Monday, January 15, 2018

Returning to the Scene of the Crime

Looks guilty to me

   The Sharp-shinned Hawk that is being sought for questioning in the abduction and suspected killing and possible dismemberment of a Goldfinch on Saturday was caught on camera by a surveillance unit this afternoon.  The Goldfinch's friends and family want answers about what the Sharpie has characterized as a casual lunch date.  Although speculation of whether a crime has actually occurred is in dispute because no body has been found.

Evidence of another potential crime hangs from its bill

Unaware he's being watched he brazenly appears to be searching for another victim

Sharpie striking its most innocent pose yet.
  Just for fun I include a crop of the top photo that shows my house reflected in the bird's eye
The 'X' shows my approximate location

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Have you seen this Bird?

Police sketch of the abduction suspect
  This afternoon while I was texting a family member from the computer room/office that overlooks my front yard, I saw the Goldfinches and Pine Siskins scatter from their positions at the birdfeeders.  One of the Goldfinches glanced off the window less than two feet in front of me.  In a panic it fluttered its wings while it tried to land on the 3/4" wide window ledge.  Before it could get its balance a Sharp-shinned Hawk swooped in and abruptly changed both of their lunch plans. The speed and accuracy of the abduction maneuver was amazing. and the fact that it happened just inches from my face left me repeating Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! as I grabbed my camera and boots and ran out the front door to try to get some photos.  No such luck as the midday meal was taken to a secluded location. 
    Must not be much meat on a goldfinch because 2 hours later the suspected perp flew by with a Junco.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Pine Siskins Invasion 1/12/2018

   In mid-December I noticed the first Pine Siskin of the winter at one of my feeders.  Since then I've seen them nearly everyday  Up until last Friday when I saw 16 of them, my high count for the season had been 6.  Then Thursday of this week when 50 degree temperatures melted most of the snow, the number of Pine Siskins surged to 55.  Then Friday the temperatures cooled back into the teens but the Siskins kept on coming.  The most that I was able to count by scanning with binoculars was 110.

  With the camera however I was able to get a wide angle shot from which I was able to get a count of  165 Pine Siskins as well as 77 Goldfinches.  To ensure that I didn't double count, once I downloaded the photo I marked each Siskin with a green dot and the Goldfinches with a yellow dot.
Crop of the Wide Angle shot from which the count was made.
  Shortly thereafter I took a series of 5 slightly telephoto shots that revealed a similar count of 162 Siskins and 82 Goldfinches,

   Also on Friday I had a single female Purple Finch visit the birdbath but not the feeders.

   Back on Monday the sun came out for the first time in weeks and provided decent lighting for a Common Redpoll

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Common Redpoll Yard Bird #115

   Had a single Common Redpoll on the driveway around noon today, which became yardbird #115.  It also was the 102nd species seen in the yard this year.

 Below is a photo of a Snowy Owl that was one of four seen on Friday 12/22 on the upper reservoir road at my work.

Friday, December 1, 2017

More Snowies

     Woke this morning and found a message on my phone from Van Burmeister who found 4 Snowy Owls on the south breakwater of Ludington Harbor.  A second message was from Dave Dister who suggested that I check the pumped storage reservoir to see if I could find any of the 3 owls that I saw Wednesday.

    I was only able to find one owl at the reservoir before heading to the harbor to document the 4 birds that Van found.  With a little more effort I was able to find a sixth Snowy along Scottville Rd.
   Twelve of the Snow Geese that I saw at the reservoir on Wednesday were still present.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Make that Three Snowies

      I can hear it now. "Snowy Owls? Is that all you got?" Well if these Arctic interlopers are going to keep crossing paths with me, I've got to keep blogging about them.
    This morning I stayed over into the daylight hours for a meeting and afterward took advantage of the sunny skies and light winds to check if last week's owls were still up on the reservoir.
      At the four mile mark of the six mile, one-way loop I spotted two birds atop of a small structure.  These appear to be young females that I have been seeing up there.  One of the Snowies stayed put as I passed the structure.

    A little further ahead as I passed a transformer I noticed a young male in my rear-view mirror.

   Other birds of interest included a flock of 14 White-phase Snow Geese, that circled the reservoir for about 10 minutes.

  A single Blue-morph Snow Geese hung out with the Canada Geese.
Rough-legged Hawk
    After I made it home, Dave Dister called to report a Glaucous Gull at Ludington Harbor.