Posts tagged as:

beautiful birds

Evening, everybody!

by Lanny McDowell on November 7, 2010


Just now, as I plod through my morning, taking care of email chores, contemplating a digging project outdoors in the boorish weather and hoping for clear birding skies later on, I caught a glimpse of strong black & white at the tail end of a bird at the back side of my biggest feeder, when I went into the kitchen for a coffee update.

My jaw dropped.  Had to be an Evening Grosbeak! I went to my office for the camera.  When I got back, there was a Cardinal at the feeder.  Up in the apple opposite my view was a male grosbeak.  I snatched a couple of shots, then saw the female outlined against the sky, also perched in the apple tree.  A couple more shots.  Then everything took off in a flurry.  Maybe, likely, an accipiter.  Whew!  And Whoopieee!  I hope the alert has worn off.  I’ll go back now and find out.

No big birds back yet.

Terrible photos, through the window glass, no light.   So who’s looking?!


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Past visits of this great species here at my home have been infrequent, to say the least, but I would rather have a view like this one from a couple of years back, in the spring:

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That’s more like it!  Stoked.  Evening Grosbeaks are a big deal on the Vineyard and the arrival is right in line with all the PUFIs and siskins and RB Nuts that we have had this fall.

While I have your attention, I should mention that there has been a hatch year male ruby-throated hummer up in Chilmark, coming to a feeder the last few days.  Things are rockin’, if your eyes are open!


All three of us had pretty much given up on getting to the Jersey shore during spring migration this year. It looked like our non-profit, Global Conservation Alliance, was going to be a blowout for 2009, which , if that did not concern Red Knots and other declining stocks of migrant shorebirds, might not be such a big deal in itself; but wasting a year would have been a real shame in this case.

In order to have a chance of carrying out work on the beaches of Delaware Bay that might result in healthier (and heavier) Red Knots leaving on the last northern leg of their annual journey up to the Arctic, certain scientific requirements need to be met.  If anyone wants to access the restricted beaches where the birds feed, or if anyone wants to physically disturb the surface of those beaches, they have to apply for and receive permits from the state powers that be to do that work.  You can’t just show up and start digging up the sand.

Norm Famous, one of our number who is a wetlands ecologist by profession, put together GCA’s application to New Jersey Fish & Wildlife to conduct two experiments [click to continue...]

Martha’s Vineyard Sandhill today…

by Lanny McDowell on May 14, 2009


Hot off the presses, straight from the fields of Chilmark to your monitor screen.  The phone and email thread went from Keith to Whiting to Manter to McDowell to  refinding with Whiting this very elegant and rather casual drop-in.

No frills, just bird photographs:







It is the Vineyard, after all:




I have a list of folks who get an emailed notice from me with a URL to click on when I have posted a new blog.  There are also times when I just send out photos to the list without bothering to blog about them or post them to a listserve.  Not on the list?  Want to be? Just contact me (below right) saying you want to be on the list or, better yet,  subscribe to Feedburner above, in the right side column for automatic blog feeds to your email.  Getting off the list is just as simple.

These images and Avian Art fine art prints are available for purchase. Contact me or View my gallery.

Birds are cool!  Lanny


There is something about a connection between bird feeders and a big glass sliding door that occasionally provides me with a handson experience involving accident-prone avian navigators, meaning a bird hits the glass every once in a blue moon.  If I happen to notice, I pick it up and encourage it to reexamine the idea of leaving the living zone and suggest resuming life on earth and just above it.

Birders who have a sense of trends in the birding world this winter are aware of the not ordinary numbers of pine siskins that have frequented our area, including Martha’s Vineyard, that have stayed late into the springtime and which may be setting up little homesteads locally where they are very infrequent nesters.  A couple of these tiny speedsters have been sharing my niger feeders with the goldfinch regulars.  Yesterday I found one prone on the groundlevel deck under the feeders [click to continue...]