Grackle In The Surf

photograph of a Grackle in the surf in Corolla, NC, USA, copyright 2016 by Doug Couvillion

This Grackle seems to have learned a few things from the Sanderlings on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.  It waited for the waves to bring tiny mollusks and crustaceans into the shore and then tried to catch them before they dug into the sand.  I captured this image just as the Grackle realized the wave was a little too big.

Young Hawk Watching The River

photograph of a young hawk perched in a tree on the Rappahannock River in Virginia

This young hawk, perched high above the Rappahannock River was carefully watching everything going on below it.

I’ve had trouble identifying this hawk. I believe it’s a juvenile Red-Shouldered Hawk but if anybody knows differently I would appreciate your thoughts.

Carolina Chickadee, II

photograph of a Carolina Chickadee on a branch

This Carolina Chickadee hopped around on this branch and never sat still for long.  Shortly after I took this picture two younger Carolina Chickadees appeared.  They must have been recently fledged and following mom (or dad) around to learn the ways of the world.

Weighing in at only 0.3 – 0.4 ounces (8 – 12 grams), the tiny Carolina Chickadees always inspire me.  How can something so small endure everything nature throws at it?  From snowy winters to droughts and heat waves, these little birds somehow endure it all.

Please click on the image above to see a larger copy of it.

 

 

American Goldfinch, female

photograph of a female American Goldfinch on a branch

During the breeding season the American Goldfinch has beautiful, bright yellow plumage that turns to a sort of olive green in the fall.  This female, decked out in her summer plumage, looks curious about something.  The males are similarly colored but sport a prominent black cap as part of their breeding plumage.

 

Northern Cardinal, 4

photograph of a male Northern Cardinal

Virginia’s state bird can be difficult to photograph. The Northern Cardinal normally keeps at a safe distance from people so it’s hard to get really close to them.  The male’s brilliant red color can also make exposure and even focus difficult at times.  I captured this one in open shade and that seems to have resolved the color issues.

Supper Time!

photograph of a female Eastern Bluebird feeding an juvenile Eastern Bluebird

The first few years I had a bluebird box in the yard it remained empty.  Then, just as I was thinking of taking it down, a pair of Eastern Bluebirds nested in it.  Since then we’ve had bluebirds nest in the box every year, producing multiple broods.  The female pictured here is feeding one of the juveniles from the first brood of this season.  If the past is any indication we should get at least another two broods this summer.