April 30, 2020

FJ8- Lone Rock Point

On April 29th, 2020 I went to Rock Point to watch birds (and enjoy the excellent weather). I was there from about 12:15-1:45pm. It was sunny with a slight breeze. The habitat was mostly wooded, with the foot trails not too far from me. I sat past the main point on Rock Point. I was next to the edge so I was able to observe birds in the water and in the woods.

While I was out I saw 2x House Sparrows playing around in a tree that had fallen over. I saw and heard quite a few Black-capped Chickadees. I was able to hear a woodpecker in the distance but could not visually locate it. I also heard two very loud Canadian geese next to me, I couldn't see them for a few seconds but then they zoomed past me, above the water, flying at the same elevation as the land. I heard many other birds but I do not remember what bird calls come from which bird, so I'm not even going to try and identify those.

Posted on April 30, 2020 19:03 by aalderman aalderman | 4 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 24, 2020

FJ7 - Oakledge Park Watching

On Wednesday, April 23rd I went to Oakledge Park to observe birds. I went from 3:35pm-5:05pm. It was very sunny, blue sky and no clouds. It was a whopping 48 degrees Fahrenheit. Only a slight breeze every now and again. I walked through the paths to the right of the building and sat a little off the trail. The habitat is not fragmented but there are a lot of trails and human interruptions.

As far as nesting, I think I saw a nest in a tall pine tree. I'm thinking a bird would choose that spot because it gives them the ability to overlook the area without other trees in the way to watch for predators. I also observed some dead trees with little hollow holes in them. I think that smaller birds choose to nest in these. It provides protection from weather and larger predators. But may also be a nest for chipmunks or squirrels. I did not see many birds (but I could hear them, so frustrating) so I did not observe much behavior. I think birds nesting around Oakledge Park will use small twigs and leaves to build a nest. There is a lot of debris on the forest floor.

I was able to hear a woodpecker twice, I am not sure if it was the same one both times I heard it. I saw a single Herring Gull flying in a large circle every twenty minutes. I think this is either because it was bored or it was to protect a nest/look for resources. Then I saw one Black-capped Chickadee hopping around on a few branches before it flew away out of sight. I observed two birds flying quickly between the trees, too quick for my beginner eye. A few minutes before I left I spotted two Canadian geese flying together over the water.

I heard many loud and aggressive calls throughout my time, but also heard many soft and sweet little chirps. I think the loud calls may have to do with territorial actions, but also could be to attract a mate that may not be close. It is hard to diagnose this because I could not see the birds, so I wasn't able to look at their behavior. I think that the soft little chirps may have been a playful thing, like a bird version of hide-and-seek.

I enjoyed doing the sound map. I had to chuckle at myself a few times trying to draw squiggles that described what I was hearing. A lot harder than I anticipated. I was surrounded by birds, they were just out of sight. It is hard for my untrained eye to spot birds, even though I hear where they are.

Posted on April 24, 2020 03:10 by aalderman aalderman | 1 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 15, 2020

FJ6 - Centennial Woods

On April 15th, 2020 I went to Centennial Woods to observe birds. I was there from 5:15-6:40pm. It was around 40 degrees Fahrenheit and a moderate breeze. The habitat was surrounded by tall pine trees, and I sat in a little opening with some small bushy trees surrounding the opening.

At first, I was curious to try and use a recording of a chickadee to see if they would come to me. It worked! Two came flying over and one of them started calling back. I felt bad and turned off the sound. The chickadee kept calling out to the non-existent chickadee and I got sad. Next I saw one Canadian goose fly above me. I saw/heard a woodpecker but was too far away to specify which species of woodpecker it was. I heard a lot of crows flying in the distance. I also heard some other bird calls but wasn't able to identify what species of birds the call belonged to.

Posted on April 15, 2020 23:27 by aalderman aalderman | 2 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 09, 2020

FJ5 - Ethan Allen Park

On April 8th, 2020 between the times 1800-1930 I went to Ethan Allen Park in the North End of Burlington, Vermont. The weather was mostly cloudy, with a slight northward wind of 7mph. It was 49 degrees Fahrenheit. The surrounding habitat was tall oak, maple, etc. trees and a few red or white pines with not much of an under story. It was very rocky with a large rock cliff on the hill. There is a road on either side of this location and a park in the front. There was a lot of human noise pollution. Mostly people talking loudly on their porches and lots of cars driving by. There were only a few people walking along the trails in the park.

For the first 45 minutes I did not see any birds, but could hear them in the distance. I decided to move to a different location within the park in hopes of better luck.

At my new spot there wasn't a ton of bird activity, but I did see a few. The first bird I saw was a small bird, quickly flying past me, not giving me any chance of identifying it. Shortly after I saw two American Robins very briefly, they seemed to be just browsing around. American Robins are found year round in this area, so I am assuming they are facultative migrants? If they even migrate? I'm not sure. According to an online source, some American Robins migrate between 310-933 miles. If these Robins did migrate I think they came from the south (Virginia area maybe?) and are arriving in Burlington for the beginning of spring. Maybe they want to claim their territory before other birds start to migrate back?

Next, I heard a flock of Canadian geese and looked up to spot (my best guess) about 15-25 of them. They were flying north following North Ave, towards the islands in Lake Champlain or Canada. The All About Birds website tells me that some geese could be in this area year round, or they could be returning from the south to breed in northern Canada. I assume most Canadian geese are obligate migrants, except the ones that live in an area that do not require migration. I could not find information regarding typical flock size during migration. Since this flock seemed relatively small compared to others I have seen in my life, I am making the assumption that these specific geese were either not migrating or only migrating a short distance. It makes sense to me that geese who migrate do so in larger flocks. I read that Canadian geese typically migrate between 2,000-3,000 miles.

