Monday, July 29, 2013

Duck stamp: nice boost from the Cornell Lab, and a new PSA

Good stuff for all of us Duck Stamp lovers. and important reminders about how .. well, important! ... the stamp is to birders, conservationists and birder-conservationists like Birdcouple.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has done a really nice blog on "Eight Reasons to Love the New Migratory Bird Stamp." Among them:

_ $850 million for conservation and counting.

_ A79-year tradition of beautiful art.

_ A bargain at $15.

Check it out. There's also a really nice Google map with the nation's National Wildlife Refuges and the percentage of lands paid for with duck stamp funds.

... And, that image up there is a Public Service Announcement that is ran on the back insider cover of Bird Observer, the New England Birding Journal.

The word is spreading! Onward.....

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Appalachian Trail birds

Credit: Steve Faccio, Vermont Center for Ecostudies
  We're just back from a 98.6 mile hike on the Appalachian Trail in Massachusetts and Vermont. Princess will blog about the hike itself on BC's AT Blog, but we thought we would talk about our bird encounters here.
  We scored two new species for our life lists, the Black-Backed Woodpecker and, most cool, Bicknell's Thrush. Bicknell's, only recognized as a separate species from Grey-Cheeked Thrush a few decades ago, has one of the most restricted breeding and wintering ranges of any North American bird. We heard and saw it on one of its breeding territories - at the top of Vermont's Stratton Mountain, elevation 3900 feet and change. Yes, we climbed up there!
 We learned a lot about the bird and Bicknell's studies from Jean, the caretaker at the top of the mountain. More info on this amazing bird is available from the US Fish & Wildlife Service here
All told, as we have hiked from Virginia to Vermont, we have identified 120 species along the Appalachian Trail, from the expected woodland species to a Common Loon (also in Vermont), Great Blue Herons and ducks at the pond in Boiling Springs, PA. Here's the list, arranged taxonomically:
Canada Goose
Mute Swan
Wood Duck
American Wigeon
Ruffed Grouse
Wild Turkey
Common Loon
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Green Heron
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
American Woodcock
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Black-billed Cuckoo
Eastern Screech-Owl
Barred Owl
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Black-backed Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Acadian Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Yellow-throated Vireo
Blue-headed Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Fish Crow
Common Raven
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Carolina Chickadee
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Carolina Wren
House Wren
Winter Wren
Marsh Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Eastern Bluebird
Bicknell's Thrush
Swainson's Thrush
Hermit Thrush
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher
European Starling
Bohemian Waxwing
Cedar Waxwing
Nashville Warbler
Northern Parula
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Pine Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Cerulean Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Worm-eating Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Hooded Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat
Scarlet Tanager
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Grasshopper Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Blue Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Saturday, July 13, 2013

We haven't gone away...

Just gone hiking!! Click that button up there for details.

We already have Winter Wren, Swainson's Thrush. Veery, BT Green and BT Blue warblers on this section of our AT hike in Massachusetts. Back soon.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Breaking the summer birding doldrums

Lisa and I were just bemoaning how slow the birding gets in Maryland in June and July. Then we get word of a Painted Bunting in nearby Glenn Dale, Maryland. We were on it as soon as we could, and it didn't take long to find. This isn't the first Painted Bunting we have seen in Maryland - it's the 3rd or 4th, but it's the first in mid-summer and the first time we've ever heard one singing.

Boy, does that cure the summer birding blahs!!!!
Here are a few other random photos from what's been a hot, hot summer so far:
A Marsh Wren on Elliott Island Road in Dorchester County
Turtle (Red-Eared Slider?) at Fort Smallwood State Park
                                                  Unidentified dragonfly, Elliott Island Road
Cliff Swallows nesting at the Sykesville Bridge
Damselfly at Patapsco State Park

The Princess liked this sign by the Painted Bunting spot. She saw and started to boogie..

Thursday, July 4, 2013


Happy 4th of July everyone!!

We've created a new feature here on the Birdcouple blog, a running tally of all the living things we come across in our little 1.8 acres of paradise here in the Annapolis, Maryland area. That means birds, mammals, tress, butterflies and other insects and snakes and frogs, too.

It's modeled after the Maryland Biodiversity Project, which as of today has catalogued more than 10,500 Maryland species.

You can reach our biodiversity list by clicking on that button up there or right here. It's under construction, but we will steadily be adding species as we find and identify them. It's amazing how this exercise will make you take a second look at things. What kind of frog, firefly, beetle is that?

On a totally different subject, it looks like eBird was hacked today. They are working the issue, they say.