About Us....... 2
Johnna.......... 3
Paul............... 5
Lexie.............. 9
Fred.............. 10
Brewery......... 12
Our House..... 17
Travel............. 21


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Design and Editorial:
Johnna Armstrong
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Chief Inspector:


7/4/2012, 8:30 AM Brown Thrasher Toxostoma Rufum ? 2
Location: Pile of branches in back yard waiting for mulching
Comments: I've been seeing these birds skulking around the stick pile for the last couple of days. I imagine it's a good source of insets. Not as rufus as my guidebook says they should be, but the Cornell site has a photo, which matches exactly.
5/10/2009, 8:30 AM Baltimore Oriole Icterus Galbula male 1
Location: Sycamore tree closest to front porch
Comments: I have never seen Baltimore Orioles in our yard before, I wonder if a pair have set up housekeeping here? Also saw a male at the back of the house a little later.
4/25/2009, 3:30 PM Orchard Orioles Icterus Spurius both several
Location: On the meadow
Comments: I generally hear the song of these birds before I see them, they've been coming back regularly every year for as long as I have been able to recognize them. They have a couple of trees on the meadow and one or two on the other side of the road that they seem to like and they congregate there. For me, the hummingbirds and the orioles are the real heralds of spring.
4/25/2009, 9:30 AM Ruby Throated Hummingbird Archilochus colubris ? 1
Location: At the feeder on my porch
Comments: I put the hummingbird feeder out last weekend. This morning, I saw the feeder was low, and the first hummingbird of the year flew up to it, disdained the food and flew away. I immediately made up a new batch and since then, the hummingbirds have been showing up regularly.
4/24/2009, 7:30 AM Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus ? 1
Location: Flying over the meadow
Comments: Lexie and I were on our morning walk and I looked up to see an eagle flying over the meadow, headed in the direction of NCTC.
3/15/2009, 3:30 PM Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus ? 1
Location: Flying over the meadow
Comments: Dianne and I just happened to be talking about having seen a bald eagle the weekend before, and we looked up and there was the bald eagle. Believe it to be one of the pair at NCTC, I hear they have 3 eggs on the nest.
3/7/2009, 4:30 PM Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus ? 1
Location: Flying over the meadow
Comments: We were doing a cemetery walk-through with a preservation expert from Harper's Ferry and I happened to look up and it was flying right by us.
4/18/2008, 8:30 AM Ruby Throated Hummingbird Archilochus colubris ? 1
Location: Front porch near the feeder
Comments: Wow, I just put the feeder out yesterday, because I was thinking about the meteorologists saying that spring is coming 8 hours earlier each year in the wake of global warming. And I heard the familiar hum and chirp this morning of the first hummingbird of the season. The sun was in my eyes, didn't get a good look and he or she didn't stop to check out the feeder. They are always a little shy at the beginning of the season. I look forward to when they get a little braver and don't mind Lexie and me hanging out on the porch while they feed.
4/16/2008, 2:30 PM Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus ? 1
Location: Flying over the meadow
Comments: I heard the ruckus before I saw it - it was two crows chasing a bald eagle, wow! Clearly a mature eagle, with white taile and head. It flew on effortlessly, the crows cawing behind it all the way.
4/11/2008, 7:30 AM Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor ? 2
Location: On the wires above the meadow
Comments: Jean Neely told me a week or so ago that the swallows were late this year, that she had seen them in Harpers Ferry, but not here. So I was pleased to see the first two arrive. (I'm not positive of the type of swallow, this type is the closest to what I saw.)
5/01/2007, 7:30 PM Baltimore Oriole Icterus Galbula M 4
Location: On the meadow
Comments: I was walking Lexie on the meadow this morning and it's the first I have noticed that the Orioles are back. They, the swallows and goldfinches have the monopoly on the meadow right now. I also saw a beaver on the river this morning, down by the boat put-in. I have to assume he is busy harvesting the tree that split in half and fell into the river a couple of weeks ago.
4/28/2007, 2:30 PM Ruby Throated Hummingbird Archilochus colubris M 1
Location: On the front porch at the hummingbird feeder
Comments: I've had the feeder up since last Saturday and was wondering when the first hummingbird would arrive. Today was the first I have seen them, although it's been busy around here, so I could have missed the first one's arrival.
2/25/2007, 12:30 PM Dark-Eyed Junco Junco hyemalis M 3
Location: On the front porch under the feeder
Comments: It's been snowing since early morning, and what was forecast to be less than an inch is turning out to be more like half a foot and still coming. I put food out for the birds this morning and they seem happy about having a covered spot to congregate and eat. I have noticed the Juncos before, but had never had the opportunity of watching them for long enough to identify them. One more for the backyard list.
