[Most Recent Entries]
Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in
[ << Previous 20 ]
[ << Previous 20 ]
|Monday, August 31st, 2020|
|Monday, December 24th, 2012|
|Friday, December 21st, 2012|
|Monday, December 17th, 2012|
|Tuesday, August 7th, 2012|
|Friday, April 23rd, 2010|
|April birds, critters April 9-16
Ever since the Yellow-throated Warblers returned, I've been trying to get a photo, but they've always stayed out of photo range even though one male sings along our creek . However, while sitting near the creek trying to observe the Eastern Phoebes nesting the barn, I heard a scolding "chip" and turned around to see him right behind me
4-9-10, male Yellow-throated Warbler by our creek
The male Eastern Phoebe came by also
as well as a male Northern Cardinal
I'd noticed Carolina Chickadees going in and out of the old Bluebird nest box by the barn, and when I turned back around the male was perched the fence in front of me
He then hopped up on the nestbox to feed his mate
Tuesday on the way to Lexington I stopped by the fish hatchery to check fish pools for migrants. I noticed two immature Bald Eagles circling above the oxbow river loop but before I could react they came straight toward me for a fly-over from the passenger side. I threw myself across the car, fumbling for the camera settings, but only got off one semi-focused shot
4-10-10, Minor Clark Fish Hatchery, 2nd year Bald Eagle
before they did an about-face and started back to the river, feet pointing backwards
I could see a small flock of gulls in the distance diving into a fish pool, but every time I drove toward them they immediately flew away to a far corner of the property. While I was sitting there wondering what to do, a 1rst summer Ring-billed Gull appeared, heading right for me.
It swept once around the car, apparently curious,
then joined the other gulls elsewhere.
I noticed a Red-shouldered Hawk crossing the property in the distance
and stopped the car to take a photo of a male Red-winged Blackbird on a cattail
I was surprised when an American Coot suddenly emerged from behind the reeds
It didn't seem to mind the car and even got out to preen
I could see a small flock of tern-like gulls swarming and diving into the large fish pools near the hatchery entrance and while I was trying to decide what to do, several suddenly skimmed over the fence and swooped once around the car.
4-10-10, Minor Clark Fish Hatchery, 1rst summer Bonaparte's Gull
One of them dove onto a fish right by the car but it was too close for my 400mm lens. Then they flew off to relax on an access road
4-10-10, Minor Clark Fish Hatchery, 1rst summer, 1rst winter, and adult Bonaparte's Gulls
Then I went on to Lexington to attend the Keeneland Bluegrass Stakes races with my daughter. The Redbud Trees in her yard were spectacular
The next day DuBois and I hiked up on Warbler Ridge, but didn't see any warblers, although a female Eastern Towhee popped out of the brush to take a look at us
I also saw my first Blue-gray Gnatcatcher of the season
The next time we drove to the fish hatchery, Morehead ornamental Redbud Trees were also blooming
We had just driven onto the Minor Clark Fish Hatchery property when I noticed a Greater Yellowlegs wading in a drained pool
It was alone, so I assumed the rest of the shore birds had gone on
4-12-10, Minor Clark Fish Hatchery, Greater Yellowlegs
The flock of Blue-winged Teal we saw last time had flown north, except for one pair. The male was wallowing in an empty fish pool
Across the property from us an Osprey attacked a 2nd year Bald Eagle by the oxbow, forcing it to land, then a pair of adult Bald Eagles appeared and ran off the Osprey. By the time we arrived all had dispersed and a large carp with large puncture wounds lay gasping on the access road. Ten minutes later the 2nd year Bald Eagle burst over the tree tops above us pursued by the Osprey and again landed, on the far side of the oxbow.
We paused by a display tank to see one of the rare American Paddlefish being bred at the hatchery
Afterward we drove to Shallow Flats by Cave Run Lake where we saw a pair of Brown Thrashers digging in the leaves
then we wound up Forest Road 16 toward Lockegee Rock, the highest point in three counties
On the way, I heard a Black and White Warbler singing, so got out to take photos
We parked at the trail head and hiked up the trail through a sea of Redbud Tree flowers
until we reached the base of the rock
We pulled ourselves up the nearly vertical trail to the top, using handholds in the rock. I was sitting by the edge when a tiny bird shot up over the cliff and began foraging through the nearby brush, ignoring me
4-12-10, top of Lockegee Rock, 1rst year female Blackburnian Warbler
A male Fence Lizard rested on a pine root
No more migrants appeared, but the view of the Redbud trees from the top of the rock was spectacular
The next day I saw a Northern Watersnake hunting frogs at our pond
The day after that I heard a Scarlet Tanager singing in the woods on top of our mountain. I staked out his territory from last year
4-14-10, Overstreet Ridge, near our pond, male Scarlet Tanager snagging moth
His meal looked almost too big for him!
but he got it to go down, leaving a moth wing dust mustache
Quite a beauty, despite the shadowy woods
His territorial song sounds "like a Robin on steroids."
A couple of days later I heard a Red-eyed Vireo back in the woods, and soon glimpsed him high overhead
|Thursday, April 8th, 2010|
|April birds around area
April 1, I was slowly driving around the Minor Clark Fish Hatchery checking empty fish pools when I suddenly noticed a Killdeer staring at me through the passenger side window.
