Friday, December 19, 2014

Eagles at Conowingo Dam

Enjoy photos from Fred Brundick

Great Blue Heron
Downy Woodpecker
Brown Creeper

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Oregon Ridge Nature Center - Birding for Beginners - Sketching in the Field

Quick - does the Blue Jay have a eye-line?  Describe the bird without using the word blue.  Does it have any markings on its throat? 

Many times - we see a bird hundreds of times, but don't really SEE it.  That was one of the purposes for our workshop today at Oregon Ridge.  By sketching in the field, we tried to quickly identify features such as posture, shape, wing bars, eye rings/stripes, crowns and other aspects of birds.  Our goal was to focus our attention on the bird to see more details.

After trying to describe a Blue Jay without seeing the bird, we then proceeded to quickly sketch it from photos using notes from Mary Kokoski's drawing class from a few years ago:

Take a look - were you able to describe a Blue Jay correctly?  Photo by Dave Gigliotti.

As we headed outside, we came across a cooperative subject.

Doris - you were right - the wattle hangs from the neck/throat area.  The snood is what is hanging from the forehead.

Other birds seen and sketched today include: 
Canada Goose
Turkey Vulture
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Blue Jay
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
Northern Mockingbird
Northern Cardinal
Dark-eyed Junco
White-throated Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
American Goldfinch

Thanks everyone for the fun time today.  Here is the website I mentioned for more information on sketching:

And the class on sketching through CMBO:

Thank you Oregon Ridge Nature Center for the use of your fantastic library.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Patterson Park Friday Bird Walk

Brrr - it was in the low 30's with a small breeze as we started our walk this morning.  As I was waiting for the participants to gather, a large flock of Robins and Juncos flew over.   I've seen large groups of Robins in my own neighborhood lately, searching for berries to sustain them for their journey to points south.

The trees were in various stages of color.  Some completely free of leaves, others a brilliant orange or red like this one, and a few still holding on to their green.  A few Hermit Thrush were seen perched on low branches or below the trees.  We also spotted a Gold-crowned Kinglet on our walk down to the lake.

The Boat Lake looked beautiful as well.  We spotted Mallards, a Coot,  and the persistent Muscovy Ducks and hybrids.  The Ring-Necked Ducks and other migrants should be arriving shortly.

The Great Blue Heron was frozen in this position while we walked on the boardwalk.  An Eastern Phoebe was darting for insects nearby.

One of the Muscovy hybrids that seemed to be following us.  Some of his (or her) offspring can be seen in the background.

A surprise as we walked back towards the fountain!  I was hoping to see an American Woodcock - but we usually spot them near the Boat Lake.  These interesting birds unfortunately commonly crash into the buildings in Baltimore City during migration if the lights are left on at night.  We wish this one well.

Species total today - 18. 
View this checklist online at

The next walk at the park will be with Audubon staff on Thanksgiving weekend - Saturday, Nov. 29th.  Work off those mashed potatoes!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Mount Pleasant Farm Bird Walk

A beautiful day, especially earlier in the morning before the wind picked up, for the congenial participants. Nothing super awesome but we found plenty of nice birds; we also did not find a number of expected migrants, such as yellow-bellied sapsucker. Overall, the birding was fairly active a good deal of the time. We had 51 species. Probably Lincoln's Sparrow was our bird of the day b/c of the fantastic and lengthy views we had. Beautifully marked and colored--and the head, close up, in sunlight, is crisp and unique, subtly colored. 

Other nice birds: osprey, pileated, bald eagle, raven, winter wren, BROWN CREEPER, black-throated-blue warbler, both kinglets, and at least EIGHT purple finches (2 male, 6 female).

PS--I forgot to mention the Rose-Breasted Grosbeak atop a tree with a Robin and Cedar Waxwing--near the bridge to the swale. It's considered by eBird to be rare/late right now; it wasn't on the eBird checklist, which is why I forgot it earlier. Thanks to Denis Muller for spotting it. Thanks to everyone for spotting birds--a good group effort this morning!
Tim Houghton
(Glen Arm)
Lincoln's Sparrow at feeder.  Photo by Wikipedia


Friday, October 10, 2014

Patterson Park Friday Bird Walk

Wow - what a morning of migrant birds!  Even as we waited for everybody to gather, birds were zipping around and above us.  There seemed to be a high number of Eastern Phoebes, Northern Flickers, and Blue Jays.  Our first warbler was a male Redstart.  Other warblers seen include Common Yellowthroat, Palm, Ovenbird, Black and White, Black-throated Green, and Magnolia.

Also noted:
Green Heron
Canada Goose
Ring-billed Gull
Coopers Hawk
Mourning Dove
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
House Wren
American Robin
Swainson's Thrush
Wood Thrush
Hermit Thrush
Gray Catbird
Both Ruby and Golden Crowned Kinglets
Brown Thrasher
Cedar Waxwing
Eastern Towhee
White-throated and Song Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird

Other birders were at Patterson Park as well - their bird lists and comments can be seen on

The next schedule bird walk at the park is Saturday, Oct. 25th at 8AM.

At the wetland garden

At times we didn't know which way to look - there were so many birds!


