Sunday, July 25, 2010

Birds Here and There

A few bird pics from Thursday and today. On my way to doing errands on Thursday I took a brief detour to the Cliff Walk in hopes of surf (nope!) but did find some interesting Sandpipers on Belmont Beach at the end of Marine Ave. There were a couple of Spotted Sandpipers that I never got a good shot of, but this little Least Sandpiper came out very well indeed.

Today was the biweekly Sunday bird walk, and today we went down to Third Beach and then over to Sachuest Point. There were Goldfinches everywhere; this is peak season for them because all their favorite flowers are going to seed now. This little male American Goldfinch was in the parking lot at Third Beach, first in a big puddle drinking and bathing (we had a real dumper of a storm come through last evening), then up to some Chicory gone to seed, and then back to the puddle again. I seem to have irritated him; in both of the photos below he seems to be giving me that "Do you mind?" look. [Note: Click to enlarge.]

There was also a Short-billed Dowitcher hanging out with a crowd of Peeps (mostly Semi-Palmated Plovers and Least Sandpipers), but it was in direct, bright sunlight and wasn't photographing well. My buddy Bob was on the other side of it getting pictures which probably turned out, but by the time I got to where he was the birds had all decided to move elsewhere and flew off in a cloud.

After that we went over to the Sachuest Point National Wildlife refuge. Now, it's been a hot and humid week here. Yesterday was horrible, with heat in the upper 80s F (31º - 32º C) with relative humidity up in the 90 percentile range, and not a breath of a breeze. Today was starting to turn out the same (at 7:00 AM it was 77º F/25º C with 89% relative humidity) , but lo and behold, when we were out at Sachuest Point (which has absolutely no shade at all) a thin scrim of cloud covered the sun and a nice (and considerably less humid) breeze picked up, so our jaunt on the north loop trail turned out to be pleasant. Lots of Goldfinches, Mockingbirds, Catbirds, and Song Sparrows, and the offshore rocks were full of cormorants and two immature Eider ducks. But the best shot of the day happened as we pulled into the parking lot at the Visitor's Center - there on the peak of the roof, right over the main entrance, was this Red-tailed Hawk welcoming all comers, as if to say: "Hi there! I'm a wild bird, and if you want to see more wild birds all you have to do is look around and walk the trails. Enjoy your stay and come back often!" Needless to say Bob and I were snapping away!

Nothing from Ballard Park and Gooseneck Cove today. I bumped into some friends on Hazard Rd. at the Cove and we spent most of the time watching the antics of the Blue Crabs at the culvert - there was one small one doing some kind of major excavation and all the others were coming over to bug him about it, and then a big 'un came over and scared everybody off. There were some Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets flying over but not landing, and an immature Black-crowned Night Heron flew over and perched in a tree across the way from us, but it was out of camera range. Oh well, maybe later in the week...

© 2010 by A. Roy Hilbinger


  1. Nice captures, Roy! how are you doing?

  2. You folks in new England sure have had a torrid summer! My special favorites are the red-tail hawk & the goldfinch in the puddle.

  3. The Goldfinch seems to mimic Posh Spice's expression when caught unawares!

  4. Haha...loved the looks the goldfinches are giving you! I love the goldfinch in the water with his shimmery little reflection. Sweet little sandpiper too.