Red-headed Woodpecker–Bird of the Day!

Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-headed Woodpeckers are fairly rare in our area, so it’s a treat to catch a sighting of their bold white patches on black wings, bright red head, and stark white belly. They nest in the excavated holes of dead trees and they require an under-story that is clear. Cornell’s website, All About Birds, says that it is sometimes called the “Flying Checkerboard” because of its dramatic coloring. This year, my birding friends and I found three nesting pairs within a few miles of each other! Red-headed Woodpeckers often have two broods […]

Bird of the Day: American Redstart building a nest

American Redstart

    During the Acadia Birding Festival, I took a morning off to meander by myself along the shore and the road near our hotel. Some movement caught my eye low in the brushy area beside the road. A female American Redstart was busy stripping the long fibers of a dead branch in the thicket.     She had to work plenty hard in order to pull off this long fiber!     To my delight, I could see her fly immediately to her little cup-like nest that she was […]

Bird of the Day: Green Heron

Green heron

After getting so many interesting and beautiful photos, that I can’t seem to keep up with my blog, I’ve decided to do some of my posts as “Bird of the Day” with very little commentary. Hope you enjoy the pictures, and hopefully more frequent posts! These photos of the Green Heron were from the kayak at Rose Valley Lake in PA this morning. Getting hungry! Oh, there’s a little fishy! Darn!! Missed again! That makes me SO MAD!! Come on, shake it off!! You can do this! OK, let’s try […]

Razorbills and Common Murres: Birding Machias Seal Island


Razorbills and Common Murres were among the penguin-like birds that were observed on our trip to Machias Seal Island, along with the Atlantic Puffin. All of these species are Alcids. Razorbills and Murres look very similar with their black and white coloring, but the Razorbills have a very thick, blunt bill with a white line going back towards the front of the eye. They spend their lives at sea, coming to rocky coasts and cliffs only to nest. They are great divers, able to dive up to 120 meters, dining […]

Atlantic Puffins on Machias Seal Island

Atlantic Puffin

Seeing Atlantic Puffins was the principle reason for wanting to go birding in Maine this Spring. Getting there by boat can be iffy, depending on the fog and the wind. When the seas are too rough to land on Machias Seal Island, one of three islands where Puffins nest, they can at least be observed from a rocking boat. My friends and I were on a Road Scholar trip called “Chickadees, Grouse, Puffins and More: A Birder’s Dream in Down East Maine.” Of course we hoped for getting our bins […]

Warblers! Parade through the Puddles

Yellow Warbler

Early to mid-May is a warbler frenzy, both for the warblers migrating through the area and for the photographer who wants to catch these little jewels on camera. So what do you do when you are at Presque Isle for less than 24 hours, the light is horrible, the leaves are out, and it’s threatening to rain? The first day yielded few visible warblers, so I went to my secret spot which had a couple of inviting mud puddles, sat down at the edge of the trail at a respectful […]

Harlequin Ducks at Barnegat Lighthouse, New Jersey

Harlequin Duck

Harlequin Ducks are a feast for the eyes with all those stripes, spots, and exotic coloring going on! If you really want to see them though, it may require a trip in winter  to Barnegat Lighthouse, New Jersey, and a treacherous walk along the giant rocks that make up the almost mile-long jetty. This year and last, however, the ducks were still hanging out there in late March and early April, so even though there was a blustery cold wind off the ocean, at least there was no ice to contend […]

Baltimore Orioles come to oranges–sometimes!

Baltimore Oriole

For years, I have attempted to attract Baltimore Orioles to oranges during migration. I would see them in the yard, but they turned up their noses, er, beaks, at the expensive gift that I put out for them. Finally, last year, not one, but several came to sample the small Clementines that I put out on the deck for them! I figured using Clementines would be a cheaper way to go, rather than using up an orange at a dollar a piece. I sliced off the very top of the […]

Common Loon

Common Loon

In their breeding plumage, Common loons are the elegant black and white tuxedo-clad birds of the northern lakes and the oceans. They sport a dagger-like bill and a red eye, white stripes on the neck and spots on the back, making for a handsome sight.  Their tremulo calls and yodels have been called “the laugh of the deeply insane,” as it is eerily unique and seldom forgotten. While watching this handsome loon at the lake at Montour Preserve, I witnessed an immature Bald Eagle harassing him, diving low over the […]

Crazy Geese! The Sky is Falling!

Canada Goose

While watching Canada Geese come into a private pond, I couldn’t believe my eyes! They assumed all kinds of crazy positions, even upside down, and fell to the water helter-skelter. I’m not sure why the geese did this, but perhaps it’s a way to slow themselves down and put them over the water for a gentle landing. Anyway, it was great fun to watch!