2/22/2007, 7:30 AM Common Merganser Mergus Merganser MF many
Location: On the river near the boatramp
Comments: My usual routine is to walk with my dog Lexie along the Potomac River first thing every morning. Lately, the sun is coming up earlier and I no longer have to walk in the darkness. The weather has been warmer and I enjoy these walks so much that I am loathe to go back inside much less think about going to work. Today, I sat on a bench near the river, drinking coffee and watching the sun crest the mountain across the river while my dog and her friend Loki chased each other on the bank. A flock of geese floated with their heads upstream (was it coincidental that they were also facing the sun?) in front of me on the water, making a lot of noise with their calls to each other. Watching them, and watching the dogs to make sure they didn't get any ideas about chasing the geese, I saw three mergansers, two male and one female, swim out from the bank directly in front of me. They must have spent the night on the shore and were now heading right into the middle of the flock of geese. A peaceful negotiation of space ensued and the mergansers swam out further into the middle of the river. I was just thinking how wonderful it was that the mergansers came out so close to me, close enough for me to see without binoculars, which I of course had left at home, when four more mergansers came swimming down from somewhere up river. Another little group appeared from the other side. They eventually all congregated in the middle of the river for an early morning meeting. I hadn't even realized we had resident mergansers. I see them rarely, and when I do, it is hard to positively identify them without binoculars. The womenfolk, who look so interesting and colorful up close, blend into the water when viewed from afar. The first mergansers I ever saw were swimming on the sea in Nova Scotia, and only recently did I learn that they prefer freshwater to seawater.
12/28/2006, 3:15 PM Common Merganser Mergus Merganser MF 2
Location: On the river by the boat ramp
Comments: Lexie and Loki scared this pair and they took to the water. I think that in the past when I have seen ducks I couldn't identify, they were mergansers. The dark head of the male is easy to see, but the brown of the female was tougher to see from a distance.
12/28/2006, 3:15 PM Great Blue Heron Ardea Herodias ? 1
Location: On the river by the boat ramp
Comments: Right after the ducks were startled to the water, the dogs went down for a second time in the water, this time near the bench and scared up a great blue heron. He was quite vocal about his ire at being disturbed.
12/26/2006, 10:21 AM Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis M 1
Location: In the tulip tree in the back yard, nearest the fence
Comments: There are quite a few birds in the backyard this morning, among them a bluebird. (Also a male and female cardinal, several chickadees, a white-breasted nuthatch, a titmouse and a bluejay.) It rained all day yesterday and it's cloudy but dry today, maybe that's why. It has not tried to access the feeder here at the window, it has stayed in the trees.
12/26/2006, 10:35 AM Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Sphyrapicus varius M 1
Location: In the small maple tree in the south side yard
Comments: I heard a commotion on the side of the house, sounded like a lot of woodpeckers trying to bring it down. I looked out the guest room window and saw a yellow-bellied sapsucker and a northern flicker together at the maple tree. Two new birds for the backyard list!
12/26/2006, 10:35 AM Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus M 1
Location: In the small maple tree in the south side yard
Comments: After I looked up the Northern Flicker in my Sibley, I was disappointed that I had not thought to check if the one I saw was male or female, but then it helpfully flew into the back yard, where I could see it definitely had a moustache and a lovely yellow underbody.
5/29/2006, 8:40 AM Gray Catbird Dumetella carolinensis ? 1
Location: Tulip tree on the north side of the house
Comments: This catbird had a really annoying call, not like a cat. But then it turned to doing pretty singing
5/27/2006, 1:40 PM Hawk ? ? 2
Location: Front yard
Comments: There were a pair of hawks and they scared the heck out of me when they barreled into the front yard, flying low under the sycamores, only about 5 feet off the ground. One then flew to the woods north of the house and the other flew into the woods behind the house, but they both eventually met together in another tree in the north woods. Ilona thinks that perhaps a hunting lesson was going on, or perhaps young birds were hunting together. She suggested I look for a nest nearby, but I didn't see one. I'm not sure they were red-tailed hawks.
5/12/2006, 7:25 AM Indigo Bunting Passerina Cyanea M 2
Location: on the meadow by the river
Comments: Just as we came onto the meadow, I heard the geese and so knew to keep Lexie out of the water at this end of the river. I don't know how large the babies are yet, so we're trying to keep Lexie away from the water until they are old enough to fly or swim away. As I stopped to listen to them, I saw a very bright blue bird perched on the stalk of a weed from last year. He stayed quite close to me, and sang a lovely song. He had a yellowish beak (bright), was all blue except for black point, especially on the tail and wings. On the way back up the road, I saw another, or perhaps the same one, flying in the trees on the other side of the road.
