Midwest Birds

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Beautiful Birds of the Midwest 

The every popular Western Meadowlark.  The western meadowlark has distinctive calls described as watery or flute-like, which distinguish it from the closely related eastern meadowlark. The western meadowlark is the state bird of six states: Montana, Kansas, NebraskaNorth Dakota, Oregon, and Wyoming.

 

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The Hooded and Common Merganser.  In most places, the common merganser is as much a frequenter of salt water as fresh water. In larger streams and rivers, they float down with the stream for a few miles, and either fly back again or more commonly fish their way back, diving incessantly the whole way. In smaller streams, they are present in pairs or smaller groups, and they float down, twisting round and round in the rapids, or fishing vigorously in a deep pool near the foot of a waterfall or rapid. When floating leisurely, they position themselves in water similar to ducks, but they also swim deep in water like cormorants, especially when swimming upstream. They often sit on a rock in the middle of the water, similar to cormorants, often half-opening their wings to the sun. To rise from water, they flap along the surface for many yards. Once they are airborne, the flight is strong and rapid. They often fish in a group forming a semicircle and driving the fish into shallow water, where they are captured easily. Their ordinary voice is a low, harsh croak, but during the breeding season, they (including the young) make a plaintive, soft whistle. Generally, they are wary, and one or more birds stay on sentry duty to warn the flock of approaching danger. When disturbed, they often disgorge food before moving. Though they move clumsily on land, they resort to running when pressed, assuming a very upright position similar to penguins, and falling and stumbling frequently.

 

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High Power Monocular Smartphone Holder 

 

 

The Ruffed Grouse.  Ruffed grouse have two distinct morphs: grey and brown. In the grey morph, the head, neck and back are grey-brown; the breast is light with barring. There is much white on the underside and flanks, and overall the birds have a variegated appearance; the throat is often distinctly lighter. The tail is essentially the same brownish grey, with regular barring and a broad black band near the end (“subterminal”). Brown-morph birds have tails of the same color and pattern, but the rest of the plumage is much more brown, giving the appearance of a more uniform bird with less light plumage below and a conspicuously grey tail. There are all sorts of intergrades between the most typical morphs; warmer and more humid conditions favor browner birds in general.

Displaying male

The ruffs are on the sides of the neck in both sexes. They also have a crest on top of their head, which sometimes lies flat. Both genders are similarly marked and sized, making them difficult to tell apart, even in hand. The female often has a broken subterminal tail band, while males tend to have unbroken tail bands, though the opposite of either can occur. Females may also do a display similar to the male. Another fairly accurate sign is that rump feathers with a single white dot indicate a female; rump feathers with more than one white dot indicate a male.

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The red-necked grebe is a migratory aquatic bird found in the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. Its wintering habitat is largely restricted to calm waters just beyond the waves around ocean coasts, although some birds may winter on large lakes. Grebes prefer shallow bodies of fresh water such as lakes, marshes or fish-ponds as breeding sites.

The red-necked grebe is a nondescript dusky-grey bird in winter. During the breeding season, it acquires the distinctive red neck plumage, black cap and contrasting pale grey face from which its name was derived. It also has an elaborate courtship display and a variety of loud mating calls. Once paired, it builds a nest from water plants on top of floating vegetation in a shallow lake or bog.

 

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   National Geographic Birds               Birds of the Midwest

 

The barred owl, also known as northern barred owl or hoot owl, is a true owl native to eastern North America. Adults are large, and are brown to grey with barring on the chest. Barred owls have expanded their range to the west coast of North America, where they are considered invasive.

The common loon or great northern diver is a large member of the loon, or diver, family of birds. Breeding adults have a plumage that includes a broad black head and neck with a greenish, purplish, or bluish sheen, blackish or blackish-grey upperparts, and pure white underparts except some black on the undertail coverts and vent. Non-breeding adults are brownish with a dark neck and head marked with dark grey-brown. Their upperparts are dark brownish-grey with an unclear pattern of squares on the shoulders, and the underparts, lower face, chin, and throat are whitish. The sexes look alike, though males are significantly heavier than females.

 

Backyard Birding —

Saturday was very cold and very windy here on LI but at least the sun was shining. I set up a “Moose Peterson” rig… placed a branch on a light stand next to the feeders and shot from inside my office. Had our annual visit from the rose-breated grosbeak, he usually stops by for a day or so and then disappears. Hoping to see him today. Happy Mothers Day to all you mom’s out there!

via Backyard Birding —

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Birds of North America 

Some Hiking and Wildflowers

Some Hiking and Wildflowers

I have been out hiking several times trying to find something to shoot. Below are some photos from a couple of different hikes out at Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge.

I mainly used a macro lens, as there were a lot of interesting looking flowers out, an Irix Dragonfly 150mm f/2.8 manual focus macro lens to be specific. Below is a photo of a sign for one of the trails that I like, though it would look much better in the morning sunlight.

Thistle Bud

via Some Hiking and Wildflowers — Jason Frels

 

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A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson                         Wild: From Lost to Found

Rewild through Birding

Shallow Focus Photography of Gray and Orange Bird

A rewilding, brought about first through neglect and now through intentional human effort, is occurring on all over the world and certainly here in the Midwest. Over the years, I have discovered unique beauties on ambling adventures along the Wisconsin and Michigan Shoreline, and even in the heart the city…downtown Chicago.

 

Even this time of year you can spot all types on many of the hiking trails the area has to offer.   But if you really want to view all types, try the Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary listed below.

One such spot… The Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary can be found by following Montrose Avenue east until crossing Lake Shore Drive and into Lincoln Park.  Visit the magic hedge, on the west side of the sanctuary, but stay on the trails as much as possible in order to not disturb the nesting and resting Birds. Make sure you take the path in One Direction and return in the opposite direction in order to navigate the whole area.

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Wren Home

 

Don’t forget to walk down to the pier where you will see rare ducks,  loons, and possibly peregrine falcons.

A small bird creeps out of a thicket and is greeted by flashing lights and muffled whispers. Welcome to the celebrity life of a bird along the “Magic Hedge.”

Focus Photography of Flying Hummingbird

A small finger curling out into the lake, Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary can boast in having over 300 species recorded, including some of the rarest birds ever recorded in the state.  A small stretch of low-lying bushes and small trees on the west side of the sanctuary in particular have been a magnet for migrating songbirds and rarities.  Some would say that the hedge seems to bring birds in like magic.  The nickname for this spot is fitting: “The Magic Hedge.”

 

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Birds of the Backyard