Taken For Granted

(Above: red-shouldered hawk wipes bill on railing after eating red swamp crayfish, on post behind hawk) I recently spent a few days at a coastal Virginia hawk watch witnessing hundreds of hawks passing overhead on their migratory treks south. Osprey, sharp-shinned and Cooper’s hawks, harriers, bald eagles, merlins and kestrels made up the bulk of the cast. And, of course, there were lesser birds as palm warblers, parula, kinglets, flickers, as well various butterflies, like monarch, buckeye, and fiery andRead more

What Feather

At the tail end of this past winter, I noticed a feather floating in the water just off the boardwalk. It was black with white triangular notches on the inner vane. The feather looked to be about 4 inches long, maybe a bit smaller. By its shape, I could tell that it was either an inner primary or secondary feather (wing feather) of a medium sized bird. This feather both puzzled and troubled me. The feather puzzled me because IRead more

PG and Raven

A Peregrine Falcon (PG) flew directly over me at approximately 11 AM on February 10 as I walked towards the steps leading down into the Butterfly House here at the Museum. The bird was heading north. To my knowledge, this was the first of this species recorded here at the Museum. This sighting completes the list of falcons likely to be seen here, which includes Kestrel, Merlin, and now Peregrine. There are six North American falcons. The Aplomado Falcon, PrairieRead more

Migrants, Avian and Lepidopteran

The first White-throated Sparrow of the season showed up at the feeders at Flying Birds in Catch the Wind on Thursday, 14 October. Although I’ve been predicting an eagle for the past few weeks (wishful thinking), I really expected one yesterday (10/15) as the winds and timing were conducive to the passage of the big birds. It didn’t happen, or at least I didn’t see one. I did happen to see an American Kestrel moving through, flapping and gliding directlyRead more