Ian Clark: Blog https://www.ianclark.com/blog en-us (C)2019 Ian Clark (Ian Clark) Sat, 11 Sep 2021 09:58:00 GMT Sat, 11 Sep 2021 09:58:00 GMT https://www.ianclark.com/img/s/v-12/u414420394-o321838656-50.jpg Ian Clark: Blog https://www.ianclark.com/blog 86 120 Loon Chicks at Ten Weeks, September 7, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/9/loon-chicks-at-ten-weeks-september-7-2021 Our loon chicks are now about ten and a half weeks old. I had a chance to catch up with them this morning. Both chicks seem to be doing well. They're growing fast. Both are feeding on their own - as well as pestering their parents for food. They're getting fairly independent, one wander off something like a half mile from the parent on duty this morning. (Only one parent was around this morning, the other has probably headed off for a short break.)
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire

One of the osprey made an appearance as well. It flew over the pond a few times, then settled on a branch to watch. After several minutes, it flew back over with a nice breakfast. 
OspreyOspreyOsprey
OspreyOspreyOsprey

Most of the loon's morning was spent foraging, or pestering the parent to forage. The loons didn't seem to have much luck catching fish. The parent surfaced several times with fingerlings, but never a good-sized fish. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire

But, crayfish were plentiful.
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire

Here's our parent inbound with another crayfish. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire

The handoff.... Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire

Oh, oh,  a fumble! Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire

The crayfish didn't get far, our chick ties again.. Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire

Ouch! Looks like the chick got pinched! Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire

The chick is determined and tries again. Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire

Let's see if it will go down this way.... Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire

Drats! Another fumble! Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire

OK, this time is going to work.... Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire

No! Not again! Once more the crayfish makes a break for it! Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire

But the crayfish's luck runs out.... Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire

As soon as our parent surfaced this morning, at least one of the chicks would head over and start pestering the parent for a meal. If the parent was delivering a meal, the chick would eat that and immediately start pestering. The parent was rarely on the surface for more than a few second at a time. The parent was  pretty good at deflecting the chick's bill away, but the chicks were persistent and often managed to pinch the parent.  Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire

One of our chicks eventually took a break from foraging and did some feather maintenance. 

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire
Followed by a stretch... Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire

The trees on the hills around our pond are already turning a little rusty. We've got just a few weeks left before our family moves on. 

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(Ian Clark) loon loons https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/9/loon-chicks-at-ten-weeks-september-7-2021 Tue, 07 Sep 2021 23:33:41 GMT
Saturday Morning With The Loon Family, August 21, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/8/saturday-morning-with-the-loon-family-august-21-2021 Our loon chicks are now ten weeks old. I had a chance to visit them on Saturday. Both appear to be doing well. Both have grown considerably since I last visited (18 days ago). They're now nearly adult size. They're foraging on their own, but still want their parents to feed them. They're getting very independent, much of the morning the family was spread out over something like half a mile of pond. Both chicks surfaced with crayfish and I saw a couple instances where a chick brought up a fish to get it pointed in the right direction, but not sure if it was both chicks or one repeatedly. 

They've lost their fluffy look and are growing into their winter plumage. Their bills are elongated and now look like the adult's. 

Let's go back to when they were five and six days old. Notice their bills. 
Common loons with chicksCommon loons with chicksCommon loon with chicks

This chick surfaced close to my boat this morning, you can see the how the bill has changed. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire

Loon chicks will pester their parents when they're hungry (which seems to be most of the time they're not sleeping). They'll poke and nibble their parent, usually around the neck, until the parent dives. The parents kept their distance from the chicks for much of the morning. They'd close up now and again and spend some time feeding the chicks. Several times I saw a chick try to approach a parent, only to have the parent dive and move away. They probably just needed some peace and quiet for a few minutes. 

Here's a chick closing in on one of the parents. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire

And a few shots of the chicks pestering an adult.
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire

The chicks are serious about getting attention. You can often see them grab hold of the adult's feathers. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire
And when grabbing a few feathers doesn't get action, a bigger bite and twisting may do the trick. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire

Now we're getting somewhere! One of the adults has caught a crayfish. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire

The handoff!
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire
Oh no! It is one of those dastardly crayfish that wants to put up a fight!

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire

Maybe a fish will be easier.

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire
Yup, that works.

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire
Of course, there's preening to be done. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire
And a couple of stretches after they've done their preening. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire
 

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(Ian Clark) common loon common loons loon loon chicks loon family loons https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/8/saturday-morning-with-the-loon-family-august-21-2021 Sun, 22 Aug 2021 00:44:10 GMT
Checking In With The Loons, August 4, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/8/checking-in-with-the-loons-august-4-2021 Our loon family with two chicks was receiving visitors yesterday morning, August 3. The chicks are now 46 & 47 days old. They both appear to be doing well. They're diving, and occasionally catching food, on their own. But, they're always hungry and encouraging the parents to feed them. 

The loons will have to take a brief hiatus. I'll be down at the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen Fair for through August 15. I'll resume the story as soon as possible after the Fair. 

The loons were foraging at the far end of the pond from the boat launch, I ran into some of the usual suspects along the way to see the loons. This is the most common view I get of common mergansers:

Common loonCommon loonCommon merganser, New Hampshire
 

Hank Heron was out and about. 
Great blue heronGreat blue heronGreat blue heron

The fishing wasn't very good this morning. Hank caught just one small fish while I watched. The loons came up with a few small fish for the chicks and the osprey made sever or eight dives without catching anything before perching to watch for a meal. 
Great blue heronGreat blue heronGreat blue heron OspreyOspreyOsprey

This was the largest fish I saw the parents hand off to the chicks. 

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire

The parents were foraging fairly far away from the chicks. They were covering a good portion of their pond. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire
 

An early morning stretch. Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire

One of the loons took some time off from feeding the chicks to preen and stretch.

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire

The chicks are getting big. From a distance, it is hard to tell them from their parents. Their fluff is going and their feathers are growing in.  Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire

The chicks were actively foraging in the shallow water. They both managed to catch food. There appeared to be several dragonfly nymphs, but most of what they caught was too small for me to ID.  Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire

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(Ian Clark) common loon common loons loon loons https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/8/checking-in-with-the-loons-august-4-2021 Wed, 04 Aug 2021 17:32:47 GMT
Update on Both Loon Families, July 30, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/7/update-on-both-loon-families-july-30-2021
Over the past several days, I've had a chance to stop in to visit both the loon families I've been following in the Upper Connecticut River Valley area. I was able to visit the family with two chicks four times, the other family once. I'm way behind on editing the pix, but here's a first look to see how everyone is doing. 

Let's start with our one-chick family. When these were taken on July 23, the chick was something like 33 days old. The chick looks to be doing well. It has grown notably, is feeding well and learning to loon. It even managed to catch a snack all by itself when I was there.

You can see that all the chick's bills are changing shape, getting longer and pointier. 

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, Upper Connecticut River Valley area

They've still got some growing to do if they're going to fit into their feet. 

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, Upper Connecticut River Valley area
Adolescent chicks will pester adults when they're hungry - which seems like most of the time they aren't sleeping. The chicks will nibble the adult, usually around the chest or neck until they get results. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, Upper Connecticut River Valley area
The chick's wings aren't yet up to providing the lift needed to fly. Actually, the little guy is probably just stretching. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, Upper Connecticut River Valley area
Sometimes you get lucky and the loons do something interesting in some nice light. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, Upper Connecticut River Valley area Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, Upper Connecticut River Valley area
And sometimes, they just disappear. Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, Upper Connecticut River Valley area
It had been 11 days since I visited the family with two chicks on July 22. The chicks were 33 and 34 days old and doing well. 

There was a visitor to the loon's pond just before sunrise. Mrs. Moose walked out of the woods and into the pond and swam across the pond. I was in her path, she ignored me, but I made good time getting out of her way. 

MooseMooseMoose
This shot gives you an idea of why loons look they way they do. On a day with just a slight wind, the pattern on their backs blends nicely with the highlights on the water. And, being white on the bottom, would help them blend into the sky if you were below and looking up. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, Upper Connecticut River Valley area
The chicks will often, and the adults occasionally, swipe at the water with their bill by shaking their head back and forth. My bet is that this is the loon equivalent of blowing your nose - a way to clear their sinuses. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, Upper Connecticut River Valley area
The adult has spotted an immature eagle flying over the pond. Before the adults swam off towards the eagle, they herded the chicks close to my boat. I've seen this several times over the years. It is likely that the loons believe that raptors want to stay well clear of people and boats, giving the chicks safe harbor. 

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon
With a threat overhead, loon chicks flatten themselves on the water. This makes their profile smaller, making it harder for a predator to spot them.  Common loonCommon loonCommon loon Common loonCommon loonCommon loon
I made it back to the pond on Saturday July 24 to check on them again. There was only one adult on the pond when I arrived about 0430. It is not uncommon for loons to wander off for a time. I imagine they just need a break to recharge. I've visited ponds where a loon was off on a break, but don't recall ever seeing one spend the night away. I took a good look around the pond to make sure the missing loon wasn't in distress. 


Here's a nice portrait of the adult on duty and the chicks.

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, Upper Connecticut River Valley area
One of the chicks. 

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, Upper Connecticut River Valley area

And a chick in need of a snack. 

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, Upper Connecticut River Valley area
And a snack headed inbound. 

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, Upper Connecticut River Valley area
That's a nice-sized brook trout. It took some work to get it down, but the chick was up for the challenge.  I'm not quite sure where a chick that small puts a fish that big when it swallows it.  Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, Upper Connecticut River Valley area
Having lots of chores do to around the house Saturday evening, I made the obvious choice and returned to the pond. Our absent loon was still absent and the chicks spent much of the evening napping. 

This little painted turtle was basking in the afternoon light. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, Upper Connecticut River Valley area
And, Mrs. Moose returned. Her presence attracted a flotilla of boats - 8 at one point. She didn't seem to care. One of the guys in a canoe asked if we were sure this was a moose. I have no earthly idea what else it could have been, but yes, yes we were sure. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, Upper Connecticut River Valley area
The moose spent about an hour browsing along the shore, above and below water. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, Upper Connecticut River Valley area
On July 27, I made it back before sunup, curious to see if our wayward loon had returned. My arrival was delayed by Mrs. Moose who was sauntering up the one lane road to the pond, stopping to browse as needed. She was going to do what she needed to do, and I could wait, thank you very much.  She eventually wandered off into the brush and I was able to continue. 

Both adults were back on the pond and working hard to feed the chicks. One takes a quick break to stretch. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, Upper Connecticut River Valley area
Loons eat crayfish - if you mange to see a loon eating, it is probably eating a crayfish. They swallow a lot of their prey underwater, but the crayfish need to be lined up to slide down tail first to avoid the pinchers. Loons will often bring them to the surface and toss them to get them lined up properly. The loons I've watched raise chicks before would usually bring fish to the chicks, with a few crayfish mixed in. This pair of loons seem partial to crayfish. Not sure if it is a personal taste or if crayfish are just more common than fish this year. Here's an adult inbound with a good-sized crayfish. 

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, Upper Connecticut River Valley area
And the handoff. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, Upper Connecticut River Valley area
Both adults heading inbound, each with a crayfish. Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, Upper Connecticut River Valley area
This turned into a race, with the adult with the smaller crayfish diving to get ahead.  Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, Upper Connecticut River Valley area
Here's a chick with the bigger of the crayfish. It looks like the crayfish was uncooperative and pinched the chick.  Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, Upper Connecticut River Valley area Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, Upper Connecticut River Valley area
The crayfish's strategy almost worked, the chick spit it out. The victory was short-lived, the chick hunted the crayfish down and swallowed it.  Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, Upper Connecticut River Valley area
After a nap, one of our chicks stretches. ​​​​​​ Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, Upper Connecticut River Valley area
I tried again on the 29th, heading up before sunup. Mrs. Moose ran across the parking lot and the boat launch before heading into the woods. The forecast was for mostly sunny, but that didn't work out. There were heavy clouds and the haze from the western wildfires. With much light, I mostly sat and watched. But, I did, sorta, catch an interaction between a loon and a family of geese. The goose family, two adults and a mostly grown gosling, have been around all summer. Mostly, the families ignore each other. I did see the single loon tending the chicks on the 24th drive the geese back at one point. But, this morning the geese were minding their own business swimming away from the chicks, probably about 600' feet and going way when one of our loons popped up to tell the geese to be gone. I imagine that having a ticked off loon appear out of nowhere to rear up over you must be a terrifying experience. The geese decided to move along. 

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon confronting geese
I'll be down at the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen Fair in Sunapee from August 7th to the 15th. Come on by and say hello. More info about the Fair at the League's site, NHCrafts.org

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(Ian Clark) baby loons loon loon chick loon chicks loons photos of loons pictures of loons https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/7/update-on-both-loon-families-july-30-2021 Fri, 30 Jul 2021 14:34:01 GMT
Finally! The Swallow Chick Fledges, July 21, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/7/finally-the-swallow-chick-fledges-july-21-2021 Our surviving tree swallow chick left the nesting box this morning. Mom moved him off to the brush along the edge of the yard. That may be the last we see of him. 

There He Goes! Swallow Fledges July 21, 2021

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(Ian Clark) baby swallows swallow swallow chicks swallows tree swallow tree swallows https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/7/finally-the-swallow-chick-fledges-july-21-2021 Wed, 21 Jul 2021 15:34:17 GMT
Swallow Update July 20, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/7/swallow-update-july-20-2021 Swallow Update July 20, 2021

Our little tree swallow is STILL with us. He's? been curious and looking out much of the day. He sits in the door to the box and looks out, but has always backed down and returned to the box. I wasn't around much of the morning, but when I was, Mom was calling to him. I haven't seen Dad for a couple days now. 

Our song sparrows have decided the much around the azaleas in front of the deck makes for a good dirt bath. Took me awhile to figure out what was making the noise that sounded like a bear rummaging through the shrubs. 

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(Ian Clark) baby swallows nesting swallows swallow swallow chicks swallows swallow's nest tree swallow tree swallows https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/7/swallow-update-july-20-2021 Tue, 20 Jul 2021 23:02:23 GMT
Swallow Update July 19, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/7/swallow-update-july-19-2021 Swallow Update July 19, 2021

Ok, I'm gonna start calling this guy Michael Rotondo as he doesn't want to leave. Mom has been calling all day - can birds go hoarse? She's popped in a couple times with food for the chick. Dad seems to have given up feeding the chick. 

Our hummingbirds have returned in force. Over the last couple weeks, we had occasional visits to the feeders. Rarely did two birds show up to contest the feeder. Yesterday, I noticed we've once again got a full time battle in progress. There's one male that sits on the nearby perch and chases off any other males and some of the females that dare try use his feeder. At one point this afternoon, we had six birds in full swoop to decide who got to feed. 

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(Ian Clark) baby swallows nesting swallows swallow swallow chicks swallows swallow's nest tree swallow tree swallows https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/7/swallow-update-july-19-2021 Mon, 19 Jul 2021 22:08:22 GMT
Swallow Update July 18, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/7/swallow-update-july-18-2021 Swallow Update July 18, 2021

Mom appears to have decide it is time for Junior to get a move on. She's been sitting on the perch in front of the box calling  almost all day. She's made only a couple trips in to feed the chick. We haven't seen dad feed the chick all day. But, the chick just isn't ready to go. He's? spent much of the day peering out the entrance. A couple times we thought he was ready to go, but he always turned back. 

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(Ian Clark) nesting swallows swallow swallow chicks swallows swallow's nest tree swallow tree swallows https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/7/swallow-update-july-18-2021 Sun, 18 Jul 2021 23:44:47 GMT
Swallow Update July 17, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/7/swallow-update-july-17-2021 Swallow Update July 17, 2021

Our tree swallow chick hasn't decided to venture out yet. He's? curious about the world, spending more time looking out. Mom and dad continue to feed him, but also spent some time perched outside calling to him. The book says that last Wednesday was the first day he could have fledge, and that he may stick around until Thursday. 

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(Ian Clark) nesting swallows swallow swallow chicks swallows swallow's nest tree swallow tree swallows https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/7/swallow-update-july-17-2021 Sun, 18 Jul 2021 00:13:49 GMT
Swallow Update July 16, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/7/swallow-update-july-16-2021 Swallow Update July 16, 2021

Our swallow chick remains in the box. Mom and dad are perched outside calling, but the chick doesn't seem interested. We've had a couple hot, humid days. Maybe the chick is waiting for better weather? This is the third day since we could have expected him? to fledge. 

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(Ian Clark) baby swallows nesting swallows swallow swallow chicks swallows swallow's nest tree swallow tree swallows https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/7/swallow-update-july-16-2021 Fri, 16 Jul 2021 20:24:51 GMT
Swallow Update July 15, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/7/swallow-update-july-15-2021 Swallow Update July 15, 2021

Our swallow chick is still with us in the box. He's? been very curious about the outside world and has hopped up to the entrance several times today. The first day he might have fledged was yesterday. Won't be long now. 

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(Ian Clark) baby swallows nesting swallows swallow swallow chicks swallows swallow's nest tree swallow tree swallows https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/7/swallow-update-july-15-2021 Fri, 16 Jul 2021 00:11:28 GMT
Swallow Update July 14, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/7/swallow-update-july-14-2021 Swallow Update July 14, 2021

Today was the first day we could expect our chick to fledge. Looks like he's? decided to stick around for a little longer. 

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(Ian Clark) baby swallows nesting box nesting swallows swallow swallow chicks swallows swallow's nest tree swallow tree swallows https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/7/swallow-update-july-14-2021 Wed, 14 Jul 2021 19:09:31 GMT
Swallow Update July 12, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/7/swallow-update-july-12-2021 Swallow Update July 12, 2021

Our surviving chick is getting curious about what's outside the box. He's? testing his wings, peering out and getting ready to launch. He could go as soon as Wednesday. 

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(Ian Clark) baby swallows nesting box nesting swallows swallow swallow chicks swallows swallow's nest tree swallow tree swallows https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/7/swallow-update-july-12-2021 Mon, 12 Jul 2021 19:02:37 GMT
A Visit With The Loons, Chicks Are 22 & 23 Days Old, July 11, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/7/a-visit-with-the-loons-chicks-are-22-23-days-old-july-11-2021 I spent the morning visiting the loon family with two chicks in the Upper Valley area. Both chicks appear to be doing well, both are growing rapidly, are active and feeding eagerly. 

The loons aren't the only inhabitants of their pond. This great blue heron was out and about a little before sun up.  Great blue heronGreat blue heronGreat blue heron

After the fog lifted, an osprey was up hunting for breakfast, and came to a hover almost directly overhead. Loons appear to differentiate osprey from other raptors at long range. Hawks and eagles are met with cries and the chicks flatten out to hide. But, the loons pretty much ignore the osprey (whose diet is almost entirely fish). I got some nice osprey shots back in May, if you missed that post, take a look at Osprey in Maine. OspreyOspreyOsprey OspreyOspreyOsprey OspreyOspreyOsprey

But, we came for the loons....

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon

One of the adults stretching. I think this is our banded loon. The Loon Preservation Committee banded a bird with this combination of bands at Lee's Pond in Moultonborough, NH, in 2015. The weren't able to determine the sex while banding (I'm betting this is mom - the other loon is clueless about dealing with the chicks). It was spotted on Lake Tarleton in 2015 and on the current pond since 2018. 
  
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon

This pair of adults seems particularly fond of crayfish for feeding the chicks. They delivered several large crayfish early in the morning. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon Common loonCommon loonCommon loon


This chick has learned to toss the crayfish up to grab it tail first for easier swallowing. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon Common loonCommon loonCommon loon
After the first feeding, there was a break while the parents preened and the chicks napped. One of the adults swam close to my boat to preen. I got great views as it cleaned and oiled its feathers. (And, 'close' is a relative term, these were with an 800mm lens and cropped.)

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon Common loonCommon loonCommon loon Common loonCommon loonCommon loon

Feathers adjusted, time to give them a fluff and check to see if they're repelling water. 

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon

The family spent most of the morning in shallow water, with the chicks practicing diving and foraging. It will be a while before they can feed themselves, but they've started learning. This guy made a successful dive and managed to catch a stick. Sticks apparently do not make good snacks. 

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire
The parents eventually got serious about feeding the chicks and started bringing in fish.  Common loonCommon loonCommon loon
Adult loons seem unfamiliar with the concept of volume. They brought in fish that appeared way too big for a chick to swallow. This little guy was up to the challenge, but had to work at it. 

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon


Common loonCommon loonCommon loon

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon Common loonCommon loonCommon loon
The other chick got a shot at the next fish that was delivered. 

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon
The chick promptly dropped the fish... 
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The adult recovered it, and handed (billed?) it back over. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon
This fish proved to be too big, one of the adults ended up eating it. 

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, Benton, New Hampshire

And a last shot of one of the chicks stretching. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon

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(Ian Clark) baby loons common loon common loons loon loon chicks loon pictures loons photos of loons https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/7/a-visit-with-the-loons-chicks-are-22-23-days-old-july-11-2021 Mon, 12 Jul 2021 01:34:40 GMT
Swallow Update July 10, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/7/swallow-update-july-10-2021 Swallow Update July 10, 2021

More sad news from the swallows today. Friday morning, both remaining chicks looked good and healthy. Both were moving around and feeding eagerly. I went out for a few hours, when I returned, dad was sitting in the box and one chick was active. When dad moved, I could see the other chick had died. No idea what happened. The remaining chick could fledge as soon as Wednesday. 

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(Ian Clark) baby swallows nesting swallows swallow swallow chicks swallows swallow's nest tree swallow tree swallows https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/7/swallow-update-july-10-2021 Sun, 11 Jul 2021 16:55:44 GMT
Swallow Update July 7, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/7/swallow-update-july-7-2021 Sad news from the tree swallows. We've lost two chicks. I didn't see what happened to them, but with the kestrel making repeated tries to get them, I fear he was successful. The remaining two chicks seem to be doing well. 