I stopped the car and looked around for nests or chicks but didn't see anything. After a few minutes I tried to turn left, but the Killdeer immediately threw itself onto the ground in a feigned injury display.
I still didn't see a nest, but proceeded cautiously in another direction (I also back up for determined snakes). None of the fish pools had migrants and I was starting to leave when a flock of Blue-winged Teals landed in a pool by the chain link fence
I wasn't very close, but didn't want to spook the flock by approaching them
4-1-10, Minor Clark Fish Hatchery, male Blue-winged Teals
House Sparrows had been taking over the Tree Swallow nests hung along the fence and male swallows fought fiercely over the ones still left
4-1-10, Minor Clark Fish Hatchery, male Tree Swallow resting between fights
I drove around Cave Run Lake to check out Shallow Flats, then followed Forest Service Road 16 over the mountains to Lockegee Rock. By then it was 85 degrees and when I reached the bottom of the rock
I sat down to remove my shoes. I kept hearing a Pine Warbler singing nearby, then noticed that birds were flying up the side of the cliff and over the top. When I reached the top of Lockegee Rock a male Pine Warbler was singing in the Yellow Pines. I was wearing camouflage, including the camera lens, and he didn't seem to notice me.
In fact, he even tried to land on my hat a couple of times, was startled when I moved, and landed nearby, seeming puzzled
but decided to preen a bit
Meanwhile, Golden-crowned Kinglets kept flowing up the cliff face from below, surrounding me, but mostly too close for my lens
some too far away
A basking female Fence Lizard didn't seem to notice me either
The next day a male Louisiana Waterthrush began singing along our creek bank
Two days later I visited the fish hatchery again..this time there there were shore birds
4-4-10, Minor Clark Fish Hatchery, migrating Lesser Yellowlegs in empty fish pool
I drove on and saw a Turkey Vulture having lunch
Back at the farm I had a few birds to watch
4-6-10, Louisiana Waterthrush glimpsed through brush by our creek
4-6-10, I got a blurred pic of a male Yellow-throated Warbler streaking past
When I looked up from taking the photo, a Tufted Titmouse zipped close over my head, straight into the old nestbox by the creek. After a pause it zoomed straight out again and the other one did the same. They were so fast I aimed at the nest box and did photo bursts the instant I glimpsed one flashing over my head, then looked at the photos to find out they were carrying moss into the box
4-6-10, Tufted Titmouse streaking back out of nest box
A Purple Finch has come by several times
4-8-10, male Purple Finch on my feeder this afternoon
|Sunday, March 21st, 2010|
|Spring birds returning
The rain stopped and the sky cleared so we've been climbing the mountain each night to watch American Woodcock aerial displays. Every time we go up there, one male displays right over our heads and drops to the grass very close to us..he even mated about 20 feet in front of us.
We were finally able to get back camping for awhile in the screen tent by the horse pasture. Haven't heard any owls but been seeing plenty of meteors.
When we woke this morning the Robin, Cardinal, and Carolina Chickadee songs were almost deafening
Pine Warblers have been singing in the woods all week as well
and climbing around in the Yellow Pines snatching insects
Yesterday at Minor Clark Fish Hatchery all the overwintering ducks had vanished but one empty fish pool had a small flock of migrating adult and 1rst year Pectoral Sandpipers
sifting through the muck on the bottom for crustaceans
Two deer assumed comical shapes while bounding across a clearing
A flock of American Pipits was also wading in the bottom of the emptied pool, feeding in the muck.
One came up on the bank near the car
and began to preen
Some of the Tree Swallows were already feeding babies in nest boxes behind the fence. One male attacked me repeatedly when I tried to pass
and they all kept wary eyes on me
We climbed Poppy Mountain today and sat in the porch swing at the cabin at the very top watching Bluebirds courting, Eastern Phoebes defending territories, and a pair of Northern Mockingbirds building a nest in a Multiflora bush
In two weeks migrating warblers will begin flowing through Kentucky in earnest.
|Thursday, March 18th, 2010|
|Critters, spring duck fight, etc
Pine Warblers are singing throughout the woods today, but couldn't get a close shot.
March 17, 2010
Recently we've been climbing to the top of our mountain at dusk, about a 20 minute brisk hike, and setting up our folding camp stools to watch the cute little American Woodcocks do their courtship aerial displays in the hayfield. The first night we surprised herds of Whitetail Deer on the mountaintop and got to watch them pouring over the fences in waves, but now they watch for us and avoid the area.
Last night after we'd been watching the Woodcock displays awhile, suddenly one streaked past our head in close pursuit of another, creating a sort of sonic boom in our ears as they looped around us then sped off like fighter jets. One male repeatedly did his courtship flight right above us, wings twittering as he spiraled higher and higher, then descended with chirping sounds increasing in speed until he'd go silent, drop like a leaf to the ground nearby, then begin his nasal PEENT beeping sound. SO ADORABLE!
The Woodcocks only display and beep for a tiny window of time, between 7:45 and 8:10 p.m., then suddenly go silent as though on signal and quietly leave the courting grounds. When we realized the show was over last night I turned to DuBois and quoted from his favorite movie, Quigley Down Under; "The Johnsons always did leave without saying good-bye."
Here are photos taken over the past two weeks
3-4-10, Cuddeback cam; raccoon walking up trail, from back, 9:03 p.m.
3-5-10, Cuddeback cam; bobcat running up trail, back view, 5:28 p.m.
