Monday, April 26, 2010

Sunday, April 25, 2010

New (to me) Toy: eBird

Hey, gang; I just filed my first-ever birding report on eBird! I had looked at it a long time back and thought it was a little slow and not so user-friendly; I don't know if I was just impatient back then or if I'm just that much smarter now, because I was able to get in, check off the birds I saw with my BFF Gretchen this morning, and be done. I emailed the report to myself with the checking of a box, and here's my copied-and-pasted report:

Location: Bald Eagle SP
Observation date: 4/25/10
Number of species: 27

Mallard X
Common Loon 1
Turkey Vulture X
Osprey 1
Ring-billed Gull 2
Mourning Dove X
Eastern Phoebe 1
American Crow X
Common Raven X
Tree Swallow X
Bank Swallow X
Eastern Bluebird 2
American Robin X
Northern Mockingbird 1
Brown Thrasher 3
European Starling X
Cedar Waxwing 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 6
Eastern Towhee 4
Field Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 10
White-crowned Sparrow 1
Northern Cardinal X
Red-winged Blackbird X
Common Grackle X
American Goldfinch X
House Sparrow X

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(

The Xs indicate that I saw the species but either didn't or couldn't count (or remember) the number I saw. It was a very dreary morning with a constant drizzle/sprinkle, but we had a good time.

I'm going to get into this whole eBird thing; it looks cool! Wish I'd gotten pics (we saw a lot of these birds at very close range!) but I still don't have my camera back. Had to use Gretchen's binocs, even. But it's coming soon.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Baby bird pics

Sleepy little me, about 8 years old, at one of my Tia Chelo's big parties.

Dorky me in fourth grade. I could fly to Cleveland on those collars, baby!
I'm probably 4 years old here, wearing my favorite green cordoroy dress and struttin' my stuff.

Well, baby ME pics, anyway!

I have been in Harrisburg all week at a sales training class, so I still don't have my binocs and camera back yet, nor have I had time to bird. I'm going birding this weekend with Baby G, though, so I'm excited! Hoping to see some good birds--my friend Hillel emailed and said he'd seen his FOY Yellow-rumped Warbler, so I'm hoping that the rest of the migrants aren't too far behind. We've had such mild weather that the trees are already starting to leaf a little bit, which means we won't be able to see the birds if they don't hurry up and get here.

I'm also planning to do the migration could on May 8 with my birding pal Roana, with whom I used to go atlassing all the time. I can't wait, because she can pick out birds I would never see on my own. So birding updates and pics are coming; I just have to be patient.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dangit, dangit, dangit!

I should have a beautiful post here with amazing pictures from our trip to Baltimore! But I forgot my bad-ass birding bag there!

It's in the mail somewhere, so I will soon have some cool pics -- though I think they're all of little flowers! We didn't see many birds, but we DID have some amazing food and fun and friends so stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Early spring birding at Millbrook Marsh

Millbrook Marsh is a beautiful little natural area just north of Beaver Stadium. Spring Creek flows through it, providing a wonderful little habitat within city limits.

I was hoping to see at least an early Yellow Warbler or something, but I neither saw nor heard any warblers. I did see some good birds, though:
Northern Flicker
Tree Swallow (they're back!)
Black-capped Chickadee
American Robin
Red-winged Blackbird (they've been back for a while now)
Northern Cardinal
Song Sparrow
Eastern Phoebe
Swamp Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
Carolina Wren
Red-tailed Hawk
Sharp-shinned Hawk
American Crow
Turkey Vulture
Tufted Titmouse
Northern Mockingbird
House Finch
American Goldfinch
European Starling
Rock Pigeon
House Sparrow
Common Grackle

I saw some evidence of maybe a Green Heron, or a very small Great Blue:It's hard to tell without anything for scale, but it was only a medium-sized marsh-dweller's print. Way too small for a Great Blue.

I also saw this cute little raccoon hand-print:Otherwise, I included all the bird pics with my spring post down below.

It was so nice to get out into the field again! I can't wait for more migrants to return; the Tree Swallow was a good one, but I've yet to see any of the hundreds of Chimney Swifts that usually fly over Bellefonte. It's still pretty early for us, though. Migration usually doesn't get going until late April/early May.

We've been having unusually warm (like +20 over normal temps) weather here, but I'm not sure that winter is quite done with us. It'll be interesting to see whether we get some more early migrants (or, god forbid, snow). AB and I are going to Baltimore this weekend to see some friends, so no birding (probably), but I plan to hit it hard when we get back. My new job starts Wednesday after next, so I'll have Monday and Tuesday to play around.

Until then, I hope you're seeing some good birds!

Monday, April 05, 2010

Niblet update

For the last couple of months, I've been noticing that Niblet's face looked a little strange:My mom noticed it first and asked me why his mouth looked crooked. I worried that he might have developed another abscess.

So when we got back to Pennsylvania, I knew we'd better go see Dr. Ellen Scholz, the Wonder Vet who took care of Nib when he had his ear abscess. Turns out, Niblet might have Bell's Palsy!

I've known people, including my dad, who've been hit with Bell's Palsy; Ellen the Wonder Vet said she'd seen it in dogs, but this was the first time she'd seen it in a bunny. We'll be going back for a head X-ray next month (after I start my job and start getting paid) to confirm that he doesn't have anything more serious wrong with him, like an abscess that can't be seen in an external exam.

Sometimes, it's not that noticeable:

But sometimes, it's pretty obvious:
unless you imagine that he's doing his Elvis impersonation:
Thank you, thank you very much.

In humans, it's temporary; I hope it's the same in bunnies. He is otherwise fit as a fiddle, strong and weighing in at a trim 4.2 lbs. (hee hee!)

On the bright side, his disapproval powers have become devastatingly potent!Don't say I didn't warn you!

Spring is sprung!

In case you hadn't noticed,spring is here!

Pussy willows are now in flower:

Trees that were just a bunch of twigs last month are now in full display:

Little shoots are sprouting from the ground:

Yards are full of flowers:

and trees are leafing out:
Bulbs planted last fall are fulfilling hopes:

And the birds are feelin' it too:
this sparrow was trilling his little heart out, sounding like a Swamp Sparrow but bearing a hatpin mark on his breast that confused me.

House Finches are looking for girlfriends and good nesting spots

and Eastern Phoebes are saying their name for all to hear.

Autumn's plants, bloated and picked apart, are busy providing nesting material and food for prospective families:
The ice has melted, and clear cool water is flowing all around us:
Twittering buzzing conversations fill the air:
And even the doleful cooing of Rock Pigeons makes my heart swell with springtime happiness:
Has spring sprung itself on you yet?