Swallow Update July 7, 2021

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(Ian Clark) baby swallows swallow swallow chicks swallows swallow's nest tree swallow tree swallows https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/7/swallow-update-july-7-2021 Thu, 08 Jul 2021 14:18:08 GMT
Swallow Update July 6, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/7/swallow-update-july-6-2021 Swallow Update July 6, 2021

A quick check on our swallow chicks. Mom and dad have been busy hauling groceries in for the chicks. And, they've had to chase the kestrel away several times. A couple of times while they're chasing the kestrel over the yard, another pair of swallows have joined in. 

Our catbirds haven't been around today, but there are two hairy woodpecker fledglings that have learned to work the suet feeder. 

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(Ian Clark) baby swallows nesting swallows swallow swallow chicks swallows swallow's nest tree swallow tree swallows https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/7/swallow-update-july-6-2021 Tue, 06 Jul 2021 23:37:18 GMT
Swallow Update July 4, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/7/swallow-update-july-4-2021 Swallow Update July 4, 2021

Checking in on our tree swallows on July 4. The swallows had some excitement in the afternoon, a male kestrel repeatedly tried to get into the swallow's box. Not sure if the swallows managed to drive him off, or if the hole was too small for him to get in. Either way, the chicks were not harmed. 

This morning, we've got a hairy woodpecker feeding two fledglings from the suet feeder and five catbird fledglings in the yard. 

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(Ian Clark) baby swallows nesting box nesting swallows sw swallow swallow chicks swallows swallow's nest tree swallow tree swallows https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/7/swallow-update-july-4-2021 Mon, 05 Jul 2021 15:37:26 GMT
Swallow Update, July 2, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/7/swallow-update-july-2-2021 We're getting some good looks at our tree swallow chicks this afternoon. Still haven't gotten a clear enough view to count them. I'm sure there are at least four, I think there's a fifth. How many can you count? 

Mom and dad have been spending more time out of the box today. They've been chatting on their 'deck' - the perch clamped to the hummingbird feeder. Our kingbirds and catbirds are still hunting around the yard - a catbird sat on our wellhead and told the dogs off this afternoon. But, I haven't seen them on the swallow's deck. 

Swallow Update, July 2, 2021How many chicks can you see? Follow along as our swallows raise their family in our camera-equipped nesting box.

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(Ian Clark) nesting swallow swallow swallow nest swallows swallow's nest tree swallow tree swallows https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/7/swallow-update-july-2-2021 Fri, 02 Jul 2021 21:10:50 GMT
Loon Chicks at 11 & 12 Days Old https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/7/loon-chicks-at-11-12-day-old Let's check in on our loon family. On June 29, the chicks were likely to be 11 and 12 days old. They've grown rapidly and are beginning to venture a few yards from their parents. Both chicks appear to be doing well, both about the same size, both learning to be loons and taking cute little loon dives. The morning I visited, the parents were feeding larvae, fish and crayfish to them. The parents would often carry fish or crayfish a far distance back to the chicks, but would offer the larvae if they were caught close to the chicks. 

Possibly a dragonfly nymph.

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire
It looks like largemouth bass was the special of the day. 

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire
The fish looks to be a big meal for a little loon. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire
Followed up by a tasty crayfish.
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire
Yawning chicks give a good idea of how large their mouths are.

 

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire
Foot waiving is thought to be a technique for cooling off. It was in the 80s by early morning, and all of the loons repeated waived their feet. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire
Some traits are shared by siblings of all species...
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire
And a few pix of the chicks just because they're cute.

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire
After preening, loons of all ages will stretch their wings. Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire
After a busy couple of hours, everyone settled in for a nap. 

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, New Hampshire

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(Ian Clark) baby loons common loon common loons loon loon chicks loons https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/7/loon-chicks-at-11-12-day-old Fri, 02 Jul 2021 11:32:34 GMT
Yet More Loon Pix, June 30, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/6/yet-more-loon-pix-june-30-2021 This is a second loon family that I follow. They've got a chick. I must have missed the nest for a few days, I expected the chick to have hatched the day before these photos were taken, but it looks a few days older. 

Surveying the pond from a parent's back. 
Common loon with chickCommon loon with chickCommon loon with chick, Upper Connecticut River Valley area
The little family took a slow paddle around the pond as the sun was coming up. The chick is barely visible on the back of the parent in the back.  Common loon with chickCommon loon with chickCommon loon with chick, Upper Connecticut River Valley area
The chick takes to riding on a parent like its riding in a palanquin.

Common loon with chickCommon loon with chickCommon loon with chick, Upper Connecticut River Valley area
The parent the chick was riding set out to forage, the other parent tried to encourage the chick to come aboard. 
Common loon with chickCommon loon with chickCommon loon with chick, Upper Connecticut River Valley area
The chick was more interested in breakfast. 

Common loon with chickCommon loon with chickCommon loon with chick, Upper Connecticut River Valley area
Common loon with chickCommon loon with chickCommon loon with chick, Upper Connecticut River Valley area
It looked like the parents were catching damselfly or dragonfly larvae for the chick. 
Common loon with chickCommon loon with chickCommon loon with chick, Upper Connecticut River Valley area

Hey! Where did Dad go? The parent that the chick was next to just dove.

Common loon with chickCommon loon with chickCommon loon with chick, Upper Connecticut River Valley area
The chick fed, for now, the parents took some time to preen and stretch. 

Common loon with chickCommon loon with chickCommon loon with chick, Upper Connecticut River Valley area
Then, some time just to watch the little one.  Common loon with chickCommon loon with chickCommon loon with chick, Upper Connecticut River Valley area Common loon with chickCommon loon with chickCommon loon with chick, Upper Connecticut River Valley area
And, now time for a nap. 
Common loon with chickCommon loon with chickCommon loon with chick, Upper Connecticut River Valley area

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(Ian Clark) baby loon baby loons common loon common loons loon loon back loon chick loon chicks loon riding on back loons https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/6/yet-more-loon-pix-june-30-2021 Wed, 30 Jun 2021 18:48:00 GMT
Tree Swallow Update June 29, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/6/tree-swallow-update-june-29-2021 Tree Swallow Update June 29, 2021

Checking in on our swallows today. Both parents have been busy feeding the chicks. Still can't tell how many chicks there are. There are at least three. 

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(Ian Clark) baby swallows nesting swallows swallow swallow chicks swallows swallow's nest tree swallow tree swallows https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/6/tree-swallow-update-june-29-2021 Tue, 29 Jun 2021 23:23:25 GMT
Tree Swallow Update, June 28, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/6/tree-swallow-update-june-28-2021 Tree Swallow Update, June 28, 2021

A quick peek in at our tree swallows. Mom and dad have been busy hauling food in throughout the day. We've had catbirds and kingbirds perching on what the swallows think is their perch not far from the box. The swallows have been very careful not to leave the nest untended. There's almost always an adult in the box. When one returns, it calls on approach to the box and the one inside heads out. Not sure if that's how swallows always work, or if the outsiders have them keeping a closer eye on the chicks. 

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(Ian Clark) baby swallows nesting box nesting swallows swallow swallow chicks swallows swallow's nest tree swallow tree swallows https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/6/tree-swallow-update-june-28-2021 Mon, 28 Jun 2021 23:33:00 GMT
We've Got Tree Swallow Chicks! June 27, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/6/weve-got-tree-swallow-chicks-june-27-2021 At least some of the tree swallow chicks have hatched. Still can't see what's going on through all the feathers, but watch closely and you'll see some tiny chicks. Here, dad pops in to give mom a break. She comes back by the end of the video. 

Tree Swallow Chicks, June 27, 2021The tree swallow chicks are hatching.

The Piermont Library wrens haven't been seen in their box for over 48 hours now. Looks like something has happened to them. :( 

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(Ian Clark) baby birds swallow swallows tree swallow tree swallow chicks tree swallow nest tree swallows https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/6/weve-got-tree-swallow-chicks-june-27-2021 Sun, 27 Jun 2021 18:28:52 GMT
Swallow & Wren Update, June 26, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/6/swallow-wren-update-june-26-2021 Not much news from our tree swallows. They're still sitting on the eggs, which we can't see. This clip shows Mrs. heading out for lunch and Mr. coming in to sit while she's out. 

Mr. Swallow Sits While Mrs. Goes To Lunch, June 26, 2021

I haven't seen our wren in their box at all today. We're having a warm (for Vermont) day, hope she's just out for air.  

 

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(Ian Clark) https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/6/swallow-wren-update-june-26-2021 Sat, 26 Jun 2021 23:25:32 GMT
A Morning With The Loon Family, June 24, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/6/a-morning-with-the-loon-family-june-24-2021 Thursday morning I got to spend a few hours following our little loon family. Best guess is that on 6/24, the chicks were five and six days old. They've already grown noticeably. Both seem active and were eagerly feeding. 

Check back regularly. There's another pair of loons with eggs due to hatch as soon as tomorrow. I'll be following both families when I get the chance. 

My research suggest that loon chicks in the Upper Valley are fully 18% cuter than other baby loons ;)  Easy to believe when you get a look at them.  Common loons with chicksCommon loons with chicksCommon loon with chicks

The parents take turns foraging for the chicks. This pair seems partial to feeding crayfish to the chicks. Loons aren't strong on the concept of 'volume,' many of the crayfish offered are almost chick size.   Common loons with chicksCommon loons with chicksCommon loon with chicks

Our chick has to lean out for the crayfish....
Common loons with chicksCommon loons with chicksCommon loon with chicks

and falls off and swims over for breakfast. Common loons with chicksCommon loons with chicksCommon loon with chicks

The crayfish didn't appeared to object to being eaten, and managed to get free. The other parent retrieved it and offered it again. 
Common loons with chicksCommon loons with chicksCommon loon with chicks

It was a job to get it down, but our chick was up to it!
Common loons with chicksCommon loons with chicksCommon loon with chicks

Common loons with chicksCommon loons with chicksCommon loon with chicks

A few shots of chicks stretching. 
Common loons with chicksCommon loons with chicksCommon loon with chicks

Common loons with chicksCommon loons with chicksCommon loon with chicks

Common loons with chicksCommon loons with chicksCommon loon with chicks
The parents are still keeping the chicks very close, and often on the parent's back.  Common loons with chicksCommon loons with chicksCommon loon with chicks Common loons with chicksCommon loons with chicksCommon loon with chicks

This little one takes a moment to preen. Loons, like other waterfowl, have a gland, called the uropygial gland, that excretes a  waterproof oil that the loons spread over their feathers. They have to do this regularly to remain waterproof.  Common loons with chicksCommon loons with chicksCommon loon with chicks

On chicks swimming along with a parent, one tucked under the wing.  Common loons with chicksCommon loons with chicksCommon loon with chicks

Common loons with chicksCommon loons with chicksCommon loon with chicks

When it gets to be nap time, the chicks climb up on a parent's back.

Common loons with chicksCommon loons with chicksCommon loon with chicks

It can be a tough climb up....

Common loons with chicksCommon loons with chicksCommon loon with chicks

Eventually, they get aboard.

Common loons with chicksCommon loons with chicksCommon loon with chicks
Common loons with chicksCommon loons with chicksCommon loon with chicks


Shortly after the babysitting parent took the chicks aboard and got them settled, the other parent returned from foraging with another crayfish for the chicks - waking everyone up again.
Common loons with chicksCommon loons with chicksCommon loon with chicks

 

 


Common loons with chicksCommon loons with chicksCommon loon with chicks Common loons with chicksCommon loons with chicksCommon loon with chicks

After feeding again, the babysitting parent gathered up the chicks, and after a bit, got everyone settled again. 

Common loons with chicksCommon loons with chicksCommon loon with chicks
 

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(Ian Clark) baby loons baby on back common loon common loons loon loon chick on back loon chicks loons https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/6/a-morning-with-the-loon-family-june-24-2021 Sat, 26 Jun 2021 17:50:55 GMT
Swallow & Wren Update June 23, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/6/swallow-wren-update-june-23-2021 Our tree swallows and house wrens continue to sit on their eggs. We still can't see much, but here's a quick update.

Mrs. Swallow continues to sit in her feather bed:

Tree Swallow Update June 23, 2021

And the wrens continue to sit with the eggs in deep shadow. 

Wren Update June 23, 2021

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(Ian Clark) house wren house wrens swallow swallows tree swallow tree swallows wren wrens https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/6/swallow-wren-update-june-23-2021 Wed, 23 Jun 2021 23:06:23 GMT
First Loon Chicks of 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/6/first-loon-chicks-of-2021 Loon chicks are hatching around the Upper Valley. One of the pairs I follow had two chicks last Sunday morning. They were still on the nest, the chicks probably hatched Friday and Saturday. They stayed on the nest for a bit Sunday morning, before heading out to tackle life. 

A note on photographing loons. Please give them their space - keep well back. Even if you aren't a threat, you may distract the parents from something that is a danger to the chicks. Loon chicks face tough enough odds, don't make it worse. These images were all taken with an 800mm lens on a crop 35mm body, comparable to a 1,280mm lens on a traditional 35mm camera - something like a 26x scope. And, they're heavily cropped. You can get good images without crowding the loons. 

Here's our little family, still on the nest. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loons with chicks. The chicks must have hatched on June 18 & 19. They were still on the nest with a parent Sunday morning June 20. Both chicks and an adult were on and about the nest for much of the morning before heading out. (The loon on the nest is banded).

Common loonCommon loonCommon loons with chicks. The chicks must have hatched on June 18 & 19. They were still on the nest with a parent Sunday morning June 20. Both chicks and an adult were on and about the nest for much of the morning before heading out. (The loon on the nest is banded).
Common loonCommon loonCommon loons with chicks. The chicks must have hatched on June 18 & 19. They were still on the nest with a parent Sunday morning June 20. Both chicks and an adult were on and about the nest for much of the morning before heading out. (The loon on the nest is banded).
The chicks ventured into the water a few inches from the nest when the second parent brought food. Here they're working to climb back into the nest. Loons' legs are placed far back on their bodies. Perfect for swimming and flying, but they have real trouble walking on land. This shot gives a good look at how far back their legs are. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loons with chicks. The chicks must have hatched on June 18 & 19. They were still on the nest with a parent Sunday morning June 20. Both chicks and an adult were on and about the nest for much of the morning before heading out. (The loon on the nest is banded).
The loon sitting on the nest has been banded. The silver band on the close leg has a nine digit number to give the bird a unique identifier. But, it is next to impossible to read unless you catch the bird again. Loons are banded with two bands per leg, with different colors to increase the odds of being able to ID the bird without catching it. This bird has green over silver on the starboard side, yellow over green on the port side (way back on the left of the photo). Traditionally, loon banders put the silver band on the right leg if they band the bird as an adult, the left if they band a chick. I've forwarded the photo to the Loon Preservation Committee, they may recognize the bird. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loons with chicks. The chicks must have hatched on June 18 & 19. They were still on the nest with a parent Sunday morning June 20. Both chicks and an adult were on and about the nest for much of the morning before heading out. (The loon on the nest is banded).
The chicks seemed to grow a bit restless, venturing further from the nest after each feeding. Eventually, the loon on the nest decided it was time to go. The family probably will not return to the nest. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loons with chicks. The chicks must have hatched on June 18 & 19. They were still on the nest with a parent Sunday morning June 20. Both chicks and an adult were on and about the nest for much of the morning before heading out. (The loon on the nest is banded).
After leaving the nest, the parent that had been sitting got a well-deserved stretch. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loons with chicks. The chicks must have hatched on June 18 & 19. They were still on the nest with a parent Sunday morning June 20. Both chicks and an adult were on and about the nest for much of the morning before heading out. (The loon on the nest is banded).
Loons are very attentive parents. Both loons will guard and feed the chicks. They spell each other, a few times a day one parent will wander off to forage, preen and occasionally fly a couple laps around the pond. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loons with chicks. The chicks must have hatched on June 18 & 19. They were still on the nest with a parent Sunday morning June 20. Both chicks and an adult were on and about the nest for much of the morning before heading out. (The loon on the nest is banded).
Loon chicks have some sibling rivalry and will occasionally squabble. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loons with chicks. The chicks must have hatched on June 18 & 19. They were still on the nest with a parent Sunday morning June 20. Both chicks and an adult were on and about the nest for much of the morning before heading out. (The loon on the nest is banded).
But, mostly they eat and look cute. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loons with chicks. The chicks must have hatched on June 18 & 19. They were still on the nest with a parent Sunday morning June 20. Both chicks and an adult were on and about the nest for much of the morning before heading out. (The loon on the nest is banded).
One of the parents bringing a crawfish to the chicks. This crawfish was too big for the chicks to handle. They both made valiant efforts to swallow it, but it was too big. They kept dropping it. The parent probably retrieved and offered again it 10 times before just eating it. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loons with chicks. The chicks must have hatched on June 18 & 19. They were still on the nest with a parent Sunday morning June 20. Both chicks and an adult were on and about the nest for much of the morning before heading out. (The loon on the nest is banded).
After the crawfish, the parents tried what appeared to be damselfly and dragonfly larva. Which worked much better. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loons with chicks. The chicks must have hatched on June 18 & 19. They were still on the nest with a parent Sunday morning June 20. Both chicks and an adult were on and about the nest for much of the morning before heading out. (The loon on the nest is banded).

Common loonCommon loonCommon loons with chicks. The chicks must have hatched on June 18 & 19. They were still on the nest with a parent Sunday morning June 20. Both chicks and an adult were on and about the nest for much of the morning before heading out. (The loon on the nest is banded).
Common loonCommon loonCommon loons with chicks. The chicks must have hatched on June 18 & 19. They were still on the nest with a parent Sunday morning June 20. Both chicks and an adult were on and about the nest for much of the morning before heading out. (The loon on the nest is banded).
Common loonCommon loonCommon loons with chicks. The chicks must have hatched on June 18 & 19. They were still on the nest with a parent Sunday morning June 20. Both chicks and an adult were on and about the nest for much of the morning before heading out. (The loon on the nest is banded).
Common loonCommon loonCommon loons with chicks. The chicks must have hatched on June 18 & 19. They were still on the nest with a parent Sunday morning June 20. Both chicks and an adult were on and about the nest for much of the morning before heading out. (The loon on the nest is banded).
The parents keep a close eye on the chicks when they're small, one of the parents is usually within a few feet of them. 
Common loonCommon loonCommon loons with chicks. The chicks must have hatched on June 18 & 19. They were still on the nest with a parent Sunday morning June 20. Both chicks and an adult were on and about the nest for much of the morning before heading out. (The loon on the nest is banded).


Common loonCommon loonCommon loons with chicks. The chicks must have hatched on June 18 & 19. They were still on the nest with a parent Sunday morning June 20. Both chicks and an adult were on and about the nest for much of the morning before heading out. (The loon on the nest is banded).
The chicks will hitch rides on both parents' backs, often tucking in under the wings to keep warm.
Common loonCommon loonCommon loons with chicks. The chicks must have hatched on June 18 & 19. They were still on the nest with a parent Sunday morning June 20. Both chicks and an adult were on and about the nest for much of the morning before heading out. (The loon on the nest is banded). Common loonCommon loonCommon loons with chicks. The chicks must have hatched on June 18 & 19. They were still on the nest with a parent Sunday morning June 20. Both chicks and an adult were on and about the nest for much of the morning before heading out. (The loon on the nest is banded).
Check back again soon, I'll be following these and two other pairs of loons throughout the summer. 

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(Ian Clark) baby loons baby on back chick chick on back chicks common loon common loons loon loon chick loon chicks loon photos loon pictures loons pictures of loons https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/6/first-loon-chicks-of-2021 Wed, 23 Jun 2021 18:01:14 GMT
Round Up The Usual Suspects, June 21, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/6/round-up-the-usual-suspects-june-21-2021 Let's round up the usual suspects once again. I've had some time in the kayak, exploring several local ponds and marshes. 

I've been keeping an eye on several pairs of loons. Most have two eggs, one pair doesn't seem to have built a nest yet. One of the loons I've been following was napping in nice light, I tried to drift into position for a peaceful shot of a sleeping loon. This otter had other ideas. 

WildlifeWildlifeRiver otter The loon, which was not far from the nest, was not amused. It woke and dove after the otter several times. It was a busy morning for this loon pair, while headed back to check on its mate on the nest, the loon found a snapping turtle which was encouraged to move along. Shortly after, an eagle flew over their pond, causing the loon to flatten out to hide. 

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, North Haverhill, New Hampshire

Another pond on another morning found a nice early morning scene with a pair of loons. 

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Spring time brings turtles out to lay their eggs. This pretty lady was laying eggs in West Newbury. That's a snail hitching a ride. I asked him what was going on, he replied, "beats me. Its all happening so fast...."

Common Snapping TurtleCommon Snapping TurtleCommon Snapping Turtle

Swamp police are on the lookout for this masked bandit, known as the common yellowthroat. They urge extreme caution, as he's known to be winged and dangerous. 

Common yellowthroatCommon yellowthroatCommon yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas) Common yellowthroatCommon yellowthroatCommon yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)
He had a sidekick, known as cedar waxwing. 

Cdear waxwingCdear waxwingCedar Waxwing

Even our swamp sparrows are looking good this season. 

20210607-20220210607-202 Swamp sparrowSwamp sparrowSwamp sparrow Swamp sparrowSwamp sparrowSwamp sparrow

This pair of kingbirds had a prolonged interaction that I couldn't figure out. They were alternately perching near each other and swooping each other off their perches. There were several kingbird nests around the pond with birds still sitting on eggs, so it is probably too early for a fledgling. And, if they were courting, knocking your potential sweetheart off her perch repeatedly seems an odd way to win her favor. 

