Saturday, October 30, 2010

Maryland 300 Club!!

  The "300" club is the elite group of birders who have seen more than 300 species of birds in the great state of Maryland.

  Warren finally joined on Friday, and with a great bird, too - a Say's Phoebe, a western and midwestern flycatcher not often seen in these parts. Wahoo! The bird was found at Terrapin Nature Park on Kent Island over on the Eastern Shore by super-Maryland birder Joe Hanfman. Good buddy Dan Haas helped guide Warren into the site with calls and texts.

   The bird was being seen distantly in some snags over phragmites bordering a pond. Warren didn't get great looks, but he did see the bird. No photos, either, but this picture of celebratory champagne gives the general impression of size and shape of the party afterward:


  Mark Hoffman did manage to snap some shots with a 700mm lens. Wow! For those keeping track, Mark; Jim Stasz; and Paul O'Brien are at the top of the Maryland birding mountain, each having seen more than 400 species out of 435 species reported in Maryland. That's incredible! 

  The Say's Phoebe was a definite treat.  Happy Halloween everyone!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Does a Hokie Count as a Life Bird?

If so, we ticked many of these birds this weekend!

Cute Husband and Cute Son #2 share the same birthday.  And, Cute Son is working on his degree in Hokieville.   Otherwise known as Virginia Tech.

So, off we went this weekend to enjoy all things Hokie and the company of the two sons.  Too much fun!
It was a beautiful day to enjoy everything Hokie like.... And they won! 

I may actually be starting to become a true Hokie Parent, as the orange and maroon color combination is seeming more and more appropriate.

Happy October Birthdays, Strobel Men!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

October on the Eastern Shore

   October is the most magical time on Maryland's Eastern Shore. ... Roadside stands full of pumpkins, mums and produce. ... Soybean fields, past their prime, turning golden in the sun. ... Trees starting to make the long transition to fall, then winter, then spring again. ... Ponds and lakes glistening in the crisp air. ... There are also long skeins of Canada and Snow Geese that fall gently out of the sky:

     Caspian Terns, sporting their winter haircuts, staging up for the next leg of migration south, calling raucously:

     An immature Bald Eagle on the hunt for goose or duck or something else for dinner.

      A Buckeye butterfly catching the last of summer's warmth:

     And watching it all, the swarms of migrating Tree Swallows, the last buzz of insects, a hovering Northen Harrier, is the vigilant Mockingbird:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Native Plants = Lots of Birds!

One of our favorite organizations, Saving Birds Thru Habitat, created this stunning poster to highlight the importance of native plants, which provide food for insects, which in turn provide masses of food for birds.

The back of the poster features native plant resources for all 50 states!

Interested?   I am!

If so, send the tiny sum of $5.00 per copy to:
SBTH Poster, P. O. Box 288, Omena, MI 49674.

Nice work to Kay Charter and the folks at Saving Birds Thru Habitat!

Monday, October 11, 2010

A third of the trail!

My honey and I have now hiked one-third of the 2,179 mile-long Appalachian Trail!! We did a 19.5 mile segment (new one-day record, too) in central Virginia on Saturday. Just 1,400 miles and change to go...

Full story soon on Birdcouple's Appalachian Trail blog.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Colony Collapse Disorder... we may know the cause, but we don't know the cure...

I do love my bees... even more than I love my hermit crabs.
 So, when people asked me about Colony Collapse Disorder,  (the phenomenon in which the vast majority of worker bees abruptly disappear leaving the queen and a only a few bees remaining in the hive), I often blamed it on pesticide use and big farm production. 

CCD would never happen in the LoveNest yard - Cute Husband and I never use anything with a -cide at the end of it.  Which, of course, makes all insects, spiders and stink bugs feel quite at home.

And, the only farming that occurs in our yard are the few veggies I try to grow each year before the deer eat all the leaves off the plants.
However, it looks like scientists have discovered one reason for the honey bee die off.

Researchers, predominantly from the University of Montana, have identified three viruses — Varroa destructor-1 (scary sounding, right?), Kakugo and an invertebrate iridescent virus and two fungi — Nosema apis and Nosema ceranae.

Fungi and viruses, all of which flourish in cool, wet environments. While scientists aren't certain, they believe the fungi and viruses work together to hamper the insect's digestive system.    The combination is deadly for worker bees.

And, something that could occur in the LoveNest's cool back woods.

So, we may know more about the what, but we still don't know the why or how best to resolve. 

Oh, I and also love the Cute Husband:

Sunday, October 3, 2010

More photos - a lovely October Saturday

   Princess and I went birding Saturday morning, picking two of our favorite local spots, Governors Bridge Natural Area in nearby Prince George's County, and Davidsonville Park in our home Anne Arundel County.

   The weather was gorgeous, and there were a few warblers and other passerine migrants hanging around, as well as some arrivals that signaled the coming winter, including an immature Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker and a couple of White-Throated Sparrows.

  There were also butterfles, spiders, fish, turtles and other of our favorite things. I used the opportunity to continue testing the Canon ESF IS 400-100mm lens I rented for the weekend.

Green Heron

Monarch butterfly

Fish and fry

Magnolia Warbler

Magnolia Warbler

Spider, Orb-waver?

Black-Throated Green Warbler

Friday, October 1, 2010

New Camera lens!

   After his Konica-Minolta went KAPUT! a few months back, Warren bought a new Canon EOS Rebel T1i. But of course it came with a mediocre small lens and he hasn't -- until now - been able to do anything about it.  But this week, Birdcouple rented a nice lens, a Canon IS EF100-400mm, which we hope to buy soon.

  So nice to be able to take close-up shots of our avian friends again.

    And this is only the beginning!