We visited the Minor Clark Fish Hatchery to see the overwintering ducks before they left. Double click on photos to see Google map locations
3-7-10, pair of Hooded Mergansers on oxbow river loop
female Hooded Merganser
male Hooded Merganser
male and female Buffleheads, Giant Canada Goose
We arrived at the fish hatchery too late to avoid galloping joggers, arm-swinging power walkers, and birders churning up the roads as they raced cars from pond to pond. Once I saw they were stampeding the waterfowl in all directions, we just sat in the car and read the Sunday paper until the other people began to leave. Eventually a male Bufflehead landed in the pond by the car and began diving for fish.
Soon a Bufflehead pair landed in the far end of the same pond and the newcomer male soon approached the first male, bobbing his head. While I was wondering what that meant the mystery was solved when the second male suddenly attacked the first male, who had been peacefully fishing.
3-7-10, Minor Clark Fish Hatchery, male Bufflehead fleeing attacker
After repeated attacks, the first Bufflehead returned to the female
while the first male stretched his wings in relief
then began preening to get his feathers back in the order
Meanwhile, the newcomer male thought he'd repair his feather arrangement also
The first Bufflehead male came closer to the car hoping to avoid the second male
and resumed diving for fish
Strangely, several times the female Bufflehead approached the single male as though trying to start something, but her partner would see it and attack the innocent first male who was only trying to avoid conflict.
A male Belted Kingfisher landed briefly on the far side of the pond
then quickly flew away
On the way back to the car I could see more ducks on the river
3-7-10, Minor Clark Fish Hatchery river loop, male and female Ring-necked Ducks, 1:58 p.m.
The next day we went up on Poppy Mountain
3-8-10, male Red-winged Blackbird, 10:07 a.m.
There was a male and two female Buffleheads on a cattle pond
Later I went up to our pond, crawled through the muck to the old slab lean-to blind and took photos of Wood Ducks through the screen of brush
3-10-10, male Wood Duck on top of our mnt
napping male Wood Duck keeps one eye open
female Wood Duck
3-10-10, bookend male Wood Ducks on our mnt pond, 1:38 p.m (to see Google map locations, double-click on any photo)
|Sunday, February 21st, 2010|
|Winter birds, critters
We've been buried in snow and cold for the past month or so
2-17-10, Snow on side deck railing. I scraped snow off heated bird bath
but today it hit 50 degrees! Some birds since January
1-18-10, Brown Creeper in our woods
1-30-10, female Dark-eyed Junco in snow
1-31-10, Golden-crowned Kinglet glimpsed in the woods
2-17-10, Icicles from roof around bird feeders, 7:44 a.m. (I broke them down)
2-17-10, Carolina Chickadee drinking from icicle
2-17-10, male Dark-eyed Junco under side deck
2-17-10, Tufted Titmouse on bird bath heater cord
2-17-10, Adorable Carolina Wren doing splits
2-17-10, 1rst winter White-throated Sparrow
2-17-10, Song Sparrow on broken icicle by deck
2-17-10 male Goldfinch already gearing up for fall breeding season
2-17-10, male Dark-eyed Junco in snow
The Non-typical Cuddeback capture trail cam I bought last Feb. began quitting whenever it rained. I sent it back twice for repairs but it continued to leak. When I called the company they said it wasn't waterproof and that I should bring it inside every time it rains and dry it out every few days. Their ad says they are weatherproof, but we had no choice since the next IR cam I ordered didn't work either.
Off-topic, but here are few shots from the Cuddeback when it last worked
1-11-10, female coyote near our pond, 7:36 p.m.
1-13-10, male Red Fox near our pond, 4:37 a.m.
1-23-10, Female Gray Fox top of our mnt, 3:10 a.m.
1-9-10, young deer near logging trail on our mnt, Cuddeback trail cam, 11:22 a.m.
1-13-10, bobcat near our pond, 12:26 a.m.
1-9-10, doe on logging trail 11:30 a.m.
1-15-10, opossum near pond bank, 6:27 p.m.
|Tuesday, January 5th, 2010|
|New Year's weekend Dallas camping and birding trip
We decided on Monday to drive to Dallas, so after work on Wed. we drove all night and set up our tent at 2:30 p.m. in freezing rain next to Joe Pool Lake, Cedar Hill State Park. DuBois crawled into the tent for a nap, then we attended a cool New Year's Eve swing dance/buffet nearby. When we returned around 1 a.m., the Blue Moon was shining in a clear sky. It was so bright, not to mention only 20 degrees, that we pulled the cover over the screen tent.
The next morning we had trouble keeping on our feet since the road was a sheet of ice in front of the bath house but a flock of Chickadees and Tufted Titmice came by and I was able to get photos of a couple of hangers-on
1-1-10, Cedar Hill State Park, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, 11:26 a.m.
1-1-10, Bewick's Wren
There was another Ruby-crowned Kinglet in the brush near the lake bank
We visited old friends and family in the area that afternoon and the next morning there was another Ruby-crowned Kinglet cutey in the brush near the campsite. I was disappointed that the only birds were saw were the same ones I see around our house in Morehead. But I could see American Coots far out on the lake
We drove 50 miles to the Ft Worth Nature Center and Refuge marshland hoping to see the many species we saw there in February five years ago. We could see flocks of Double-crested Cormorants and various duck species flying overhead as we drove across the city, but when we arrived, aside from a Marsh Wren,
we saw no birds while out on the boardwalk except some distant ducks on the river and a Great Egret flapping past.