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The orange crown is what gives kingbirds their name, it is rare to see it. 
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This spotted sandpiper was kind enough to pose nicely several times throughout one morning. 

Spotted sandpiperSpotted sandpiperSpotted sandpiper
Oh! Deer! This doe popped out of the brush not far from where I was tied off. I'm not sure she approved of my being on her pond. 

Readers who don't wish to see nature being nature may want to stop with this shot of the doe. Following are a pair of pictures of raptors with prey, including some gore. 

White-tailed DeerWhite-tailed DeerWhite-tailed Deer


A broad-winged hawk gave me a fly by with some Vermont Flied Chicken. I can't really tell what the prey is, we were a long ways from anyone keeping chickens, it may be a turkey poult. 
Broad-winged hawkBroad-winged hawkBroad-winged hawk (Buteo platypterus)
An osprey with a breakfast of catfish. 
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(Ian Clark) bird in flight bird pictures birds kingbird photos of birds pictures of birds sparrow turtle warbler https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/6/round-up-the-usual-suspects-june-21-2021 Tue, 22 Jun 2021 00:39:47 GMT
Swallow & Wren Update, June 21, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/6/swallow-wren-update-june-21-2021 A little hard to tell exactly what's going on in our boxes. Both the swallow and the wren are sitting on their nests. But, I can't get a good look to see how many eggs they've got. 

Mrs. Swallow has imported a number of feathers into the box. The last time we could see the eggs, there were four. Swallows usually lay five to seven, so your guess is as good as anyone's. 

Tree Swallow Update June 21, 2021

Mrs. Wren has her eggs in the cup in the back of the box. The shadows are too deep to see the eggs. 

Wren Update June 21, 2021

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(Ian Clark) house wren house wrens swallow swallows tree swallow tree swallow nest tree swallows tree swallows nesting wren wrens https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/6/swallow-wren-update-june-21-2021 Mon, 21 Jun 2021 23:18:22 GMT
Swallow & Wren Update, June 16, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/6/swallow-wren-update-june-16-2021 Still haven't gotten a good view of the swallow's eggs. I think there are at least five, but can't be certain. Mrs. Swallow spent much of the day in the box. There was some excitement this afternoon when at least one Eastern kingbird fledgling sheltered in the azaleas below the box. The kingbird parents and swallows had a brief discussion before the kingbirds moved on. Here's Mrs. Swallow in the box.

Tree Swallow Update, June 16, 2021
The common wrens at the Piermont Library reportedly don't understand you're supposed to be quiet in the library. They're chattering up a storm. And, they've got at least two eggs. The eggs are very hard to see, they're in deep shadow in the cup the wrens carved out of the nesting material. 
Wrens Have Two Eggs, June 16, 2021
The videos take several minutes to process after I upload them. If these won't play for you, please check back in a few minutes. 

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(Ian Clark) nesting swallow swallow swallow nest swallows swallow's nest tree swallow tree swallows https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/6/swallow-wren-update-june-16-2021 Thu, 17 Jun 2021 00:00:00 GMT
Tree Swallow & House Wren Update, June 15, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/6/tree-swallow-house-wren-update-june-15-2021 Today is the sixth day since our tree swallow laid her first egg. Usually they lay one per day until they have five to seven eggs. Mrs. Swallow has imported a bunch of feathers and I can't see how many eggs she has. I know she got to four. She's spending most of her time in the box, often sitting looking out the door. Mr. Swallow perches on the stick clamped to the hummingbird feeder most of the day. 

Here's what Mrs. was up to this afternoon.

Tree Swallow Update June 15, 2021

The wrens at the Piermont Library have made a nest cup in the back of the box. It is in deep shadow and I can't tell if there are eggs or not. Here's a clip of today's activity. It is combined from a series of 12-second clips the camera records when it detects motion. 

Wren Update June 15, 2021

The videos take some time to process after I upload them. If they won't play for you, please check back in a few minutes. 

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(Ian Clark) swallow swallows tree swallow tree swallow nest tree swallows tree swallows nesting https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/6/tree-swallow-house-wren-update-june-15-2021 Tue, 15 Jun 2021 21:17:41 GMT
Wood Ducklings https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/6/wood-ducklings Sunday morning found this family of wood duck ducklings out and about. Mom was nowhere to be seen, but seven ducklings went about their business. 

Wood ducklingWood ducklingWood duckling (Aix sponsa)
They explored around the brush lining the edge of their pond. 
Wood ducklingWood ducklingWood duckling (Aix sponsa)
Wood ducklingWood ducklingWood duckling (Aix sponsa)

Wood ducklingWood ducklingWood duckling (Aix sponsa)

They were finding a variety of insects along the way. Sometimes the insects are in easy reach, sometimes they're on the top shelf. 

Wood ducklingWood ducklingWood duckling (Aix sponsa)

Wood ducklingWood ducklingWood duckling (Aix sponsa)
Wood ducklingWood ducklingWood duckling (Aix sponsa)

You can see the terrain their camouflage is designed for. 
Wood ducklingWood ducklingWood duckling (Aix sponsa)
Even ducklings have to put up with the flies. 
Wood ducklingWood ducklingWood duckling (Aix sponsa)
This little duckling tried some sort of salad, it chewed on it for a bit before deciding it wasn't very good. 
Wood ducklingWood ducklingWood duckling (Aix sponsa)
Ducklings are masters of disguise. When they sense a threat, they rapidly disappear into and under the brush. 
Wood ducklingWood ducklingWood duckling (Aix sponsa)


After a bit, the ducklings crawled out on a log to preen and stretch. Wood ducklingWood ducklingWood duckling (Aix sponsa)

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(Ian Clark) duck duckling ducks wood duck wood duck duckling wood duck ducklings wood duckling wood ducklings wood ducks https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/6/wood-ducklings Tue, 15 Jun 2021 10:53:19 GMT
Piping Plovers On The New Hampshire Coast https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/6/piping-plovers-on-the-new-hampshire-coast Piping plover chicks have hatched on the New Hampshire Coast. I visited last week. In the short section of beach I visited, I found two families with chicks, one with three and one with four chicks. There were also a number of common terns terrorizing the beach denizens, winged, armed or legged. 

What's your vote for cutest bird? Piping plover chicks have to be on anyone's list. 

Let's start with the terns. They nest in the sand dunes not far above high tide. They make a shallow scrape for their eggs. And, they defend their territory with gusto! They'll swoop, peck and sometimes poop on intruders. Once one tern gets upset about an intruder, it seems like all the terns on the beach join in the commotion and find some critter to drive off. 

Here's one sitting on a nest. 
common ternCommon ternCommon terns on the New Hampshire coast

common ternCommon ternCommon tern, New Hampshire


A quick flyby.
common ternCommon ternCommon terns on the New Hampshire coast

Escorting a gull from the premises.  common ternCommon ternCommon terns on the New Hampshire coast

Adult piping plovers are handsome birds. They're not very large, about 7" long. They hunt for small crustaceans, worms and insects along the beach. You probably won't see them until they move. They run - very fast - for short spurts. They live along the northeastern coast and in the Great Lakes. They're endangered. I've seen the figure 6,100 individuals, but never with a citation. 

Here's mom - or maybe dad, only they know - overseeing the chicks running about on the beach. 
  
Piping ploverPiping ploverPiping plover (Charadrius melodus), New Hampshire

They seem to coexist with some plovers, and drive others away from there territory. Perhaps they come to terms with their neighbors, but still view others as threats. This plover has spotted another plover it wishes would go away. 

Piping ploverPiping ploverPiping plover (Charadrius melodus), New Hampshire

Chicks are born ready to forage, the parents take turns supervising them as they run about the beach. The parents seem fairly laissez-faire about watching the chicks. They chicks are often well out of the parent's sight. The parents call occasionally, probably to keep the kids relatively close. Every so often, the parent baby sitting decides the chicks are cold and calls them in and they duck under the adult and everyone sits for a few minutes. 

Piping ploverPiping ploverPiping plover (Charadrius melodus) with chicks, New Hampshire Piping ploverPiping ploverPiping plover (Charadrius melodus) with chicks, New Hampshire Piping ploverPiping ploverPiping plover (Charadrius melodus) with chicks, New Hampshire

This parent reacted to its mate returning to sit the kids by scrunching down and fluffing. 
Piping ploverPiping ploverPiping plover (Charadrius melodus), New Hampshire
And the chicks are just darned cute. They run about the beach exploring, foraging, stretching and fluffing. They run in short spurts, changing direction on a whim.  

Practicing being cute. 

Piping ploverPiping ploverPiping plover (Charadrius melodus), New Hampshire
It takes them a while to grow into their feet. 
Piping ploverPiping ploverPiping plover (Charadrius melodus), New Hampshire

Watching them walk, I can't help but wonder if they were the inspiration for the two-legged walkers in Star Wars. 
 

Piping ploverPiping ploverPiping plover (Charadrius melodus), New Hampshire

Exploring along above the high-tide mark.

Piping ploverPiping ploverPiping plover (Charadrius melodus), New Hampshire


With a tiny snack. 
Piping ploverPiping ploverPiping plover (Charadrius melodus), New Hampshire
And a more substantial worm.
Piping ploverPiping ploverPiping plover (Charadrius melodus), New Hampshire
And, just learning how to be a bird.
Piping ploverPiping ploverPiping plover (Charadrius melodus), New Hampshire Piping ploverPiping ploverPiping plover (Charadrius melodus), New Hampshire Piping ploverPiping ploverPiping plover (Charadrius melodus), New Hampshire
 

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(Ian Clark) endangered new hampshire piping plover piping plover chicks piping plovers plover plover chicks plovers https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/6/piping-plovers-on-the-new-hampshire-coast Mon, 14 Jun 2021 16:28:51 GMT
Tree Swallows Have Four Eggs, Wrens Building A Nest, June 13, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/6/tree-swallows-have-four-eggs-wrens-building-a-nest-june-13-2021 Another day, another egg for our tree swallows. 

Tree Swallows Have Four Eggs, June 13, 2021Our swallows have a fourth egg

The wrens at the Piermont Library are hollowing out a nice cup for a nest in their box. Pretty sure they're going to use the box now. Having some trouble uploading tonight, will add the wren video tomorrow. 

Updated with the video:

Wrens Are Building A Nest, June 13, 2021Wrens building a nest in our camera-equipped nesting box
Added about 1:30, Monday afternoon. It may take a few minutes to show. 

 

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(Ian Clark) nesting swallow swallow swallow nest swallows swallow's nest tree swallow tree swallows https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/6/tree-swallows-have-four-eggs-wrens-building-a-nest-june-13-2021 Mon, 14 Jun 2021 00:33:38 GMT
Swallows Have Three Eggs, June 12, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/6/swallows-have-three-eggs-june-12-2021 Our swallows now have three eggs and the wrens in Piermont are doing, well, something, in their box. 

Mrs. Swallow spent much of her morning in the box. When she ventured out for brunch, dad popped in to count the eggs. Dad spent much of his morning perched on his 'deck' - the perch I clamped to the hummingbird feeder for the hummers. We had a nice conversation while I had my breakfast this morning. 

Here's mom fidgeting in the box for a bit. 

Tree Swallows Have Three Eggs, June 12, 2021Our tree swallows are up to four eggs. Follow along as they raise their family

 

The wrens at the Piermont Library continue to arrange the sticks in one of the boxes at the Piermont Library. I want to believe they're forming a nest at the back of the box, but don't get your hopes up yet. 

House Wrens In A Nesting Box, June 12, 2021Our wrens are continuing to do, well, something, in the box at the Piermont Library.

 

It takes several minutes for the videos to process after I upload them. If these won't play for you, please chick back in a few minutes. 

The cameras are mounted inside the boxes to let us watch without disturbing the birds. 
 

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(Ian Clark) https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/6/swallows-have-three-eggs-june-12-2021 Sun, 13 Jun 2021 01:18:36 GMT
Tree Swallows Have an Egg! June 10, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/6/tree-swallows-have-an-egg-june-10-2021 Mrs. Swallow has spent most of the day in her box. She laid her first egg this morning. 
Tree Swallow's First Egg, June 10, 2021Our tree swallows have their first egg

And the wrens at the Piermont Library continue to move the furniture around in one of the Library's boxes. With all the attention they're paying to this box, I'm guessing they're going to use it for a nest. But, too soon to tell, they may be determined to keep anyone else from nesting in it.

Wrens Working In A Nest Box, June 10, 2021
We're watching inside the nesting boxes with cameras fixed inside. We can watch without disturbing the birds.

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(Ian Clark) chick chicks nest swallow swallow chicks swallow nest swallows swallow's swallow's nest tree tree swallow tree swallow chicks tree swallow nest tree swallows https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/6/tree-swallows-have-an-egg-june-10-2021 Fri, 11 Jun 2021 00:05:13 GMT
Solar Eclipse, June 10, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/6/solar-eclipse-june-10-2021 Just a couple pix from today's solar eclipse, taken from Rogers Hill in West Newbury, Vermont.

We started with a nice pre-game show:

Sunrise and solar eclipse from Rogers Hill, West Newbury, VermontSunrise and solar eclipse from Rogers Hill, West Newbury, VermontSunrise and solar eclipse Clark Homestead on Rogers Hill, West Newbury, Vermont
 

Sunrise and solar eclipse from Rogers Hill, West Newbury, VermontSunrise and solar eclipse from Rogers Hill, West Newbury, VermontSunrise and solar eclipse Clark Homestead on Rogers Hill, West Newbury, Vermont

The sun never cleared the clouds during the eclipse, but you could see what was going on. 
Sunrise and solar eclipse from Rogers Hill, West Newbury, VermontSunrise and solar eclipse from Rogers Hill, West Newbury, VermontSunrise and solar eclipse Clark Homestead on Rogers Hill, West Newbury, Vermont
Sunrise and solar eclipse from Rogers Hill, West Newbury, VermontSunrise and solar eclipse from Rogers Hill, West Newbury, VermontSunrise and solar eclipse Clark Homestead on Rogers Hill, West Newbury, Vermont Sunrise and solar eclipse from Rogers Hill, West Newbury, VermontSunrise and solar eclipse from Rogers Hill, West Newbury, VermontSunrise and solar eclipse Clark Homestead on Rogers Hill, West Newbury, Vermont

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(Ian Clark) eclipse solar eclipse https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/6/solar-eclipse-june-10-2021 Thu, 10 Jun 2021 17:12:50 GMT
Tree Swallows Have Moved In! June 8, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/6/tree-swallows-have-moved-in-june-8-2021 A pair of tree swallows appeared last week and checked out both our camera equipped nesting boxes. The bluebirds, who we have had only glimpses of since their chicks fledged, reappeared to explain that the box to the north was theirs. The swallows settled on the other box. Which promptly attracted at least one more pair of swallows interested in the box. One pair has claimed it and started building. Hopefully the bluebirds will return for another brood in their box. 

We're getting a kick out of them. The box is about 15' from where we sit on the deck. In front of the deck, we've got a humming bird feeder with a stick clamped onto the hook to let the hummingbirds rest. The stick is only about 10' from my chair on the deck. I'm not surprised that the hummingbirds don't care. But, I am a little surprised at how comfortable the swallows are sitting there as we come and go. The swallows and the dogs had a few conversations; Dexter gave them a good woofing, but they held their ground and chattered back at him. Now they all ignore each other. 

Here's their progress as of this morning. 

Tree Swallows Building Their NestA pair of tree swallows has claimed our second camera-equipped box and are building their nest.


The Piermont Library chickadees reappeared and inspected both boxes repeatedly before wandering off again. Now, we've got a pair of house wrens interested. The wrens cleaned out most of the moss the chickadees brought in to both boxes. Now, the male wren is hauling sticks into one of the boxes. Male wrens haul sticks into several possible nesting spots, the female will decide which one she wants. The male will continue to fill the other nest holes to keep other birds away. Stay tuned to find out if Dee (Everyone knows it's Wrendee.....) selects this box. 

House Wrens In A Nesting BoxWe're following a pair of house wrens in the Piermont Library nesting box. Are they building a nest? Or just filling the box with sticks to keep anyone else from using it?
The videos take several minutes to process after I upload them. If it doesn't play for you, please check back in a few minutes. 

The cameras are mounted inside the nesting boxes to allow us to watch without disturbing the birds.

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(Ian Clark) baby swallows bird box nest box nesting box swallow swallow chicks swallow nest swallows swallows nesting tree swallow tree swallows https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/6/tree-swallows-have-moved-in-june-8-2021 Tue, 08 Jun 2021 15:02:00 GMT
And, We've Got An Empty Nest, May 25, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/and-weve-got-an-empty-nest-may-25-2021 And our second chick heads out to explore the world. 

Go ahead and bookmark my blog. I'll have occasional updates and more critter pix. 

2nd chick leaves May 25, 2021Our second chick heads out into the world

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(Ian Clark) bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/and-weve-got-an-empty-nest-may-25-2021 Tue, 25 May 2021 19:49:15 GMT
First Chick Has Fledged! May 25, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/first-chick-has-fledged-may-25-2021 Our first chick took the plunge and left the box about 1015 this morning. Mom and dad have been perched on the deck roof calling to the chicks most of the morning. At 1230, the second chick is still in the box. He's looking out regularly, but has yet been brave enough to go. 

Frist Chick Fledges, May 25, 2021Our first bluebird chick leaves the nesting box

It takes several minutes for the video to process after I upload it. If it doesn't play for you, please try again in a few minutes. 

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(Ian Clark) bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/first-chick-has-fledged-may-25-2021 Tue, 25 May 2021 16:36:46 GMT
We've Still Got Bluebirds, May 24, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/weve-still-got-bluebirds-may-24-2021 They chicks are still in the box. They've made several feints towards the door, but have always backed down. 

Bluebird Update May 24, 2021

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(Ian Clark) bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/weve-still-got-bluebirds-may-24-2021 Mon, 24 May 2021 22:45:00 GMT
Bluebirds Still With Us, May 23, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/bluebirds-still-with-us-may-23-2021 Our chicks we're very active peering out the box's entrance much of the morning. The wind picked up about noon and we've had intermittent heavy showers. That seemed to lessen their interest in the outside world. They've more or less settled in the box since midday. Mom and dad were calling from the yard this morning, but are making more frequent trips in with food this afternoon. 

Bluebird chicks still with us, May 23, 2021

 

It takes videos several minutes to process after I upload them. If the video doesn't play for you, please check back in a few minutes. 

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(Ian Clark) bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/bluebirds-still-with-us-may-23-2021 Sun, 23 May 2021 22:54:47 GMT
Osprey in Maine, May 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/osprey-in-maine-may-2021 Greater Damariscotta, Maine, has been attracting bird photographers for years. Damariscotta Mills came to the attention of photographers when they restored the fish ladder on the Damariscotta River. The ladder was originally built in 1807 when mills blocked the fish's trip up the river. in 2007 a group took to restoring the ladder which allowed the fish to run again. The fish attracted osprey and eagles. The birds attracted photographers. 

When the alewife start running, all sorts of birds and others come to feed on them. I got a couple days up that way last week. The action seemed to be better just to the east in along the Saint George River in Warren, Maine. There were a number of osprey coming and going, the most spotted at one time was six. There was also a pair of adult bald eagles and two immature bald eagles in the area as well as a large supporting cast of cormorants and gulls. 

The attraction for the wildlife is the alewife run. Alewife are marine fish that swim up rivers to breed in fresh water. They can grow to about 16", but average about 10". They swim upstream in large schools, with many millions of fish heading up the rivers in greater Damariscotta every year. Alewife apparently don't appeal to humans. There are a few shops in the area advertising smoked alewife, but most of the fish caught become bait in lobster traps. 

Alewife running in the Damariscotta River, MaineAlewife running in the Damariscotta River, MaineAlewife running in the Damariscotta River, Maine Alewife running in the Damariscotta River, MaineAlewife running in the Damariscotta River, MaineAlewife running in the Damariscotta River, Maine

There were several flocks of herring and ring-billed gulls ranging in size from about 20 to over 50. They moved around on the river mixing then splitting up, making it hard to count. And, every time an eagle went over, the gulls would all take flight and squawk. They seemed to do their fishing around the lowest point of the tide. When a gull managed to catch or scavenge a fish, it would be mobbed by several others attempting to steal it. 
 

herring gullsherring gulls   20210519-2182-web20210519-2182-web
Double-crested cormorants travel in gulps, following the schools of fish. 

Double-crested cormorantsDouble-crested cormorantsDouble-crested cormorants Double-crested cormorantsDouble-crested cormorantsDouble-crested cormorants

Even a snapping turtle turned up.

Common Snapping TurtleCommon Snapping TurtleCommon Snapping Turtle

A broad-winged hawk came by to check out the scene. The guides say broad-wings will eat fish, but this one just circled overhead briefly before moving on. 

Broad-winged hawkBroad-winged hawkBroad-winged hawk

A pair of adult eagles and two immature eagles were in the area, visiting the pool I was watching several times each day. Eagles will take gulls occasionally, so the gulls all take flight when one appears. If the eagle lands, the gulls will return to the water.

Immature bald eagle in flightImmature bald eagle in flightImmature bald eagle in flight

This immature eagle was my hero, he couldn't go by the gulls without swooping them. 20210519-1549-web20210519-1549-web
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The main attraction was the osprey. They fish at mid tide. The water has to be deep enough for them to dive into - they can go a couple feet down, but it seems they like the water shallow enough to keep the fish near the surface. Osprey glide in a slow circle over the water until they see an opportunity to grab a fish - or two - then dive. 

Osprey in flightOsprey in flightOsprey in flight

The traffic over the pool I was watching got heavy at times, here's a pair of osprey hunting. 

