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Monday, January 30, 2017

A Long-eared Owl and a Merlin

It is always nice to run into a long -eared owl ! Such magnificent creatures which always seem to be buried in the thick evergreens . A merlin was also sighted not far from the owl which made my day .

Christmas is for the birds !

I usually find my way out to the woods on the day after Christmas to get some nice peaceful relaxation time away from all the holiday hustle and bustle. It really works wonders on the mind and soul ! Try it sometime I am sure you would go back home in a nice relaxed state of mind .

Tufted Titmouse 

northern cardinal

red winged blackbird 

black capped chickadee

red breasted nuthatch

Short -eared Owl

Catching some  short -eared owls is proving to be a challenge this year.Yes they are around in several counties of Western New York ,but finding them with some decent lighting is becoming a difficult task. Here are 2 that were spotted in Chautauqua County . They were out there a ways as daylight was turning to dusk .

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Horned Grebe 12/23/2016

Spotted a Horned Grebe down in Dunkirk harbor this past Friday. Since I am not an avid duck and waterfowl photographer I couldn't believe how different these grebes look in their non breeding plumage . That black and gold breeding coat you see in the spring makes for a totally different look of the  black/white winter coat . About the only thing that stays the same is that intensely red eye .

horned grebe  non breeding  12/23/16

horned grebe breeding plumage  april 2014

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Barred Owl

It was nice running into this old friend yet again. By this I mean it has been 3 straight years a pair of Barred Owls use this exact same winter roosting spot and that is only 3years that I know of . I have yet to see its mate but it is so nice to know that at least this one is looking healthy and has the skills needed to survive year after year. 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Nuthatches of Western NY

     A small passerine bird belonging to the family Sittidae the nuthatch has a large head ,short tail, and a powerful bill. Here in Western NY the white-breasted  nuthatch is the most common of about 4 species across the country.There nasal honking call is unmistakeable foraging about  with the chickadees , titmice  and other woodland birds . This species is a cavity nester and is frequently seen foraging tree bark for insects . The white breasted nuthatch is the largest of this species .
     The second most common nuthatch here is the red breasted . although seen sporadically here all year long I usually see decent numbers of these birds in a southerly irruption year. My favorite of the two, the red breasted is smaller and more colorful looking with a very noticeable black eye line. Their behavior is pretty much like the white breasted on steroids..... way more energetic and a bit tougher to get a nice image of . There seem to be decent numbers heading  down here for this winter and have seen way more than in the past few years . 

red breasted nuthatch

red breasted nuthatch

red breasted nuthatch

white breasted nuthatch

white breasted nuthatch

Saturday, December 10, 2016

A young Red-tailed Hawk

It has been fun stumbling into this young Red-tailed hawk for several weeks now in Reinstein Woods and Losson Park. As with many young raptors it is really approachable and inquisitive . Having a youngster around like this offers a great insight  on their behavior . You get to see their victories and defeats of survival in the natural world . Life is no picnic and the mortality rate of first year birds is normally pretty high so I hope this one can make it  as I have become a little attached to it .