We took a trail into the woods that paralleled the marsh and I cut down to the bank and hid in the brush. In a minute a flock of Green-winged Teals flew in and landed nearby. I could just glimpse them through the tangle of branches
1-2-09, Ft. Worth Nature Center marshland, male Green-winged Teal
pair of Green-winged Teals
Suddenly DuBois' cell phone began blasting rock music (he'd waited for me on the trail above), then he began talking! The entire flock exploded out of the water was gone in seconds. I laughed and once again suggested he keep his phone on "vibrate" and move away from the area to answer his phone
So we sat down on a bench on the woodland trail and watched the Chickadee flocks sweep past with their hangers-on.
Another Ruby-crowned Kinglet-it came so close I could have tossed a leaf on it
female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
as we came around a bend we saw a 1rst winter Eastern Phoebe
then drove to the information center where we saw a female Red-winged Blackbird
1-2-09, Barred Owl, Ft. Worth Nature Center display
then drove to the Black-tailed Prairie Dog town. They gave cries that sounded like Red-shouldered Hawks
As we left there were two American Bison bulls grazing in the prairie area
By then it was 5 pm so we drove all night and got home at 12:30 p.m.
|Thursday, December 3rd, 2009|
|Minor Clark Fish Hatchery birds Nov. 22-Nov. 28
I took 3000 photos of wintering ducks last trip to the Cave Run Lake area-most of which were unusable except for a few for ID purposes. The ISO balance/auto focus/shutter speed/ in my Canon EOS 40D couldn't handle distant ducks with sun against me. Been reading great reviews on the capabilities of the new Canon EOS 7D, so decided to get one after Christmas when prices fall.
Here are some of the O.K. or passable photos
11-22-09, Minor Clark Fish Hatchery, Swamp Sparrow
A week ago I happened on a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers feasting on wild grapes. They didn't seem to notice me peering at them through the trees
11-26-09, Minor Clark Fish Hatchery, female Pileated Woodpecker
11-26-09, Minor Clark Fish Hatchery, male Pileated Woodpecker
I glanced up to see what resembled a climbing groundhog
11-26-09, Minor Clark Fish Hatchery, very fat Eastern Fox Squirrel
When I looked back, a flock of Yellow-rumped Warblers was moving all around me
11-26-09, Minor Clark fish Hatchery, 1rst yr. female Yellow-rumped Warbler
We checked one of the fish breeding pools that still had water and found a flock of Buffleheads
11-26-09, Minor Clark Fish Hatchery, 1rst winter male, female, breeding male Buffleheads
We then drove over to Shallow Flats at Cave Run Lake
11-26-09, 2 female Greater Scaups, male Gadwall
11-26-09, Shallow flats at Cave Run Lake, 2 male Gadwalls
11-26-09, male Gadwalls
Two days later we returned to Minor Clark Fish Hatchery and found a flock of mixed ducks on the filled fish breeding pool. But just then a hawk flew over
11-28-09, Minor Clark Fish Hatchery, juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk
which stampeded the ducks right at us
11-28-09, Fish Hatchery, Mallards, Buffleheads, startled by juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk
The flock of Buffleheads landed on another fish pool
11-28-09, Minor Clark Fish Hatchery, 1rst winter male, female Buffleheads
1rst winter male Buffleheads
I glimpsed a flock of ducks out on the lagoon but when I approached the trees and brush along the shore I spooked a duck off the bank out into the river. I peeked through the brush to see what it was
11-28-09, Fish Hatchery lagoon, male Hooded Merganser, trying to see what startled it
Soon it joined its flock out on the water
11-28-09, Minor Clark Fish Hatchery lagoon, male and female Hooded Mergansers
I circled the lagoon and encountered some Field Sparrows foraging through a thicket
One popped out of the leaves close to me
I can hardly wait to return to the fish hatchery with the Canon EOS 7D to see how it handles distance and tricky lighting. Waiting until after Christmas will be hard, but I want a better price so I can afford a new exterior flash also, since my old one broke.
|Saturday, November 21st, 2009|
|Minor Clark Fish Hatchery, Belted Kingfisher, White Ibis
I tested my new Cabella Ameristep one-man chair blind at Minor Clark Fish Hatchery today; jammed it into brush on the bank of the lagoon in dense morning fog and set up my tripod.
When the fog lifted a male Belted Kingfisher landed on a snag in front of me with his catch
Which he quickly swallowed
Just then a Winter Wren popped up by my foot where the blind hung over the bank. It surveyed the inside, commenting the whole time, then disappeared.
But they were the only birds that came close-whenever a flock of small birds came up the bank through the bushes, they'd squeak in fright and flee at the sight of the blind.
A flock of Pied-billed Grebe on the lagoon
but they kept their distance
A mink came bounding across the water lilies opposite the lagoon from me
By now turtles were climbing up on the snag
Midland Painted Turtle, Red-eared Slider
I'd read on the birdky list serve that someone had seen a juvenile White Ibis at the fish hatchery, but I couldn't find it last time we were there.
Eventually it appeared across the lagoon from me
but I circled around to get closer
When a mixed flock of birds came past, and I thought this one was a Black-capped Chickadee because of the dark rufous sides and smaller proportioned head, but the head is too round and not enough white in cheek so must be a Carolina Chickadee after all.
