May 23, 2011

Raindrops Keep Fallin' on my Head

Lots of pictures this week! We've found more nests, went fishing some more and were rained on a LOT. I'm getting pretty sick of being damp, and all this rain is probably making building nests a bit difficult for my poor birds.

Northern Bobwhite Quail nest. This is the only bird I can imitate the call of.

Garter Snake hiding in the grass.

Wolf Spider with her eggs. When they catch she'll carry her babies on her back.

Fence lizard posing for me.

Whirligig Beetles! They spin round and round on top of the water.

Another fence lizard.

Female Indigo Bunting, not nearly as bright as her mate.

Small wasp on some moss.

American Bullfrog, they make a huge racket.

He stayed very still for pictures, thankfully I didn't fall off the rotten log I perched on.

Red-Headed Woodpecker looking for some tasty bugs.

Water snake that followed me down the steps to the levee.

Great Blue Heron having a snack on the levee.

Hairstreak Butterflies getting nutrients from some bird poo.

We have the May flowers, but the April showers haven't stopped yet.

Eastern Phoebe, the worlds plainest brown bird.

Summer Tanager, very bright and noticeable. Unlike the Phoebe.

More Summer Tanager.

Chipping Sparrow looking for a mate.

Dickcissel nest, they have very pretty eggs for such annoying birds.

This poor carrion beetle had half his wings eaten.

Baby Henslow's Sparrows, just as pink and awkward as all the other passerines.

I can't help but hear this fly saying "Yessss, yess, excellent".

Myself with a Common Yellowthroat, a type of warbler.

He looks a bit scared of the camera.

Levi giving the Yellowthroat bunny ears.

Nice profile picture.

Finally timed this picture just right.

Grey Catbirds are very loud and angry, but they're all talk.

He calmed down eventually.

This Yellow-Breasted Chat wouldn't be quiet unless his beak was filled.

His breast is VERY bright yellow.

Mr. Chat is a very unhappy bird.

Two American Goldfinches. Left is female, right is male.

We were pretty positive they were a pair.

They didn't seem to mind Levi posing them for pseudo-wedding photos.

Mr. Goldfinch obviously likes my hat.

He's staring at my hat in this picture too, promise.

These baby Meadowlarks are almost ready to leave the nest.

That doesn't make them cute yet though.

And finally, flowers being pollinated.

May 15, 2011

Attack of the Sparrows!

The weather here has decided to go all wonky on me again. Last week it was highs in the 90's and sunburns, this week it was rain, highs in the 50's followed by more rain. Tonight it's supposed to get down below 40, which is incredibly wrong for May, at least in my opinion. Hopefully all this fluctuating weather doesn't affect our birds too much. The Henslow's Sparrows have started nesting! We found two nests on Thursday and have a good idea of where another one might be. Last year they only found 11 nests, so we're hoping to find at least double that if not more.

First Henslow nest. The top of this nest is about as big around as a quarter.

Our Brown Thrasher nest hatched, they have little downy afros.
These are the Meadowlarks that hatched last week, getting cuter every day.
 My boss Levi and the other tech Keith are both obsessed with fishing. One of the other conservation areas has a small lake intended for sport fishing. About once a week now it we've started spending our lunch hour(s) out on the lake. While the boys go and fish I chill on the covered floating dock and read or take pictures.

Tree Swallow on one of the dead trees that litter the lake.

These Barn Swallows have a nest in the roof of the floating dock.

Papa swallow was watching me read.

While Mama swallow went and looked for tasty snacks.

 To entice the Henslow's Sparrows into defending their territory we have a callback player (an mp3 player with a portable speaker). We play the call of a male Henslow to get the bird we want to hop up on some grass and start calling back at us. Sometimes it scares the birds we're looking for, but other times we almost get attacked by some very brave little birds, like this one.

Can you spot the bird in this picture?

There he is! This Henslow was very offended by my callback player.

He got within about a foot of my boots, that black pole is the tripod for my scope.