Bird watching thread

JayR

Woodpecker
A Snowy Owl was spotted in New York's Central Park. This magnificent bird has not been seen this far south in many years.

This article questions whether or not social media should be used to tell the world about the bird's location.

I have mixed feelings.

 
A Snowy Owl was spotted in New York's Central Park. This magnificent bird has not been seen this far south in many years.

This article questions whether or not social media should be used to tell the world about the bird's location.

I have mixed feelings.

Here is a fascinating documentary about the number of birds that pass through there - apparently the urban area 'funnels' all the migrating birds to the park so ironically, it becomes one of the best places in the US to see birds!:
 
For birders, this is a cute, fun film about the birding community and a race to get the most birds:
 

Coja Petrus Uscan

Hummingbird
Gold Member
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Max Roscoe

Kingfisher
I recently visited Middle Creek Wildlife Preserve on the east coast, in Lancaster County, PA (Amish country).
This is a beautiful rural lake in a hilly region a couple of hours from Washington DC.

About 20 years ago, Snow Geese suddenly began arriving here, by the thousands. These birds love the cold and are migrating *north* to Canada in the early spring, when the thawing snow along the Atlantic states becomes too warm a climate for them.

If you are there during peak migration (around March 8th this year, which I was fortunate enough to make), one can see 100,000 Snow Geese on this small lake at once. The experience cannot be fully described in words or pictures, as you are immersed in the sounds and sights of mass bird.

The birds are actively feeding in the fields nearby during the day, roosting on the lake at night. In mornings or evenings, they will often take off from the lake in one giant wave, appearing as a tsunami of white, with loud noises which must be experienced to understand. It is a sight like nothing I've seen before.

If you live anywhere nearby, it is worth a visit. I saw several Amish and Mennonites there. While everyone else was furiously snapping away with their smartphones or cameras, I watched a large Amish family smile and quietly observe the birds, passing a single pair of binoculars among each other, before returning to their horse and buggy for the long drive back home. Many of them probably travelled an hour or more to arrive for the 6AM sunrise.

The nearby town of Lititz, PA is a wonderful home base if you decide to stay overnight, with old town charm, and lots of history, including the Hamilton Watch collection held by the National Watch and Clock Museum about 15 minutes away, and several local businesses like Wilbur Chocolate Company (delicious, made on site), Fox Valley Creamery (some of the best ice cream I've had, made on site), and Tomato Pie Cafe. This region is known for chocolate and dairy (Hershey, PA is nearby). Sadly I did not have time to tour the Amish country, but will next year.

While the birds have mostly left, updates and a live video feed are found here:
If you visit in person, be prepared for crowds. The parking lot was almost full at 6AM before sunrise, with hundreds of photographers and many more families arriving later and throughout the day. I would advise to come for early mornings and late evenings during weekdays. Late Feb to early March is peak, though being there on the actual peak day is not necessary. You do not need a telephoto lens, though that is what I used in the following shots. There are so many birds, a wide angle lens can capture them while in flight.

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Polyhistor

Pigeon
Each spring, I make a trip to our largest salt lake in Austria (Lange Lacke). This year, it was extremely dry and not as many birds were present as usual, but I could take at least some photos:
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Shelducks prefer the sea, so there are only short-term guests here in spring.

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Greylag Goose are very common, but their family life is always fun to watch. There were also some White-fronted Goose as short-term guests from the arctic, but I could not get close enough for a photo.

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Pied Avocets filling the sky

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Skylark male exhibiting its best alpha behaviour
 

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Polyhistor

Pigeon
Since we had perfect spring weather, I also visited a nature reserve in the floodplain forest of the river Morava, where one of the largest colonies of storks in Europe can be found. The storks had already arrived from Africa and were repairing their nests, but they were not breeding yet.

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The couples seem to live harmoniously together, but experiments have shown that they actually do not know each other! They only know their nests, whereby the male will tolerate any female and fight other mails, and the female will tolerate any male and fight other females. So it is possible to replace one female by another and the male will not notice that anything had changed.

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Material for the nest is transported.
 

Max Roscoe

Kingfisher
That beak is like a swordfish! They must be fishers, no?
A reminder for US birders that we are approaching mating season and some of the best times for birdwatching. I put my hummingbird feeder out last night and this morning I already had a visitor! In the past, I remember it taking several days before anyone found my feeder, but many birds remember feeding locations from prior years so I may have return visitors already.
 

Polyhistor

Pigeon
That beak is like a swordfish! They must be fishers, no?
A reminder for US birders that we are approaching mating season and some of the best times for birdwatching. I put my hummingbird feeder out last night and this morning I already had a visitor! In the past, I remember it taking several days before anyone found my feeder, but many birds remember feeding locations from prior years so I may have return visitors already.
Actually, they are not really fishers, but feed on everything which is small enough, including fish. Their main prey are usually frogs, but you can see them also on meadows hunting for mice and lizard.
 

Birderguy

Chicken
Actually, they are not really fishers, but feed on everything which is small enough, including fish. Their main prey are usually frogs, but you can see them also on meadows hunting for mice and lizard.
Yes, watched a migrating one which had overshot (in UK). It flicked voles into the air with its beak then swallowed them whole with its beak open. A bit like a kid eating malteasers (or candy) lol
 
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