Osprey in flightOsprey in flightOsprey in flight

Osprey can pull up and 'hover' more or less in one place while they watch the action below. 

Osprey hovering while huntingOsprey hovering while huntingOsprey hovering while hunting Osprey hovering while huntingOsprey hovering while huntingOsprey hovering while hunting Osprey hovering while huntingOsprey hovering while huntingOsprey hovering while hunting Osprey hovering while huntingOsprey hovering while huntingOsprey hovering while hunting


The best part of watching them is the dive and climbing back out of the water. Unlike eagles which grab fish from very near the surface, osprey dive much deeper, sometime submerging the entire bird. They make a slash when they hit!

Osprey divingOsprey divingOsprey diving
Diving osprey hitting the waterDiving osprey hitting the waterDiving osprey hitting the water

Diving osprey hitting the waterDiving osprey hitting the waterDiving osprey hitting the water

Climbing back out of the water makes for some great pics. 

Osprey around the Saint George River, Warren, MaineOsprey around the Saint George River, Warren, MaineOsprey around the Saint George River, Warren, Maine Osprey around the Saint George River, Warren, MaineOsprey around the Saint George River, Warren, MaineOsprey around the Saint George River, Warren, Maine Osprey around the Saint George River, Warren, MaineOsprey around the Saint George River, Warren, MaineOsprey around the Saint George River, Warren, Maine Osprey around the Saint George River, Warren, MaineOsprey around the Saint George River, Warren, MaineOsprey around the Saint George River, Warren, Maine Osprey around the Saint George River, Warren, MaineOsprey around the Saint George River, Warren, MaineOsprey around the Saint George River, Warren, Maine Osprey around the Saint George River, Warren, MaineOsprey around the Saint George River, Warren, MaineOsprey around the Saint George River, Warren, Maine

Sometimes they come up with a fish or two, sometimes not. 

Osprey flying with fishOsprey flying with fishOsprey flying with fish Osprey flying with fishOsprey flying with fishOsprey flying with fish Osprey flying with fishOsprey flying with fishOsprey flying with fish Osprey flying with fishOsprey flying with fishOsprey flying with fish Osprey flying with fishOsprey flying with fishOsprey flying with fish Osprey flying with fishOsprey flying with fishOsprey flying with fish

After a dive, osprey shake like a wet dog to get rid of the water.

Osprey shaking after a diveOsprey shaking after a diveOsprey shaking after a dive Osprey shaking after a diveOsprey shaking after a diveOsprey shaking after a dive Osprey shaking after a diveOsprey shaking after a diveOsprey shaking after a dive

After a successful dive, they'll often circle back over the pool to allow photographers one last chance for a photo. 

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The trip to see the fish ladder and osprey is worth it. The alewife start running in early May and go into June. The Damariscotta Mills Fish Ladder is open to the public. They harvest fish a couple times a day and are very used to visitors stopping by to watch. You can usually see osprey and eagles from the road by the fish ladder. Last time I was there, a pair of seals came upstream for a snack. 

If the action is slow, head for Warren, just to the east. They have two parks along the river that offer great views of the osprey, et al. 

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(Ian Clark) alewife alewife run osprey osprey diving osprey fishing osprey in flight osprey photos osprey pictures osprey with fish warren warren maine https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/osprey-in-maine-may-2021 Sun, 23 May 2021 01:06:08 GMT
Bluebird Update, Saturday May 22, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/bluebird-update-saturday-may-22-2021 Today was the first day we could have expected the chicks to fledge. They're still with us as of late afternoon. They're curious about what's going on outside and have taken turns peering out the entrance hole. Both are testing their wings in the box. Mom and dad have been busy hauling food in for them. 

Bluebird Update May 22, 2021

It takes several minutes for the video to process after I upload it. If it won't play for you, please try again in a few minutes.

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(Ian Clark) bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/bluebird-update-saturday-may-22-2021 Sat, 22 May 2021 20:33:48 GMT
Checking In On Our Bluebirds, May 21, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/checking-in-on-our-bluebirds-may-21-2021 Our chicks are beginning to show interest in the entrance to the nesting box. They're stretching to take a peek out. Haven't seen either hop up to stick his head out, but won't be long now. Update: they're sitting in the entrance, looking out. 

We're having a hot day today. Mom has been out of the box most of the day. We've got a wren singing from the azaleas by the deck. Mom bluebird has been perching on the deck rail fairly often this morning. She may be letting the wren know that the bluebird's box is in use. We've got another box not too far away, we've had both bluebirds and wrens together a few years ago. 

Here's a clip with the chicks fidgeting in the box, Mom delivering a tasty grasshopper, and one of the chicks trying to see out. 

Bluebird Update May 21, 2021

 Our chickadee poked her head into the box in Piermont this morning, but hasn't been back. The starling checked both boxes this morning. 

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(Ian Clark) bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/checking-in-on-our-bluebirds-may-21-2021 Fri, 21 May 2021 18:40:00 GMT
Bluebirds Are Back Online! May 20, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/bluebirds-are-back-online-may-20-2021 After returning home this afternoon, the first thing I did was check in on my bluebird chicks. They're getting huge! We can expect them to fledge as early as this Saturday. Here's a quick clip from late this afternoon. 

Bluebird Update May 20, 2021

Videos take several minutes to process after I upload them. If this one doesn't play for you, please try again in a few minutes. 

And a teaser, a pic from my latest adventure. When I've had time to go through all the pix, I'll post about visiting osprey in Maine. 

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(Ian Clark) bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/bluebirds-are-back-online-may-20-2021 Thu, 20 May 2021 23:44:40 GMT
More of the Usual Suspects, May 18, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/more-of-the-usual-suspects-may-18-2021 Let's check in on some of our local wildlife. I had a chance to get out to see who was out and about a couple times over the last few days. 

Either the painted turtles opened their convention in North Haverhill, or they're waiting for a couple more to show up to make a baseball team. 

painted turtles baskingPainted turtlesPainted turtles basking

Canada geese were coming and going all morning. 
Canada gooseCanada gooseCanada goose taking off Canada gooseCanada gooseCanada goose taking off

A pair of osprey hunted over the pond several times throughout the morning. They didn't catch anything. Most of the time, they circled for a time before heading off towards the Connecticut River. The last time, after circling many times, the bird landed and watched the pond from a tree for about 15 minutes. Then it gave up, grabbed a limb from a dead tree and headed home to make some repairs. 

Osprey huntingOsprey huntingOsprey hunting over a pond in North Haverhill, NH

There were a handful of sandpipers working through the reeds. Here, a solitary sandpiper stopped briefly in the clear. 

Solitary sandpiperSolitary sandpiperSolitary sandpiper foraging in North Haverhill, NH

Grackles are in good supply this year. Even thy looked sharp in the morning sun. Here's one not gracking and then gracking. 


Common grackleCommon grackleCommon grackle, North Haverhill, NH

Common grackleCommon grackleCommon grackle, North Haverhill, NH

The resident loons spent their morning inspecting the real estate around the pond. They gave a long look at last year's nesting site before heading off to see what else was available. 

Common loon, North Haverhill, NHCommon loon, North Haverhill, NHCommon loon, North Haverhill, NH

On the Vermont side of the river, the marsh along the Waits River was a busy place. There are usually a handful of marsh wrens around, often heard and occasionally seen. On my visit they had a much larger presence. There were probably 40 or 50 of them chattering away and I spotted a dozen nests. They were darting about the reeds, often carrying fluff from the cattails back to their nest. 

Marsh wren, Bradford, VTMarsh wren, Bradford, VTMarsh wren, Bradford, VT Marsh wren, Bradford, VTMarsh wren, Bradford, VTMarsh wren, Bradford, VT Marsh wren, Bradford, VTMarsh wren, Bradford, VTMarsh wren, Bradford, VT

Marsh wren, Bradford, VTMarsh wren, Bradford, VTMarsh wren, Bradford, VT

The toads are starting to gather for breeding. Between the wrens and the toads, it was a noisy place. This toad must have been kind of shy, he was off to the side of the group and didn't say much. 

American toad, Bradford, VTAmerican toad, Bradford, VTAmerican toad, Bradford, VT

A muskrat came and went through the reeds for a bit. 

Muskrat, Bradford, VTMuskrat, Bradford, VTMuskrat, Bradford, VT

There were several sandpipers about. This solitary sandpiper was getting too sandy and took a bath. The told everyone about it!

Solitary sandpiper bathing, Bradford, VTSolitary sandpiper bathing, Bradford, VTSolitary sandpiper bathing, Bradford, VT


Solitary sandpiper bathing, Bradford, VTSolitary sandpiper bathing, Bradford, VTSolitary sandpiper bathing, Bradford, VT Solitary sandpiper bathing, Bradford, VTSolitary sandpiper bathing, Bradford, VTSolitary sandpiper bathing, Bradford, VT

Duck!

Mallard hen, Bradford, VTMallard hen, Bradford, VTMallard hen, Bradford, VT

The red-wing blackbirds are well along in building their nests. That doesn't stop the guys from telling it from the highest cattails.

Red-winged blackbird, Bradford, VTRed-winged blackbird, Bradford, VTRed-winged blackbird, Bradford, VT Red-winged blackbird, Bradford, VTRed-winged blackbird, Bradford, VTRed-winged blackbird, Bradford, VT

Charles, the chipping sparrow, looked pretty dapper. 

Chipping sparrowChipping sparrowChipping sparrow

 

And a pair of veerys were foraging along the bank. 
Veery, Bradford, VTVeery, Bradford, VTVeery, Bradford, VT

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(Ian Clark) American toad bird birds birds in flight canada goose grackle mallard mallards marsh wren osprey painted turtles sandpiper toad toads turtle turtles veery veerys wren wrens https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/more-of-the-usual-suspects-may-18-2021 Wed, 19 May 2021 12:00:00 GMT
Bluebird Update, May 18, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/bluebird-update-may-18-2021 Another beautiful spring day here in Vermont. Mom and dad are out hunting and bringing food back to the box. I started putting out some live meal worms last weekend. Haven't seen the bluebirds taking any. But everyone else seems to enjoy them. The chipping sparrows seem to favor the mealworms over everything else in the buffet. 

There may not be any updates for the next couple days. I'll be shooting and it will be tough for me to capture and edit video on the road. I'll see what I can do. 

Here's mom making a couple trips in with food for the chicks. 

Bluebird Update May 18, 2021Watch our bluebird chicks grow in our camera-equipped nesting box

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(Ian Clark) bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/bluebird-update-may-18-2021 Tue, 18 May 2021 16:46:11 GMT
Bluebird Update May 17, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/bluebird Another warm day here in Vermont. Mom has been out of the box most of the day, returning regularly with food. Late morning, after the box had been in direct sun for several hours, the chicks seemed to be a bit uncomfortable and squirming. The box has several vent holes just below the roof line. Hope they're helping. The chicks won't have to be uncomfortable much longer, the first day they're likely to fledge is Saturday the 22nd. 

Bluebird Update May 17, 2021

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(Ian Clark) bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/bluebird Mon, 17 May 2021 22:24:06 GMT
Bluebird Update May 16, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/bluebird-update-may-16-2021 Another busy day for our bluebird parents. They spent most of the day hunting and delivering food to the chicks. They did take a break when we had some thunderstorms midday. 

Looks like there is still on egg left in the nest. Yesterday's video showed one broken egg, then it disappeared. I'd assumed mom hauled it off, but maybe it was hidden under the chicks too. 

Bluebird Update May 16, 2021


It takes several minutes for videos to process after I upload them. If the video doesn't play for you, please check back in a few minutes. 

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(Ian Clark) bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/bluebird-update-may-16-2021 Sun, 16 May 2021 22:25:13 GMT
Saturday With the Bluebirds, May 15, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/saturday-with-the-bluebirds-may-15-2021 The chicks are growing incredibly fast! You can see that their wing feathers have started to come in. 

Mom has removed the eggs that didn't hatch from the nest. She broke them and carried them out in pieces. When I get some time, I'll try to edit the videos to show her hauling them out. 

Our chickadees peeked into the nesting box in Piermont a couple times today, but didn't go in. 

Bluebird Update May 15, 2021

It takes several minutes for the videos to process after I upload them. If the video doesn't play for you, please try again in a few minutes. 

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(Ian Clark) bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/saturday-with-the-bluebirds-may-15-2021 Sat, 15 May 2021 23:41:29 GMT
Friday's Bluebird Update, May 14, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/fridays-bluebird-update-may-14-2021 We had a nice warm day today, Mrs. Bluebird spent a lot of her time out of the box. Both parents were around the yard most of the day, alternating who brought food back to the box. 

Bluebird Update May 14, 2021

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(Ian Clark) bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/fridays-bluebird-update-may-14-2021 Sat, 15 May 2021 12:53:05 GMT
Bluebird Update May 13, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/bluebird-update-may-12-2021 Update - I managed to get a video to upload this evening, here's today's check in on the bluebirds

Our bluebird chicks are getting big enough to look like birds now. Their feathers are just starting to come in, the chicks are turning blue. Mom and dad continue to haul food in for them. 

No sign of our chickadees down in Piermont. The starling did peek into one of the boxes this morning. 

 

Bluebird Update May 13, 2021

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(Ian Clark) bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/bluebird-update-may-12-2021 Thu, 13 May 2021 18:16:21 GMT
Bluebird Update May 11, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/bluebird-update-may-11-2021 Look how big our chicks are getting! They've probably tripled in size since Friday. 

Another day with the parents delivering food to the box for the chicks. We've got a warm (for Vermont in the spring) afternoon. Mom has been spending more time out hunting. 

No word from our chickadees today. 

Bluebird Update May 11, 2021

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(Ian Clark) bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/bluebird-update-may-11-2021 Tue, 11 May 2021 19:31:32 GMT
Monday's Bluebird Update, May 10, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/mondays-bluebird-update-may-10-2021 Both parents were busy hunting for the chicks today. Mrs. Bluebird alternates between hunting and sitting in the box. We got some live mealworms today, hopefully that will help them out. 

The chickadees made several quick checks of both boxes at the Piermont Library, but didn't venture into either box. 
 

Here's several minutes of the bluebird chicks in the nest. Towards the end, Mrs. B returns to feed one of the chicks and settle back in the box. 

 

Bluebird Update May 10, 2021Mrs. Bluebird returns to feed her chicks

It takes several minutes for videos to process after I upload them. If the video won't play for you, please try back in a few minutes. 

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(Ian Clark) bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/mondays-bluebird-update-may-10-2021 Mon, 10 May 2021 23:10:23 GMT
Sunday Afternoon Bluebird - and Chickadee - Update, May 9, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/sunday-afternoon-bluebird---and-chickadee---update-may-9-2021 Mom and dad bluebird are busy feeding their two chicks. Mom spends some of her time sitting on the nest. Dad is hunting off the roof above my office window, he regularly dives past, the heads for the box. 

Bluebird Update May 9, 2021Checking in on our bluebirds, May 9, 2021

The chickadees at the Piermont Library have been returning to check out both of the boxes at the Library. Maybe they haven't moved on after all? They're just peeking in the boxes, I haven't seen the enter either box. 

Box 1:

PPL Box 1 Update May 9, 2021

Box 2

PPL Box 2 Update May 9, 20201

We're watching eastern bluebirds in West Newbury, Vermont, and black-capped chickadees in Piermont, New Hampshire, with boxes built with a camera installed. We can watch without disturbing the birds. 

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(Ian Clark) bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/sunday-afternoon-bluebird---and-chickadee---update-may-9-2021 Sun, 09 May 2021 19:47:51 GMT
Saturday Afternoon Bluebird Update, May 8, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/saturday-afternoon-bluebird-update-may-8-2021 Our two chicks are growing rapidly - look how big they are compared with the eggs that haven't hatched. 

I'm giving up hope for the two remaining eggs hatching. My suspicion is that they got too cold in the first couple days after being laid. Curious to see what mom does with them. 

Afternoon bluebird update update May 8

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(Ian Clark) bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/saturday-afternoon-bluebird-update-may-8-2021 Sat, 08 May 2021 23:24:19 GMT
Saturday Morning Bluebird Update, May 8, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/saturday-morning-bluebird-update-may-8-2021 Saturday morning finds two eggs that still haven't hatched. Mom is sitting on them and the two chicks, venturing out occasionally to get food for them. Dad has made a couple trips in with food for the chicks. 

 

Bluebird Update May 8, 20201 morning.Two eggs have still not hatched. Mom and dad are busy feeding the two chicks.

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(Ian Clark) bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/saturday-morning-bluebird-update-may-8-2021 Sat, 08 May 2021 11:23:23 GMT
We've Got A Second Chick, May 7, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/weve-got-a-second-chick-may-7-2021 A couple good looks at chicks one and two.

Bluebird's second chick, May 7, 2021Meet the second chick
A longer view of two chicks, May 7, 2021Meet chicks one and two

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(Ian Clark) bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/weve-got-a-second-chick-may-7-2021 Fri, 07 May 2021 20:00:00 GMT
First Bluebird Chick Has Hatched! May 7, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/first-bluebird-chick-has-hatched-may-7-2021 We've got a chick! The first chick hatched shortly before dawn this morning. As of 1030, it looks like a second chick has broken its shell, hard to tell, I haven't had a clear view yet, mom is still sitting on the nest. 

Still no sign from the chickadees. 

Here's mom bluebird bringing in the first meal. Sorry about the video glitch as mom leaves, the camera has trouble adjusting to the rapidly changing levels of light. 

Bluebird's First Chick, May 7, 2021Our bluebird's first chick hatched shortly before dawn this morning.
 

 

 

 

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(Ian Clark) bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/first-bluebird-chick-has-hatched-may-7-2021 Fri, 07 May 2021 14:30:54 GMT
Mr. Bluebird Is Getting Impatient, No Word From The Chickadees, May 6, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/mr-bluebird-is-getting-impatient-no-word-from-the-chickadees-may-6-2021 Mr. Bluebird seems to be getting impatient. He usually shows up around the yard a few times a day. He'll call to Mrs., she sometimes answers. Today, he stuck around the yard, often perching on the box or the roof just above the box. I saw him go to the door several times to see what was up. And, every time I was around to see Mrs. leave the box, Mr. would perch by the door. All this, and still no chicks. We're about midway through the period we can expect them to hatch. They should hatch before Monday. 

The chickadees haven't checked either box at the Library in over 72 hours, it looks like they've moved on. 

Here's Mrs. Bluebird tending her eggs this afternoon:

Bluebird Update May 6, 2021

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(Ian Clark) bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/mr-bluebird-is-getting-impatient-no-word-from-the-chickadees-may-6-2021 Thu, 06 May 2021 22:24:39 GMT
I Was Overly Optimistic Yesterday, We're Still Waiting, Bluebird Update May 6, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/i-was-overly-optimistic-yesterday-were-still-waiting-bluebird-update-may-6-2021 OK, I got excited too early yesterday. I was sure I'd spotted a pip in an egg. Apparently not. Mrs. Bluebird is still sitting on her intact eggs. 

I fear our chickadees may have moved on, they haven't checked in for about 48 hours. 

 

Bluebird Update May 6, 2021We're still waiting.....

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(Ian Clark) bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/i-was-overly-optimistic-yesterday-were-still-waiting-bluebird-update-may-6-2021 Wed, 05 May 2021 18:28:24 GMT
Pretty Sure We Have A Pip, Bluebird Update May 4, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/pretty-sure-we-have-a-pip-bluebird-update-may-4-2021 Mrs. Bluebird has been sitting most of the day again. I've been watching closely this afternoon after spotting what sure looks like a pip in one of the eggs. There may be pips in two, but she turned them, and I'm not sure if she moved them around. Take a look at the egg at the 2 O'clock position when she leaves. 

Bluebird Update May 4, 2021Pretty sure we have a pip in at least one egg No sign of our chickadees again today. Hope they haven't moved on. 

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(Ian Clark) bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/pretty-sure-we-have-a-pip-bluebird-update-may-4-2021 Tue, 04 May 2021 22:29:17 GMT
We're Still Waiting.... Bluebird Update May 3, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/were-still-waiting-bluebird-update-may-3-2021 I've been busy checking in on Mrs. Bluebird every few minutes all day. By midafternoon, I convinced myself we had a crack in one of the eggs. No such luck, we're still waiting. Sunday was the first day the chicks could have hatched, they should hatch by May 10. Stay tuned. 

No sign of our chickadees today. They seem to be less interested in the box on rainy days. 

Bluebird Update May 3, 2021Mrs. Bluebird continues to tend her eggs It takes several minutes for the video to process after I upload it. If it doesn't play for you, please try again in a few minutes. 

We're watching eastern bluebirds in a specially built nesting box with a camera. We can watch without disturbing the birds. 

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(Ian Clark) bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/were-still-waiting-bluebird-update-may-3-2021 Mon, 03 May 2021 22:46:51 GMT
Meet The New Foxes, May 3, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/meet-the-new-foxes-may-3-2021 Meet the Upper Valley's newest foxes! I'm following two dens, each with four kits. They're getting adventurous and roaming around their dens on their own. Mom is still feeding them and both parents are bringing solid food back to the dens for them. I'll post occasional updates when I get new pix. 

The kits spend a fair bit of time pouncing on each other and wrestling. They're practicing skills they'll need as an adult. I like the little guy on the right, just chewing on a stick and watching the action. 
Red foxRed foxRed fox (Vulpes vulpes) family

This wrestling match is winding down, they'll settle and take a quick nap. 
Red foxRed foxRed fox (Vulpes vulpes) family


The world outside the den is still new to them. They're alert to any dangers. Red foxRed foxRed fox (Vulpes vulpes) family

And ready to pounce at a moment's notice! Red foxRed foxRed fox (Vulpes vulpes) family

This kit is practicing stalking. It successfully brought down a wind-blown leaf!

