Remember this dapper Green Sandpiper we saw from the Grauwe Gans blind? Well, it took him/her some work to look that good. I snapped some shots of the bird having a good preen.
Category Archives: Bird Photography Weekly
Ah, one of my favorite birds of the Netherlands is the Pied Avocet. We saw a few in mid-August during a visit to the Oostvaardersplassen.
On August 15th Arthur and I visited one of our favorite birding spots, Vogelplas Starrevaart. We spent some time watching birds from the blind. This Great Crested Grebe having a nap on the water was one of the birds we saw.
One of the best place to watch birds in the Netherlands is the Oostvaardersplassen. Arthur and I spent some time there this weekend – our first visit in about two years. This juvenile Tufted Duck caught my attention – s/he was busy hunting and feeding for at least a half hour.
Yesterday, Arthur and I visited Raven Glen FP. Part of the loop trail overlooks Timber Lake. We saw several Barn Swallows, both adults and juveniles, flying about one of the fishing piers on the lake. As we approached, all of the birds flushed, except for these cute babies.
I had fun watching the Red-winged Blackbirds on a spring visit to the Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary.
Our primary focus during our time at Montrose was spent looking for migrating warblers between the leaves of the Magic Hedge, but the Red-wingeds were hard to ignore. Especially when they do this:
The males put on such a show, while the females seem much more polite.
When I was a kid, my dad built a pair of impressive birdhouse complexes intended for Purple Martins. One was a long ‘rowhouse’ style, while the other was a wonderful jumble of boxes three stories high with entrances all around. They were placed high up in the back of our yard and I remember every year before spring they would have to be cleaned. And I remember my dad hopefully wishing for Purple Martins every year, but only attracting House Sparrows. Because he had a hard time attracting PUMAs to the birdhouses, I somehow got the idea that it was hard to find them at all in our area. Years passed and I forgot about the birdhouses. I moved away and became interested in birds on a different continent, and when I returned to the area where I grew up I was delighted to finally understand that Purple Martins actually aren’t too hard to find around here. In fact, there is a busy little colony using a series of houses down the road from my parents at the Chicago Botanic Garden, where these photos were taken.
(Knowing just a little bit more about martins now, I think my parent’s back yard isn’t the ideal habitat for PUMAs. Just don’t tell my dad!) To learn more about Purple Martins, visit the Purple Martin Conservation Association. By the way, the title of this post refers to a collective noun used for groups of martins. Others include circlage, gulp, and colony.
Before heading home after the Illinois Audubon Spring Gathering in Nauvoo, we headed down to Hamilton to check out a Bank Swallow colony we learned about during lunch. The birds were congregated at a sand and gravel company lot, nesting in a large mound of sand. The activity was amazing and they were a lot of fun to watch. Thanks to Sonny for the tip – these were life birds for us!
Last week while visiting my parents, Arthur and I stopped at Prairie Wolf Slough. There we had our best looks ever at a pair of Wood Ducks. They spent time preening and then settling down for a nap. Usually when we spot Wood Ducks, they are either far off or extremely wary of us and fly away. It was a real treat to observe this beautiful pair. There are several Wood Duck boxes at the slough; I hope we will get to see these birds again, maybe once with ducklings!