My Bird Blog: A blog about my birding discoveries, bird feeders, birds on my life lists, and all things bird related

Chirps and Cheeps Bird Blog

A Birder's Blog About Birding in Western New York

Early Spring at Chestnut Ridge Park

Published April 07, 2011
Tags: Parks and Preserves, Chestnut Ridge State Park, Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Bluebird, bird blind, binoculars

I purchased a new pair of binoculars and a pair of hiking boots! I was quite anxious to try them out but I wasn't sure where I wanted to trek off to.  My son and his dog, Iris were heading out to Chestnut Ridge State Park, so I invited myself along and they graciously conceded.  We took 2 cars, just in case I gave out before they did - and since the park is only minutes away from us, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to try out my new equipment.  Oh, I forgot to mention that I also bought a one-man bird blind.  It's actually a hunting blind, but I think it should serve well for photographing wildlife.

It was a bit chilly and snow was still on the ground, but we soon warmed up as we headed up and down the hilly terrain.  Right off the bat, we heard the drumming of a Pileated Woodpecker. This hyped me up for great adventure!  However, the trip proved to be a bust as far as birding went.

Tom helped me set up the photo blind and I sat and waited for birds to show up - any bird - even just one!  But nothing; nada.  As I began to contemplate how I was going to manage folding up that blind myself, Tom and Iris came up the path, calling out the Black-capped Chickadee's two toned whistle.  I didn't fall for it; I knew it was Tom! So thankfully, he helped me get that crazy thing collapsed and packed away and we returned home. I had more luck in the yard photographing a few birds - and even caught a poor photo from a very long distance away of an Eastern Bluebird! This is the first Bluebird I've seen in many years!
bird photo
Me wearing my new binoculars and hiking boots
bird photo
My son, Tom - where's Iris?
bird photo
A very poor photo of an Eastern Bluebird - quite a distance, but at least I got it!
bird photo
Male American Goldfinch
bird photo
An American Tree Sparrow heartily singing a beautiful song
bird photo
American Tree Sparrow showing off his red peak


Goldfinches Go Gold

Published April 04, 2011
Tags: My Feeders, American Goldfinch, Orchard Park, molt, nesting, breeding plumage

As spring is ever so slowly creeping to Orchard Park, I take reassurance that it's coming in that our American Goldfinches are surely changing.  The males are especially becoming more and more beautiful as they lose their winter drabs and don their breeding plumage.  I have some photos taken over the past few weeks to show their progress. You'll have to use your imagination to add their much more animated singing voices!

Factoid: this is the only finch that has a second molt in the spring. All other species in this family have just one molt each year in autumn. They're also one of the latest nesting birds - starting in late June or early July. By this time, most other birds are all done breeding.
bird photo
April 4th - this male is almost there!
bird photo
March 21st
bird photo
March 18th
bird photo
March 12th
bird photo
February 25th - evidence of molting has begun
bird photo
February 25th - front view of a male who has just started the molting process
Reply from: Marge on 4/12/2011 7:58 PM
 Sue - your pictures are so interesting and a blue bird!!! I, too, have not seen one in a very long time. What a treat! E"


A Sucker for Plumage and Pileateds

Published March 30, 2011
Tags: My Feeders, Pileated Woodpecker, American Goldfinch, American Tree Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, plumage

I've probably seen a Pileated Woodpecker a good 5 or 6 times now, but I think I'll always instinctively grab for my camera whenever I see one! So here's another photo from today's visit along with a few other accompanying species.

Isn't this male American Goldfinch absolutely beautiful?! He's way ahead of his peers in his breeding plumage and so gorgeous that I just had to grab some photos of him too!

Since our American Tree Sparrows will be departing to go further north soon, I find I'm grabbing every photo opportunity of them as well. I'll sure miss their beautiful songs when they're gone, but I look forward to the return of the Chipping Sparrow soon.
bird photo
Female Pileated Woodpecker
bird photo
Male American Goldfinch - nearly completed molting in to his breeding plumage
bird photo
American Tree Sparrow - soon departing to higher ground
bird photo
Black-capped Chickadee