5/12/2006, 8:15 AM Hummingbird Archilocus Colubris F? 1 or 2
Location: at the hummingbird feeder, in the sycamores
Comments: First hummingbird siting of the year! I sat out on the porch with Lexie this morning; I love the sycamores dripping with last night's rain in the misty air. I've been wondering where the hummingbirds are, don't know if I just haven't been around in the morning, or if they are late this year. I saw one this morning, it flew to the weather stick instead of the feeder, hovered for a moment, then flew away. A minute or so later, I saw a small bird out of the corner of my eye in the syamore. I have never spotted a hummingbird before without having first seen it at the feeder. (I have mistaken large bees for hummingbirds out of the corner of my eye, though...) This one seemed to be looking for food, whether bugs or nectar, I don't know. It seems like the tulip trees would be a better bet for nectar. It flew down to the corner of the house and hovered there, then flew off into the back yard. She seemed young to me, perhaps inexperienced. However, it could just be that the food in the feeder was old, I forgot to change it last weekend.
5/12/2006, 8:15 AM Great Blue Heron Ardea Herodias ? 1
Location: Flying over the house toward the river
Comments: I have never seen one flying over the house before, they are almost always near the river. I was glad to see this one so that I can add it to my backyard list.
4/28/2006, 8:15 AM Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata U 2
Location: In the sycamore tree in the front yard, closest to the oak room
Comments: This is the first time I have seen the blue jays this year, I don't know if they have recently come back, or recently discovered the yummy sunflower seeds I've been putting in the feeder.
4/18/2006, 1:35 PM Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos U 1
Location: Rabbit Valley, Colorado
Comments: As we came around a corner of a canyon on the McDonald Trail, a very large bird that looked buteo-ish and dark with golden highlights flew out of a tree in front of us across the canyon to another tree. We watched it for quite a while with the binoculars. It appeared to me to have white pantaloons on, but it was far away and it may just have been the white markings of a juvenile. It's the first we have ever seen, so we were not sure.
4/18/2006, 2:45 PM Common Raven Corvus corax U 3
Location: Rabbit Valley, Colorado
Comments: Paul and I rented mountain bikes from a place in Fruita and took them out to Rabbit Valley where there is BLM land you can ride on. It was a blast, and although we somehow missed the petroglyphs that are supposed to be there, we did see a golden eagle in the canyon near the end of the McDonald trail, and on the way out, a nest of ravens on a ledge of a cliff. We heard them first, or rather, we heard a parent calling, them the more inexperienced call of little ones. I scanned the cliff and saw white quano splashed on the side of the canyon wall and knew that was where the nest was. With binoculars, we could just make out two chicks. They were very large, larger than I expected, and their mouths gaped open nearly 90 degrees. I thought they had a bit of yellow on their beaks. Not sure if these were really ravens, or possibly crows, I don't know enough to distinguish them. Still, it was really exciting to see them, and we cursed ourselves for leaving the scope at home. It seemed clear to us that the parent wanted to come back and feed the kids, but wouldn't because we were there. After trying unsuccessfully to hide behind some sage, we left again to let them feed.
4/14/2006, 11:13 PM Wild Turkey Meleagris gallopavo F 1
Location: Just outside Colorado National Monument
Comments: We drove from Liberty Gap Trail to Glade as we drove out of Colorado National Monument. A female turkey crossed the road in front of us.
4/14/2006, 12:45 PM Hawks and sparrows unknown ? 2
Location: Colorado National Monument, Colorado
Comments: We saw many sparrows flying over the valleys, as well as a pair of hawks right near the visitors center. I don't know what kind, they were very light underneath, about the size of red-tailed hawks.
4/6/2006, 10:00 AM Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura ? 2
Location: At the feeder in the front yard
Comments: I had never seen them there before.
3/4/2006, 11:15 AM American Goldfinch Carduelis tristis F 1
Location: Thistle feeder outside my office window
Comments: Finally! My first sighting of a goldfinch at the thistle feeder Paul put up outside my office window. I had a lot of trouble identifying it from my Sibley guide, the nonbreeding illustration did not correspond to what I was seeing. However, the Peterson's was pretty close. This bird looked quite thin to me, and she ate for about 10 minutes. No idea what normal is. I hope she'll be back and tell all her friends. I have seen very little action at this feeder, whereas the sunflower seed feeder in the front yard empties in about a week. This feeder is not in the sun, does this make a difference?
3/3/2006, 5:45 PM Wild Turkey Meleasgris Gallopavo B 12+
Location: On the meadow
Comments: Paul and I left work early yesterday, had a glass of wine and then took Lexie out for a walk on the meadow before it got dark. On the way back, a flock of turkeys left the trees where they were roosting in the woods just up from the Kings and flew across the meadow to the trees on the other side of the Potomac. They were silent as they flew, but they really attracted the attention of Lexie, and Loki, who was also with us. They flew fairly high, the last time I saw a flock, they flew right above the grassline, probably about 8 or 10 feet high. This time, they were more like 20 feet high.
