Thursday, January 28, 2016

Thoughtful Thursday: Society and Self

[Yellow-rumped Warbler, Forsythe NWR during a freeze, January 22, 2016. Click to enlarge.]

Unlike a drop of water which loses its identity when it joins the ocean, man does not lose his being in the society in which he lives. Man's life is independent. He is born not for the development of the society alone, but for the development of his self.

- B. R. Ambedkar

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Wordless Wednedsday: Cape May Killdeer the First Day of the Storm

[Killdeer, Bayshore Road near the Beanery at the start of the northeaster, Saturday, January 23 2016. Click to enlarge.]

Friday, January 8, 2016

Thoughtful Thursday: Leap

"Leap and the net will appear. "
- Zen saying

[Yellow-rumped Warbler, click to enlarge. Forsythe national wildlife refuge last week.]
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Turkey Point Moon

[Moon at Turkey Point, Cumberland County, New Jersey as we started the Cumberland Christmas Bird Count. Last Sunday. Unfortunately Blogpress distorts the thumbnail, so click to enlarge and see the details.]

Sunday, January 3, 2016

The elusive Varied Thrush

[Photo by Michael O'Brien of the Cox Hall Creek wildlife management area Varied Thrush, taken yesterday. This bird has been elusive for many people, occasionally cooperative for a few. Photo used with permission – thanks Michael!]

Here are Michael O'Brien's thoughts on the Cox Hall Creek WMA, Cape May NJ Varied Thrush:

"Here's a shot of the Varied Thrush. You're welcome to use it in your blog. Regarding age/sex, it is clearly a female based on the weak breastband and similarly weak lower border to cheek patch (both would be more solidly blackish on even 1st-year male). Beyond that, I don't think I can see enough to age it with certainty. Having said that, I suspect it's a young bird (which seems most likely anyway). The wing bars seem narrower than on just about any photos I could find on the internet, which I find intriguing, but don't know what it means. Young birds are supposed to replace most of the wing coverts and show a molt limit in the greater coverts. I can't say that I see a molt limit, but it appears that the innermost few greater coverts have no pale tips at all (so the wing bar stops halfway across the primary coverts). Does this mean that this bird's juv wing bars were so narrow that they wore off? Also, the orange in the primaries seems particularly pale, making me wonder if those are retained worn juv feathers... I'm just thrilled that I got to see it at all, and happy that you did as well!
Michael O'Brien
Victor Emanuel Nature Tours"

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Of Varied Thrushes, Black-headed Gulls and Start of a new year

You know, I think it should be legal to shoot Cooper's Hawks.

Relax, I am totally kidding. I have loved this raptor species since I became aware of it 45 years ago, and since it was listed as threatened in New Jersey about 40 years ago. It is certainly not threatened now, which is a great thing. Unless you are looking for a rare Varied Thrush, and an adult male Cooper's Hawk decides the hunt right where you are looking.

[The above were at Cox Hall Creek wildlife management area this morning. Click to enlarge all photos.]

[This white breasted nuthatch was frozen at my feeder for 25 minutes; apparently there was a Cooper's hawk here too this morning.]

I was lucky enough this early morning to find the Varied Thrush that has been haunting the center of the property at Cox Hall Creek wildlife management area. As well as a bunch of other quality birds including Common Redpoll, Pine Siskins, and Clay-colored Sparrow. And for the first time in five weeks, I think I've turned the corner on my illness (Lyme plus a viral syndrome), and I had what might even be called stamina for a couple hours. Delightful start to 2016.

[These Red Knots were foraging at Miami Avenue Beach in the Vilas this morning. Best tide at the site is between .5 feet and 3 feet.]

[The Black-headed Gull continues on the Bayshore, here it is from today at Miami Avenue beach.]