Monday, April 1, 2013

Red Fox

Just sharing pictures of a red fox we saw on Christmas day 2011.  We spotted him on the property of Alden Gardens, where Dad was living.

He was nice enough to stay around while I took the pictures.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

These  are tiny iridescent green birds with black throat patch that reflects bright ruby red in sunlight.  The female lacks the throat patch. 

Their wings create a humming noise, flapping 50-60 times per second or faster during chasing flights.  They are able to hover, fly up and down, and is the only bird to fly backwards.

They construct their nest with plant material and spider webs, gluing pieces of lichen on outside of nest for decoration.  They are attracted to tubular red flowers.  It takes about 5 average-sized humming birds to equal the weight of a single chickadee.  Their heart beats at 1,260 times a minute and breathes 250 times a minute.

They can have one to two broods a year.  They like nectar and insects.

Chickadee, Black-capped

This they only picture I think I have of this Black-capped Chickadee.  They have a  black cap and bib, white cheek and side of nape; back is gray or brownish to olive gray. The breast is white .Colors are brighter and more contrasting in winter and spring.  When the feathers change they are more muted in summer. This one was seen in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.


The common sunflower is a fast-growing, upright annual that can reach a height of 10 feet or more.  They are part of the Helianthus family, that consist of over 70 species of annuals and perennials. They are all native to the Americas. They are one of the world's most important oilseed plants.  They have large daisy-like, usually golden yellow flowerheads.  The plants have hairy, often sticky leaves and tall rough stems.

They are frost hardy, and prefer full sun and protection from wind. 

It they are fertilized in spring it will promote large blooms

There is beauty in seeing a field of sunflowers following the sun on a summers day.

Sunflowers bring a smile to your face.

Sandhill Crane

These first cranes were seen in a wildlife preserve.   To me they did not seem as tall as the ones we have seen out in fields.  They can grow from 41 to 46 inches tall.  

They are a tall, graceful, heronlike bird with long legs, long neck, and a long slender body.  They have a "bustle" at  the tail.  It is created by longer decurved inner secondary coverts and tertials that extend over the tail.

They are pale gray overall, and have a bright red to rosy skin from midcrown to base of bill. They eyes are yellowish. 

They may run to takeoff, and fly with neck and feet extended.

They like grasslands in summer, and marshes, agricultural fields in winter.

They have a loud call.  The bird book says it is a mellow, rolling,and fairly low-pitched . Every time I have heard it they have been very noisy.

Pileated Woodpecker

We saw the Pileated Woodpecker in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan  in September of 2011.  He was sitting on the ground by this old tree stump.  He would not move so I could get a good body shot.

These birds can grow as long as 16 inches. He is a large, long-necked, long-tailed  bird.  His bill is massive.  They have brownish-black back, wings, and tail. Bright crimson-red crest, thin white eyebrow;wide black eye-stripe, white line from above bill to down neck.  The male has pale eyes.

They like mature forests, or young forests with large dead and fallen trees.


We saw this bird in New Port Richey, Florida.  This is an adult female.  It is a large, slender, longtailed waterbird. He has a long snakelike neck and long, thin, sharply pointed bill.  He will hold out wings helping the feathers to dry.  

The bill is mostly orange. The tail, body and wings are blackish. 

Just before breeding, whitish plumes grow on head and neck of both sexes.
They live on lakes, ponds and slow-moving rivers, and brackish bays.