2/4/2006, 9:00 AM Pileated Woodpecker Dryocopus Pileatus ? 1
Location: Our yard
Comments: I was sitting at the computer and saw movement out of the corner of my eye - it was a Pileated in the tulip tree right outside my window, first time I've seen one in the yard. For the first time, I could see one at close range, and it helpfully stayed on the near side of the tree so I could really see the pecking process. It's quite dextereous, very efficient, first pecking out a section of wood, then removing it with its beak. The other surprise is how different they look close up. They look like Italian friars, I don't know if I have the costume right, but the red cap looks like the red cap of priests from a long ago time. And they have a very nice stripe down the back of the neck, with mascara eyes. Up close, they look less prehistoric than I had first thought. While I have been typing, he has left the tulip tree in our yard and did a little swooping flight to the next tulip tree over in the Parker's woods. I understand from my Sibley that Pileateds love carpenter ants. I wonder if this is where our visitors from last year are coming? I was at first worried that our tulip tree was dying and that's why the pileated was there, but he was just pruning a broken off branch.
1/24/2006, 7:30 AM Common Merganser Mergus Merganser F 4
Location: On the river
Comments: It was very foggy, hard to clearly identify them, but they had the telltale feathers sticking out on their head and their heads were definitely brown.
1/22/2006, 12:00 PM Red Shouldered Hawk Buteo Lineatus ? 1
Location: Our yard
Comments: I first saw this guy perched in the large tulip tree in the Parker's yard. I was sitting at my desk and saw if fly away. I assumed it was a red-tailed hawk, so the only thing I noticed as it flew over the house was that the tail was wrong, it had dark bands rather than the reddish cast. I had the impression that the bottom of the bird was light, possibly with some brown or red. I looked in my Sibley but couldn't nail down what it was based on such small evidence. Then Lexie came in and I followed her out to the oak room, where I again saw the bird perched on the top of the the telephone pole across the road from us on the Lackey's property. It then flew south toward the singers. But in that time, I definitely saw the red shoulder and front and again saw the dark bands of the tail. I'm 99 percent sure it was a red-shouldered hawk.
1/21/2006, 12:00 PM Red Tailed Hawk Buteo Jamaicenus ? 1
Location: Flying over the woods between our house and the Adlers
Comments: As Alex and I were getting out of the car, I saw it flying over our woods. It flew off toward the Singers house across the road. A fleeting sighting, but I guess it counts for my backyard list!
1/6/2006, 7:30 AM American Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus M 1
Location: On the river's edge, next to a Sycamore tree
Comments: Paul and I saw a bald eagle this morning on our walk, about 7:30. It was dead, lying at the base of a sycamore tree, one wing tucked and the other extended. It's eyes were open. We thought at first that it had been washed downstream to it's spot, but it didn't look like it had been in the water, and looked quite fresh. It did not appear to have been shot. It had a white head, so it was an adult in at least its third year. Later, Paul took the NCTC folks out to retrieve it and they said it had a 6-foot wing span and they guessed from that that it was a male. Apparently, a female would have an 8-foot wing span. The NCTC photographer said that when eagles die of disease or old age, they often die in trees, then fall down below, and he thinks this is what happened in this case. (The NCTC guys emailed us later to let us know that the bird had been x-rayed and that they had found buckshot. They now think that's what killed it.)
12/21/2005, 1:30 PM Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis M 1
Location: In the tulip tree in the side yard, between the house and shed
Comments: I've been paying more attention to what's in the yard since I started my backyard list a couple of months ago. I realized that I have very few "common" birds in my list.
12/11/2005, 9:42 AM Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Black-capped Chickadee (possibly a Carolina Chickadee), Carolina Wren
Comments: There is a lot activity at the feeder this morning, with the usual suspects, Ned the annoying nuthatch, the cute tufted titmice, and what I think may be a Carolina Chickadee. It is quite small. I also saw a bird with yellow below its wings -- didn't get more of a look than that -- that might have been a vireo or flycatcher? Ned keeps knocking all the feed off with his long, thin beak, I confess to having tapped on the window to scare him away.
12/11/2005, 9:42 AM Northern Cardinal Cardinalis Cardinalis B 2
Location: In the cedar trees behind the house
Comments: The two cardinals landed on the roof above the feeder, I think they are trying to edge their way in.
12/8/2005, 4:36 PM Carolina Wren Thryothorus ludovicianus ? 1
Location: At the feeder outside my window, in the back yard
Comments: I haven't seen any birds at the feeder outside my office window for quite a while. And this is the first siting I've had of a Carolina Wren since Linda and Arkee gave me the stuffed one that sings. I think this is one more for the backyard list!