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Bird Walk at Irvine Nature Center

Blue-headed Vireo / photo by Kye Jenkins
Blue-eyed Darner / photo by Kye Jenkins

Complete ebird list: .

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Bird Walk at Cromwell Valley Park

During the CAS field trip this morning, Denis Muller and I found a Vesper Sparrow at 11:30 in the field behind the kiln, first seen along the path and then perched on a branch--not far from the big tree (a sycamore) that stands alone (with a picnic table). I had probably seen it earlier, around 7:30, but didn't get a good look then. We had 57 species, and a lot of work and time yielded 11 warbler species. 
Some notable finds:
1. VESPER SPARROW (1, we got all the field marks, larger, white outer tail feathers, eye ring, streaking on chest and head, outlined cheek patch)
2. Warbling Vireo (2, late on eBird but probably normal for here)
3. Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker (6, 4 in one tree)
4. Philadelphia Vireo (1)
5. Ruby -Crowned Kinglet (10+)
6. White-Throated Sparrow (1)
7. 11 warbler species (ovenbird, blacknwhite, yellowthroat, redstart, parula, magnolia, blackburnian, chestnut-sided (Dennis), black-throated blue, yellow-rumped (fos), black-throated green)

Best Birding Wishes,
Tim Houghton
(Glen Arm)
Enjoy the following photos by CAS board member Fred Brundick:

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Bird Walk at Ladew Gardens

Twelve of us had a good time in perfect weather to bird Ladew this morning, and Ladew was birdier than normal (the Nature Walk in the back). Some of the birds below, with highlights in caps (46 species total):

Warblers (9):

Black-and-White (1)
Yellowthroat (x)
Redstart (5)
Parula (1)
Magnolia (5)
Chestnut-Sided (1)
Black-Throated Blue (3)
Black-Throated Green (7, too bad they didn't sing this fall)

PURPLE FINCH (1, found by Kye J.)
Bald Eagle (1, adult)
Hairy Woodpecker (1)
White-Eyed Vireo (1, heard)
Ruby-Crowned Kinglet (1)
Scarlet Tanager (2)
RB Grosbeak (1)
Afterwards, we enjoyed an outdoor lunch at the Cafe and birded there a bit, too--and got the eagle there.

Best Birding Wishes,
Tim Houghton
(Glen Arm)
Our walk was enhanced by the beautiful goldenrod
Fantastic "rock snake"
White Turtlehead found near the pond on the Nature Walk
Near the café
The butterfly house is closed for the season, but you can peer in from the outside.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Canoe Trip at Robert E. Lee Park

Beautiful morning for a serene paddle on Lake Roland. The scenery was lovely, the water was smooth and the company was stellar. Added some photos, bird list is below.
1 Canad...a Goose
4 Wood Duck
4 Mallard
2 Double-crested Cormorant
1 Great Blue Heron
1 Bald Eagle
1 Red-shouldered Hawk
1 Killdeer -- Heard
6 Mourning Dove
35 Chimney Swift
4 Belted Kingfisher
4 Red-bellied Woodpecker -- Most heard
3 Downy Woodpecker
5 Northern Flicker
1 Pileated Woodpecker -- Heard
1 Red-eyed Vireo
10 Blue Jay
5 American Crow
1 Barn Swallow
15 Carolina Chickadee
4 Tufted Titmouse
5 Carolina Wren
3 American Robin
20 Gray Catbird
1 Northern Parula
1 Black-and-white Warbler
4 Northern Cardinal
1 American Goldfinch -- Heard

Hugh Simmons

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Wildflowers and Birds at Bosely Conservancy

If you like lazy, slow, paddling through winding channels surrounded by wetland wildflowers, you would have loved our kayak trip today. 
There were still a few blooms of Spadderdock.

Marsh Hibiscus (or Rose Mallow) in the foreground.
Joe-pye Weed
Fawn (isn't that a great name for a naturalist?), from the Anita Leight Estuary Center, is explaining how beneficial beavers are and how their habits helped shape these beautiful channels.
Monarch Butterfly on Swamp Milkweed
Green-headed Coneflower
In Ha-Ha Cove - Ring-billed and Laughing Gulls, Forster's Terns, and a juvenile Little Blue Heron.

Green-headed Coneflower on each side.

Heading home.  We also spotted Ironweed, Pickerel Weed, Wild Rice, Jewelweed, Cardinal Flower, and Goldenrod.

Bird List:
Canada Goose  12
Wood Duck  1
Great Blue Heron  3
Little Blue Heron  1
Osprey  3
Laughing Gull  1
Ring-billed Gull  8
Forster's Tern  3
Mourning Dove  2
Yellow-billed Cuckoo  1
Belted Kingfisher  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  2
Eastern Wood-Pewee  1
Eastern Phoebe  1
Eastern Kingbird  2
Blue Jay  1
Tree Swallow  15
Barn Swallow  2
Carolina Wren  2
American Robin  1
Gray Catbird  2
European Starling  1
Common Yellowthroat  3
Northern Cardinal  2
Indigo Bunting  3
Red-winged Blackbird  15
Common Grackle  2
Brown-headed Cowbird  1
American Goldfinch  3

Thank you to the Anita Leight Estuary Center for helping with this event - and to Fawn for her expertise and knowledge. 
We hope to see you next year on this trip!