be busy with family and Sunday maybe hit some places in Nebraska.
Happy Birding!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

~Last Day of SE AZ~

Our last day in southeast Arizona brought us about an hour south of Tucson, in the Madera Canyon. It was much hotter there than it the other two days. We had half a jug of water and we headed to Bog Springs Trail. the trail was uphill most of the way and we stopped often so we could refuel with water and me with my asthma. After a few minutes we would start up the path again.  

This couple passed us as we were taking one of many breaks; they had two wiener dogs with them and one was trying so hard to sit down in the shade. They gave their dogs some water and managed to get the dog to start up again and away they went.

Ash-throated Flycatcher
We mostly saw birds we had already seen such as; Mexican Jays, Bridled Titmouse, and Ash-throated Flycatcher.

Once we had it to the fork in the road we took the left path that pointed to Bog Spring Trail and we had .8 of a mile to go and the trail only got steeper. At times I wasn't sure if I was going to make it to the top, but I did. The first bird we heard singing high on top of a snag was a Black-headed Grosbeak. Such a lovely call they have. They we made it to the end of the trail as we were gonna go and then we were hearing birds singing away. We were searching the trees hoping for a owl or nightjar. No luck there. 

We then spotted the female Western Tanager and a few minutes later we saw the male. The next new bird was Hammond's Flycatcher. What a nice surprise he was. Not the greatest picture but there he is. 

Hammond's Flycatcher

We also saw some Western Wood-Pewee, Olive-sided Flycatcher, and Greater Pewee. The next new bird we spotted was a Dusky-capped Flycatcher.

Dusky-capped Flycatcher
On our way back down the mountain we caught sight of the Black-throated Warbler; but got only one picture that turned out good enough of an ID.

Black-throated Gray Warbler
It took us a good three hours to get up that hill and probably about 30 minutes to get down it. Once back to the rental car we filed up on water and headed to the bird feeders! 

Acorn Woodpecker
At the feeders we saw Black-headed Grosbeaks, Lesser Goldfinch, Acorn Woodpeckers, and Blue Bunting. 

Acorn Woodpecker
While we were there watching the birds a man came in a sat on the bench next to us. His name was Steve and was from Phoenix. 

Simon and Steve were chatting and I asked if he knew of any places to see a Gray Hawk. He told us there was actually on right up the road from where we were at on a nest! So he said he would show us where it was and we headed down there. Once it spotted us it took flight and started calling and circling over her nest. We took some pictures and decided it was best to leave her and her young alone. Then Steve told us where to find a Painted Redstart; but we only heard that one. 
Gray Hawk
Arizona got us up to 324 and while we were in Washington state we caught sight of #325 Black Swift! It's only June and we are almost to our goal of 400! We don't plan to stop once we hit 400 but we also know we probably won't make it over 500. We must be realistic and we are stuck in a truck doing this big year, so we can't just pack up and head to TX or FL like we would love to do! 

Happy Birding and Good Luck to the other people doing their Big Year!!!!!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Carr Canyon and Miller Canyon

May 28th; second day of southeast Arizona! My feet already felt like they were gonna fall off! We got up at 5am and started our day; by 6am we were at the base of Carr Canyon starting the trail. The first think we saw was Bridled Titmouse. What a cute little bird.

Bridled Titmouse
The Bridled Titmice were all over! It was hard to get a decent photo of them since they hop all over hardly ever sitting still on the tree.

Then the Mexican Jay came into sight. We wedre so excited trying to get a picture of these jays; not knowing that we would see them all over for the rest of the day and the next day.

Mexican Jay
Rufous-crowned Sparrow
We made our way up the path some more and saw some more Bewick's Wrens, Mexican Jays, and Rufous-crowned Sparrow.

We decided we weren't seeing enough to continue on, so we turned back and headed for the car. Next to the rest rooms we heard some bird activity. We were looking around and saw our next new bird Acorn Woodpecker pair. The male perched about 10 feet from the ground on the tree branch and let me get pretty close too.

Acorn Woodpecker
After taking a bunch of pictures of that woodpecker we made our way to the car and then on up the road to the next trail. This next trail was a little tricky to walk on with all the rocks as we crossed the dry rock/river bed. But, once we got across that it was much easier. We then made it to the Carr Ruins which was neat and we saw some new birds there! Plumbeous Vireo and the Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher. Very nice birds!!

Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher

After we left that trail we headed for the top of Carr Canyon! Which if you ever go to Carr Canyon and want to drive to the top a word of advice is if you are afraid of heights you may want to rethink that. The road is right along the edge and at some points is a 50 to 100 ft drop. But, it is also very beautiful view! Once you get to the top it's a bit more rough of a road also.

Once we got to the top of the mountain; a good 30 minute 5 mile drive, we spotted some Pewees! Both lifers for us; Western Wood-Pewee and the Greater Pewee.
Greater Pewee

Western Wood-Pewee

We made our way to the end of the road where there was the Comfort Spring Trail. There was supposed to be a year round stream at the bottom. This trail dropped about 200 feet in elevation and on our way down to the bottom of the canyon we saw Acorn Woodpeckers, Mexican Jays, Bridled Titmice, and American Robins. Once down in the canyon we had thought we were at the end of the trail, so we rested for about 20 minutes and Simon thought we would go just a little bit further and the trail did go about 50 more ft and there it was; the stream, very little steam.

Black-headed Grosbeak
We then heard some people walking in the trees and then they came onto the trail and told us they had seen Red-faced Warbler and Painted Redstart; at that point my feet hurt so bad but also knew the Red-faced Warbler was an ABA code 2. So we went into the trees and waited about 30 minutes and finally saw the Red-faced Warbler. While waiting we spotted the Black-headed Grosbeak and either a Northern Flicker or a Gilded Flicker; I'm hoping its a Gilded!

Red-faced Warbler

After seeing the Red-faced Warbler we hoped to see the Painted Redstart later on on our trip. We headed up the hillside and very thirsty! I'm almost positive we got dehydrated at least a few times on this trip. Luckily we had water in the car!

After we got to the bottom of Carr Canyon we were starving, thirsty, and exhausted, so we needed to refuel with some food and a short nap.

Owl Sign!
We took a two hour nap and we were thinking of calling it a day, but really wanted to go to Beatty's and check out their hummingbird feeders at Miller Canyon. Then they told us that there was a Spotted Owl up in this pine tree and gave us directions to find it. It was around 5pm and we were down in the canyon, so the we didn't have the best light. Still we got within 15 ft of the owl and got some good pictures of it! Unlike the few owls we've seen this one didn't fly away!

Spotted Owl

Hepatic Tanager

After we saw the owl and got some pictures we thought we'd go up the trail a little bit more, we saw one new bird, a Hepatic Tanager. Then it was time to go to the hummingbird feeders with blisters on both my heels.

There was six or more hummingbird feeders and plenty of hummingbirds! The king of the feeders was defiantly the Magnificent Hummingbird. He would at times chase the other hummingbird from the feeders. It was so neat watching them all. We also managed to get a Blue-throated and Broad-tailed Hummingbirds.

Broad-tailed Hummingbird
Magnificent Hummingbird

Blue-throated Hummingbird

We still have one more day of pictures to go through and about 5 unidentified birds so I am unsure of our total bird number. Thank you for your patience.

Happy Birding!!