Red foxRed foxRed fox (Vulpes vulpes) family
 

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(Ian Clark) babies baby baby fox baby foxes cute fox fox kit fox kits fox pup fox puppies foxes kit kits red fox red foxes https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/meet-the-new-foxes-may-3-2021 Mon, 03 May 2021 11:30:04 GMT
Still Waiting For Chicks, May 2, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/still-waiting-for-chicks-may-2-2021
Our wait for bluebird chicks continues. Mrs. Bluebird spent most of her day sitting on her eggs. Today was the first day we could have expected the eggs to hatch. 
Bluebird Update May 2, 2021

No news from our chickadees either. They stopped in their box just a couple times today. 

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(Ian Clark) bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/still-waiting-for-chicks-may-2-2021 Sun, 02 May 2021 23:13:37 GMT
Mrs. Bluebird Spends Another Day on Her Eggs, May 1, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/mrs-bluebird-spends-another-day-on-her-eggs-may-1-2021 Mrs. Bluebird spent the day sitting on her eggs. The first day the might hatch is tomorrow, Sunday May 2. There's a big window, they could take until the 10th. Stay tuned. 

Bluebird Update May 1, 2021Tomorrow is the first day her eggs could hatch. Think she's ready to be done with sitting?

 

Our chickadees were out all morning. One has stopped in a few times this afternoon, venturing into the box just to check on things. 

Chickadee Update May 1, 2021Our chickadees continue to keep an eye on their nest. Still no eggs.

We're watching eastern bluebirds in West Newbury, Vermont, and black-capped chickadees in Piermont, New Hampshire, in specially built bird boxes with cameras so we can watch without disturbing the birds. 

It takes a few minutes for the video to process after I upload it. If the video doesn't play for you, please try again in a few minutes. 

 

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(Ian Clark) bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/5/mrs-bluebird-spends-another-day-on-her-eggs-may-1-2021 Sat, 01 May 2021 20:43:59 GMT
We're Still Waiting, April 30, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/were-still-waiting-april-30-2021 Again, not much news today. Mrs. Bluebird spent most of her day on her eggs. Sunday is the first day we could expect them to hatch. 

Mrs. Bluebird Continues Sitting, April 30, 2021Mrs. Bluebird continues to tend her eggs.


Our chickadees popped into their box a couple times to check things out. Still no eggs. 

Chickadees Keep An Eye On Their Nest, April 30, 2021Our chickadees have completed their nest, but still no eggs.

 

Please note it takes a while for the video to upload and process after I write the blog post. If the video doesn't play for you, please try again in a few minutes. 

We're looking inside a nesting box with the bluebirds in West Newbury, Vermont. The chickadees are in Piermont, New Hampshire. 
The cameras are permanently mounted in the boxes and we can watch without disturbing the birds. 

 

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(Ian Clark) black-capped chickadee black-capped chickadees bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest chickadee chickadee nest chickadees eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/were-still-waiting-april-30-2021 Fri, 30 Apr 2021 21:52:15 GMT
The Wait Continues... No News From Our Bluebirds or Chickadees, April 29, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/the-wait-continues-no-news-from-our-bluebirds-or-chickadees-april-29-2021 Mrs. Bluebird continues babysitting her eggs, venturing out occasionally. Mr. Bluebird sat in the rain on our deck roof above the box for a time this morning. Sunday is the first day we can expect the eggs to hatch. 

Mrs. Bluebird Continues to Babysit Her Eggs, April 29, 2021Mrs. Bluebird Continues to Babysit Her Eggs, April 29, 2021

Our chickadees haven't shown up on camera yet today (as of 4:00 pm).

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(Ian Clark) black-capped chickadee black-capped chickadees bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest chickadee chickadee nest chickadees eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/the-wait-continues-no-news-from-our-bluebirds-or-chickadees-april-29-2021 Thu, 29 Apr 2021 20:44:28 GMT
No News From Our Bluebirds or Chickadees, April 28, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/no-news-from-our-bluebirds-or-chickadees-april-28-2021 Mrs. Bluebird spent her day tending her eggs, with a few trips out for food. I wonder if she gets bored just sitting, or does she link long thoughts?

Bluebird Update April 28, 2021Mrs. Bluebird continues to tend her eggs.

Our chickadees didn't do any more building today. They came to the entrance of the box and checked it twice this morning, haven't seen them all afternoon. 

No Action From The Chickadees, April 28, 2021Our chickadees stopped by to peek into their box just a couple times this morning.

It takes several minutes for the videos to process after I upload them. If they don't play for you, please check back in a few minutes. 

We're watching eastern bluebirds and black-capped chickadees in specially built nesting boxes with cameras. We can watch without disturbing the birds. 

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(Ian Clark) black-capped chickadee black-capped chickadees bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest chickadee chickadee nest chickadees eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/no-news-from-our-bluebirds-or-chickadees-april-28-2021 Wed, 28 Apr 2021 22:49:28 GMT
Checking In With Our Bluebirds and Chickadees, April 27, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/checking-in-with-our-bluebirds-and-chickadees-april-27-2021 Not much news from our bluebirds today. Mrs. continues to sit on her eggs, popping out occasionally to find some food. 

 

Bluebird Update April 27, 2021Mrs. Bluebird continues to tend her eggs.
 

It looks like the chickadees are satisfied with their nest. Mrs. showed up once this morning with some late additions to the nest. One of them comes to the entrance three or four times an hour just to keep an eye on things. We should be seeing eggs soon. 

Chickadees Finish Up Their NestOur chickadees seem to think their nest is ready.

We're watching eastern bluebirds and black-capped chickadees inside specially built nest boxes with cameras. We can check in on them without disturbing the birds. 

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(Ian Clark) black-capped chickadee black-capped chickadees bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest chickadee chickadee nest chickadees eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/checking-in-with-our-bluebirds-and-chickadees-april-27-2021 Tue, 27 Apr 2021 19:40:00 GMT
Bluebird and Chickadee Update April 26, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/bluebird-and-chickadee-update-april-26-2021 We had a little extra excitement from our feathered friends this morning. My wife, Lee, found a robin that couldn't fly. The robin is now under VINS' care.

Mrs. Bluebird spent most of her day in her box tending her eggs. Here's a short clip, where she deals with a shed feather. The eggs should hatch between May 2 and May 10. 

Bluebird Update April 26, 2021Mrs. Bluebird continues to sit on her eggs.

Our chickadees are moving quickly to build their new nest. If you missed the update, it appears they were run out of the other box by starlings. Let's hope the starlings leave them alone here. 

Chickadees at Work, April 26, 2021Our chickadees continue to build their new nest.

The videos take several minutes to process after I upload them. If the videos aren't playing for you, please check back in a few minutes. 

We're watching eastern bluebirds in a box in West Newbury, Vermont, and black-capped chickadees in a box in Piermont, New Hampshire. The boxes were built to fit a video camera inside, we can watch without disturbing the birds. 

 

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(Ian Clark) black-capped chickadee black-capped chickadees bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest chickadee chickadee nest chickadees eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/bluebird-and-chickadee-update-april-26-2021 Mon, 26 Apr 2021 22:00:00 GMT
Mrs. Bluebird Continues Sitting, Our Chickadees Make a Move, April 25, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/mrs-bluebird-continues-sitting-our-chickadees-make-a-move-april-25-2021 Mrs. Bluebird spent another day sitting on her eggs. We're expecting them to hatch sometime between May 2 and May 10. Watch as she stirs, turns the eggs, then settles back in for a nap. 

Mrs. Bluebird Sitting on Her Eggs, April 25, 2021Mrs. Bluebird sits on her eggs, gets up to turn them, then settles back for a nap.

There are some doings with our chickadees. They were well started on a nest in the box on the northern end of the Piermont Public Library, but a starling made repeated visits to the box. Starlings are a danger to both the adult chickadees and any chicks they may hatch. The starling should be excluded from the box by the size of the entrance hole. But, watch it reach into the box, it could grab any birds within. 

The Starling is BackThe starling seems to have driven the chickadees from the box where they started to build their first nest.

That explains why the chickadees were also interested in the box to the south. They took to serious nest building in there today. Unfortunately, I was busy recording no action on the other box. Here's a series of 12-second clips stitched together showing the progress they made on their nest today. 

Chickadees Rebuild! April 25, 2021Our chickadees build a new nest in the second box.

The videos take a few minutes to process after I upload them before you can see them. If they won't play for you, please check back in a few minutes. 

We're watching eastern bluebirds in a box in West Newbury, VT and black-capped chickadees and a starling in boxes in Piermont, NH. 

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(Ian Clark) black-capped chickadee black-capped chickadees bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest chickadee chickadee nest chickadees eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/mrs-bluebird-continues-sitting-our-chickadees-make-a-move-april-25-2021 Sun, 25 Apr 2021 22:19:19 GMT
The Clock Has Started For The Bluebirds, Chickadees Still Building, April 24, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/the-clock-has-started-for-the-bluebirds-chickadees-still-building-april-24-2021 Mrs. Bluebird has definitely started incubating her four eggs. Thursday, she sat on them most of the morning before spending most of the afternoon out of the box. She stayed in the box Thursday night, sat on the eggs Friday and again spent the night. The book says it takes 11 to 19 days for the eggs to hatch. Let's say she started Thursday, that means they should hatch sometime between May 2 and May 10. Here's a good look at her sitting on her  eggs.  About 11:00, you can see her turn the eggs. All birds turn their eggs while incubating them. Theories as to why include, rotating the egg helps deliver albumen - the 'white' of the egg that is protein - to the chick - the 'yolk' and that turning the egg helps warm the egg evenly and and prevents the egg's membrane from sticking to the shell. 

Mrs. Bluebird Tending Her Eggs, April 24, 2021A good view of Mrs. Bluebird tending to her eggs. She's sitting to incubate them and takes a moment to turn them.

 

I'm still working on a work around for our chickadee box cam that doesn't want to let us record long clips. The camera's default is to record a 12-second clip when it detects motion, with a five minute interval before it will record again. We're getting those clips, the videos below show several 12-second clips merged. 

The chickadees are still interested in the southern box, the one the aren't building their nest in. They visit that almost as often as the box where they're building. They've even brought in some moss. Not sure if they're preparing a fallback position in case the first box doesn't work out, or maybe trying to discourage other birds from claiming the box. 

There's something about that box...Our chickadees are keeping a close eye on the box they're not building in.

And, in the box they're building their nest, we see a starling poke its head in with some moss. The size of the entrance hole should keep the starlings out. Then, we see a couple clips of Mrs. Chickadee bringing in more moss and sort things out. 

Chickadees continue building their nestOur bluebirds have started incubating their eggs

It takes several minutes for the video to process after I upload it. If the video won't play for you, please check back in a few minutes. 

We're watching eastern bluebirds in West Newbury, VT and black-capped chickadees in Piermont, NH, inside specially built nesting boxes with cameras installed to allow us to watch the birds without disturbing them. 


 

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(Ian Clark) black-capped chickadee black-capped chickadees bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest chickadee chickadee nest chickadees eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/the-clock-has-started-for-the-bluebirds-chickadees-still-building-april-24-2021 Sat, 24 Apr 2021 23:30:00 GMT
Bluebird Update April 22, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/bluebird-update-april-22-2021 Mrs. Bluebird spent much of her morning sitting on the eggs, before heading out on her errands by about 11:00. No more eggs today.  Mrs. Bluebird Spent The Morning In Her Box, April 22, 2021Mrs. Bluebird spent much of the morning sitting on her eggs before heading out to tend to her errands by late morning.
We're having a technical glitch that is keeping us from saving and posting video from inside the chickadee's box. We're able to capture still images.  So, take a look at the before and after pix of the latest round of nest building. 

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The video files take several minutes to process when I upload them. If the video doesn't play for you, please try back in a few minutes. 

We've got cameras mounted inside the nest boxes allowing us to watch without disturbing the birds. 

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(Ian Clark) black-capped chickadee black-capped chickadees bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest chickadee chickadee nest chickadees eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/bluebird-update-april-22-2021 Fri, 23 Apr 2021 00:18:39 GMT
All Quiet In The Boxes Today, April 21 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/all-quiet-in-the-boxes-today-april-21 It has been a chilly rainy day today. We haven't seen much action in any of the bird boxes yet today. 


Mrs. Bluebird stopped in for a few minutes early this afternoon. 

Bluebird & Chickadee Update April 20, 2021Not a lot of action in the boxes today. Mrs. Bluebird has checked in a couple times, no new eggs. The chickadees seem to be taking the day off.

One of the chickadees checked out the box they didn't claim again this morning. 

Chickadees Checking Out Piermont Public Library Box 1, April 21The chickadees continue to keep an eye on the box they didn't take

But, we haven't seen the chickadees visit their nest yet today. 

All Quiet In The Chickadee Box, April 21We haven't seen the chickadees visit their box at all so far today

 

Please note it takes a while for the video to upload and process after I write the blog post. If the video doesn't play for you, please try again in a few minutes. 

We're looking inside a nesting box with the bluebirds in West Newbury, Vermont. The chickadees are in Piermont, New Hampshire. 
The cameras are permanently mounted in the boxes and we can watch without disturbing the birds. 
 

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(Ian Clark) black-capped chickadee black-capped chickadees bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest chickadee chickadee nest chickadees eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/all-quiet-in-the-boxes-today-april-21 Wed, 21 Apr 2021 19:30:00 GMT
Mrs. Bluebird Lays Her Fourth Egg, Chickadees Building, April 20, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/mrs-bluebird-lays-her-fourth-egg-chickadees-building-april-20-2021 Sorry for missing posting yesterday. Mrs. Bluebird got back on schedule and laid her third egg yesterday morning. Followed by a fourth egg today. Here's the view this morning":

Mrs. Bluebird Lays a Fourth Egg, April 20, 2021Mrs. Bluebird lays her fourth egg

Our chickadees have decided on the northern box at the Piermont Public Library and are busy building a nest. 

But, they're keeping an eye on the box they didn't want. 

Chickadees Keep An Eye On The Box They Rejected, April 20, 2021Our chickadees may have decided not to build in this box, but they're keeping a close eye on it.

They're serious about building in the other box. 

Chickadees Building Their Nest, April 20, 2021Construction is underway! Watch our chickadees build their nest

 

Please note it takes a while for the video to upload and process after I write the blog post. If the video doesn't play for you, please try again in a few minutes. 

We're looking inside a nesting box with the bluebirds in West Newbury, Vermont. The chickadees are in Piermont, New Hampshire. 
The cameras are permanently mounted in the boxes and we can watch without disturbing the birds. 

 

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(Ian Clark) black-capped chickadee black-capped chickadees bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest chickadee chickadee nest chickadees eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds video of chickadee nest video of chickadees https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/mrs-bluebird-lays-her-fourth-egg-chickadees-building-april-20-2021 Tue, 20 Apr 2021 20:45:00 GMT
The Chickadees Decide! Mrs. Bluebird Tends Her Eggs. April 18, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/the-chickadees-decide-mrs-bluebird-tends-her-eggs-april-18-2021 Mrs. Bluebird spent much of the morning sitting on her two eggs. She went about her errands starting late morning, leaving the eggs unattended. She did not lay a third egg. I'm not sure if she's started the clock on incubating the two she has or if there are more eggs coming.

Our video is in black & white this morning. It was early enough, and gloomy enough, that there wasn't enough light for the camera to work without turning on the infrared LEDs on the camera. When the IR is in use, the camera can only record in B&W.

Mrs. Bluebird tends her eggs, April 18, 2021Mrs. Bluebird spent much of the morning sitting on her eggs
Our chickadees at the Piermont Public Library have made a well-considered decision After checking both boxes at the Library for several days, the made one last check of the southern box today before deciding to build in the other box. 

Chickadees PPL Box 1Our chickadees make a last check before choosing

And, after all the pondering, our chickadees took the first box the found back on the day we put them up. They got a start on their nest this afternoon. 

Chickadees Decide! April 18, 2021After much consideration, the chickadees choose box 2

 

Please note it takes a while for the video to upload and process after I write the blog post. If the video doesn't play for you, please try again in a few minutes. 

We're looking inside a nesting box with the bluebirds in West Newbury, Vermont. The chickadees are in Piermont, New Hampshire. 
The cameras are permanently mounted in the boxes and we can watch without disturbing the birds. 
 

 

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(Ian Clark) black-capped chickadee black-capped chickadees bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest chickadee chickadee nest chickadees eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds video of chickadee nest video of chickadees https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/the-chickadees-decide-mrs-bluebird-tends-her-eggs-april-18-2021 Sun, 18 Apr 2021 22:14:28 GMT
A Second Bluebird Egg And Our Chickadees Remain Undecided, April 17, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/a-second-bluebird-egg-and-our-chickadees-remain-undecided-april-17-2021 Mrs. Bluebird returned to the box on schedule late this morning to lay a second egg. She'll likely lay one a day for until she has four or five eggs. She won't start sitting on them until they're all laid. 

I'm still looking for mammals to photograph this spring. If you know of a den - fox, coyote, bobcat - or have a racoon, mink, fisher or bear on some sort of a schedule I'd love to know. 

Here's Jeans settling in to lay her egg
We've Got A Second EggMrs. Bluebird showed up late this morning to lay a second egg.

When I posted yesterday, our chickadees hadn't been seen at the boxes at the Piermont Public Library. They got back to checking the boxes yesterday afternoon (they probably took the morning off due to the snow. Who wants to think about building a nest while there's still snow?). Since midafternoon Friday, they've checked 'box 1' - the southern box - only twice and box 2 - the northern box - eight times. Perhaps they've made a decision? We'll see. 

They make just a couple visits to box 1.

Chickadees Remain Undecided, PPL Box 1, April 17Our chickadees are still inspecting both boxes at the Piermont Public Library

And they came and went eight times at box 2

Chickadees Remain Undecided, PPL Box 2, April 17Our chickadees are still inspecting both boxes at the Piermont Public Library

Please note it takes a while for the video to upload and process after I write the blog post. If the video doesn't play for you, please try again in a few minutes. 

We're looking inside a nesting box with the bluebirds in West Newbury, Vermont. The chickadees are in Piermont, New Hampshire. 
The cameras are permanently mounted in the boxes and we can watch without disturbing the birds. 

 

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(Ian Clark) black-capped chickadee black-capped chickadees bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest chickadee chickadee nest chickadees eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds video of chickadee nest video of chickadees https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/a-second-bluebird-egg-and-our-chickadees-remain-undecided-april-17-2021 Sat, 17 Apr 2021 17:45:00 GMT
We Have a Bluebird Egg! April 16, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/we-have-a-bluebird-egg-april-16-2021 Our bluebirds have their first egg! 

Mrs. Bluebird should lay an egg a day for the next three or four days, for a total of four or five eggs. She won't start sitting on them until they're all laid. Both bluebirds will be close by the box keeping watch. 

Our chickadees haven't checked into either of the boxes at the Piermont Library today. It is snowing here in the Upper Valley today. Let's hope they're waiting for the weather to improve before deciding on a box.  Bluebirds First Egg! April 16, 2021Mrs. Bluebird lays her first egg, April 16, 2021

 

We're looking inside a nesting box with the bluebirds in West Newbury, Vermont. The chickadees are in Piermont, New Hampshire. 
The cameras are permanently mounted in the boxes and we can watch without disturbing the birds. 

 

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(Ian Clark) bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird egg bluebird eggs bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/we-have-a-bluebird-egg-april-16-2021 Fri, 16 Apr 2021 17:49:13 GMT
The Birds Keep Us Waiting, April 15, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/the-birds-keep-us-waiting-april-15-2021 Mrs. Bluebird made just a couple trips into her box this morning. We're still waiting for her to start laying eggs. 

Bluebird Update April 15, 2021

The starling was back checking one of the boxes at the Piermont Public Library. The entrance hole should be small enough to keep him out. It seems to be working. 
The Starling Returns To Check The BoxThe starling inspects the box, fortunately, he's too big to get in

Our indecisive chickadees remain indecisive. They keep checking both boxes, but don't seem to have made a decision. 

Piermont Library Box 1 April 15, 2021Our indecisive chickadees remain indecisive.
Piermont Library Box 2 April 15, 2021Our indecisive chickadees remain indecisive

Please note it takes a while for the video to upload and process after I write the blog post. If the video doesn't play for you, please try again in a few minutes. 
 

We're looking inside a nesting box with the bluebirds in West Newbury, Vermont. The chickadees are in Piermont, New Hampshire. 
The cameras are permanently mounted in the boxes and we can watch without disturbing the birds. 

 

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(Ian Clark) black-capped chickadee black-capped chickadees bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest chickadee chickadee nest chickadees eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds video of chickadee nest video of chickadees https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/the-birds-keep-us-waiting-april-15-2021 Thu, 15 Apr 2021 23:18:15 GMT
Checking On Our Bird Boxes, April 14 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/checking-on-our-bird-boxes-april-14 Not much action in the bluebird box today. Mrs. has shown up only four times. The first time, she settled then fussed several times, we were convinced she was laying her first egg. No such luck :(  Both bluebirds are around the yard, ready to protect the box should it need defending. Mrs. should lay her first egg within the next couple days. 

Bluebird Update April 14, 2021Not much new with our birds today, April 14. Mrs. Bluebird has visited the box only a couple times. She should start laying eggs any day now.

Meanwhile in Piermont, our chickadees are still undecided about where to make their nest. They've come back to check both of the boxes, doesn't look like they've made a choice. We put the boxes up hoping for bluebirds. The chickadees found one of the boxes within an hour of putting it up. They've been checking both boxes several times a day since. Chickadees are supposed to like boxes with wood chips or sawdust. If the chickadees don't start building soon, we'll try to add some wood chips. 

The chickadee checking the first box.

Chickadees Checking Out Piermont Public Library Box 1, April 14Our chickadees continue to check out both boxes at the Piermont Library, this shows their inspection of box no. 1.

