Bird Weekly: Moorings Birds

Lisa Coleman’s Bird Weekly challenge this week is common birds in your area at this time of year.

We have both “residents” and “visitors” at the Moorings. The herons drop by on an almost daily basis – one never knows when or if they will be visiting while walking around the grounds. The other day, we saw this white heron wading in East Pond.

Today on our walk, we saw this gray heron in almost the same spot. The gray heron we have seen before is bigger than this one, so I think it must be younger and perhaps new in town!

Ducks and swans are permanent residents (the swans leave in the winter and are brought back in early spring). Alas, no cygnets this year – second year in a row! But there are lots of duck families and recently a large group of Canada geese with their half-grown broods came for a swim on East Pond.

This is our biggest duck family – mom and 8 ducklings! This was how they looked in mid-June.
A smaller duck family, with half-grown ducklings.
A flock of Canada geese with adolescent offspring
On June 1. our female swan on West Pond was still incubating her 8 eggs – here she is looking rather frustrated; this was her eighth week on the nest! She had been pecking at them, as if to get them started hatching. Unfortunately, her eggs had not been fertilized – she had never mated with the new male the swan farm brought for her after her mate died in late March.

There is a red-wing blackbird always scolding us with his tsks and sharp calls. He flies from tree to tree, following us as we circle the pond.

There is always th

There is always the ubiquitous robin!

Bird Weekly: Swans, Geese, Ducks and …?

Lisa Coleman’s Bird Weekly challenge this week is more than one species of bird in a photo.

Canada goose, mute swan, and mallard pair (Arlington Heights, IL – USA)

These are the most common species to see in our ponds. The swans and ducks are welcome, but the Canada geese are always “crashing” and they make a mess of our walkways!!

Heron, swan and ducks (Arlington Heights)

This gray heron is a daily visitor to our ponds. He wades in the tall grasses and looks for fish – a few days ago we saw him catching and eating a fish, but alas! We didn’t have our cameras with us!

Vultures and marabou stork (Tanzania)

These scavengers clean the bones from a kill that the hunter has already abandoned. We often saw a sort of scavenger hierarchy, waiting in line for their turn: hyena, jackal, vulture, stork – all eyeing the carcass as a lion made a meal of its kill.

Snowy Egret and Gray Heron (Aswan, Egypt)

We had few opportunities to photograph wildlife in Egypt – most of our days were spent at ancient Egyptian temples and ruins. But our last day in Aswan, we spent part of a morning on a leisurely boat ride to look for wildlife. Mostly we saw birds – this egret and heron, cormorants, and a few unidentified small birds.

Bird Weekly: Perched

Lisa Coleman’s Bird Weekly photo challenge this week has the topic of birds perched up.

Crows on a roof, Arlington Heights, Illinois
Woodpecker, probably female (Arlington Heights, IL)
What are these birds looking at?? (Masada, Israel)
This superb starling gave me a penetrating look! (Serengeti, Tanzania)
These guys were so well camouflaged, I almost didn’t see them! (Serengeti, Tanzania)
Storks hang out in an acacia tree at sunset. (Serengeti, Tanzania)
I’m sure I’ve posted these lovebirds before, but they’re so cute! (Ndutu, Tanzania)
Hornbill in Arusha National Park, Tanzania
Black & white ibis in Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

Buffleheads in Black & White

Bird Weekly has as its topic this week Birds in Black & White (Monochrome). Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge is Anything in Flight (or capable of flight).

A couple of weeks ago, before the swans returned, my husband and I were taking a walk around our campus, and saw an interesting bird on West Pond, the larger of our two ponds. It was a group of six black & white ducks (or they seemed to be ducks), smaller than mallards, and they were diving birds, unlike mallards. They would dive and not surface for several seconds, then one by one, they’d pop up again. They reminded me of loons in that way, but I knew they weren’t loons. And also they seemed to have choreographed moves: they would swim one direction and then, all together, they would switch and go the other way. We had never seen these ducks before. I went home and searched on the Internet and concluded that they were bufflehead ducks. We grabbed our cameras with telephoto lenses and headed back to the pond.

After downloading the photos, I could see that they were indeed bufflehead ducks, which have somewhat enlarged heads, black & white with fluorescent green around their neck (which we couldn’t see in the photos – the birds were too far away). I concluded they were all males. Someone told me that they are often seen on Lake Arlington, about a mile north of here. So I guess they just decided to drop in and check out our pond! The next day, they were gone.

This was as close up as I could get with my 300mm lens. They’re so cute!
Taking flight in tandem

The great thing about these two challenges this week is that these ducks are basically black & white, so there’s no color missing in their plumage in these monochrome photos!

Bird Weekly: Long Legs

Lisa Coleman of Our Eyes Open‘s Bird Weekly photo challenge this week asks us to post long-legged birds.

Heron, Arlington Heights, IL, USA
White heron, Aswan, Egypt
Blacksmith plover, Arusha NP, Tanzania
Congregation of egrets, Tarangire NP, Tanzania
Marabou stork with carcass & vultures, Ndutu-Serengeti, Tanzania
A pair of ostriches, Serengeti NP, Tanzania
Flamingos at Amsterdam Zoo, the Netherlands

Bird Weekly: Black-Feathered Birds

Lisa Coleman’s Bird Weekly Challenge this week is birds with black feathers.

Canada goose (Illinois, USA)
Red-winged blackbird (Illinois, USA)
May also be a red-winged blackbird (Masada, Israel)
Blacksmith plover (Ngorongoro, Tanzania)
Ibis (Arusha NP, Tanzania)
(I’ve forgotten the name of this bird – Tanzania)
Ostriches (Serengeti, Tanzania)
Stork (Serengeti, Tanzania)
Kory bustard (Tarangire NP, Tanzania)

Bird Weekly: Feathered Friends

The Bird Weekly photo challenge this week invites us to share the feathered friends that visit or live in our home space. We have a lot of birds on the campus of our senior community, but I am only including those who actually come into our yard – ducks, geese, and robins!

Although this particular Canada goose was not in our yard at the time I took this photo (I just really like this photo), we do often get visits from flocks of these guys who think they own the place!

Here are three photos I took in sequence of several ducks who hang out together – in the pond, taking a nap on shore, or taking walks in people’s yards! Over the summer, these ducks proliferated, and now that their young have grown, large groups of ducks are in abundance!

Bird Weekly: Yellow & Orange-Legged Birds

Lisa Coleman at Our Eyes Open has a photo challenge, Bird Weekly. This week’s topic is “birds with orange or yellow legs.”

Around here are lots of mallard ducks.

I couldn’t resist posting this one – the ducklings are so cute!

Sea gulls have yellow legs (and yellow beaks too!) like this one at Mont St.-Michel, France.

Tanzania is rich in bird species.

Stork – his legs look pinkish, perhaps light orange?
Kory bustard – again, hard to tell if they are pink or orange.
Weaver – very yellow!
I think this Egyptian heron has orangish legs – unlike the species we have here.
OK, this egret’s legs are black, but he’s got yellow FEET!! Very cool!