Friday, November 30, 2007

Intro to Digiscoping

I will be giving a talk at the store on Thursday 6 December about digiscoping. The talk starts at 7pm and is free to attend. Hope y'all can make it.


Winter Hummer Update

Fred Bassett writes....

Fellow Hummer Lovers,

The Link to see the albino Ruby-throated I banded on 28 September is

My much more computer savvy friend, Fred Dietrich, was nice enough to post the pictures for me. We're off to a good start for the season with significant returns of my previously banded hummers. While at Ft Morgan for fall banding, I snuck off on 15 Oct to try to catch Claire Krusko's sixth year return Rufous and got beat like a drum when she teased me but wouldn't quite go in my trap. On my way back to the fort, I stopped by Maud Skiba's home in Magnolia Springs to see about a Black-chinned Maud had reported. The adult male Black-chinned was much more cooperative. It made my day to discover it was my first fourth year return Black-chinned. I banded it 25 Feb 2005 down the street at Reva & Burt Hinson's home. The rain, mosquitoes, and lack of birds ran us out of Fort Morgan on 18 Oct, and I stopped in Loxley at Claire's home and finally tricked her sixth year return female Rufous, Lil Darlin, into my trap. It was great Claire was home to get to hold her very special hummer again. On 25 Oct I went to Tallahassee to talk about hummers and caught Fran Rutkovsky's second year return male Rufous.
I banded my first Rufous of the season 11 Nov at the home of Billie Jones near Luverne, AL and then headed to the coast to see what I could find. On 12 Nov in Spanish Fort, I banded a female Rufous at Gail & Eric Yance's home and went to Pensacola to band a Ruby-throated at Vickie and Ron Parker's home. At first light the next morning, I caught Kay Keighley's female Rufous back for the third winter. It was a treat to get that bird, since she would have nothing to do with me on two previous attempts. That afternoon in Tallahassee, I banded adult female Ruby-throated and Rufous hummers in the great hummer yard of Jody Elliott and Claudia Mason [they live in Killearn..Andy]. Before leaving Tallahassee on 14 Nov, I caught Fred & Patty Dietrich's second year return female Rufous. I stopped in Hartford, AL on the way home to catch another second year return female Rufous at Dick Mowbray's home.
Early on 16 Nove, I zipped over to Columbus, GA to band a female Ruby-throated at Kristi Watkins home and went to Mobile on 17th. I struck out at a couple of homes where hummers were more interested in an abundance of great hummer plants, but the beautiful second year return Buff-bellied at Sandra & Peter Kerr's home made the long trip worth every minute and mile. On 19 Nov, I went to Georgiana, AL to band another Ruby-throated.
I'm getting more reports of hummers as cooler weather brings them to feeders. I expect to get busy after Thanksgiving, so please keep an eye on your feeder and let me know if one shows up at your home.




Friday, November 23, 2007

Orioles, Kinglet and Hummer on Birdcam!

Every winter we get a whole flock of Baltimore Orioles visiting our yard. They really love to eat Grape Jelly from our oriole feeders. Here is a video that we made from clips taken by our new favorite toy...the Birdcam!

We also have a female hummingbird, probably a Ruby-throated, visiting our hummer feeder in the backyard. Fred Bassett is visiting town soon so hopefully he will catch her. We have had at least one winter hummingbird in our yard, for each of the last few winters.

The Birdcam has really been enjoyable for us both, as it records what birds visit our yard while we are at work. The first thing we do know when we get home is to see what visitors it has taken video and/or photographs of.

Mary & Susan

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Glenda Simmons wanted to share a Blue bird of Happiness with y'all and wish you a happy thanksgiving day. Happy Thanksgiving everybody.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Goldfinches are here!

Glenda Simmons has goldfinches, many have been reported to us over the last few days. Glenda writes.....

I bought this Finch tube feeder from WBU last night and hung it first thing this morning. It didn't take long for my returning winter guests to find it and put it to good use!

Another one of my visiting winter guests. [Pine Warbler]

I have a very dead and ugly, remaining piece of a cherry tree that I see from my kitchen window. If I gave a good kick at the base of this tree, it would likely fall right over. But it just happens to be the favorite, and one of the few perching spots that almost all of my backyard birds use before visiting my feeders. Never-the-less, it is quite an eye-sore and does not make for very attractive pictures. So Glenda's photo tip of the day......Buy a $5 garland from the craft store, climb a ladder and tape it to the ugly protruding branch! It's starting to pay off! lol

Friday, November 16, 2007

Gator versus Otter!