Lastly, I saw two American crows fly over my head. I do not think these birds were migrating since Burlington is within their year round range.

The total miles traveled by the birds I observed today the miles traveled for migration range between 2,310 and 3,933. That is if the birds I saw were actually migrating. Unfortunately, of all the birds I saw, they were close enough to identify but too far away to take an image or audio recording on my phone. That is why my observations do not have media. On an interesting note, I heard a bird behind me that would not stop calling for twenty minutes straight with VERY little time between calls, I was getting slightly annoyed. It wasn't until I stood up to walk to my car that the bird finally stopped calling (of course). This trip wasn't as successful as I was hoping. I'm starting to think I either pick terrible spots or birds know I'm watching them and laugh as they fly away.

Posted on April 09, 2020 02:33 by aalderman aalderman | 3 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 26, 2020

FJ4 - Collier County Excursion

On March 25th, 2020 I went on a birding trip for 90 minutes. I was in Naples, Florida and began observations at 5:18pm EST. The weather was partly cloudy, breezy, humid, and the temperature was ~84 degrees Fahrenheit. The surrounding habitat was man-made as I was in a gated community sitting on a bench near one of the many retention ponds. There were a few tall trees (i.e. palm trees), shorter brush bushes, and smaller shrubby bushes. There were many houses around, groomed landscapes, roads, and sidewalks. Human activity was present in every direction of this area.

Sadly, there were not many birds to see during my time outside. I was not able to witness much interaction between birds. The one interaction I saw were between 4 birds of the same species (was not able to identify). These birds seemed to be "chasing" each other around in a playful manner. They were making calls during this time to which I assumed was a sort of "come and get me" call, or some sort of playful communication. Another assumption is that they were foraging in a group and using their calls to signal about food availability.

The bird I spent the most time observing was the Snowy Egret. This bird was by himself on the shore of the retention pond. His (assuming it was male) plumage was all white. I assume the color white is preference due to the scorching sun and the white may deflect some of the heat. When he first landed he stood still in the same spot for about fifteen minutes. I think this was to scope out the area and check for any predators. After this he browsed the edges of the pond to forage for small water animals/insects. His movements were slow and stealthy, but moved quick when chasing something. Since it was close to sunset I believe this birds daily circadian rhythm was influencing the foraging behavior.

The last birds I saw today were two male Red-bellied Woodpecker's. These two birds flew into the same tree but kept distance between them. They moved around the branches "inspecting" different parts of the tree. They did not make any vocalizations. After about twenty minutes these two left the tree and I can only assume followed one another to another tree to investigate.

Overall this was an interesting excursion due to the fact I was watching birds that are native to a state across the country from Vermont. It was interesting to see species similar to ones in Vermont (woodpecker) and ones not found anywhere close to Vermont (Egret). I developed many questions about bird behavior and weather. The local birds here only encounter warm weather, so I wonder how this contrasts with bird behavior up north. If it wasn't for mandatory quarantine I would love to explore the Everglades here in Florida and all the birds that inhabit the area.

Posted on March 26, 2020 01:48 by aalderman aalderman | 2 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

February 20, 2020

Oakledge Park Excursion

On February 17th, between the times of 1500-1630 hours I observed a few birds while sitting at Oakledge Park in South Burlington, Vermont. It was a sunny day with no clouds, around 24 degrees Fahrenheit. I walked into a small wooded corridor that boarders Lake Champlain. I believe there were mostly small hemlock or cedar trees with a few large Oak trees. It was not densely forested with multiple feet between each tree. It was very quiet on this day with only the sounds of the Lake and the few people roaming the area.
The fist pair of birds I observed were two Canadian Geese flying over the water and then off into the distance. They were rapidly flapping their wings with no observable rests between each stroke. Their wings were somewhat long and narrow but also had width. Since these birds migrate they need this shape of wing to enable them to fly long distances, with good speed, at a time.
The second bird I witnessed was an American Crow. I only caught a quick glimpse and was not able to make out wing shape or flight patterns. I confirmed it was this species based off of its distinct call, which was heard periodically throughout the 90 minutes.
Next I was able to hear the song of a Black-capped Chickadee. I didn't hear or see them right away, it wasn't until I had been sitting for a little while. Once I heard the song I was able to spot one of the three total I observed. After a few minutes of searching I was able to locate the other two. They were calling back and forth to one another (or at least it seemed as so). They were hopping around from branch to branch and mostly flew when moving to another tree. I was able to catch the flight of one bird as it soared over my head to another tree. It flapped its wings quickly and then tucked them in to dive downwards then flapped quickly again to gain height. I was not able to see their wing shape due to their small size, my lack of binoculars, and the speed at which they were flying. I would assume they would be short and wide wings since they mostly stay local to one area.
Lastly, towards the middle/end of my excursion I moved up a slight hill in hopes to see more birds on the other side. To my luck I happened to hear a woodpecker pecking at a tree. This was a Downy Woodpecker who seemed to be solo. I didn't witness much flight, apparently these birds can hop greater distances than I was expecting without opening their wings. From what I did see, it flapped its wings in up and down without much rotation. It had medium length wings with wide feathers. To stop abruptly it pushed its wings forward, spreading out all the feathers.
I did not see many birds on this excursion most likely due to the fact that it was a narrow corridor of trees, with water on one side and an open park on the other. It was rather cold this day so it could be possible some birds were less active to stay warm and save energy. To witness more birds next time I will choose and area that has a larger and more dense forest covering.

Posted on February 20, 2020 05:16 by aalderman aalderman | 4 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

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