12/5/2005, 7:15-7:45 AM
Location: On the river, on the meado
Comments: The promise of snow yesterday did not result in the 2-4" that the weather people were predicting, but it transformed the world nonetheless. Lexie was hot to get out for a walk first thing and I was pretty happy to go out with her. First thing we saw were six swans (not seven, I think the song must be wrong.), which I thought must be trumpeter swans, because they had a lovely call, but which I now think were tundras. Two of the six were larger than the other four, I think it was a family group. When I first arrived, they were floating on the water and ducking their heads underneath. They also did a swan dance, flapping their wings and rising up out of the water. Then they did this funny thing: they bent their necks into a C shape and emitted a lovely noise, which made me think of a pipe organ. Maybe because they were all doing it randomly and so their necks looked like a cartoon version of a pipe organ. But it was a lovely call, not nasal at all, and the Sibley says the trumpeters have a nasal call. They flew off in a roughly V formation.
11/19/2005, 5:00 PM Red-Tailed Hawk Buteo Jamaicenus ? 1
Location: In John King's yard
Comments: I walked with Lexie up the King's driveway to return a book and saw the hawk leaving to go to another tree. On my way back down, it flew back into the King's front yard.
11/7/2005, 8:00 AM Wild Turkey Meleagris Gallopavo ? 8-12
Location: on the meadow

Paul and I were doing the standard early morning walk with Lexie along the meadow. Lexie scared up a whole flock of wild turkeys. They had been foraging on the meadow in the new mown grass and then all took off, flying over the taller, uncut weeds toward the trees at the end of the meadow by Lackey's. They appeared to have a hard time making it to the trees, they looked quite clumsy.

Right after that, we saw a pair of Canadian Geese, then a few of the white and black ducks that Anne and I have yet to identify. Their bodies are mostly white, with black on their heads. They are too small to see without glasses, and nothing in the Sibley book looks like a close match (and shows up in the area.)

On the walk back, Lexie and I were on the road and Lexie found a poor bird lying on her back, likely dying. Her beak was open and gasping for breath. Lexie sniffed but did not touch her, as if she knew she was dying. I picked her up and moved her off the road to the grass, and stroked her white breast feathers.

10/30/2005, 10:14 AM Tufted Titmouse Baeolophus Bicolor ? 1
Location: At the feeder outside my window, in the back yard
Comments: He or she is alone this morning, no sign of Ned Sawyer the annoying nuthatch. He or she eats seeds right here on the feeder and seems to like the small seeds. Something alarmed it, and it gave a high-pitched "peep" and flew away.
10/29/2005, 9:36 AM White-breasted nuthatch Sitta Carolinensis M 1
Location: At the feeder outside my window, in the back yard
Comments: This is the first chance I've had to watch at the feeder since last weekend. The seed is about 80% gone. Although it's quiet this morning, I guess it has been popular. Oh, the nutchatch is as bad as the squirrels, knocking seed he doesn't like off the edge of the feeder with his beak. Bah. Perhaps that's where all the seed has gone. He seems to choose the seed he wants and then flies off to eat it elsewhere. He likes the tulip tree out back.
10/29/2005, 9:52 AM Tufted Titmouse Baeolophus Bicolor ? 1
Location: At the feeder outside my window, in the back yard
Comments: Oh terrific, a small tufted titmouse landed on the left side of the feeder, then the annoying nuthatch landed on the right side. The titmouse raised the thatch on the top of its head and opened its beak menacingly. Quite the drama. The titmouse left and the nuthatch is still king of the feeder.
10/23/2005, 10:30 AM "Black-capped chickadee Downy Woodpecker Tufted Titmouse White-breasted nuthatch" "Poecile Atricapilla Pocoides Pubescens Baeolophus Bicolor Sitta Carolinensis" "? F ? M" "1 1 1 1"
Location: At the feeder outside my window, in the back yard
Comments: Paul put up a cedar bird feeder right outside the window of my office last Saturday. It's hung from the soffat, and I think that the squirrels will have a hard time getting to it. I filled it with seed yesterday morning. I was hoping this would be a good way to develop my backyard bird list. I was also afraid that my movements in here would scare the birds, but they are loving it, maybe too much! The first visitor this morning was a black-capped or Carolina chickadee (who can tell?), with another bird I believe is a Tufted titmouse. Now a female downy woodpecker is on top of the feeder. It's starting to get a little chaotic out there, I wonder if this was a good idea?
8/13/2005, 1:47 PM Red-Bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus ? 1
Location: In the tulip tree outside my window in the back yard
Comments: This is obviously a juvenile, as it has a very grey head. According to the Sibley book, the juveniles have a grey head in June and July, so this one seems to be a late bloomer. This bird stuck to the low parts of the tree, and also spent a lot of time in the grass.
8/9/2005, 1:22 PM Wild Turkey Maleagris Gallopavo ? many
Location: On Rte. 250 in Virginia
Comments: A flock of about 20 birds walked across the road in front of us. It was a mixed group of both young and old.
