Thursday, November 7, 2013

Five New Birds

I have seen five new birds in three days! That's a new record for me! The first bird I saw was a Towhee. Spotted or Eastern? I don't know! But I'm leaning towards Spotted Towhee. Oh, and did you know, that just like the Baltimore Oriole and the Bullock's Oriole were lumped together as one species(Northern Oriole), the Eastern Towhee and the Spotted Towhee were lumped together as the Rufous Sided Towhee. But, since I can't really say I saw a Rufous Sided Towhee, it has to be Spotted or Eastern! What do you think? The next bird I saw was a Fox Sparrow. I may have seen one last year, but I don't remember, so I'm just gonna call it new. Another bird was a Golden Crowned Kinglet. When I saw this, I just went 'gasp' and snapped a picture. the next one that showed up was a American Tree Sparrow. Nothing much to say about this bird except that I got a good picture. The last bird was a Bonaparte's Gull. Dad and I went to Saylorville lake and saw some fish skeletons and a big flock of Ring Billed Gulls. I started taking pictures and looking at them closely, hoping to find a Herring Gull. But what I found was the Bonaparte's Gull, and that's good enough for me!
Towhee. But is it Spotted or Eastern? I'm thinking Spotted!

Another look at the Towhee's wings and tail.

Fox Sparrow.

Golden Crowned Kinglet.

American Tree Sparrow.

The small gull in the middle with the black spot is the Bonaparte's gull. The rest are Ring billed gulls.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Bald Eagles

I live near a small river, and there are at least two bald eagles living there. In the first picture, notice how that looks nothing like an eagle! That's because bald eagles don't get their white head and tail until they are five years old. In first and second years, they have mottled brown and white feathers all over their body. In the third year, their plumage is still mottled, but with more white on the head. In the fourth year, they have a solid brown body, but a thick brown stripe behind their eye, making them look a lot like an osprey. The first time I saw an adult bald eagle at the creek, I didn't have my camera! Of all the things! So I actually ran back home to get it, but just as I was coming back, the eagle left. I knew I would probably see him again, I just didn't know when. But I did see him again, this time with my camera.

The reason this bald eagle's eye looks so strange is because he is showing his nictitating membrane. It's kind of like a third eyelid that goes sideways over the eye to clear debris from the eye, or to protect it's eye while going underwater. I think most birds have it,  even some animals that aren't birds have it!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


So, I was going on a walk (like usual), I saw some nice things, like ruby crowned kinglets. When I going back home, I saw about ten franklin's gulls passing overhead. So I thought, maybe I can get a picture. Well I tried. They are very fast. It's hard. When I looked to see where they were going, I saw a HUGE flock of gulls nearby! There were probably, I don't know, about more birds than I've ever seen in my life? Yeah. It was that many. Also, on the last walk I took, I saw this funny hawk land on a log. It seemed to be around 15 inches. But it didn't have a rusty breast like a red shouldered hawk, and it didn't have a gray back like a sharp shinned hawk. It seemed too small for a red tailed hawk.
Just to give you an idea of many gulls there were, imagine this many........... x5.

Unknown hawk. EDIT: Found out this is an immature Cooper's Hawk.
Orange-crowned Warbler

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Friday, October 4, 2013

Good birds and some mysteries

First off, I've got some mysteries for some better birders than me to solve. On a walk I took a couple days ago, I may have seen a northern parula, a broad winged hawk, and on another walk I took, I think I saw an orange crowned warbler. I have pictures, so could somebody please identify them? In the meantime, I have been seeing a lot of good birds lately! There has been a LOT of kinglets. Yesterday, I probably saw about, say, five. Today I saw about thirty. Tomorrow there's probably gonna be around fifty! Also, a ton of yellow rumped warblers just popped up out of nowhere. And strangely enough, I saw three juvenile cardinals!
Northern parula? (Tuns out this is a young yellow rumped warbler.)

First shot of a song sparrow! (Due to comments(Thank you!), It tuns out that this is a lincoln's sparrow, which was actually the very bird I was looking for!)

First or second year bald eagle! There is an adult in the area too.

Broad winged hawk? I've been seeing them often.

Juvenile cardinal.

Black and white warbler!

Orange crowned warbler? (YES!)

Monday, September 30, 2013


I have seen a lot of woodpeckers this past week, one of them the red bellied woodpecker I don't see often for some reason. I also got some beautiful shots of a flicker, as below. With their flashy yellow tails and wings, and pink head, flickers have to be THE prettiest woodpeckers in North America.