Before 1999, Black-capped Chickadees were almost unknown in Kentucky, but now they sometimes appear at my feeder in winter, their large size contrasting with the tinier Carolinas.
Nov. 16, 2006
|Sunday, November 15th, 2009|
|November bird sightings
Nov. 1 we visited the Minor Clark Fish Hatchery and saw a 2nd year Bald Eagle sitting on top of a dead tree
checking out the Licking River Lagoon where the hatchery breeds Muskellunge game fish. Trees were already going bare
I walked around the the lagoon and spotted a cute female Ruby-crowned Kinglet combing the underbrush for insects
Small flocks of Juvenile Bluebirds were moving through the trees
We resumed camping in our screen tent after a long rainy spell and heard a Barred and Screech Owl, but also the jaguar(?) bawling and two loud coughs from behind the house. When we checked the Cuddeback Cam the next morning, Nov. 2, something had messed it up so it took empty photos all night, every 30 seconds. But it did catch the bobcat confronting a 6-point buck.
I sent the cam in for repairs, and this time I'm buying a bear protection cam cage.
DuBois heard that a neighbor's dog had been attacked by a big black cat that had "torn half its head off." I became worried about my own dogs and called Jeff to get the details. He said his dog was barking one morning so he turned it loose, but a "black panther" with a "three-foot tail" stuck its head around the barn, swiped the dog across the face, and walked into the woods without a backward glance. The dog required over $300 worth of stitches, but he said the cat had done it in self-defense.
Nevertheless, yesterday I heard a local deputy say that if he ever sees it, he'll shoot it in "self defense."
Jeff said he'd put three game cams out to get a photo, but I say good luck with THAT.
Nov. 7 we visited the Minor Clark Fish Hatchery and saw a female Greater Scaup in one of the fish breeding pools
A juvenile Cedar Waxwing was back in the tangle of branches by the lagoon
adult Cedar Waxwing
The next night, 11-8-09, we saw a male Hooded Merganser on a Poppy Mnt pond
The next morning when we drove there again the brush was full of birds
11-9-09, Poppy Mnt, 1rst fall White-throated Sparrow
11-9-09, Poppy Mnt, Field Sparrow
11-9-09, Poppy Mnt, male Dark-eyed Junco
11-9-09, Poppy Mnt, male Eastern Towhee
11-9-09, Poppy Mnt, juvenile Red-tailed Hawk dropping off dead tree
We stopped by the fish hatchery on Friday the 13th before work.
A Pied-billed Grebe was swimming far out on the lagoon
The female Greater Scaup had been joined by a male Bufflehead, but they also kept their distance
Frustrated, I crept up and took photos through the brush
11-13-09, Minor Clark Fish Hatchery, Pied-billed Grebe, American Coot on log
Love those green feet
Just then a Song Sparrow came by my hiding place and did a double take-unsure what it was seeing..
Nov. 14 we saw a wild Turkey hen on Poppy Mnt with her grown poults
The poults began walking away, stretching their wings
Finally, they were ready to launch
A Song Sparrow dove into a thicket, but at the chirruping sound of the camera's auto focus, up popped the sparrow..it even answered me back!
The next day, Nov. 15, we returned to the fish hatchery where I pushed through brush on the shore of the lagoon until I could see the Pied-billed Grebe out on the water
I moved to where I could peep through the tangle at the log, now covered with Midland Painted Turtles, where the American Coot and grebe had been sunning last time.
Eventually, the grebe cruised over
Didn't look like much chance of getting a spot on the log
A Red-tailed Hawk wheeled high overhead as I returned to the car
That evening we went up on Poppy Mnt, looking in vain for the Hooded Merganser. The woods have lost most of their leaves now
|Saturday, October 24th, 2009|
|LIFER, migrants, coyote, critters, fall leaves,Oct 18-25
Oct 18 we dropped by the Minor Clark Fish Hatchery looking for shore bird migrants, as usual.
There were no new shore birds, but a Turkey Vulture was catching some rays in a dead tree
When I heard an approaching flock of wintering Yellow-rumped Warblers near the fish hatchery lagoon, I stood still and waited
and was soon surrounded by female warblers
1rst fall female
I glimpsed other birds in the brush
10-18-09, Minor Clark Fish Hatchery, Swamp Sparrow
a 1rst year White-crowned Sparrow
When I checked the online birdky bird list and read that some people were reporting migrating Dunlins I wondered why I'd never seen one.
We stopped by the fish hatchery again next day on the way to Mt Sterling Court days.
Some shore birds were still hanging around
10-19-09, Minor Clark Fish Hatchery, juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper
The fish hatchery staff had emptied most of the fish breeding pools and stranded turtles were seen crawling everywhere
10-19-09, Minor Clark Fish Hatchery, female Eastern Spiny Softshell Turtle
wearing a "if you think YOU'RE having a bad day.." expression
Midland Painted Turtle
We were just leaving to go on to Mt Sterling Court Days when a flock of shore birds circled down and landed in a nearby empty pool.
I couldn't believe my eyes-Dunlins!...LIFERS!!