6/24/2005, 2:10 PM Ruby Throated Hummingbird Archilochus colubris ? 1
Location: At the hummingbird feeder on the porch
Comments: This one sipped quite a while, which is unusual for our visitors. Lexie was on the lawn and I was weeding while he or she fed.
6/23/2005, 6:30 PM Ruby Throated Hummingbird Archilochus colubris ? 1
Location: At the hummingbird feeder on the porch
Comments: I was in the hammock on the porch, reading a book. It barely stayed for a sip, I'm not sure if it was because I was so close, or because I hadn't changed the feeder this week.
6/12/2005, 8:56 AM Ruby Throated Hummingbird Archilochus colubris ? 1
Location: At the hummingbird feeder on the porch
Comments: This one only stayed a second. I just filled the feeder yesterday morning.
5/30/2005, 9:22 AM Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus ? 1
Location: On I-95 just south of Cape Canaveral
Comments: We were just leaving my Mom's house for the long trip back home. It was a nice sendoff.
5/29/2005, 7:30 AM Sandhill Cranes Grus Canadensis ? 2
Location: Near the pond at Mom's house (side yard)
Comments: Lexie spotted these and chased them all the way across the road. She seemed to be keeping pace with them, rather than trying to catch them. When they finally flew, it was quite low.
5/21/2005, 10:39 AM Tree Swallows Tachycineta bicolor ? 2
Location: On the meadow
Comments: One was sitting on the telephone wire and another flew out of the nearby birdhouse. The metallic blue coloring was quite distinctive.
5/21/2005, 10:39 AM Indigo Bunting Passerina Cyanea ? 1
Location: on the meadow
Comments: The bird perched on the diagonal wire of the telephone pole, then flew off over the meadow
5/2/2005, 9:00 a.m. Canadian Goose M 10
Location: In front of Lackey's on the river
Comments: I saw two pairs of geese and six goslings. It must have been one of their first days out on the water, they were adorable and looked fluffy and "chick-like". I don't know how they were divided between the two pairs, all six were with one pair and the other pair seemed to be guarding.
4/30/2005, 8:47 a.m. Ruby Throated Hummingbird Archilochus colubris ? 1
Location: At the feeder
Comments: It's the first hummingbird sighting of the year! I had just put out the feeder on April 15. Lexie was growling at some people on the road, she may have scared it away. Or perhaps the food was stale. At any rate, it didn't stay long.
3/25/2005, 8:00 AM Mallard duck Anas Platyrhynchos M,F 2
Location: On the river (off the meadow)
Comments: The river is very high today, from the heavy rains of the last few days. We saw 3 charcoal grey duck-like birds, long necks, orange bills. Need to look them up. I heard what I think are wood ducks, but still have yet to see them at close range. Then saw the Mallards, Lexie scared them out of the water.
3/20/2005, 1:30 AM "Red-Tailed Hawk Barred Owl" "Buteo Jamaicenus Strix Varia" "? ?" "1 !"
Location: in the woods behind the Keegan's and on Bill Howard's land
Comments: We were going over to Anne and Toby's to walk the labs with Lexie. First we saw the Red-tailed hawk, then a barred owl over on Bill Howard's land.
3/18/2005, 11:00 a.m. Barred Owl Strix Varia ? 1
Location: On the path to the Chapline Cemetery
Comments: I was heading out to compare my transcriptions with the DAR and Caskey; I startled a squirrel as I walked on the path, and as I turned to see what it was, a barred owl flew into a tree to my left. It sat and watched me for about 10 seconds, then flew to another tree closer to the river. It was a small one, I wonder if it is a female with a nest?
3/15/2005, morning various
Comments: A red-letter morning. I went outside with Lexie a little before 7:00, the sun was just coming up over the hills across the river, a firey orange ball. I watched a hawk land in a tree in our yard, and then it was displaced by a crow, who chased it off to another yard. Two woodpeckers vied for territory in our walnut tree. Later, about 7:30, I saw the great blue heron across the river, flying toward me. It landed just in front of us on the bank, and when we came closer, it flew back to the other side. I also saw a pair of ducks on the river, not quite sure what kind. The female was all brown, the male brown with a black and white head. I have to look them up later to see if I recognize them in my Sibley.
3/6/2005, all day Red-Tailed Hawk Buteo Jamaicenus ? 2
Location: flying over the cemetery and our neighbor's houses
Comments: It is a beautiful sunny day with a stiff breeze, and I have seen a pair of hawks circling all day. They are keering so much they almost sound like seagulls. Great day to be flying
2/26/2005, 9:00 a.m. Great Blue Heron Ardea Herodias ? 1
Location: On the river (off the meadow)
Comments: Lexie scared it up
2/26/2005, 12:30 p.m. "Great Blue Heron Bald Eagle" Ardea Herodias ? 2
Comments: Paul and Steve Nash were walking with Lexie and saw 2 blue herons on the river, one small. They also saw a bald eagle, which they thought looked young, possibly 1 to 2 years old.
