Tuesday, September 19, 2006

More madness!

Dick Lancaster sent an email saying he had even more birds this week, if I wanted to come see and video them. Well, even though I'd spent all morning at Tickfaw, how could I resist. I mean, a cold front can come through at any time and they'll all be gone...

He was right -- even more birds! It was something to see. He said he had 50 feeders up and was going through about 50 pounds of sugar a week. That's a lot of work!

This video gives you an idea of what his patio looks like with all the feeders lined up like a row of strawberry plants

And this one concentrates on a single feeder. This feeder for some reason was especially popular. Where most feeders had 3 or 4 birds trying to use it, this one had 'em lined up on the heli-pad.

I love the shot of this little guy -- his little belly is fairly hanging over the edge of the post!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Tickfaw on Sunday

I decided it had been too long since I'd been to Tickfaw State Park, and I was hoping I'd run into some warblers over there. Left the house around 7. It was a warm and humid day, but the bugs weren't too bad. Had about a 30 species day. Highlights were the Hooded Warblers, a group of about 15 wild turkeys, *seeing* a Barred Owl (usually I just hear them), a pair of Brown-headed Nuthatches, and a Black-and-White Warbler. The White-eyed Vireos were especially vocal, as were the Pileated Woodpeckers, and of course the Carolina Wrens. I didn't get down to the river -- should have as I might have picked up a wading bird or two. There was plenty of tree damage, but overall the park was in good shape.

Got a t-shirt that says "Life is Simple. Eat. Sleep. Bird"

Saw a funny sight as I was leaving the park. Two horse drawn wagons with a couple (man and woman) in each...but instead of a hard plank bench to sit upon, the wagons had each been outfitted with plush bucket seats. Very anachronistic.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Hummingbird and Butterfly festival - Folsom, LA

Folsom, LA is roughly north of New Orleans and was in the path of destruction from Katrina last year. Needless to say, the Butterfly and Hummingbird festival was cancelled last year, but rebounded with a bang this year. They reported over 1100 people attended the event, which is held at Mizell Farms nursery in Folsom. Featured was hummer banding by Linda Beall (she banded over 50 birds on this one day!), booths from Sierra Club, Native Plant societies, as well as Wildlife and Fisheries and others. There were several speakers, including Kathy Hutchinson, hum-bander from southern Illinois, Olga Clifton who specializes in hummer plants (esp winter hummers), and Margie Jenkins, native plant guru, and Dennis Demcheck, who has studied sugar contact of nectar plants to understand which ones hummers are attracted to. Dennis is also the host of the Mighty Calliope hummer that has graced his yard for 4 (or is it 5?) years in a row. Dennis featured a couple of the videos I'd made of local hummers for his presentation, which was a neat thing.

They also did a butterfly release, which I suppose would have been more spectacular on a sunny day when the butterflies would have been more inclined to fly. It was still fun, but they did have to help the insects out a little.

Butterfly release

Personally, I think the slight overcast helped make the colors pop...

What do you think?

and, because one can never get enough of the Mighty Calliope... Here he is again

Migration madness!

How many hummingbirds have you ever seen in your life? 10? 20? 100? How many hummers have you ever seen at one time in your life??

Back in July, the nature society in West Feliciana hosted a hummingbird festival and invited folks out to watch the banding and enjoy the birds in general. The last house on the tour was not a banding site, it was simply a viewing location. Mr. Lancaster had about 24 feeders up on his patio...and more birds than I've ever seen! But the amazing thing was, he was starting a call list for folks that were interested in coming back later in the season "when he really had some birds!" Last week, I got the call, so I went up there on Sunday.

oh. my. goodness.

There were so many birds that the wing hum was a roar! And the chittering and twittering was a cacophony! I tried to capture it on video, but I don't think I did it justice...I may have to ask him if I can go back again!

Here's a sample. Be sure to have the sound turned up!

Bird banding at Whiskey Bay

They held a migratory bird event earlier this year at Whiskey Bay which is at the edge of the Atchafalaya basin. In addition to having birding experts on hand to point out the birds, they also had Wildlife folks using mist nets to catch and band birds. Here are some clips from the event. Don't miss the extreme close-up of the White-Eyed Vireo!

What exactly *is* a mist net?

Unhappy Vireo in mist net

Banding the Vireo