The next day we returned to the fish hatchery, arriving just as a doe and fawn came strolling out between the pools
We were checking empty fish pools for shore birds when a flock of American Pipits swept past the car with barely a pause. I got one pic that was sort in focus
One pond had several juvenile Pectoral Sandpipers
which were hanging out with a juvenile Killdeer
Every time we approached a Pied-billed Grebe it would dive, surfacing as far from us as possible
A Northern Watersnake was lying full length across the road pretending to be a wavy stick
I nudged it gently with my foot to encourage it to move out of our way, but the whole snake body moved as though it were a rigid stick, maintaining the charade. I was so tickled that I laughed and we backed the car to the next intersecting access road.
We then hiked to the top of Lockegee Rock, but there were no more birds. The trees were just beginning to turn color
10-20-09, Cave Run Lake as seen from top of Lockegee Rock
On Oct 25 we set out for Natural Bridge at Red River Gorge, stopping by Minor Clark Fish Hatchery to check pools for migrants.
The fog was just starting to lift when I noticed a canine trotting down an intersecting access road. When it saw us, it broke into a characteristic coyote lope so we drove faster until we were going 26 mph trying to close the gap. When we entered the fog the coyote turned off the road, darted across an empty pool and vanished into the woods
Most of the fish pools had been emptied by now making it difficult to locate any shore birds
and whenever we came across a pool that had any birds they spooked and flew away into the distance. The dead tree was filled with the usual sunning Turkey Vultures however
so we drove on to Natural Bridge State Park and climbed to the top of the mountain to walk on the bridge.
Sept 30, 2007, when I still used a Canon Powershot S2 IS point-and-shoot we sat on Natural Bridge arch and took photos of migrating birds passing up the flyway
Male Black-throated Green Warbler
male Pine Warbler
Tiaga Swainson's Thrush
but it was so late in the season we only saw one migrating bird fly over as we sat on the edge of the bridge, and I didn't get a photo
We hiked the trails without seeing any birds then returned to Cave Run Lake and hiked up to Lockegee Rock again.
Trees were mostly at peak color this week
but not a bird in sight. People are still reporting migrants on birdky network, but mostly at sloughs south and west of us, near the TN border. I've not seen any Dark-eyed Juncos or Pine Siskins yet but others are reporting them.
Guess we'll have to go visit Florida now to see our summer birds-always a good idea anyway..
We had to return our new Cuddeback infrared game camera, but our old flash Cuddeback came up with Red Fox, Gray Fox and a bobcat this week
Even a flock of wild turkeys!
|Friday, October 16th, 2009|
|Migrating birds, past 3 weeks, LIFER
It's been rainy, and we've been out of town alot, but Sept 27 we visited the Minor Clark Fish Hatchery where I hit the jackpot-
Juvenile Stilt Sandpiper, 8:43 a.m.-LIFER!!
There were several other migrating shore birds as well
juvenile Baird's Sandpiper, 9:23 a.m.
Juvenile Baird's Sandpiper and molting adult White-rumped Sandpiper
Two nonbreeding adult and a juvenile Least Sandpiper, 9:26 a.m.
Distant pair of Pied-billed Grebes on lagoon
Distant adult Bald Eagle, circling with dueling Red-shouldered Hawks
Adult Western Palm Warbler, in trees beside fish hatchery lagoon.
First fall female Bay-breasted Warbler, 11:00 a.m.
Juvenile Spotted Sandpiper
A few days later, on our farm
10-1-09, woods near the creek, juvenile Eastern Phoebe
Oct 11, we returned to the fish hatchery
Semipalmated Plover in early morning fog
10-11-09, fog lifting from Minor Clark Fish Hatchery
Great Egret, 10:28 a.m.
Juvenile intermediate Tundra Peregrine Falcon
Distant Pied-billed Grebe, 10:43 a.m.
1rst fall Cedar Waxwing, 11:35 a.m.
First fall female Yellow-rumped Warbler
Afterward we climbed to the top of Lockeegee Rock where I lay down and waited until this female Ruby-crowned Kinglet came by, 1:39 p.m
But the weather returned to rain and we've been out of town so much since (a family reunion in Ft Wayne Oct 3-4, work in Lexington and Louisville as extras in the Disney Secretariat movie over two weeks), I think the migration may be over
|Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009|
|Migrating birds, critters, past month
We've been visiting Minor Clark Fish Hatchery every weekend since migration started. Last fall shorebirds only paused a there day or so before hurrying south, but this year they've been taking their time...hopefully, a good weather sign.
One day I noticed a flock of Black Terns in various stages of molt, swarming like gulls high above the largest fish breeding pools.
8-22-09, 9:52 a.m.
While I was looking around, the whole flock skimmed low over the fence, then from pool to pool, diving directly on fish, or climbing up to 20 ft, hovering briefly, then diving.
Sometimes they flashed past me within a few yards, but getting a close-up photo proved daunting as they moved at blurring speed, darting like dragonflies. Then as suddenly as they appeared, they vanished again.
I looked around at the other birds at the hatchery; Giant Canada Geese hang around all year
Also saw a juvenile Eastern Phoebe
a 1st year Cedar Waxwing
a molting adult White-eyed Vireo
a juvenile Eastern Wood-Pewee
a juvenile Semipalmated Sandpiper
as well as shore birds I'd already photographed.
The next day, on the way to Louisville for the KY State Fair, we stopped early by the fish hatchery again in hopes of a better photo of a Black Tern.
8-23-09, Early morning fog at Minor Clark Fish Hatchery, 8:15 a.m.