2/24/2005, 7:15 a.m. Great Blue Heron Ardea Herodias ? 1
Location: On the river (off the meadow)
2/10/2005, 8:15 a.m. Tundra Swan Cygnus Columbianus ? 1
Location: on the river (near Lackey's)
Comments: At first, I thought it must be a snow goose, as Ilona had reported seeing one recently. But it was definitely a swan, although it had a shorter neck than I was expecting in a swan. But of course the neck was too long for the snow goose. It was all alone.
2/1/2005, 8:00 a.m. Red-Tailed Hawk Buteo Jamaicenus ? 2
Location: on the meadow
Comments: First one flew from the woods next to the river to the woods on the house side of the road. Then the second flew across, and into a different tree. They looked beautiful with the morning light lighting up their under feathers.
1/8/2005, 2:38 p.m. Red-Bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus M 1
Location: woods between our house and the Parkers
Comments: It is standing on the trunk of an ailanthus, which doesn't appear dead. It is pecking it. Its feathers look very poofy. He has a very lovely red hood.
1/2/2005, 10:22 a.m. American Crow Corvus Bronchyrhynchos ? 1
Location: woods between our house and the Parkers
Comments: The crow had round patches of white on its second primaries. I don't think I have ever noticed a crow with white on it before. Sibley says that white on the wings is rare but regular. This really looked like polka dots.
1/2/2005, 4:30 p.m. Belted Kingfisher Ceryle alcyon M 1
Location: C&O Canal towpath, between Belle Vue and SBR
Comments: We heard a distinctive call and saw a flash of what we first thought was blue, and decided it didn't sound like a blue jay, but was about the same size. Then we spotted him perched low close to the water. He kept flying ahead of us as we walked toward Shepherdstown. He flew low over the water, but never hovered or dove.
12/26/2004, mid-morning Great Blue Heron Ardea Herodias ? 2
Location: On the river (off the meadow)
Comments: Lexie surprised one, then another just a little further down, in the same spot as yesterday. Right by a 3-trunked tree leaning out over the river.
12/25/2004, mid-morning Great Blue Heron Ardea Herodias ? 1
Location: On the river (off the meadow)
Comments: Lexie surprised it, it may have been sleeping or stalking below us on the river
8/15/2004, all day Ruby Throated Hummingbird Archilochus colubris M/F many
Location: feeder on the front porch
Comments: I at first thought that we merely had dueling hummingbirds. I was sitting on the front porch with coffee and a book, and had a visit approximately every 10 minutes or less. I thought they must be the same couple of hummingbirds, because they exhibited similar behavior (nervous, looking up at the red glass bulb after every sip. I think they see their reflection). After a little reading online, I realized that I had a full-blown migration on my hands. Many of the birds I saw were almost certainly young. I saw no males at all, or at least, no full-grown males, and now know that they migrate South in early Aug. around here. Many of the tiny birds sat on the weather stick right next to the feeder and rested. One scratched its neck with each foot, and then was all poofy. They also rested in the sycamores right near the house. I had never seen them stop before, and was enchanted. One bird even hovered right in front of me, no more than 18 inches away, right at face level. After a while, I got better at spotting the birds as they flew in, they fly in at about 20 feet high, in the mid-range of the trees (if divided in thirds.) One bird fanned out its tail in midair, it had a stripe of white.
8/6/2004, 1:45 p.m. Bluebird Sialia sialis M/F 2
Location: Dolly Sods
Comments: They were sitting on the very top of a spruce tree, very quietly, contented, a male and female together. We watched them for quite a while through the binoculars. Then the male flew away, and the female followed.
7/31/2004, 9:30 a.m. Red-Tailed Hawk Buteo Jamaicenus ? 1
Location: Front yard right across from the meadow
Comments: This is probably the same one I saw before. It was still quite low in the trees, and even landed on the ground at one point. I heard its rising "Kee Kee" sound before I saw it. It was sitting on a low branch and when I approached, it flew to another, and then to the ground up nearer to the house.
7/23/2004, 8:30 p.m. Barred Owl Strix Varia ? 1
Location: Our back yard, in the tulip tree outside my office
Comments: I had a very close view of the owl out my window. I turned off the light so I wouldn't disturb it. (I tried to take photos with my camera, but they came out black, even though it was still quite light out.) The owl was very stripey, and its feathers were quite ruffled on its left side. It started out facing me but turning to look into the emtpy field beyond the fence, and then turned around the other way. I went outside to try and get a closer look and of course scared it away.
