Friday, April 20, 2018

Blogging from A-Z • R • Red-Tailed Hawk

R is for red-tailed hawk.

These hawks are so widespread and prevalent, I see them almost on the daily.   Usually on my ride to or from work I see them perched on the trees along the highway. On a good day there might even be upwards of 10 to 12 on a 22 mile stretch that I drive.   They are also very common in my town and I know of a few hotspots I check to see them.  

Red-tail hawks have a very defining characteristic you might think it’s there red tail.  However not all red-tailed hawks have a red tail.  It is something they grow into. But if you see a hawk and you’re not sure if it’s a red tail hawk because it doesn’t have a red tail one thing you can look for is the markings around the belly. Often referred to as a belly band.   Even if they don't have their red tail yet, a red tailed hawk will always have a belly band. 

On one of my hiking trails in town, there is at least one established pair, and throughout the summer, the juveniles very loudly call out for their parents attention! 

One of my favorite encounters with a red tailed hawk occurred when I was visiting the Nashua River with hopes of viewing a bald eagle.  The eagle was a bust, but when my friend and I return to the parking area which was basically a small field abutting new construction we came across a young juvenile red-tailed hawk.

This bird did not seem to care one whit that we were nearby, so we spent about an hour with it while it flew about the field unsuccessfully hunting.  

This photo here below, is one of my favorite photos from that day, although unfortunately only the pine needles were in focus. I was really rooting for this juvenile hawk to find this chipmunk as he was trying so hard to get a meal. 

Finally after many many attempt, this hawk managed to capture a vole and consumed that snack right in front of us!

Maybe I only imagine a bird is displaying a personality, but some of them really seem to exude my mind this red-tailed hawk said, "How do you like me now?" 

Before he strutted away.

Today's challenge earrings are a simple dark copper swallow charm with a pink stone!  If you comment on any post during the A-Z challenge, you will be entered in a drawing for seven pairs of earrings! 

Thanks for taking this photo walk with me, I hope you will join me tomorrow for the letter "S".

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Blogging from A-Z • Q • Quiscalus quiscula

Q is for quiscalus quicula....or more commonly known as the common grackle.

These birds don't get a lot of respect due to their reputation as sometimes being a nuisance and just the fact that they are wide spread, however I think their striking iridescent heads and striking eyes are pretty magnificent!

I don't have much to report about the common grackle, no fun anecdotes or any happy surprises stumbling upon them, but I sure was happy to see a bird, which I enjoy, that had a Latin moniker beginning with the letter "Q"!

Today's challenge earrings were inspired by a pair of earrings I saw my friend Christine, of One Kiss Creations, make recently! Last month, I saw her post some earrings made from peyote tubes with some fringe, and I thought to myself, "I need to try that!"  Here are the results.

As a reminder, I will be holding a drawing once the A-Z challenge has ended. Anyone who comments  during the challenge will be entered in the drawing!

Thank you for visiting my blog! I hope you will join me tomorrow for the letter "R".

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Blogging from A-Z • P • Pileated Woodpecker

P is for pileated woodpecker.  I had a hard time paring down which photos to share, because last year I took just about 1000 photos (that I saved!) of pileated woodpeckers.  

So as I mentioned yesterday, I often hike a trail that runs along a pond in which I see the osprey. On that same trail I had the pleasure of viewing a pair of pileated woodpeckers last year.  In the winter I saw them frolicking in the forest.  

But then in the spring I noticed them heading to these powerlines very frequently. 

When I saw the woodpecker at the powerline I saw he was very busy excavating a hole.  you can even see some of the sawdust flying.  He worked on this hole for about two weeks weeks. 

I swear he was smiling this day I took this picture. 

Throughout the subsequent weeks, I frequently walked by this set of powerlines and kept looking and looking and I would often see one of them fly in or out of the hole. 

You can only imagine my delight one morning in May when I walked by this nest very early in the morning and saw these three head peeking out out. 

 Seriously, could they be any cuter? 