Sylvia Cohen took this amazing picture at St Marks NWR. What an unforgettable experience! She reports that both parties worked out a truce and went their seperate ways. MEGA!

Birdcam Video

I am having a lot of fun with my Birdcam. Here is a collection of clips it took yesterday whilst I was at work.

Birdsong Sparrows

Here are a couple of pictures taken by Carol Miller at Birdsong Nature Center this week.

Savannah Sparrow

Grasshopper Sparrow

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Pine Siskins are here!!!!

Both Carol Miller and I have had Pine Siskins in our respective yards today. It was a new yard bird for me making 116 species in 3 far! They came to my eliminator which has SE No Mess in it. I did put out my thistle feeder today especially after hearing that folk are getting goldfinches at their feeders as well. Looks like the finches are early this can never tell what they are going to do in a given year. There are also reports that there is an irruption of siskins this year. States to our north are seeing them in large numbers already. Lets hope a lot of 'em make it to our area!

Carol took the picture below and the video is from my Birdcam. See my blog for more info.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sweet Sixteen!

This morning Susan and I were able to spend a few hours enjoying the birds visiting our feeders and birdbath. We listed a total of 16 species!

Pine Warbler
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Baltimore Oriole (3 males and 1 female)
Northern Cardinal
American Robin
Blue Jay
Northern Mockingbird
House Finch
Carolina Chickadee
Chipping Sparrow
Tufted Titmouse
Carolina Wren
Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker

we also had a Dark-eyed Junco with our Chipping Sparrows. We had 2 junco's yesterday! This was a new species for our yard. It looks like we are in for a good junco winter in Tallahassee.

American Robins

Baltimore Oriole (male)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Brrrrr the Sparrows are here!

Jeez it's cold this morning! What happened to fall? Anyway one thing good to come of this cold weather is the large influx of sparrows to the south-eastern USA. We are starting to witness this influx here in Tallahassee. Birds like the Dark-eyed Junco are arriving in our area much earlier than usual and I am hearing reports of them in large numbers in Georgia and Alabama. My Chipping Sparrows are here and two days ago they brought a pair of juncos with them. Dark-eyed Junco is an annual visitor to my yard but I've never had more than a singleton. They arrived earlier than any of my previous juncos as well. Other sparrows to look out for include White-throated and White-crowned. If you live out in the country check your Chipping Sparrows carefully for Field Sparrows.

Sparrows love to eat a mixture of White Millet and Cracked Corn, they prefer to feed on the ground or on a tray feeder close to the ground. Spread the mix over a large area near some vegetation, preferable a log pile or some low lying shrubs. Sparrows like to watch from cover to make sure the coast is clear before venturing out to feed. If you are lucky you may get a large flock by the turn of the year. Two winters ago my Chipping Sparrow flock exceeded 120 birds! Last winter my friend Ross banded almost 50 Chipping Sparrows in my yard, I was excited to see at least two banded birds had returned this winter whilst watching my flock yesterday. This may prove that our Chipping Sparrows return to our yards every winter so it's important to provide them with the food they need.

Dark-eyed Junco

White-crowned Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Green-breasted Mango

Below Carol Miller writes about her twitching debut to see Georgia's first Green-breasted Mango. Bob Sargent of the Hummingbird Study Group banded a week or so ago and it is currently visiting feeders in Dublin, GA, about 200 miles NE of our fair city. Green-breasted Mango's normally resides in Central America but occassionally one gets lost and heads for a vacation to the USA. Most USA records come from Texas but it has been recorded recently in Wisconsin and North Carolina. It is a large unmistakably beautiful hummingbird. Its scientific name celbrates the French Naturalist Florent Prevost. If you have the opportunity go see this cracker from the tropics. I'll be going next Monday! Hopefully I won't be gripped off for long, eh Carol?


Carol Writes.....

Diane and I left Tallahassee EARLY Tuesday morning, sadly, without our beloved leader, to twitch the Green-breasted Mango that has been blessing Dublin, Georgia with its presence. About 10, we arrived and were greeted by a couple from Alabama who had detoured on their way home to see the bird. We roamed around the yards, and heard the husband holler. The Mango was on the feeder across the street--and we missed it. An hour or so later, Diane saw him in the same yard at some flowers. At lunchtime, a guy stopped by on his lunch hour and saw it in that yard, also. By that time, we had all parked at that location, and Diane and I were able to see it about 1:00. We waited another hour, but he never put in another appearance, so it was home again. On the way home, we called Andy to share our excitement. I don't think he appreciate the gesture--said we were being GRIPPY! (sorry) The picture isn't very good, but the Mango was a lot quicker than my trigger finger.