And the chickadees checking out the second box. 

Chickadee checking out the Piermont Library's Box 2Our chickadees are still undecided, they've made several more trips to each box checking them out.
 

Please note it takes a while for the video to upload and process after I write the blog post. If the video doesn't play for you, please try again in a few minutes. 
 

We're looking inside a nesting box with the bluebirds in West Newbury, Vermont. The chickadees are in Piermont, New Hampshire. 
The cameras are permanently mounted in the boxes and we can watch without disturbing the birds. 

 

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(Ian Clark) black-capped chickadee black-capped chickadees bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest chickadee chickadee nest chickadees eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds video of chickadee nest video of chickadees https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/checking-on-our-bird-boxes-april-14 Wed, 14 Apr 2021 20:30:34 GMT
Evening Grosbeaks Visit West Newbury https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/evening-grosbeaks-visit-west-newbury For the last week or so, beautiful downtown West Newbury, Vermont, has hosted a gross of about 25 evening grosbeaks. Now, I'd have ignored them if there were only a couple dozen, but 25 was enough to get me out with the camera. You can see them from the parking lot of the Post Office.

A few of them visiting a downtown feeder. 

Evening grosbeakEvening grosbeakEvening grosbeak (Hesperiphona vespertina)

Mrs. Grosbeak helps herself to a maple bud while waiting for space at the feeder. 

Evening grosbeakEvening grosbeakEvening grosbeak (Hesperiphona vespertina)


This is Jimmy, The Schnozzola, showing off exactly why they're called 'grosbeaks.'

Evening grosbeakEvening grosbeakEvening grosbeak (Hesperiphona vespertina)

Mr. Grosbeak just looking pretty. Evening grosbeakEvening grosbeakEvening grosbeak (Hesperiphona vespertina)

This guy seems to be wondering what I'm up to. 
Evening grosbeakEvening grosbeakEvening grosbeak (Hesperiphona vespertina)

 

Evening grosbeakEvening grosbeakEvening grosbeak, West Newbury, Vermont Evening grosbeakEvening grosbeakEvening grosbeak, West Newbury, Vermont

Evening grosbeakEvening grosbeakEvening grosbeak (Hesperiphona vespertina)

 

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(Ian Clark) bird birds evening grosbeak evening grosbeaks flock of grosbeaks grosbeak grosbeaks gross of grosbeaks https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/evening-grosbeaks-visit-west-newbury Wed, 14 Apr 2021 17:30:18 GMT
Bird Box Updates April 13, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/bird-box-updates-april-13-2021 Not much news with our birds today. Mrs. Bluebird made just a couple trips into her box this morning. She should start laying eggs within a couple days. 

Mrs. Bluebird checks on her nest a couple times this morningMrs. Bluebird checked on her nest a few times this morning. She should start laying her eggs within a few days.

At the Piermont Public Library, our chickadees still have not made a decision. 

Chickadees Still UndecidedChecking in on our nesting boxes at the Piermont Public Library. The chickadees still haven't made a decision.

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(Ian Clark) black-capped chickadee black-capped chickadees bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest chickadee chickadee nest chickadees eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds video of chickadee nest video of chickadees https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/bird-box-updates-april-13-2021 Tue, 13 Apr 2021 18:00:20 GMT
Checking In On Our Birdboxes, April 12, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/checking-in-on-our-birdboxes-april-12-2021 Checking in to see what's going on in our bird boxes. Mrs. Bluebird has made only a few trips into the box today, making only minor adjustments. They seem to be done building the nest, she should start laying eggs in a few days. 

Checking In On Our Bluebirds, April 12, 2021Mrs. Bluebird has made just a couple trips into the box this morning. We're waiting for her to start laying eggs.
Our boxes at the Piermont Public Library drew an unwelcome visitor this morning -  a brown-headed cowbird. Cowbirds are brood parasites, that is, they lay their eggs in other bird's nests for the other bird to raise. If they lay their eggs in the nest of a bird a small as a chickadee, only the cowbird chick is likely to survive. Let's hope the cowbird saw that no one had a nest in the boxes and moves along. 

And, our chickadees popped in again to check the box out yet again. 

An Unwelcome Visitor and Chickadees Still Deciding April 12, 2021A brown-headed cowbird looks to see if anyone is using the box and our chickadee again checks the specs to see if they're to her liking.

 

Please note it takes a while for the video to upload and process after I write the blog post. If the video doesn't play for you, please try again in a few minutes. 
 

We're looking inside a nesting box with the bluebirds in West Newbury, Vermont. The chickadees are in Piermont, New Hampshire. 
The cameras are permanently mounted in the boxes and we can watch without disturbing the birds. 

 

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(Ian Clark) black-capped chickadee black-capped chickadees bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest chickadee chickadee nest chickadees eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds video of chickadee nest video of chickadees https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/checking-in-on-our-birdboxes-april-12-2021 Mon, 12 Apr 2021 18:54:44 GMT
Bluebird and Chickadee Update April 11, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/bluebird-and-chickadee-update-april-11-2021 Mrs. Bluebird continues working on her nest. I'd bet she's getting close to finished. Her last trip into the box in this video shows her bringing what appear to be feathers in to line the nest. 

Mrs. Bluebird Still Tweaking Her Nest, April 11, 2021Construction continues on the nest in our camera equipped bluebird nesting box.

Checking in on the boxes at the Piermont Public Library, we see our starling still checking the boxes. The hole should be small enough to keep him out. After that, we see one of our chickadees inspecting both boxes. I'd bet this was Mrs. Chickadee, the female usually choses the nesting site. 

More from the Piermont Public Library Bird Boxes, April 11, 2021We're watching inside the bird boxes at the Piermont (NH) Public Library. A starling tries to fit in, then our chickadees inspect both boxes.

Please note it takes a while for the video to upload and process after I write the blog post. If the video doesn't play for you, please try again in a few minutes. 
 

We're looking inside a nesting box with the bluebirds in West Newbury, Vermont. The chickadees are in Piermont, New Hampshire. 
The cameras are permanently mounted in the boxes and we can watch without disturbing the birds. 
 

 

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(Ian Clark) black-capped chickadee black-capped chickadees bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest chickadee chickadee nest chickadees eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/bluebird-and-chickadee-update-april-11-2021 Sun, 11 Apr 2021 20:10:21 GMT
Loons & Turtles - Spring Is Here! https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/loons-turtles---spring-is-here With yesterday's beautiful weather, I dug the kayak out of the basement and headed out. Spring has arrived. 

I wasn't the only one taking advantage of the sunshine. The pond had a full battalion of painted turtles out basking. It seemed like every log and hummock had at least one, usually many more. 

Painted TurtlePainted TurtlePainted turtles basking

Painted TurtlePainted TurtlePainted turtles basking

Someone had put some seeds out on a broken off log. A chickadee paused to ponder the selection before digging in. Black-capped chickadeeBlack-capped chickadeeBlack-capped chickadee

Sunflower seeds seemed to be the favorite for a red-breasted nuthatch.  Red-breasted nuthatchRed-breasted nuthatchRed-breasted nuthatch with a sunflower seed.

And, a loon has returned! The loon tipped its head back and opened its mouth without vocalizing many times. I can't decide if it was stretching, yawning or something else. I've emailed the Loon Preservation Committee asking what they think its up to. BTW, the LPC loves to have people report notable statistics about New Hampshire loons. On the Vermont side of the river, Eric Hanson of the Vermont Center for Ecostudies collects data on Vermont loons. They like to know when loons first arrive in the spring, when they mate, when they build their nest, how many eggs they lay, how many chicks hatch and if any of them die. If you notice any of these, just send a quick email with the date, what you saw and which pond you were on. And, if you find a dead loon, they'd like to collect it to do a necropsy. 

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, North Haverhill, New Hampshire

The loon took a few minutes to preen. 

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon preening, North Haverhill, New Hampshire

And, no visit with loons is compete without them stretching their wings.  Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, North Haverhill, New Hampshire
 

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(Ian Clark) bird birds chickadee chicks common loon common loons loon loons painted turtle red-breasted nuthatch turtle turtles https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/loons-turtles---spring-is-here Sun, 11 Apr 2021 18:53:50 GMT
Further Work on the Bluebird Nest - and Chickadees Checking Out a New Box April 10, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/further-work-on-the-bluebird-nest---and-chickadees-checking-out-a-new-box-april-10-2021 Mrs. Bluebird has been coming and going from the box all morning. She stopped to talk to us while we were having lunch on the deck. The nest is well along and she seems to be making just minor additions and adjustments. 

I built a pair of nest boxes for the Piermont (NH) Public Library and put them up last week. The neighborhood must be in need of housing, a chickadee was checking one box out within the hour of installing it. The chickadees have been checking the box a couple times a day for several days, and now seem to be giving both boxes a good looking over. A starling (starlings?) have explored the boxes several times. Supposedly, they're too big to fit through the entrance designed for bluebirds. So far, so good, they haven't gone in the boxes. 

Here's several clips of Jeans working on her nest today. 

 

Work continues on the bluebird nest, April 10, 2021The bluebird nest looks to be mostly done. Jeans has been coming and going making minor additions and adjustments this morning.

And the chickadees making several visits to one of the new boxes. You have to watch closely for the second chickadee, it peeks in from outside without coming in. 

PPL Box 2 4-9

Decisions, decisions.... the chickadees have a second box to consider...

Chickadee checking out a nesting boxChickadees checking out a nesting box to see if they'd like to build a nest in it. (There are two, watch the entrance, the second makes only a brief appearance.

Stay tuned to see which box they claim!

We're looking inside a nesting box with the bluebirds in West Newbury, Vermont. The chickadees are in Piermont, New Hampshire. The cameras are permanently mounted in the boxes and we can watch without disturbing the birds. 

 

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(Ian Clark) black-capped chickadee black-capped chickadees bluebird bluebird box bluebird cam bluebird nest bluebird nesting bluebirds building nest chickadee chickadee nest chickadees eastern bluebird eastern bluebirds video of bluebirds https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/further-work-on-the-bluebird-nest---and-chickadees-checking-out-a-new-box-april-10-2021 Sat, 10 Apr 2021 17:45:47 GMT
Nest Construction Continues, April 9, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/nest-construction-continues-april-9-2021 Mrs. Bluebird continues to be busy building her nest in our box. She's been making regular trips in with grass since just before sunup. 

Mrs. Bluebird continues work on her nestA female eastern bluebird building a nest in a box in West Newbury, VT. There is a Wi-Fi camera mounted inside the box, we can watch without disturbing the birds.

Please note it takes a while for the video to upload and process after I write the blog post. If the video doesn't play for you, please try again in a few minutes. 
 

We're looking inside a nesting box in West Newbury, Vermont. The camera is permanently mounted in the box and we can watch without disturbing the birds. 

 

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(Ian Clark) bird birds bluebird bluebirds box building cam eastern nest nesting of video https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/nest-construction-continues-april-9-2021 Fri, 09 Apr 2021 14:53:07 GMT
Bluebirds Continue to Build their Nest April 8, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/bluebirds-continue-to-build-their-nest Barry and Jeans are making good progress on their nest. They work hard for a couple hours in the early morning, then wander off to tend to whatever errands they have. 

Bluebirds building a nestTwo eastern bluebirds building a nest in a nesting box in West Newbury, VT.

Please note it takes a while for the video to upload and process after I write the blog post. If the video doesn't play for you, please try again in a few minutes. 
 

We're looking inside a nesting box in West Newbury, Vermont. The camera is permanently mounted in the box and we can watch without disturbing the birds. 

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(Ian Clark) bird birds bluebird bluebirds cam nest nesting vermont video https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/bluebirds-continue-to-build-their-nest Thu, 08 Apr 2021 20:43:00 GMT
Return of the Bluebirds! April 7, 2021 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/return-of-the-bluebirds-april-7-2021 Our bluebirds, Barry and Jeans,  have returned to claim their nest box for another season! Barry has been checking the box several times a day for the last week. On April 6, he dragged a few stalks of grass into the box. This morning, things got serious when Jeans stepped in and put her talents into organizing the building of the nest. 

We'll see Jeans come and go from the box and watch as she starts to form the cup in the nest with her breast. 

Barry and Jeans have nested in the box the last two seasons. They've raised three broods and fledged 12 chicks. (Well, two bluebirds that look like Barry and Jeans... we have no way of knowing if this is the same pair. We just hope they are.)

Bluebirds building nestTwo eastern bluebirds building a nest in a camera equipped bird box in West Newbury, VT.
Please note it takes a while for the video to upload and process after I write the blog post. If the video doesn't play for you, please try again in a few minutes. 


We're watching eastern bluebirds inside a nesting box in West Newbury, Vermont. The camera is permanently mounted in the box and we can watch without bothering the birds. I've edited the video to cut out time when nothing is happening, you may notice the video jump a couple times. 

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(Ian Clark) bluebird bluebirds box cam nest nesting of video https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/4/return-of-the-bluebirds-april-7-2021 Wed, 07 Apr 2021 20:29:00 GMT
Fi GPS Collar Review – good idea, poor performance. https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/2/fi-gps-collar-review-good-idea-poor-performance Update: We went through five Fi collars in the first six months before we gave up and cancelled the account. 


We adopted Dexter, then a two-year old Siberian husky last year. He soon taught us that huskies like to run. And will at every opportunity. He’s broken leads, unlatched doors and snuck under a closing garage door to take off.

We ordered a Fi collar which arrived October 16, 2020. First impressions were positive. It seemed well-built and was easy to set up and start tracking Dexter. Unfortunately, our first impressions didn’t hold up.

The first time Dexter got loose with the collar, we activated the ‘lost dog’ mode and went after him. The lost dog mode attempts to update the dog’s position every minute. But, it often failed to update and would retry. We found it often took five or six minutes, and once 11 minutes to update. That long lag between updates isn’t sufficient to track a husky trotting along at better than 15 miles an hour. A six-minute delay could put the dog a mile and a half away! In 11 minutes, he could be 2.75 miles from the last location shown. I doubt even a husky owner can yell to their dog at that range.

The tracking is not entirely useless, dogs don’t run flat out forever. They’ll stop to explore, loop back on their track or slow down to do dog stuff. So, eventually you’ll catch up with the dog. Hopefully, before he gets into trouble.

Dexter’s original tracking module (Fi sells the GPS monitor and also sells the collar band) stopped tracking on December 21, 2020 – after 67 days. Fi support was reasonable, neither fast nor slow. We tried resetting the collar here, Fi reset it on their end. Neither worked and Fi shipped a replacement module. We received it on January 6, 2021 – leaving us without the ability to track Dex for 15 days.

The replacement module set up and tracked properly when we got it. About January 26, the connection between the band and the GPS module started coming apart when Dex was tied on a lead in the yard. We had a couple episodes chasing a GPSless dog while the collar lay on the ground in the yard. By January 29, the band wouldn’t attach to the module.

Fi designed the band to slip into a keyed slot on the module. The module appears to me to be made of white metal. Dexter had twisted the collar to the point that the metal broke and the key would not stay in the slot. Again, I contacted Fi support.

It seemed like every email to Fi brought an email back asking for something different. They wanted photos, I took excellent macro photos of the damaged parts (I used to run NASA’s Photo Section, I know something about photography). They wanted photos with the band ends laid next to each other, and both sides of the module – from a distance which did not give a clear view of the damage. Fine, more photos were taken and sent.

Fi’s response was incredible – they don’t recommend using their collar as a collar. They told me they “recommend using Fi for tracking only. Many pup owners with pullers or larger dogs use Fi with a harness…” This was the first I’d heard it suggested that the collar wasn’t suitable as a collar.  After a few emails, Fi agreed to replace the module again, and to send a new band as the tensioner on the old band had also broken and the collar couldn’t be adjusted to fit. The new module arrived today, February 10, 2021. It set up and attached correctly.

In the 90 days since the first collar arrived, FI has replaced the module twice. The collar was unable to track Dexter for 25 of those 90 days – if he got free, we were unable to track him 28% of the time. Not an impressive record. I’ll use this collar while I look for a replacement.

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(Ian Clark) collar collars fi gps review tracking https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/2/fi-gps-collar-review-good-idea-poor-performance Wed, 10 Feb 2021 22:00:00 GMT
Loon Fight! https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/2/loon-fight Loon families need a sizeable territory to successfully raise their chicks. A loon family with a pair of chicks will eat something like a half ton of (mostly) fish during the season. Loons will fight to defend their territory. One result of the growing loon population is more frequent disputes over territory. Most of these are settled with some vocalization and displays. Some get more serious and some are serious enough to kill one of the combatants. Here are a few shots from an all-out fight on Symes Pond in Ryegate, Vermont in May 2019. The home team was an established pair with a egg in their nest. 

After some posturing, one loon went after another - hard to tell who is whom since they all dress alike. This is the loon being chased, rowing across the water with his wings (or 'oaring' if you're from across the pond). 

Common loon wing rowingCommon loon wing rowingCommon loon involved in a territory dispute wing rowing (wing oaring to our friends across the pond).

Another shot of wing rowing.

Common loon wing rowingCommon loon wing rowingCommon loon involved in a territory dispute wing rowing

Eventually, the chasing loon caught up with the chased and they fought, trying to drown each other. 

Common loons fighting over territoryCommon loons fighting over territoryCommon loons in a fight over territory Common loons fighting over territoryCommon loons fighting over territoryCommon loons in a fight over territory Common loons fighting over territoryCommon loons fighting over territoryCommon loons in a fight over territory Common loons fighting over territoryCommon loons fighting over territoryCommon loons in a fight over territory Common loons fighting over territoryCommon loons fighting over territoryCommon loons in a fight over territory Common loons fighting over territoryCommon loons fighting over territoryCommon loons in a fight over territory Common loons fighting over territoryCommon loons fighting over territoryCommon loons in a fight over territory Common loons fighting over territoryCommon loons fighting over territoryCommon loons in a fight over territory Common loons fighting over territoryCommon loons fighting over territoryCommon loons in a fight over territory While watching, I thought that one had succeed in drowning the other. They'd been fighting not far from shore, both went down and only one came up. The second eventually appeared from under some of the brush along the shore. Fighting resumed and one was chased about 25 feet up the shore. It rested there for many minutes before slowly making its way back to the water. Once afloat, it took off and left the pond. I believe the original pair had successfully defended the pond. The pair that remained on the pond laid a second egg and eventually hatched two chicks. 

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(Ian Clark) bird birds common loon common loons fight great northern diver great northern divers loon loon fight loon photos loons loons fighting pictures of loons territory dispute https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/2/loon-fight Mon, 01 Feb 2021 05:45:00 GMT
A Year with Two Huskies https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/1/a-year-with-two-huskies We adopted Dexter & Romeo, then two-year old Siberian huskies, on New Year's Eve 2019. We met The Boys through Patriot Siberian Husky Rescue. They're great dogs and we love 'em to death.

But, they quickly taught us that huskies aren't like other dogs. Sure, some unique husky traits were to be expected. They shed. A lot. More than you'd think possible without their being bald. They shed all year. They're stubborn, they'll think about any command you give them and act on it if they think it is in their best interest. And only if they think it is in their interest. They need to run and wrestle. You can't walk far enough to tire them out. They quickly trained us to take them to the dog park every day. They love to run, wrestle and play in the mud. They look like they're trying to rip the squeaker out of each other, but they're actually very careful to break off if someone says enough. 

You can follow along with their antics on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Dexter.and.Romeo or Instagram @dexter_romeo_huskies. 

They're determined to get through on the run to Nome! Unfortunately, they haven't got a clue which way Nome is..... Dexter and RomeoDexter and Romeo
Dexter and RomeoDexter and RomeoDexter and Romeo playing At Oscar's Dog Park, Newbury Veterinary Clinic, Newbury, Vermont

Wipeout! Dexter and RomeoDexter and Romeo

Dexter winds up to deliver a massive downward CHOMP! Dexter and RomeoDexter and Romeo

They enjoy singing the song of their people. Dexter and RomeoDexter and Romeo


Sometimes, even a well-planned sneak attack doesn't work out exactly as planned.... Dexter and RomeoDexter and RomeoDexter and Romeo playing At Oscar's Dog Park, Newbury Veterinary Clinic, Newbury, Vermont

Dexter is the master of SBF (Snarling Bitch Face)!

Dexter and RomeoDexter and RomeoDexter and Romeo playing At Oscar's Dog Park, Newbury Veterinary Clinic, Newbury, Vermont
 

Dexter jumping because, well because he can!
Dexter and RomeoDexter and Romeo

Ahhhh, mud!

Dexter and RomeoDexter and RomeoDexter and Romeo playing At Oscar's Dog Park, Newbury Veterinary Clinic, Newbury, Vermont
Dexter and RomeoDexter and Romeo


Dexter taking time out to prove he's too cool for school. 
Dexter and RomeoDexter and RomeoDexter and Romeo playing At Oscar's Dog Park, Newbury Veterinary Clinic, Newbury, Vermont

Dex just happy to be romping Dexter and RomeoDexter and RomeoDexter and Romeo playing At Oscar's Dog Park, Newbury Veterinary Clinic, Newbury, Vermont
Romeo enjoying a day at the beach
Dexter and RomeoDexter and RomeoDexter and Romeo playing At Oscar's Dog Park, Newbury Veterinary Clinic, Newbury, Vermont

Dexter displaying a certain savoir faire while enjoying his tennis ball. 