On the first day I just watch the nest for about an hour or so.  As I observed, the mom and dad kept coming back every few minutes to feed them. It was so fun to watch!

A male pileated woodpecker is identified by the red stripe that runs from the base of the beak, towards the back, however you can see i the bottom right photo that the email has a black stripe.
The window of time that you can see the chicks poking their heads out of their nest is  very short one.  I was only able to swing by three additional days and continue to watch. 

About five days after I initially saw the chicks, my friend was watching the nest and reported  that she saw each of them come out of the hole and fly to trees on the edges of the forest.  That was the last we saw them at the nest. 

As the summer war on I still saw pileated woodpeckers on my hikes periodically.  I’m confident I saw the juveniles every now and then too.  

 One day was particularly memorable when a scene unfolded a few power lines down from the woodpeckers' nest.  Every time I look at these photos I feel like I could turn it into a comic strip.  It cracks me up so much the way the bluebird sits there and watches the scene unfold too. That bluebird didn't seem one bit fazed as the juvenile came along screeching and hollering or when mom came along to feed her vociferous juvenile!

Thanks for stopping by, I hope you will join me for the letter "Q" tomorrow!

Today's earrings for the A-Z challenge are some Czech crystal chandelier earrings.  I thought the color was a nice nod to today's bird, the pileated woodpecker! Anyone who comments will be entered in a drawing to win a week's worth of earrings!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Blogging from A-Z • O • Osprey

The osprey.  Otherwise known as a fish hawk or a sea hawk.  I am lucky enough to have an osprey couple spend the spring, summer, and fall very very close to my house.

My semi-regular hiking trail, runs along a large pond, and the osprey are just across the pond.  I knew it was far away but a quick measure on Google maps told me it was further away than I realized. Almost 700 feet! It's no wonder my admittedly powerful zoom has trouble capturing anything crisp.

There is another access point for a trail that will take a hiker just a few feed away from the power line that hosts the nest, but let me tell you, that female is not amused if you walk by! Something about her expressive face reminds me of a cartoon!

I only visit the trail close to the nest a few times during the season, as that other side of the pond seems to have tons more ticks than that of my regular hiking trail.  But no matter what side of the pond I am on, I can count on tons of interesting observations when I have this nest in view.

This time of year they are busy sprucing up their nest.

The past two years, they have had successful mating season and it has been fun to see the chicks' head pop up and the parents tend to them (albeit  far away - I mindfully avoid getting close to the nest if the female is sitting on eggs or the babies are very young!)

As its nickname suggests, osprey eat a lot of fish!  About 60-70% of the time I walk by the pond, or their nest, I see one of them with a fish, either resting on a branch with a fish, or flying in with a fish!

If you have read this far, thanks for sticking with this photo-intensive post!  These birds are great subjects!

I hope you will join me tomorrow for the letter "P" (which may also end up brining a lot of photos!)

For today's challenge earrings, I bring you a version of my friend Kristen's design "Pop Up Pearls".  Over the years I have made many of these in different colors and finishes, and the result is aways pleasing.  As a reminder, there will be a drawing for a giveaway of seven pairs of earrings at the conclusion of the A-Z challenge, to enter, just comment on any post this month!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Blogging from A-Z • N • Night Heron

"N" is for night heron, or more specially the black crowned night heron.

Last year was the first time I viewed a black crowned night heron.  I'd seen some posts on the FB birding group I am a member of and it was a very simple tip about these herons being present at the Watertown dam.

When I arrived at the dam, I easily found a great blue heron,  and just a little past the great blue heron,  was a juvenile black crowned night heron.  And at the far end of the dam was an adult black crowned night heron.

I will be checking this dam again this year to see if they are spending some time at the damn fishing!

Today's earrings for the A-Z challenge are made with beads made from pinch pinch-bead beads.  These beaded beads are quite simple to make and look fantastic when complete.  In fact, they were so easy, I made three pair! Don't forget, at the conclusion of the A-Z challenge, I will draw a name from all the commenters, who will be awarded seven pairs of earrings!

Looking forward to the letter "O" tomorrow!