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

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In Quest of a Great Blue

Published March 30, 2012
Tags: Parks and Preserves, Great Blue Heron, Bufflehead, Canada Goose, Northern Cardinal, American Goldfinch, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Blue Jay, Red-winged Blackbird, Sinking Ponds, East Aurora, NY

I recently saw a live video post from a web cam located by the nest of a Great Blue Heron in Ithaca, New York by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (Click here to view).  I was really surprised that the Great Blue is back and has already set up housekeeping.  I guess they're early nesters.

After I watched the web cam for awhile, I got to thinking... Last summer, I took several trips to Sinking Ponds in East Aurora and enjoyed watching a Great Blue Heron fish about the pond.  Some of the photos I took can be found here: Great Blue Heron at Sinking Pond.  I wondered if he/she could have returned already and might be somewhere along the breeding and nesting journey.  Hmmmm...

Our normal temps have returned to the area, unfortunately, but I wasn't going to let the cool air stop me from venturing out since it was still a beautiful, sunny day.  Once I got to Sinking Ponds, I had no trouble keeping warm with the hiking I was doing. Sadly, I had no luck finding the heron.  Either he / she found somewhere else to park for the season or it never made it back to our area at all.

BUT - I still had an enjoyable hike yesterday and even found a life-lister to boot: a Bufflehead!  The Bufflehead was floating out amongst several Canada Goose and I nearly missed it.  At first, I thought it was a baby already, but no, it was a new species for me!

Besides finding a life list bird, my highlight was watching a Blue Jay take a bath and preen itself in a little covered stream.  He seemed unaware of my presence and I stood perfectly still while I enjoyed watching him go about his business.  I also loved hearing the Red-winged Blackbirds  chortle their "o-ka-leeeee" as I explored the area.  I even heard a new sound from them that is apparently part of their repertoire: a kind of whistle-shriek, if you will.
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Red-winged Blackbird
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A Blue Jay who was very serious about nest building
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There were several American Goldfinches flitting around in the upper canopy
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The smaller, white looking duck is the Bufflehead
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A slightly closer view of the Bufflehead, my life-lister
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Several Canada Goose sit on a log sunning themselves
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A nice fly by!
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Before I left, I grabbed this shot of a Red-bellied Woodpecker indulging in some bark butter