Saturday, May 18, 2019


Or more specifically, the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum.

We had planned to visit Mother's Day morning, meeting our friends Rachel and Adam (last see in this post). Alas, it was a very rainy day so we rescheduled for this past Wednesday evening.

You can see Adam's excellent images of the event here, A Good Walk Spoiled (go look!). I think the title refers to his new found interest in bird photography. Because while Patty and Rachel made it all the way around the main trail, Adam and I, stopping to photograph every bird we saw, didn't make it a quarter of the way.

Adam also has a photography exhibit at the Headhouse Cafe in Philadelphia. Go, enjoy some delicious sushi, and buy a print!

Patty, who subscribes to every bird alert service in the area, arrived first and texted me that a Sora was being seen at the boardwalk. Thus when I arrived she sent me off to find it while she waited for Adam and Rachel.

So off I went. It took awhile, but eventually I spotted it.

See it there in the reeds? Yep, that's how one usually sees them. They are a bit secretive. But sometimes ...

... they come out into the open ...

... and even come close.

While on the boardwalk I also saw some Barn Swallows.

And Painted Turtles, which pretty much all over the place.

And a pair of Mute Swans.

But the bird that stole the show was ...

... this fishing Osprey.

Hovering and flying seemingly for our enjoyment.

Continuing on we saw a number of good birds, including this Baltimore Oriole, upon which spotting Adam cried out, "Look at that colorful one!".

There were multiple Yellow Warblers along the trail.

And a lone Cedar Waxwing. Odd, as they are usually found in groups.

Further out we spotted a Great Egret.

And a female Wood Duck.

Multiple people told us that there were Wood Duck chicks, very small perhaps only days old. But the only chicks we saw were these muddy Mallards.

It was a very nice way to spend an evening. Although it did rain briefly on our way back to our cars.

The One That Got Away

I mentioned the Osprey that put on a show for us in the "Tinicum" post.

It took awhile, and a lot of images ...

... but it finally dove for the catch ...

... which I missed. But I did get the subsequent take off.

It seemed to be doing ok.

But it wasn't gaining altitude.

In fact, it seemed to be losing it.

And then, it lost the fish.

Maybe better luck next time.

Bad Bird Photo of the Week

Here is another image of one of the Yellow Warblers we saw at Tinicum.

It's the dark blob just to the right of the Cedar Waxwing that photobombed my shot.

Damn autofocus.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Frog and Toad

Are in my yard. Make that frogs and toads.

It's that time of year when amphibians, and lots of other critters, are looking for a little action. And they can make quite a racket calling away in the night, looking for the special lady (or any lady really).

Click here to hear.

We've had nine different species in the yard, and I've pictures of six, shown below.

Bull Frog

Fowler's Toad

Green Frog

Wood Frog

Northern Gray Tree Frog

Northern Spring Peeper

I'm still after images of the Southern Leopard Frog, Carpenter Frog, and the New Jersey Chorus frog. I've seen the first and heard all three.

🐸  🐸  🐸  🐸  🐸

And then there's this one, found in the yard a couple of weeks ago.

Unknown, ID Requested
Sadly, it appears injured, missing its left foot. I'm surprised it has survived this long. I found it in a flower pot. I've no idea as to the species. Nor how it got here for that matter.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Weekend Wanderings ... Birds Then Plants

Patty's birding buddy Terry is doing a Burlington County Big Year. So on the Big Day Weekend Terry signed up to help with the Ocean County Big Day efforts (wait, what?). And she asked Patty to help. So very early Saturday morning I was up and headed, along with Patty, (but not Terry?) to Cedar Bonnet Island.

Which is the island one crosses prior to arriving on Barnegat Island.

And is part of the Edwin B. Forsythe NWR, an area of the refuge which just recently opened to the public.

It is a small segment of the refuge, the trail throughout being but 1.4 miles total.

It is pretty though. And will be even nicer once the habit restoration efforts pay off.

The bird of the day was this Bobolink. It had been previously reported and we were on the look out for it. Patty spotted it as we were heading back. As it is a grassland bird thus we are not sure what it was doing here as this was clearly not grassland habitat. But it was and we saw it.

🚶‍♀️ 🚶‍♂️ 🚶‍♀️ 🚶‍♂️ 🚶‍♀️

Next up was a park Patty had scoped out, Cloverdale Farms County Park.

We were again on the lookout for birds and while we were still in Ocean county someone else was responsible for this site for the big day count. So no pressure.

We found evidence of birds. But not as many of our feathered friends as Patty was hoping.

It too was a pretty place.

And after another nice 1.4 mile stroll we were back at the car.

🚶‍♀️ 🚶‍♂️ 🚶‍♀️ 🚶‍♂️ 🚶‍♀️

After a quick lunch we headed south to our next destination.

Amasa Landing Road, a birding "hotspot" where Burlington County (almost) meets the ocean. Supposedly a spot to see shorebirds in Burlington County, we did not see any. Nor was it clear where one would. We did have nice looks at Marsh Wren though.

🚶‍♀️ 🚶‍♂️ 🚶‍♀️ 🚶‍♂️ 🚶‍♀️

And then it was off to buy some plants.

Clemenson Farms is a native plant nursery in south Jersey. Mostly wholesale, every year they have retail days for the general public. This however will be changing as the owners are retiring and the farm is for sale. So we stocked up on deer food.

After that we headed home, with one last stop at Bagliani's Market for some yummy homemade sausage. A very nice day.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

It's Drippy

And the birds have nowhere to hide.

These Mourning Doves must be just miserable.

That cannot be pleasant.

This Broad-winged Hawk was shaking it in a tree in the front yard.

Patty wondered where it left its umbrella.

At least it didn't seem as bad off as the doves.

This Red-bellied Woodpecker just sat on the branch in the rain. You'd think it would have  hole in a tree somewhere to wait out the storm. Maybe it needed a shower?

It is raining again today. And while some of the birds look water logged, the doves seem to have recovered. It's been a very wet couple of weeks.

🌧  ☔️  🌧  ☔️  🌧

Thanks to Linda Widdop and Sandra Keller for confirming 
my Broad-winged Hawk ID.

Infinitini 'Orchid'

Perhaps one of my plant geek friends can help me out here ...

... but I don't think this is one of our native orchids.

Where by "native orchids" I mean "not an orchid native to this universe", as I'm not sure in what universe this would be considered an orchid.