Downy woodpecker.

Probably my best shot of a downy.

Red bellied woodpecker!

Flicker by the creek.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


A couple of weeks ago, my dad and I went to a lake near where I live. We saw a lot of birds including great white pelicans, ring billed gulls, great blue herons, turkey vultures, and american crows! I saw 4 or 5 herons, which is more than I've ever seen at once. There was more pelicans there than anything else! Several of the pelicans I saw still had their chick-feeding plumage. 

There were even more pelicans than this!

The one on the far left has the chick feeding plumage.

Flying pelicans.

The heron has a beard!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

House finch babies

I have been watching this nest with four House Finch eggs in it, and I've been waiting to see them hatch for weeks! Now finally, there is one newly hatched house finch, and another one is starting to come out out of it's egg. It was sticking it's mouth up before I took the pictures, but I wish it still could have been doing that, it was so cute!
Here's momma!

There used to be five, but the fifth one didn't survive, because I found it out of the nest.

Here's before.........

Here's after! Look at all that fuzz!

The egg in the upper left is the one that's starting to hatch.

Monday, May 20, 2013

New Birds

I JUST SAW A HUMMINGBIRD! She was a ruby throated! And others (no pictures)....... American Redstart, Golden Winged Warbler, Canada Geese CHICKS (I've seen the geese, just not the chicks), Blue Headed Vireo, Wood Thrush (a month ago)......... Wow. That's actually not that much. Oh, but there's this one bird that I haven't seen but I hear it so much It's going to drive me CRAZY if I can't identify it soon! It's song sounds like "ChipChipChipZeeeeee." The whole song takes about four or five seconds. if anyone is a better birder than me (Which is likely), can someone tell me what it is!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


My friend's house has baby robins! I guess I missed out on the eggs and stuff. We have a pair of robins too, but they just keep building nests and then leaving them, so I thought it wasn't time yet. There is also a pair of starlings, and every time I get too close (I don't even know how I can be too close, considering the fact that their nest is a hundred feet in the air), they scold me really harshly! And yesterday my dad found a baby mouse (it had fur, so the mother didn't just abandon it), and he thought we would like to see it, so he brought it home it a jar. With air holes, just so you know. It was so cute! It was at least two inches long including the tail! But we let him go that same day, so the cuteness wasn't for long.
Four baby Robins!

Look at that mouth!

Baby mouse!

He's so CUTE!

Starling's nest is sort of by that hole to the right.

See the stuff hanging from that hole?

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mallard eggs

I have some SUPER exiting news to share! I found a nest with FIVE Mallard eggs in it! I was looking at a supposed Great Crested Flycatcher, which I have never seen before, so of course I wanted to look at it, when a female Mallard EXPLODED out from the grass in front of me! She scared me so bad, but I didn't want to step where she was sitting, because I new that ducks DO NOT sit in tall, hidden grass for no reason, so I looked in, and my thoughts were right!
Closeup of Mallard eggs!

I can't wait for ducklings!

This HAS to be her mate.

Male Red-Winged Blackbird. I found his mate, but no pictures.

Great Crested Flycatcher? They have a rufous under-tail.

A pair of geese I also found.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Raccoon River Park

Yesterday, everybody except dad went to Raccoon River Park to have a picnic. But almost all the roads to the park were being worked on! So we got a little lost, and we found a nice state park. It doesn't have a lot of equipment, but it does have some walking trails, and I saw my first Gray Catbird there! There was a park office there (I'm guessing since it was a state park), and we finally got to Raccoon River Park! When we were going to R.R. Park, we saw a Pileated Woodpecker! (new) They're not even in this part of Iowa! While we WERE there, I saw some canada geese, a Killdeer (new bird!), a Snow Goose? (that might not have been what it was, but it was a new bird!) And there is a building with bathrooms in it, and some Barn Swallows are building a nest on it! They must have been doing it there for years, because I went around the bathrooms, and there were other places were swallow nests had been. 
 This is either a poisonous Water Moccasin, or a regular water snake. None of us wanted to find out, just in case.                 
The nest that the Barn Swallows are working on.
Same snake. Notice how it has a fat part, maybe it just ate a frog, or it's about to lay eggs.
A previous nest for the Barn Swallows?
Probably a sparrow nest.
A sand face that mom made.