Dexter and RomeoDexter and RomeoDexter and Romeo playing At Oscar's Dog Park, Newbury Veterinary Clinic, Newbury, Vermont


Make no bones about it, Dex loves a treat.  Dexter and RomeoDexter and RomeoDexter and Romeo playing in the yard, Clark Homestead, West Newbury, Vermont

A dual husky charger. 
Dexter and RomeoDexter and RomeoDexter and Romeo playing in the yard, Clark Homestead, West Newbury, Vermont
 

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(Ian Clark) dexter dexter & romeo dexter and romeo dogs playing huskies huskies playing husky husky photos pictures of huskies romeo Siberian huskies Siberian husky https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/1/a-year-with-two-huskies Sun, 10 Jan 2021 19:45:00 GMT
2020's Favorite Pix https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/1/2020s-favorite-pix Towards the end of every year, lazy photographers, often prompted by even lazier editors, fill some space with a review of some of their favorite pix from the previous year. I'm a photographer of moderate vitality, so here's my selection of pix from 2020.

 

Harold finch arrived to tell me my number had come up. 

Male house finchMale house finchMale house finch

My name is Indigo Bunting. You filled my feeder. Prepare to dine. 

Indigo buntingIndigo buntingIndigo bunting

Indigo buntingIndigo buntingIndigo bunting
 

Atticus goldfinch on his way to ravage the feeder. 

American goldfinchAmerican goldfinchAmerican goldfinch

Cal Ripken is an unusual visitor to our yard.  Baltimore orioleBaltimore orioleBaltimore oriole, West Newbury, Vermont
Famous Dove didn't bring any BBQ.  Mourning doveMourning doveMourning dove

Orin nuthatch stopped to ponder the mysteries of life. And to decide what was for dinner.  White-breasted nuthatchWhite-breasted nuthatchWhite-breasted nuthatch


Cyrano came by searching for Roxane. 

Rose-breasted grosbeakRose-breasted grosbeakRose-breasted grosbeak

Felix the catbird is a regular visitor. 

Dexter and RomeoDexter and RomeoDexter and Romeo playing in the yard, Clark Homestead, West Newbury, Vermont

Looking for some dove love.  Dexter and RomeoDexter and RomeoDexter and Romeo playing in the yard, Clark Homestead, West Newbury, Vermont
Gordie Howe airing his views.  Red-winged blackbirdsRed-winged blackbirdsRed-winged blackbird

My loons hatched two chicks, one survived to migrate at the end of the season.  Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, North Haverhill, New Hampshire Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, North Haverhill, New Hampshire Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, North Haverhill, New Hampshire Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, North Haverhill, New Hampshire

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, North Haverhill, New Hampshire

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, North Haverhill, New Hampshire

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, North Haverhill, New Hampshire
 


 

Osprey can you see this raptor? OspreyOspreyOsprey OspreyOspreyOsprey


20200812-5320200812-53

Phoebe Snow about to go on a trip to Buffalo. 
Eastern PhoebeEastern Phoebe

Ruby Valentino and his friends entertained us as they fought over the feeders and visited our thistle patch. 
Ruby-throated hummingbirdRuby-throated hummingbirdRuby-throated hummingbird, West Newbury, Vermont
Ruby-throated hummingbirdRuby-throated hummingbirdRuby-throated hummingbird, West Newbury, Vermont

Atticus was a regular at the thistle. 
American goldfinchAmerican goldfinchAmerican goldfinch
American goldfinch feeding on thistleAmerican goldfinch feeding on thistleAmerican goldfinch feeding on thistle, West Newbury, Vermont

Seeing this guy always left me sad and bittern.  American bitternAmerican bitternAmerican bittern, North Haverhill, New Hampshire
The 2021 model song sparrows arrived in late summer. 

Song sparrowSong sparrowSong sparrow
And, Adler, fishing at Conowingo. 

Bald eagleBald eagleBald eagles at Conowingo Dam, Darlington, Maryland Bald eagleBald eagleBald eagles at Conowingo Dam, Darlington, Maryland

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(Ian Clark) bald eagle bald eagle fishing bird bird photography birds eagle eastern phoebe goldfinch indigo bunting photos of birds pictures of birds https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2021/1/2020s-favorite-pix Fri, 01 Jan 2021 19:30:00 GMT
Conowingo Dam https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2020/11/conowingo-dam My travels took me through Aberdeen, Maryland, recently. It was just at the start of eagle season at the Conowingo Dam, so I felt that required a visit. I was able to spend a few hours over a couple days in along with a couple hundred of my closest eagle photographing friends.

The Conowingo Dam dams the Susquehanna River on the line between Cecil and Harford counties, MD. The original town of Conowingo is now under the reservoir above the dam. Conowingo is famous among photographers because something like 250-300 bald eagle winter in the area. The dam keeps the water open. Fish that would prefer to stay deep underwater get stirred up (or even injured) going through the dam and make easy pickings for waiting eagles. The eagles have learned that the lights and siren to alert people that the dam is about to increase the water they're releasing means dinner is served.

Along with the eagles, there is a large flock of black vultures, several varieties of gulls, a gulp of  cormorants and even a pair of peregrine falcons. Photographers new to the dam are allowed to shoot a few pix of the non-eagles before they are roundly abused by their fellow photographers.

Here we've got a black vulture flying over the river. The vultures are a problem for visitors, they've been known to eat windshield wipers and any plastic part of a car they can get their beaks on.

Black vultureBlack vultureA black vulture flying over the Susquehanna River just below the Conowingo Dam.

The fishing is pretty good for everyone. Here a double-crested cormorant has caught a nice catfish.

A double-crested cormorant with a catfishA double-crested cormorant with a catfishA double-crested cormorant with a catfish just below the Conowingo Dam on the Susquehanna River.
The cormorant on the left has caught itself a good meal, the cormorant on the right would like to take it away.
Double-crested cormorants disputing the ownership of a fishDouble-crested cormorants disputing the ownership of a fishDouble-crested cormorants disputing the ownership of a fish on the Susquehanna River just below the Conowingo Dam

But, the real action is the eagles. When I was there, the winter crowd was just beginning to arrive. The local birders estimated somewhere between 50 and 75 eagles had arrived. Many of the eagles were juveniles.

Juvenile bald eagle in flightJuvenile bald eagle in flightA juvenile bald eagle in flight over the Susquehanna River just below the Conowingo Dam.
Juvenile bald eagle in flightJuvenile bald eagle in flightClose up of a juvenile bald eagle in flight

But, the real attraction is the mature eagles.

Two bald eagles in flightTwo bald eagles in flightTwo bald eagles in flight over the Susquehanna River just below the Conowingo Dam. Bald eagle in flightBald eagle in flightA bald eagle flying over the Susquehanna River just below the Conowingo Dam

Bald eagle in flightBald eagle in flightA bald eagle flying over the Susquehanna River just below Conowingo Dam.

Bald eagles often seem more interested in stealing fish from other birds than in doing their own fishing. A successful catch often leads to a chase. Here a couple juveniles tussle over a fish, look closely under their wings and you can see the eagle on the right has dropped what should have been his meal. There were several skirmishes between adults and adults and juveniles, but they usually took the fight over the trees along the river and out of sight.

Juvenile bald eagles squabbling over a fishJuvenile bald eagles squabbling over a fishWith the Conowingo Dam as a backdrop, two juvenile bald eagles tangle over a fish.
There were good views of eagles fishing; this eagle has just started his dive after a fish below:

A bald eagle beginning a dive after a fishA bald eagle beginning a dive after a fishThis bald eagle has spotted a fish in the Susquehanna River below and is starting its dive to catch the fish.

There were several flybys with eagles showing off their catch:

A bald eagle flying with a fishA bald eagle flying with a fishThis bald eagle has just caught a fish from the Susquehanna River below the Conowingo Dam.
A bald eagle flying with a fishA bald eagle flying with a fishThis bald eagle has just caught a fish from the Susquehanna River below the Conowingo Dam.

And, I was lucky enough to catch a few well-lit fishing sequences:

A bald eagle fishingA bald eagle fishingA bald eagle fishing in the Susquehanna River below the Conowingo Dam
A bald eagle fishingA bald eagle fishingA bald eagle fishing in the Susquehanna River below the Conowingo Dam
A bald eagle fishingA bald eagle fishingA bald eagle fishing in the Susquehanna River below the Conowingo Dam A bald eagle fishingA bald eagle fishingA bald eagle fishing
A bald eagle fishingA bald eagle fishingA bald eagle fishing
A bald eagle fishingA bald eagle fishingA bald eagle fishing
ImageImageImage

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(Ian Clark) bald eagle bald eagles bird birds conowingo conowingo dam eagle eagle fishing eagle flying eagle hunting eagle in flight eagle with fish eagles susquhanna river https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2020/11/conowingo-dam Wed, 18 Nov 2020 22:55:29 GMT
Finches on the Thistle https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2020/8/finches-on-the-thistle The flowers in the Island of Thistley are going to seed and Atticus Finch, et al, are feeding on them regularly.

There are still a few flowers attracting butterflies, moths and hummingbirds. The male hummingbirds have found the flowers, but I haven't gotten a picture yet. The highest count for monarch butterflies in the patch is 14. Here's one sharing a thistle with a ladybug.

Monarch butterflyMonarch butterflyMonarch butterfly and ladybug on thistle, West Newbury, Vermont

It was goldfinches that I'd hope to attract when I left the thistle. Now that about a third of the flowers have passed, the finches - Atticus and Scout - have arrived en mass. There's a nyjer seed sock a few feet from the thistle. Between the two, we have a couple dozen goldfinches coming and going. (Their feeder is right next to the hummingbird feeder, things can get kinda hectic at meal time.)

Wise finches take a moment to look over the buffet before diving in.

American goldfinch feeding on thistleAmerican goldfinch feeding on thistleAmerican goldfinch feeding on thistle, West Newbury, Vermont

 

American goldfinch feeding on thistleAmerican goldfinch feeding on thistleAmerican goldfinch feeding on thistle, West Newbury, Vermont

Once the tastiest looking seeds are identified, the next challenge is to get into position without getting pricked.

American goldfinch feeding on thistleAmerican goldfinch feeding on thistleAmerican goldfinch feeding on thistle, West Newbury, Vermont

Once properly positioned, one can dig in!

American goldfinch feeding on thistleAmerican goldfinch feeding on thistleAmerican goldfinch feeding on thistle, West Newbury, Vermont
American goldfinch feeding on thistleAmerican goldfinch feeding on thistleAmerican goldfinch feeding on thistle, West Newbury, Vermont


American goldfinch feeding on thistleAmerican goldfinch feeding on thistleAmerican goldfinch feeding on thistle, West Newbury, Vermont

American goldfinch feeding on thistleAmerican goldfinch feeding on thistleAmerican goldfinch feeding on thistle, West Newbury, Vermont

American goldfinch feeding on thistleAmerican goldfinch feeding on thistleAmerican goldfinch feeding on thistle, West Newbury, Vermont


American goldfinch on thistleAmerican goldfinch on thistleAmerican goldfinch on thistle, West Newbury, Vermont

 

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(Ian Clark) american bird birds bull common flower flowers goldfinch goldfinches milk photo photos picture pictures seed seeds thistle https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2020/8/finches-on-the-thistle Thu, 27 Aug 2020 16:04:55 GMT
Everyone Loves Thistle! https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2020/8/everyone-loves-thistle We leave a patch of our yard for wild plants to help our local wildlife. This year, we've got a good patch of thistle - either 'bull,' 'milk' or 'common,' depending upon who you ask. I've dubbed the patch 'The Island of Thistley.' My wife didn't approve either.

I started leaving the thistle to attract Atticus, our resident goldfinch, and his charm. The goldfinches love the seeds, and they've got lots of company.

Thistles are beautiful plants, even if they have some sticking points. They've got lots of pretty purple flowers. Bull thistle flowersBull thistle flowersBull thistle flowers, Clark Homestead, West Newbury, Vermont. (Possibly milk thistle)


The flowers attract lots of pollinators, including several varieties of bees.

Bee feeding on thistle flowerBee feeding on thistle flowerBee feeding on thistle flower, West Newbury, Vermont

 

 

Bees feeding on thistle flowerBees feeding on thistle flowerBees feeding on thistle flower, West Newbury, Vermont

We've had a bedstraw hawk-moth, aka galium sphinx, feeding for several days.

Bedstraw hawk-moth or galium sphinx, feeding on thistle flower,Bedstraw hawk-moth or galium sphinx, feeding on thistle flower,Bedstraw hawk-moth or galium sphinx, feeding on thistle flower, Clark Homestead, West Newbury, Vermont

 

Bedstraw hawk-moth or galium sphinx, feeding on thistle flowerBedstraw hawk-moth or galium sphinx, feeding on thistle flowerBedstraw hawk-moth or galium sphinx, feeding on thistle flower, Clark Homestead, West Newbury, Vermont

 

Bedstraw hawk-moth or galium sphinx, feeding on thistle flowerBedstraw hawk-moth or galium sphinx, feeding on thistle flowerBedstraw hawk-moth or galium sphinx, feeding on thistle flower Clark Homestead, West Newbury, Vermont
And, a kaleidoscope of monarch, swallowtail and a few other butterflies are steady visitors.

Here's a great spangled fritillary. ( I think 'great spangled fritillary' sounds like an exclaimation you'd hear in someplace like Idaho. "Great spangled fritillary, Uncle Fred won the lottery!")

Great spangled fritillary butterfllyGreat spangled fritillary butterfllyGreat spangled fritillary butterflly feeding on thistle, West Newbury, Vermont

Great spangled fritillary butterfllyGreat spangled fritillary butterfllyGreat spangled fritillary butterflly feeding on thistle, West Newbury, Vermont
A black swallowtail put in an appearance.

Eastern black swallowtail butterflyEastern black swallowtail butterflyEastern black swallowtail butterfly (Papilio polyxenes), West Newbury, Vermont

We've got a good group of monarchs, I've counted 12 at the busiest time.
 

Monarch butterfly on thistle flowerMonarch butterfly on thistle flowerMonarch butterfly on thistle flower, West Newbury, Vermont
Monarch butterfly on thistle flowerMonarch butterfly on thistle flowerMonarch butterfly on thistle flower, West Newbury, Vermont

Monarch butterfly on thistle flowerMonarch butterfly on thistle flowerMonarch butterfly on thistle flower, West Newbury, Vermont

Monarch butterfly on thistle flowerMonarch butterfly on thistle flowerMonarch butterfly on thistle flower, West Newbury, Vermont
The thistle is not far from our hummingbird feeder. The hummingbirds sometimes take a break from squabbling over the feeder to feed on the thistle. So far, I've seen only females feeding on the thistle, hope the males will get around to joining them.

Female ruby-throated hummingbird feeding on thistle flowersFemale ruby-throated hummingbird feeding on thistle flowersFemale ruby-throated hummingbird feeding on bull thistle flowers, West Newbury, Vermont

Female ruby-throated hummingbird feeding on thistle flowersFemale ruby-throated hummingbird feeding on thistle flowersFemale ruby-throated hummingbird feeding on bull thistle flowers, West Newbury, Vermont

Female ruby-throated hummingbird feeding on thistle flowersFemale ruby-throated hummingbird feeding on thistle flowersFemale ruby-throated hummingbird feeding on bull thistle flowers, West Newbury, Vermont

Female ruby-throated hummingbird feeding on thistle flowerFemale ruby-throated hummingbird feeding on thistle flowerFemale ruby-throated hummingbird feeding on thistle flower, West Newbury, Vermont

And even the goldfinches - the ones I left the thistle for - have started showing up. Only a few flowers have gone to seed, we should get more finches as the rest of the flowers pass.

American goldfinch on thistleAmerican goldfinch on thistleAmerican goldfinch on thistle, West Newbury, Vermont

American goldfinch on thistleAmerican goldfinch on thistleAmerican goldfinch on thistle, West Newbury, Vermont

 

American goldfinchAmerican goldfinchAmerican goldfinch

American goldfinchAmerican goldfinchAmerican goldfinch

Stay tuned, I'll keep watching the thistle to see who else may show up.

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(Ian Clark) american bird birds bull butterflies butterfly common england feeding finch finches flight flower flowers goldfinch goldfinches hampshire hummingbird hummingbirds in milk monarch monarchs new ruby-throated thistle vermont https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2020/8/everyone-loves-thistle Fri, 21 Aug 2020 01:04:35 GMT
Checking in on Our Loon Family https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2020/8/checking-in-on-our-loon-family I was lucky enough to get to spend two mornings on the pond with the loons this week. Tuesday morning had a very pleasant surprise.

When I got to their pond, the loons were at the west end, I headed to the spot they like to forage on the east side of the pond. As the fog began to lift, both parents showed up. But, there was only one chick with them.

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon chick

There are lots of threats to loon chicks and while sad, I wasn't too surprised.  Mom and dad were both keeping busy feeding the chick.

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon with food for chick

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon feeding chick

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon feeding chick

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, North Haverhill, New Hampshire

 

The chick is still learning what is and what isn't food. This pine cone got a good thrashing before being discarded as inedible.
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon chick

Loon chicks poke and nibble their parents around the neck and breast when they're hungry.

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, North Haverhill, New Hampshire

After breakfast, it was time for some preening.

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon chick preening

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon chick preening

The loons headed back west on the pond, I went exploring to see who else might still be around. The swamp is a quiet place, not a grackle or red-winged blackbird to be found. There were just a handful of sparrows and phoebes around.

Eastern PhoebeEastern PhoebeEastern Phoebe

Pileated woodpeckers are my nemesis bird - I just can't seem to get a good pic of one. Three pileateds were working trees along the pond. True to form, they mocked me, hiding behind brush or staying on the far side of the tree. This guy goofed and came into the open for a couple seconds.

Common loonCommon loonPileated woodpecker

The loons caught up with me at the west end of the pond. And there was a great surprise. The second chick was alive and well! He'd(?) foraging on his own. He stretched and headed over to greet the rest of the family.

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon chick stretching

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon chick stretching

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon chick yawning

There was another round of preening before everyone settled in for a nap. A good preening session requires a good stretch when completed.

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon stretching

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(Ian Clark) baby birds chick chicks common common loon common loons diver divers great great northern diver great northern divers loon loon baby loon chick photos loon chick pictures loons northern of photos pictures https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2020/8/checking-in-on-our-loon-family Fri, 14 Aug 2020 14:34:16 GMT
Breakfast with the Loon Chicks https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2020/8/breakfast-with-the-loon-chicks I got a chance to check in on 'my' loon family Thursday morning. Both chicks seem to be doing well, they're big, their feathers are growing in and they're diving and foraging on their own - as well as being well-fed by their parents.

Our pond was a tough place to be a fish Thursday morning. There were two osprey patrolling the pond. It looked like one was a juvenile and was pestering a parent to be fed (I'm pretty sure I heard the parent say 'Get your own darned fish!').

The parent had a good perch to watch the pond.

OspreyOspreyOsprey

I must have looked sorta fishy.....

20200806-590Osprey in FlightAn osprey in flight over a pond in the Upper Connecticut River Valley.

 

One of the adult loons was up before the rest of the family, cruising around the pond before flying off on some errand.

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon in fog

The rest of our loon family took their time getting up and around. One of the little guys started off with an impressive yawn.  

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, North Haverhill, New Hampshire

The parent on babysitting duty started them off with a tasty appetizer.

20200806-95720200806-957Common loon feeding chicks

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon feeding chick

The parent soon got serious about feeding the chicks and went after much larger fish.

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon feeding chicks

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon feeding chicks

The chicks are capable of swallowing fish nearly as long as they are.

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon chick feeding

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon chick feeding

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon chick feeding

20200806-40120200806-401Common loon chick feeding

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon chick feeding

After feeding, all of the loons spent several minutes preening.

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon chick preening

With their feathers all fluffed and properly aligned, they chicks looked very sleek.

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon chick

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(Ian Clark) birds chick chicks common loon common loons great northern diver great northern divers loon baby loon chick photos loon chick pictures pictures of loon chicks https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2020/8/breakfast-with-the-loon-chicks Fri, 07 Aug 2020 21:13:50 GMT
Another Morning With The Loons https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2020/7/another-morning-with-the-loons Tuesday morning found me back out with our loon family. We had a dark, cloudy start to the morning, but the sun broke through by the time the loons got going with their day.

One of our parents taking a break during preening to have a look around. Common loonCommon loonCommon loon

Both chicks appear to be doing well, they're growing quickly. Both were active and eager to feed. I parked my kayak near the shallow water where they've been feeding. It didn't take long before they came over and started scrounging up breakfast. This little guy seemed curious about me.
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon

The parents made many forays for food for the chicks. Here's one with a horned pout for the chicks. This is the first time I've seen a parent kill (or at least seriously wound) food for the chicks. Usually they deliver it alive, often dropping it in the water in front of the chick to let the chick practice hunting.
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon,
This parent is trying to deliver what appears to be a pickerel to the chicks, but let it slip. It had to be relocated and grabbed again.
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon,
The parent drops the fish back in the water and the chick looks for it.

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon


The chick has caught the fish and is working to get it down.
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon
Here's another delivery, this time a small enough fish to swallow easily.

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon
One chick managed to hunt down a leaf all on its own.
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon
The leaf received a good thrashing, but still turned out not to be tasty. Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, North Haverhill, New Hampshire
The chicks are both preening and cleaning feathers regularly.

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon
Here's a chick reaching back to rub his uropygial gland. Common loonCommon loonCommon loon
But, mostly, the chicks spent the morning just being cute. Common loonCommon loonCommon loon

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(Ian Clark) chick chicks common loon common loons great northern diver great northern divers loon baby loon chick loon chick on back loon chick photos loon chick pictures loon chicks pictures of loon chicks https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2020/7/another-morning-with-the-loons Wed, 08 Jul 2020 19:43:44 GMT
Ruby Valentino on Guard https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2020/7/ruby-valentino-on-guard We've got a hummingbird feeder just off our deck. It is a favored feeding spot for the neighborhood hummingbirds. There is always competition between a few males to protect the feeder. This afternoon, Ruby Valentino claimed the feeder and stood guard protecting it.