I was able to get one passable photo when the tern flock swooped around me
8-23-09, Minor Clark Fish Hatchery, nonbreeding Black Tern, 8:40 a.m.
When we returned that Saturday I followed a warbler along the lagoon
9-5-09, Minor Clark Fish Hatchery, female Yellow Warbler
The juvenile Broad-winged Hawk hiding in tree
juvenile Least Sandpiper
C'mon outta there!
9-5-09 Semipalmated Plover
9-5-09 juvenile Semipalmated Plover using "vibrating foot" to find food
9-5-09 Adult Pectoral Sandpiper getting lunch
9-5-09 juvenile Buff-breasted Sandpipers..LIFERS! (At least, I don't remember seeing them before)
juvenile Buff-breasted Sandpiper bathing
The next weekend we stopped by the fish hatchery again
9-13-09, fish hatchery, Turkey Vultures, 9:32 a.m.
Does and fawn
nonbreeding male Magnolia Warbler in bushes beside fish hatchery lagoon
1st winter female Magnolia Warbler
9-15-09, Cuddeback cam by our pond, young Bobcat, 4:47 a.m.
I began hanging out along the warbler creek crossings on our farm
9-17-09, woods by our creek, female Black-throated Green Warbler, 1:45 p.m.
9-18-09, our tulip tree, male Blackburnian Warbler, 9:49 a.m.
9-18-09, walnut tree behind house, 1st fall male Scarlet Tanager, 9:51 a.m.
9-18-09, our tulip poplar, male Yellow-throated Vireo (probably 1st fall), 10:17 a.m.
Our last visit to the fish hatchery got another LIFER for me (I think)
9-19-09, Minor Clark Fish Hatchery, Baird's Sandpiper, 8:42 a.m.
Solitary Sandpiper with breakfast
juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper
American Pipit strolling on the bank of a fish breeding pond-I'd never seen one before in Kentucky!
Hey! I'm WALkin here!
Savannah Sparrow, who seemed to be posing for me
juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper
adult and juvenile Pectoral Sandpipers
9-19-09, Minor Clark Fish Hatchery, Solitary Sandpiper, 11:12 a.m.
Back at our house, I kept an eye out for fall activity-
9-22-09, squirrel in our walnut tree
I stake out the warbler crossings by the creek, but soaked my clothes and took a bath in water with a glug of tea tree oil to prevent insect bites. I listen for the noisy approach of mixed flocks of Carolina Chickadees and Tufted Titmice because the warblers travel with them while in the area.
This time, the flock came from the woods across the creek and didn't notice me next to the Horse Weed, which they love.
9-22-09, male Magnolia Warbler
1st fall male Magnolia Warbler
9-22-09, TN Warbler
male TN Warbler
The flock of warblers moved on and I looked up
9-22-09, juvenile Eastern Phoebe, 1:28 p.m.
Further down the creek I noticed bird movements in the branches
9-22-09, juvenile Red-eyed Vireo, 1:55 p.m.
|Friday, August 21st, 2009|
|Migrating birds, critters, past 3 wks
When fall migration started, we decided to drop by Minor Clark Fish Hatchery, near Cave Run Lake, once a week to check out the fish breeding pools
7-26-09, 9:54 a.m.
The Giant Canada Geese goslings were almost adults by then
7-26-09, 10:09 a.m.
I saw a white tern flitting over the four largest breeding ponds and while walking that way encountered a large crawdad in the road
Bingo! Our first migrant..a Forster's Tern! Last saw these guys on the Florida beaches this past New Year's weekend.
A dive-bombing Barn Swallow did its best to discourage the tern
but it wasn't enough to prevent the tern helping itself to some refreshment, courtesy of the hatchery
Other creatures besides birds take advantage of the fish hatchery habitat
7-26-09, Licking River lagoon, Midland Painted Turtle
7-26-09, Licking River Lagoon, used for Muskellunge fish breeding
A wild turkey hen vanished into the brush on the bank
When hiking around a large property always helpful to have a spouse willing to double as camera assistant/equipment sherpa. Though not a birder, he has better eyesight than I have (former airline pilot) and often spots migrating species for me.
I made his camo outfit out of material left over from making my own
7-26-09, fish hatchery lagoon, juvenile Eastern Wood Peewee
Two juvenile Broad-winged Hawks kept evading me, so we used the car as a blind to even get this close
7-26-09, empty fish breeding pond, migrating Least Sandpiper, 12:40 p.m. Not as close as the pics I got during spring migration
Juvenile Great Blue Heron
The same evening I saw a hapless Song Sparrow feeding a giant Cowbird chick
7-26-09, Tulip Poplar by deck, 5:15 p.m.
7-26-09, our farm, juvenile male White-breasted Nuthatch, not yet able to grasp wire firmly
Another favorite birding spot is the 1400 acre Poppy Mnt property where we go almost daily to swim. A mixed herd of mules, donkeys, ponies, and horses wanders the back 500 acre section.
8-14-09, Poppy Mnt top, horse herd, 7:39 p.m. Red Poppy Mnt barn seen on distant hill
7-28-09, Poppy Mnt, stair-step horses in a row, drinking from "pay lake." 4:20 p.m.
We often see deer as well
7-30-09, Poppy Mnt pay lake, fledgling Green Herons, 4:29 p.m. I previously posted photos of them, and they left the Willow tree a few days after this photo
A quick drive-around at the fish hatchery one evening netted us a serendipity
8-1-09, Minor Clark Fish Hatchery, adult Bald Eagle, 5:10 p.m.