7/16/2004, 8:15 p.m. Red-Tailed Hawk Buteo Jamaicenus ? 1
Location: Front yard right across from the meadow
Comments: This was obviously a juvenile, it did not fly well, walked and hopped a lot, and had a white chest. It's tail was not yet red. It was hilarious to watch, when it "flew" from branch to branch, it only went down, and kind of hopped/leapt down with its wings spread. It landed on a branch next to a squirrel (the squirrel was on the trunk on the opposite side.) It peered around the trunk and I swear it was wondering if it could just reach over and pluck out dinner. (Paul says maybe they are friends.) We both speculated that the hawk had started out very high in the trees and had spent all day flying downward, and wondered how it would get back up again.
7/9/2004, 8:40 p.m. Barred Owl Strix Varia ? 3?
Location: On the C&O Canal, right near the aquaduct.
Comments: Ilona has been tracking a family of owls with 3 youngsters for weeks here. I went with her at dusk and although we didn't see them, except once in sillouette, we did hear the youngsters hissing in hunger. Ilona said it sounded like cicadas, but I thought it sounded more like hawks sound (screech), a sort of kssss sound that starts low and goes high.
6/30/2004, mid-afternoon Barred Owl Strix Varia ? 1
Location: Trous de Saumons trail, Cape Breton Highlands
Comments: We were biking this trail and Paul stopped dead in front of me and pointed at a huge owl sitting on a low, horizontal pine branch. It looked like an old man with a grey beard and very poofy. It was a magical spot on the trail, very mossy and deep green, and the owl fit in perfectly. I really wanted to get a photo with my digital binoculars, but the owl flew away before I could get the shot. I read later that these owls are generally under 2 pounds, despite being a couple of feet tall. How can this be?
6/29/2004, 10:30 a.m. Atlantic Ruffed Grouse Bonasa umbellus F? 1
Location: Corney Brook Trail, Cape Breton Highlands
Comments: It was just off the trail, a little above us where the ground sloped up. There was a bit of an overhang and perhaps there was a nest there, but it did not act as if this was the case. We thought it might be a Spruce Grouse after we read about them, because they are so much more common, but it was definitely a ruffed grouse. It had head feathers. It walked almost exactly like a chicken, it was almost comical.
6/29/2004, 12:03 p.m. Atlantic Downy Woodpecker Picoides Pubescens F? 1
Location: Corney Brook Trail, Cape Breton Highlands
Comments: She was trying very hard to steer us away from her nest, which was in a hollow branch up above us. We could see the small hole and hear the peep, peep of the chicks. We moved away a little bit and she finally went in with her bug (or whatever it was) and gave it to the babies. They of course wanted more.
6/29/2004, 6:20 p.m. Atlantic Common Merganser Mergus Merganser F 1
Location: Beach where Corney Brook tumbles into the Bay of St. Lawrence, Cape Breton Highlands
Comments: I was trying unsuccessfully to identify what I thought were cormorants, had been for days. I turned away in disgust because yet again they were too far out to sea for me to identify and right there, not 20 feet away was the merganser, standing on a round rock in the Corney Brook. She then moved into the Bay to swim. The sawtooth mandible is great, wacky but cool. I actually think the females are prettier than the males in this case (as opposed to mallards).
6/28/2004, 8:56 a.m. Atlantic Great Blue Heron Ardea Herodias M 1
Location: Benjie's Lake, Cape Breton Highlands
Comments: We were sitting on a wooden bench at the end of the trail, looking at the lake. The heron was on the other side, stalking. While we watched with binoculars, it caught a yellow fish and shook it to death before eating it. Then it soared away over the forest.
6/27/2004, 9:56 a.m. Atlantic Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus ? 1
Location: Grand Etang, Cape Breton
Comments: It was circling over the water as we crossed a bridge, just before entering the Highland Park
5/31/2004, mid-morning Chipping Sparrow Spizella Passerina ? 4
Location: Sidewalk in front of the house
Comments: There was a light rain and the sparrows were rooting around in the compost and under the Clary sage. I hadn't thought of working on identifying sparrows because they seem too hard to differentiate, but noticed the rusty crowns on these, which stood out.
5/30/2004, mid-morning Baltimore Oriole Icterus Galbula M 1
Location: Across the road from the meadow
Comments: Darting from tree to tree
4/18/2004, afternoon Brown Thrasher Toxostama Rufum ? 1
Location: Backyard
Comments: I kept hearing a bird that had a wide range of song, and wanted to know what it was. I finally spotted it, and am making a guess from observation that it is a Brown Thrasher. I think I spotted yellow eyes, it was definitely brown, and had a curved beak.
4/17/2004, morning Red-Tailed Hawk Buteo Jamaicenus ? 1
Location: Meadow
Comments: Flying high over the meadow
3/24/2004, dusk Barred Owl Strix Varia ? 1
Location: Meadow
Comments: It flew low over the road in front of me and then landed in a horizontal branch near the river
2/29/2004, afternoon Downy Woodpecker Picoides Pubescens M? 1
Location: Backyard
Comments: It was very small, too small to see the red at the back of the head without glasses. It seemed to favor the locust that is dead on top