He's on a perch we've clipped to the feeder pole. He's kind of dull when the sun isn't on his throat.
Ruby-throated hummingbirdRuby-throated hummingbirdRuby-throated hummingbird, West Newbury, Vermont

His colors really pop when he turns back into the sun.

Ruby-throated hummingbirdRuby-throated hummingbirdRuby-throated hummingbird, West Newbury, Vermont

There are at least three female hummingbirds coming and going with his approval. We love watching them swoop and buzz each other when another male appears.

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(Ian Clark) bird birds hummer hummers humminbird hummingbird hummingbirds ruby-throated https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2020/7/ruby-valentino-on-guard Mon, 06 Jul 2020 20:49:45 GMT
Friday Morning with the Loons https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2020/7/friday-morning-with-the-loons Our little loon family spent a mostly quiet morning on their Upper Valley pond this morning. Everyone slept in a bit before mom and dad went to work to deliver breakfast. The chicks are growing quickly and doing well in their studies to be loons.

With an iffy weather forecast and a couple appointment scheduled for this morning, I debated if I should head out. My wife was up early to head to King Arthur to make bread and I got up and peeked out. Seeing lots of stars, I started packing up. My trusty mouse sidekick turns out not to be so trusty and was nowhere to be found. His cousin, Thelonious chipmunk, did greet me in the garage. Apparently my service at the feeder is not up to snuff and Theo let himself in and was busy redistributing sunflower seeds from the bag to the corners of the garage. After we had a discussion about this, Theo was not in a mood to accompany me.

I put the kayak in just as the sun cleared the trees on the pond. I needed have hurried, our family was sleeping in. Common loonCommon loonCommon loon

After a bit, they began to stretch and stir.

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon The chicks seemed interested in breakfast, so mom and dad went to work. There is a shallow section of the pond with a variety of water plants. This provides shelter for lots of fry, crayfish, bugs and frogs. Mom and dad headed in through the plants - something I've never seen before - to see what they could find. Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, Both parents were very successful catching and delivering a number of fish. Here's one diving to forage
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon,

Delivering the goods Common loonCommon loonCommon loon,

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, Common loonCommon loonCommon loon,

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, Common loonCommon loonCommon loon,

You never know where a loon might surface. I was watching this chick when a delivery arrived. Common loonCommon loonCommon loon,

Breakfast was briefly interrupted when another pair of loons flew over the pond. They stayed high above the pond and all the adults called as they passed overhead. There were also a trio of crows (ravens maybe?) that spotted a pair of kingbirds feeding their fledged chicks. The crows went after one, which brought four or five pairs of kingbirds to the fray. The crows talked a lot, but it looked like they went away hungry. Both our loon parents stopped to watch the action.

Back to our chicks. They act like siblings, playing nicely sometimes:

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, Common loonCommon loonCommon loon,
And sometimes squabbling:

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon,

Here a chick gives a good stretch. I've heard it suggested that loons waive their feet in the air to cool themselves. Not sure what to make of that, water should be a better coolant. My guess is that this is just a way to stretch. Look at the size of that foot, that's a lot of surface area to push water to move such a small bird. This shot also gives a good view of how far back a loon's legs are - that's the reason they can't walk very well.

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon,

Might as well stretch a wing while we're at it. Common loonCommon loonCommon loon,

Loons have a small gland, called the uropygial gland, near the base of their tail. This secretes an oil that helps waterproof their feathers. They preen regularly to coat their feathers with this oil. Here, one of the parents is rubbing its head against the gland and then over its body.

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon,

Preening also involves running their bill through their feathers to clean them and spread the oil. Note the chick watching and mimicking - he's learning how to loon.

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon,

He's catching on. Common loonCommon loonCommon loon,


The water drops on this chick's back give a pretty clear view of how water beads up on their feathers rather than sinking in.

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon,

The chicks spent some time working their wings. Common loonCommon loonCommon loon,

And practicing diving. Common loonCommon loonCommon loon,

The loons had good timing. As it was getting close to time for me to leave, they finished up with breakfast and preening and headed off for first naps.

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon,

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(Ian Clark) chick chicks common loon common loons great northern diver great northern divers loon baby loon chick loon chick on back loon chick photos loon chick pictures loon chicks pictures of loon chicks https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2020/7/friday-morning-with-the-loons Sat, 04 Jul 2020 01:11:20 GMT
Sunday Morning with the Loons https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2020/6/sunday-morning-with-the-loons Both loon chicks seemed to be doing well Sunday morning. Their pond was a relatively quiet place. The only time the parents seemed alerted was when a pack of coyotes started talking just west of the pond.

The parents spent much of the morning bringing chick-bite-sized morsels to the chicks.

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon,

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon,

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon,

Sometimes, the parents were overly ambitious. Here's one with a bass fingerling that must outweigh the chicks:

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, North Haverhill, New Hampshire

The chicks were exploring the world and learning to loon. These wing things must do something.... Common loonCommon loonCommon loon,

Mom and dad were leaving the little guys for longer and longer periods as they foraged.
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon,

But the chicks were content to ride along when they had the opportunity Common loonCommon loonCommon loon,

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(Ian Clark) chick chicks common loon common loons great northern diver great northern divers loon baby loon chick loon chick on back loon chick photos loon chick pictures loon chicks pictures of loon chicks https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2020/6/sunday-morning-with-the-loons Tue, 30 Jun 2020 23:37:03 GMT
Saturday's Loon Update, June 27, 2020 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2020/6/saturdays-loon-update-june-27-2020 Saturday morning, I loaded up the kayak and got ready to head out. I whistled for my trusty mouse, but he must have been already engaged. Off I went to the pond to check up on the chicks. Both chicks were out and patrolling with their parents. The chicks have mastered looking majestic as they ride along.

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, North Haverhill, New Hampshire

The chicks were riding along on, or near when they fell off, one parent while the other foraged in the shallows for chick-sized meals. Loons aren't very diligent about remembering they're carrying chicks. They'll often stretch, dive or just stretch a wing with the chicks onboard. This often tosses the chick overboard.

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, North Haverhill, New Hampshire

Here, we've got the parent heading back to the chicks with what appears to be a perch fry. Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, North Haverhill, New Hampshire

This chick seems ready to be fed
Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, North Haverhill, New Hampshire

 

Both chicks seem to be doing well. Both are active, feeding eagerly and exploring the world. One of them seems unconvinced that the parents aren't edible. The older chick was pulling on a parent's feathers yesterday and tried to grab a parent's eye when the parent offered food. At least one of the chicks was still exploring the possibilities of eating feathers. Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, North Haverhill, New Hampshire

Stay tuned, I'll be visiting with them more as I have a chance.

 

Notes on my camera gear. I'm using a Canon 600mm on an EOS 7D II. Today, we never had full sun, so my settings were something like ISO 800, 1/1250th at F6.3. The images are very cropped.

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(Ian Clark) chick chicks common loon common loons great northern diver great northern divers loon baby loon chick loon chick on back loon chick photos loon chick pictures loon chicks pictures of loon chicks https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2020/6/saturdays-loon-update-june-27-2020 Sat, 27 Jun 2020 20:11:31 GMT
Meet the Upper Valley's Newest Loons https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2020/6/meet-the-upper-valleys-newest-loon Thursday started with a beautiful early summer morning. I set sail in my kayak enjoying the solitude on an Upper Valley Pond. Solitude was temporary - I soon realized that a mouse had stowed away in the kayak and was along for the ride. He must have climbed aboard while the kayak was sitting in the yard. He retreated back behind the bulkhead in the bow and settled in for the ride. 

My goal was to check in on a pair of loons that have been on the nest for over three weeks. I'm not going to say where, over the last couple years a couple of birders following my posts have harassed the loons I've posted (and me).

When I checked the nest, there was one loon sitting peacefully on the nest, the second was resting not far from the nest. They didn't Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, North Haverhill, New Hampshire seem to be up to much, so I wandered off to see who might else be about. The usual suspects were easy to find. A sparrow belting out a song, red-winged blackbirds squawking about whatever it is that makes them squawk, grackle fledglings chasing mom around demanding to be fed. Kingbirds and phoebes nabbing dragonflies, a trio of chipmunks chasing each other, interrupted by regular breaks for snacks. There didn't appear to be many exciting photo opportunities and decided I should be at my desk.  Before leaving, I figured I'd try to catch a nest exchange to see how many eggs the loons have.

My passenger ventured out from the bow, looked around a bit and decided he was better off tucked away.

My timing was good for the loons. As I got settled in the brush to watch the nest, they swapped. It was quick, one left and the other immediately climbed onto the nest.

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, North Haverhill, New Hampshire
The exchange was quick enough that I didn't get a good view of the eggs. I saw only one egg and was a bit disappointed. Then I noticed there was a chick in the water to the right of the nest - well hidden by the water lilies. Looking at the photos, it sure looks like there are still two intact eggs in the nest. Loons usually have only one or two, so it is likely that one is the shell from the hatched chick. We'll see in coming days. (Friday update - a second chick has hatched. The lilies in front of the nest are placed perfectly to block my view of any remaining eggs.)

After the exchange, the new nest sitter turned the eggs. Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, North Haverhill, New Hampshire The chick in the water must have decided that the world was too much to tackle today, and climbed back into the nest. Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, North Haverhill, New Hampshire You can see it between the water lily leaves by the parent's tail below.

 


 

 

The parent that left the nest returned shortly with a small fish for the chick,  with a dragonfly escort.

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, North Haverhill, New Hampshire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After feeding the chick, the parent wandered off to forage for his own breakfast. The parent on the nest settled in for a nap. I headed home to release the mouse. He was acceptable company, but it seemed he must have errands of his own.

Friday morning, I was up well before dawn and on the water. I beached the kayak in the cove where the nest is and settled in to wait. One parent was on the nest, the other babysitting nearby. They all slept in a bit, making me wonder I'd started so early. The mouse must not have been an early riser, he was a no show.

Eventually the parents got down to parenting. The babysitter - I suspect it was dad, he kept forgetting he had a chick on his back when he wanted to stretch or dive - started rustling up some breakfast. Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, North Haverhill, New Hampshire

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, North Haverhill, New Hampshire

A hawk flew over calling which upset the parents. The babysitter herded the chick back to the nest, eventually corralling the chick back into the nest and under wing. Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, North Haverhill, New Hampshire

After a bit, the parents relaxed and swapped nest duty. I got a brief glimpse of a newly hatched chick in the nest. The chick was tempted off the nest with the promise of more breakfast. While waiting between servings, the chick practiced all the important loon skills. He tried out his wings: Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, North Haverhill, New Hampshire

And tried to master diving:

Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, North Haverhill, New Hampshire

After he managed to dive, he needed to figure out how to avoid surfacing under the water lilies: Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, North Haverhill, New Hampshire

There was more excitement as the babysitter spotted a snapping turtle surfaced only ~20 feet from the chick. The parent dove, there was a commotion underwater, then the parent herd the chick away from where the turtle had been before resuming foraging.

Left along again, the chick was curious about why I was clicking and took a good look at me: Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, North Haverhill, New Hampshire
The parent foraging for second breakfast was ambitious, but unclear on the concept of volume. After several small offerings, the chick got to tackle a snack fit for a king: Common loonCommon loonCommon loon, North Haverhill, New Hampshire

Stay tuned for more of their adventures. 

Notes on camera gear; these were taken with a Canon 600mm lens on a crop body - effectively a 960mm lens on a standard 35mm body. The camera was an EOS 7D II, in manual mode in RAW. In full sun the settings are ISO 500, 1/1600th at F8.

Sorry about the odd line spacing. The blogging software is doing something I don't understand and don't have time to figure out right now.

 

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(Ian Clark) chick chicks common loon common loons great northern diver great northern divers loon baby loon chick loon chick on back loon chick photos loon chick pictures loon chicks loon nest loons nesting pictures of loon chicks https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2020/6/meet-the-upper-valleys-newest-loon Sat, 27 Jun 2020 00:17:39 GMT
The Usual Suspects, May 2020 https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2020/5/the-usual-suspects-may-2020 My feeders have been attracting all the usual suspects, plus a few that visit less frequently. Baltimore orioleBaltimore orioleBaltimore oriole, West Newbury, Vermont

Cal Ripken stops in a few times early every season to raid the suet. Here, he's checking out the new suet feeder to see if it is worthy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Rose-breasted grosbeakRose-breasted grosbeakRose-breasted grosbeak

Cyrano and Roxane stopped by to add a little panache to the yard. Roxane claimed the feeder, everyone else had to scrounge elsewhere.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purple finchPurple finchPurple finch I caught Harold spying on me. He said my number had come up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

White-breasted nuthatchWhite-breasted nuthatchWhite-breasted nuthatch Orin was hanging around.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

American goldfinchAmerican goldfinchAmerican goldfinch

Sometimes, Atticus just likes to be seen out and about.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dexter and RomeoDexter and RomeoDexter and Romeo playing in the yard, Clark Homestead, West Newbury, Vermont

Felix stopped by to say he was in a fix, and did I have a bag of tricks handy?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mourning doveMourning doveMourning dove

Coo Hand Luke did some hard time in the yard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Indigo buntingIndigo buntingIndigo bunting

 

My name is Indigo Bunting. You filled my feeder. Prepare to dine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dexter and RomeoDexter and RomeoDexter and Romeo playing in the yard, Clark Homestead, West Newbury, Vermont

 

 

 

 

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(Ian Clark) Atticus Baltimore birds bunting Cyrano dove feeder goldfinch grosbeak indigo mourning nuthatch Orin oriole songbirds white-breasted https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2020/5/the-usual-suspects-may-2020 Fri, 22 May 2020 20:00:40 GMT
A Welcome Visitor https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2020/5/a-welcome-visitor Indigo buntingIndigo buntingIndigo bunting

 

My name is Indigo Bunting. You filled my feeder. Prepare to dine.

We have a handful of indigo buntings in the neighborhood every spring. For a couple weeks after they return, they're regular visitors to my feeders. They're a welcome change from all the Little Brown Jobbies, pigeons, grackles and jays.

 

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(Ian Clark) bird birds bunting buntings feeder indigo pic pretty songbirds https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2020/5/a-welcome-visitor Tue, 19 May 2020 20:23:21 GMT
Huskies in Action! https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2020/5/huskies-in-action Huskies provide lots and lots of photo opportunities. But the best ones can be tricky to capture. Let’s take a look at what we need to get great action photos. Dexter and Romeo the Siberian Huskies playing in the snow. Dexter and RomeoDexter and Romeo the Siberian Huskies playing in the snow in Newbury, Vermont, US.

Let’s look at the challenges. First, we’re dealing with huskies. They’re going to do what they want to do, when they want to do it. And, when they’re in motion they’re fast – very fast. We’re going to need fancier gear than our cell phone.

For the sharpest action shots, you’re going to need a digital single lens reflex (DSLR) or a mirrorless camera that lets you set your shutter speed, lens aperture and ISO.  And a telephoto or long zoom lens. Something in the 70-200mm range. I shoot mostly with Canon EOS 7D Mark 2 bodies and my Canon 70-200mm F2.8. That’s fancy gear, great if you’ve got the budget, but you can get great pix with paying nearly as much.

The Technical Bits

Dexter, the faster of our two huskies really moves when he pours it on. My experience shooing fast things suggests he approaches 25 mph. To stop action that fast, we need to use a fast shutter speed.  We’ll adjust everything else to take that into account.

Let’s try using the manual mode first. Put your camera in manual and set your shutter speed. For my boys running, I use at least 1/2500th of a second, faster when I can. Try experimenting with 1/2500th, 1/3,200th and 1/4,000th. The younger the dog, the higher speed you’re likely to need. (If your camera doesn’t have those exact shutter speeds, try what’s close, like a 1/2,000th or 1/5,000th of a second.)

Next, we need to set our ISO to something like 800 or 1,000. This tells the camera how much light the sensor needs to properly expose the image. We want to use a high enough ISO to get the shutter speed we need without getting too much noise. If you’re pictures are dark, raise the ISO to 1,600 or higher.

The next thing we need to set is the aperture – the size of the opening in your lens. You want to be towards the biggest opening (the smallest number on the lens). Your zoom probably has F4, F5.6 or F6.3 as the largest opening. Set your lens to F5.6 if you can. If you don’t have F5.6, go with the smallest number you’ve got.

If your camera let’s you set the number of pictures it takes in a second, set it to the highest setting. If you can’t don’t worry.

Last, we need to set your autofocus. You want to use the tracking mode on your camera. For Canon, that’s AI Servo, for Nikon it is AF-C. If you have a different brand, it has the setting, you may need to search to discover what it is called. If you have the option to set which focus points you use, try setting a zone in the center of the image. If you can’t do that, use all the focus points. If your camera doesn’t have this option, you’re fine, it will do the work.

Try a few shots. Look at the images on the back of your camera. Do they look dark? If they do, increase your ISO or lower your shutter speed. If they’re light, increase your shutter speed. These settings should work well in sunlight or bright overcast. You’ll need to adjust for heavy overcast days.

 

The Pretty Pix Bits

Now you’re ready to get your pix. There are lots of simple things you can do to make them more dramatic. Best of all, they’re free 😉

Get down to look your doggies in the eye. Get low, kneeling is good, laying down is great. Pick a position where the dogs will be active in front of you. For really crisp action shots, bright sun is best. Set up with the sun off to one side or the other a little bit. You want your dog’s face lit as they run towards you, but with the sun far enough over to get a bit of shadow on the darker side. (Of course, the best expressions will come with the dogs facing the wrong way. That’s part of the fun.) Dexter and RomeoDexter and Romeo

Make sure you’re close enough to where the dogs play to fill a big part of the picture with dog. But, leave yourself some room – they’re going to jump or bolt to one side quickly. If you’ve left some space around them, you’ll still get them in the frame.

Find a place to shoot where you get a clean background. No trashcans, parked cars, whatever. I’m lucky that our dog park is on a slope. I shoot looking up hill, the background is nothing but out of focus grass.


Follow your dogs as they play – with your finger pressing down far enough on the shutter button to activate the camera without taking the picture. This will keep the camera focused on the dogs.

There’s a lag between when you decide to take a picture and the time your finger presses the button and a further lag for the shutter to open. That means you have to press the shutter before you see the expression you want to capture. Watch your dogs carefully for a while. You’ll soon learn to predict when they’re about to do what you want to capture. (This, of course, is far from foolproof. You’ll waste lots of shots. Better to take shots you throw away than to miss the ones you want.)

The best expressions or actions happen very, very fast. My camera shoots ten frames every second. Lots of the pix of the boys show action that lasts for less than a quarter of a second. Getting the best shots requires shooting a lot and a bit of luck. Mostly shooting a lot. I shoot at least a couple hundred shots each time we go to the park.

Pictures of your dogs doing something are the most fun. Yes, you want a nice headshot for a pic on your nightstand, but the real gold is when they’re in action. I’m lucky that my boys race around the park a couple laps, then settle in to wrestling. They’ll try to tear each other apart for many minutes, giving me lots of opportunities for action shots. Find some way to get yours playing if he won’t self-start. Give him a favorite toy or toss some kibble up in the air to get him going. They’re huskies, it shouldn’t take much to get them in motion.
 

After the Photo Session

You’re going to need to edit your photos a bit before you’re ready to show them. There are lots of options for editing programs, picking one is for another article. (For the record, I use Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.) Dexter and Romeo the Siberian Huskies in action.Dexter and RomeoDexter claims all the best folks will be wearing husky butts this season. This was a very fleeting pose. I was following The Boys with the camera taking pictures before Romeo tried to jump over Dexter. By the time I saw this, it was over.

Go through the pix and toss out the ones featuring dog buts, half a dog, the sky or your thumb. For me, that’s usually about half of what I shoot. Pick a few of the shots where you’ve got good action and focus. You’ll probably want to crop them a bit to get closer to the action. You may need to make adjustments to the exposure and/color. Again, the details are for another article.

The secret to being thought a great photographer is to remember that people judge you by the photos you show them, not the photos you take. 99%+ of my shots never get seen by anyone but me. By just showing the good ones, I’m usually able to fool people into thinking I’m pretty good.

You need to take care of the talent. After the photo session make sure your buddies get a nice treat and a long belly rub.

You can now follow Dexter & Romeo's antics on their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/Dexter.and.Romeo and on their Instagram @dexter_romeo_huskies. 

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(Ian Clark) action DexterRomeo dogs huskies husky photo tips pets photo photograph huskies photograph huskies in action photographing dogs in action photographing huskies in action photos tips https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2020/5/huskies-in-action Tue, 19 May 2020 19:57:15 GMT
Four Quick Bird Photo Tips https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2020/5/four-quick-bird-photo-tips 20170527-8020170527-80

Here’s a pretty photo of a male Eastern bluebird with four quick photography lessons.

First, you don’t need fancy gear or to travel to exotic locations for good wildlife photos.  This was taken while I was sitting on my deck. A pair of bluebirds were raising chicks along the edge of my lawn. They would hunt insects over and on the lawn. I stuck a stick in the ground to give them a perch. They promptly took advantage of the perch and I got my photo.

The next lesson is to try and get the wildlife doing something. Seeing this guy with food in his mouth tells a story. You know he has a nest with chicks nearby and he’s hunting to feed them. That gives us a more interesting image that just the bird alone.

The third lesson from this image is to keep it simple. Here we’ve got a bird on a stick. There’s a nice, clean background and nothing in the foreground to distract your attention from the bird. Try to frame your photos to avoid anything that you don’t want viewers to look at instead of the subject. 

The fourth lesion is simply to be ready to enjoy encounters with wildlife anywhere at any time. Vermont has lots of fascinating wildlife, pay attention and you’ll find photo opportunities all over the place.

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(Ian Clark) bird bluebirds nature photo photos songbirds tips https://www.ianclark.com/blog/2020/5/four-quick-bird-photo-tips Tue, 19 May 2020 16:59:44 GMT