Monday, March 10, 2008

A good side effect of flooding

FINALLY Blogger is letting me post photos today!

One of the good aspects of having had so much rain and snow melt lately is that a lot of what was formerly empty pasture and field has been converted to pond area, and the ducks are taking advantage.

Yesterday, I drove along a backroad that runs beside the very swollen Penns Creek behind the marsh, and I was rewarded with several good sights, though these photos are pretty rough:
Excuse me, Mr. Hooded Merganser, sir? Could you please quit being so shy and come closer to me?

Oh fine, then; just swim away. When your pics come out blurry, Mr. Snobby, don't say I didn't warn you. And yes, as a matter of fact that hairdo does make your head look weird-shaped.

I also saw many Eastern bluebirds--can you see them on the tops of the posts?

Shortly before I snapped, there were actually three of them on three consecutive posts! but of course one of them flew off to this tree:

It was quickly getting dark, so apologies for the crappy photos.

A great blue heron, back among the snags and such:

He stood stock-still in this one spot for. an. hour. That water must've been effing FREEZING too.

A little Northern mockingbird, looking cute:

Some ring-billed gulls, which is interesting--what are they doing inland? FINALLY--here's a pic of these guys.

I also saw these two twig nests, high in the tops of two side-by-side dead pine trees:
You can see the shape of some bird near the top (a raptor? almost looks like a crow, but I don't think it is); both nests were visited by birds, but I was looking into the setting sun and just couldn't pick out any field marks. His flight (I saw him fly away from the nests) and his general shape leads me to guess at a Cooper's or maybe even a sharp-shinned hawk, but I'm just guessing. My Peterson's Guide to Bird Nests and Eggs wasn't much help here; all the raptors have nests made of twigs, but they are lined with different materials. (But I did check the pic and info on crow's nests, and they do not (I think) look like this.) As you can see, however, I was nowhere near enough to see that much detail. I will monitor these nests (they're about 200-300 yards from the road, so I can monitor from afar, and next time I'll remember to take my scope so I can get a closer look.

Any guesses on these nests? I'll try to update with better/more pics as I explore this new fertile area!


Splotchy said...

Wow, I have never seen a bluebird. I've always wanted to, though.

Anonymous said...

Sweet! What a wonderful lot of birding you've been able to do!

I love, love, love the bluebirds. When we lived in Illinois, like Splotchy, I never saw one. When we moved to Georgia and we started to have them visit our simple birdhouse, I was enthralled!o

Susan Gets Native said...

The size of those nests compared to the crow-like bird do seem about right for Coopers. Go back with that scope, girl.
Flooding rules. (well, as long as your house isn't floating away)
That's the only good birding around here right now....all the flooded fields.

RG said...

Those look like the nest a heron makes, although herons usually return to the nests every year and often "add on" And, they might not be big enough for herons.

Earl Cootie said...

What is it with those camera-shy hooded mergansers? Do you think it is insecurity over their big dos?

I haven't seen an eastern bluebird since I was a boy in Georgia. And you reminded me! It's getting to be mountain bluebird season here!

dguzman said...

Splotchy--now you kinda have!

Dcup--I've been making a real effort during our spring break (yay, no calculus tonight!) to get out there, and we've had some sunshine. I love bluebirds!

Susan--yeah? Cool! I will try to get back out there tonight (had errands to run last night).

Rabbits' guy--we have herons here too, but I think these are raptor nests. I'll go back with the scope soon.

Earl--I think it's obvious: big 'do = big ego = no cameras please! Hmph. I'd like to see a mountain bluebird sometime!

Matthew Hubbard said...

Nice work, dg.

Eventually I will get a digital camera and put pictures on my blog I haven't stolen from somewhere else.

Mary said...

Delia, you certainly had a field day! Thank goodness the flood is AWAY from you now. I get so excited to see Bluebirds!

dguzman said...

Matty Boy--Your blog is wonderful just the way it is, but it would be neat to see pics of San Fran.

Mary--just found more water in the basement this morning.... ugh.

Kerri Farley said... of my favorites!! And that HERON is AWESOME!! WOW!

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

I love herrons. I saw some flying once and I bearly drove off the road looking at them because they were so beautiful.

Patrick B. said...

Ring-billed Gulls definitely occur inland. We have them over our condo all the time. They spend lots of time in fields, parking lots, garbage dumps, anywhere they can scrounge for food.

The nests are interesting. Would a raptor nest that close to another raptor? I'm not sure, but I don't think so. A GB Heron would nest with other GB Herons though. The pic looks like a crow. The crows could be planning to use an old heron nest.

dguzman said...

Oh no, Patrick--ya think? I want raptor nests, not crow nests! I don't know what kind of light I'll have out there this evening, as we're getting sleet right now, but I'm hoping to check the nests tonight.