Tundra swans at Blackwater Wildlife Refuge. Most of the birds were far away for viewing, so we made heavy use of binoculars and could have used my scope except the focus ring broke on it.

December 23, 2018

I’ve been doing a lot of birding the last month.  I didn’t start a life list until a couple months ago.  It’s pretty late in life to start one, but better late than never.  I’ve been paying more attention to bird behavior and details and it has really heightened my outdoor experiences.

I did the St. Augustine Christmas Bird Count.  It was the first CBC I’ve done.  We got up well before sunrise in hopes of seeing a Great Horned Owl and we were rewarded for our efforts.  We saw our owl.

20181216 Great Horned Owl
Great Horned Owl at Sunrise.

We spent the morning birding the Palencia Saltmarsh.  I saw my first Surf Scoter.

Surf Scoter
Surf Scoter at Palencia Saltmarsh.
Black Skimmer skimming.
Black Skimmer skimming.

We spent the afternoon on the Intracoastal Waterway and I saw more birds than I have ever seen in my life.  I was overwhelmed.  I didn’t know enough about identifying shorebirds, especially in winter plumage.  I took lots and lots of pictures and with help identified them from the pictures and counted them.  I need to find a better plan for  next year.

We saw at least a dozen Ospreys and saw one carrying what we thought was a snake.  I managed to get a picture.  From the picture, we were able to see it was a Needlefish.  It was a cool but unfortunate fish.

Osprey with Needlefish.
Osprey with Needlefish.
White Pelicans, brown pelicans, cormorants, and other shorebirds.
White Pelicans, brown pelicans, cormorants, and other shorebirds.

I came to Maryland last week to visit family and friends and go birding.  I had a great time visiting people and a couple wildlife refuges.  I got lucky.  In spite of the Federal budget impasse, the Blackwater Wildlife Refuge was open yesterday.  My brother and I stayed until sunset and watched the moon rise.  With so many ducks, geese, and swans flying around, we saw great views of birds flying across the moon.  I never got a good picture, but I wouldn’t mind trying again and again.  It was peaceful and beautiful.

Tundra swans flying at sunset.
Tundra swans flying at sunset.
Bald Eagle couple having a discussion. My brother thinks they were discussing what to have for dinner.
Gull at sunset
Moonrise over Blackwater Wildlife Refuge
Moonrise over Blackwater Wildlife Refuge

One Comment on “Birds

  1. Lovely photos. We had a Great Horned Owl in our backyard a few months ago. Saw him/her at dusk while walking Henry. Beautiful!! The owl was eyeing Henry pretty hard. I tried on several attempts to take some pictures but never got the opportunity.


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