The spring warblers are coming through and this black-and-white was eager to show himself off. I got a terrific photo opportunity with this beautiful warbler in some great morning light, and it was happy to pose for me. I wish every bird confrontation were this ideal!
Hoary Redpoll – Woods Hole, MA – 3/21/15
A very rare bird for these parts, Hoary Redpolls breed on the Arctic tundra, and generally live in northern Canada in small numbers among flocks of Common Redpolls. They are distinguished from Common Redpolls by the lack of streaking under the tail, minimal streaking on the flanks, a pale, frosty overall color, and a short, stubby bill. This one showed up at my feeder in Woods Hole last week for a couple days and was life bird #397 for me! What a treat!
It was a light drizzle for most of my early-morning outing the other day, but I still caught this Tree Swallow right as it was yawning.
Piping Plovers mating – Falmouth, MA – 4/16/14
Purple Martins were once an abundant bird in the United States, but the spread of invasive species like European Starlings and House Sparrows led to a severe decline in Purple Martin populations in the 20th century. In some rural areas, Purple Martins nest in natural cavities, but here in the East, they are almost entirely dependent on man-made nesting boxes. Putting up Martin houses is a common practice in many towns…The strictly insectivorous birds consume thousands of unwanted pests every year, and they are nice to look at too! The largest of the swallow family, Purple Martins are a common sight in the Southeastern U.S. at the end of summer when they gather in large flocks to prepare to migrate to South America for the winter. This morning I had an encounter with a single male at one of the Martin houses erected in recent years…he is obviously an adult returning to the same site where he bred last season…
Hopefully, Purple Martin populations will rebound with continued efforts to provide nesting sites like this one.
Swallows are one of my favorite kinds of birds…they have colorful iridescent feathers and they are one of the more agile and acrobatic flyers…watching them swoop and bank around at top speed is always a great show. Like most migrant birds, they are missed during the winter months, but they are one of the first to return in springtime. Recently the Tree Swallows have started showing up again, and yesterday a few swallows treated me to some awesome close-up photo opportunities…
Swallows are pretty small birds, so getting close to them really reveals their colorful feathers…I’m not sure why these swallows were so tolerant of my presence, but this one was kind enough to pose for me for a few snaps!…
Pretty soon, Barn Swallows, Northern Rough-Winged Swallows, Bank Swallows, and even Purple Martins will be returning to the area…I hope they are as cooperative as these Tree Swallows were!
Swallows are handsome, agile, and entertaining birds to watch…it is no surprise that they are one of my favorites!
I was lucky to catch a sweet moment between two Cardinals…the male bit the shells off some sunflower seeds and brought the treats to his lady ❤ Love is in the air…its springtime!
…My last post was about Wood Ducks being a tough duck to get photos of around here…the other day I saw more Wood Ducks and managed some closer photos…and another pair shot…
Another visit to the same spot today and there were 6 Wood Ducks in the same location…the breeding plumage of the males is spectacular.
By now, Snowy Owls are front page news in the Northeast…I’ve seen half-a-dozen myself at this point, but this is the first one I have seen in Falmouth. It has been residing in the Salt Pond area of Surf Drive and it has made a couple bold appearances near the road…I snapped this photo from my car…
It could be seen as a bad sign that this bird has grown accustomed to cars, joggers and cyclists passing by, but it is also a good sign to see the bird successfully adapting to its new surroundings. Experts have suggested that this snowy owl phenomenon is a result of a population boom from last year which forced many snowies south in search of wintering territory. Only time will tell how this phenomenon will affect the long-term presence of these magical birds.
I’ve been trying to get photos of all the local male/female duck pairs. Here’s a sample of some of the duck-pair pics I’ve gotten recently. Featured from top left: Red-Breasted Merganser, Canvasback, Lesser Scaup, Ring-Necked Duck, Bufflehead, American Wigeon, American Black Duck, Mallard, Hooded Merganser.