8-1-09, Minor Clark Fish Hatchery, Spotted Sandpiper, 5:27 p.m.
Our pond cam was still picking up the Wood Ducks at that time (they're gone now)
8-5-09, Cuddeback game cam, male and female juvenile Wood Ducks and mother, 3:20 p.m.
8-5-09, male and female juvenile Wood Ducks, 3:22 p.m.
On another fish hatchery trip we drive slowly past emptied fish breeding pools to see if any migrating shore birds were feeding in the muck
8-16-09, Lesser Yellowlegs, 9:16 a.m.
8-16-09, juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper, 9:27 a.m.
8-16-09, Least Sandpiper, 9:31 a.m.
8-16-09, juvenile Sanderlings, 9:37 p.m.
Juvenile Least Sandpiper, 9:40 a.m.
8-16-09, another view of Licking River lagoon used for Muskellunge fish breeding, 10:09 a.m.
Another distant shot of the juvenile Broad-winged Hawk, 10:12 a.m.
Migrating Great Egret, landing , 10:22 a.m.
8-16-09, Minor Clark Fish Hatchery, juvenile Osprey working the fish pools
The next evening we went swimming on Poppy Mnt and on the way back I noticed a
8-17-09, flock of turkey hens, poults, crossing road far ahead of us
8-17-09, Poppy Mnt, Dad Barn Swallow feeding son, 7:28 p.m.
The past few nights coming back from swimming we encountered what appear to be yearling twin deer. They ignore the car or approach, curious about the camera shutter sounds. The little doe will then spook, buck and run like crazy in a circle, then return to her brother(?). Once he even lay down near the car and she came and stood by him.
It's been too dark for the Canon 40D to get a clear photo, however. Time for a Canon EOS 50D, or at least to replace the broken flash extender
8-18-09, Poppy Mnt hayfield, yearling spike buck, 8:19 p.m.
Despite seeing migrating shore birds at the fish hatchery, we've yet to see any migrating birds locally and most of the locals have left. When we're swimming on Poppy Mnt the surrounding woods are eerily silent..no fledgling cries, or wailing Red-tailed Hawks. Of course the hay fields are full of Goldfinches and Barn Swallows, but song birds have mostly disappeared.
|Monday, August 17th, 2009|
|Possible jaguar calls, coughs outside tent
I've been googling jaguars since this January 25th when I saw 4 1/4" wide by 4" long tracks with a 36" stride in the snow near our pond. I bought a game cam but in Feb, tracks came up to the edge of the cam triggering point
2-25-09, Picazo Farm pond, possible jaguar tracks, showing 27 1/2" stride
then went around the pond where I found a large fur-wrapped scat surrounded by huge tracks in the grass,
2-25-09, Picazo Farm pond, possible jaguar scat, showing 5 inch length
and deep scratches on a dead tree a few yards away,
3-4-09, Picazo Farm pond, scratched tree, four scratch grooves 4 inches wide. Rank, skunky odor in bushes in front of tree
I began finding territorial scrapes in the trail,
3-2-09, Picazo Farm logging road, suspected jaguar scrape
and no matter when I went up on the logging road on top of the hill, I'd find fresh tracks in the mud.
2-27-09, Near end of Picazo Farm logging road, suspected jaguar tracks
2-28-09, near end of Picazo Farm logging road, suspected jaguar fresh track, lengthened second toe indicating a right front foot
I even found the huge, round tracks behind our horse shed. At that same time the dogs began going crazy every night, so we bought a 20 million candle SportSpot spotlight.
But about then, the tracks stopped appearing and dogs became quiet at night so I assumed it was off to inspect the rest of its 2-150 square mile territory, since it was almost mature.
I found no record of any man-eating jaguars; in fact jaguars routinely use the same trails as people, only attacking livestock when jungles are burned and nothing else is available.
When we heard all those weird sounds on Aug 8th, I googled audio clips but the only one that matched sounds we heard was the last half of the National Geographic audio clip I already posted-that of a wild jaguar patrolling its territory. The zoo clips didn't match.
We began taking a recorder out to the tent with us every night but heard nothing. But this Saturday night, soon after we got to the tent at 11:15 p.m., I heard a slow, rumbling growl, or purr, like a motor idling very slowly. The sound seemed to vibrate my bones. I tried in vain to waken DuBois.
About 30 minutes later there was a booming, explosive cough that shook the tent, and even startled DuBois awake. I shoved him and hissed "Jaguar!!" so he scrambled to hit "record" but there was only one more cough, then silence. He promptly went back to sleep.
At 3 a.m. there was another rumbling growl, or purr, this time from the direction of our front yard. It was like a motor on idle, and tickled my bones.
I knew from all the jaguar websites I'd visited that they usually cough and grunt instead of roar, but I've not yet found a sound clip of a cough. My only hope is that the thing will finally walk in front one of the game cams I have around my pond.
When I first saw the tracks I emailed photos to everyone involved with big cats to ask for an ID, but nobody answered. I also called to see if any cattle had been killed in a suspicious manner, but none had been reported.
I told authorities about the jaguar in May, but by then I was feeling protective of "my" jaguar, and now I actually miss it when I don't see its tracks around.
Those territorial calls and scent markings might be intended for us, since we're the ones who encroach on "his" territory.