1-2-3 Cute As Can Be – #29

Three little birds, all in the sparrow family!


Song Sparrow
Length: 4.7-6.7 in (12-17 cm)
Weight: 0.4-1.9 oz (12-53 g)
Wingspan: 7.1-9.4 in (18-24 cm)


Dark-eyed Junco
Length: 5.5-6.3 in (14-16 cm)
Weight: 0.6-1.1 oz (18-30 g)
Wingspan: 7.1-9.8 in (18-25 cm)


Swamp Sparrow
Length: 4.7-5.9 in (12-15 cm)
Weight: 0.5-0.8 oz (15-23 g)
Wingspan: 7.1-7.5 in (18-19 cm)


Five On The Wing – #36

Who’s been flying overhead in past couple months, challenging me for a photo?  😉

Here’s another add to my series of five bird species in flight, this time sharing five from the Egret/Heron family!


Great Egret


Little Blue Herons (dark ones, adults; white ones, juveniles)


Black-crowned Night Heron (juvenile)


Great Blue Heron


Snowy Egrets



Gobble Gobble!


Wild Turkeys


Hopefully these gobblers are still on the run and not on any of our tables today!  😉

Happy Thanksgiving to all who participate in this United States holiday.

One of my many thanks is being blessed with the world-wide community of friends in all of you.  I am truly grateful, thank you!



Sharps Island Light


During one of our last boat rides, we went to see Sharps Island Light.  It sits in 10 feet of water in the Chesapeake Bay, approximately three miles S/SW of the southern end of Tilghman Island, where it marks the shoal between the entrance to the Choptank River and the main shipping channel of the Chesapeake Bay.


Sharps Island Lighthouse, Chesapeake Bay

1882 – Construction completed, it being the third lighthouse at this location.

1951 – Last year to have resident keepers; the light was put into automation.

Winter of 1976-77 – extreme cold created huge ice flows in the bay that piled 40 feet high against the light, pushing it to tip to the south at a 15-degree angle.



2008 – US government sold the light at an online auction to a Delaware LLC company for $80,000; the sale allowed the US Coast Guard continued access to maintain it as an active navigation aid in the Chesapeake Bay.  The sale did not include the submerged land it sits on.


2017 – Rapid deterioration forced the US Coast Guard to turn off the beacon and put the lighthouse into automation.  The owner hasn’t done anything with the lighthouse since ownership, so it continues to deteriorate.


Sharps Island Lighthouse


We made it just in time for me to photograph and us enjoy floating around the lighthouse a few minutes before two more boats arrived to it.  One for a slow ride-by viewing, the other dropping fishing lines.

Could this light be saved?  The cost would be extreme.  But, maybe it is impossible with the right person?

Rich Cucé, owner of a Pennsylvania industrial painting and sandblasting company purchased the Hoopers Light further down the Chesapeake Bay for $200,000 sight unseen and is now in the process of restoring that similar light.  It’s a very interesting story to follow, hearing about his next day of remorse after the excitement of winning the bid, having never been to the Chesapeake Bay nor on a boat, and the progress since.  A good read to follow of a historical lighthouse restoration and how the Chesapeake Bay people have come together to support him.



We plan on boating down to the Hoopers Light next summer to see its progress.



Birding By Boat in November


We’ve taken our last boat rides out on the Chesapeake Bay the past couple weeks as our cooler autumn temps arrive.  Too cold to go fast, so let’s go putter around and look for arriving migrating water birds!  🙂

The Common Loons have arrived; those I’m seeing hail from eastern Canada as they filter down the Atlantic Coast.


Common Loons


I was excited to see the Scoters are here too by the hundreds!  There are three species:  Black Scoter, Surf Scoter, and White-winged Scoter (we don’t see many of these).  I saw two but there’s reports all three are here.


Surf Scoters (males)


Black Scoters


And then there’s the cute Ruddy Ducks who always arrive early.


Ruddy Ducks


We boated past a Great Blue Heron who was soaking up the sun’s warmth to beat the chill I was feeling….


Great Blue Heron


And finally, two lone birds, both a little behind on their migration south that I spotted on some riprap rocks.


Least Sandpiper


Ruddy Turnstone

Other waterfowl have begun to arrive as well, including Canada Geese (thousands!), Tundra Swans, Buffleheads, Northern Shovelers, Gadwalls, Ring-necked Ducks, Teals, and Northern Pintails, with more species to come.  It’ll have to be searching by foot to find them now!  🙂



Blue-footed Double-crested Cormorant


This next bird became an interesting find, a Double-crested Cormorant with turquoise blue feet that matched its eyes!  Its webbed feet should be black.

I shared this one to an eBird Maryland cohort, and they’d never seen/heard this before.  It was suggested the change of the feet color is from its past diet.


Double-crested Cormorant with turquoise blue feet


Has anyone ever seen a blue-footed cormorant before?  This curious mind wants to know!  🙂




Woodpecker Wednesday


My surrounding habitat of woods and marsh contain lots of dead snags that treat me to a lot of woodpeckers. Maryland has seven species of woodpeckers, and I have them all!

Here’s a photo of each one, starting with the largest and going down in their size to the smallest.


#1 – Pileated Woodpecker (female)
Length: 15.8-19.3 in
Weight: 8.8-12.3 oz
Wingspan: 26.0-29.5 in


#2 – Northern Flicker (female yellow-shafted)
Length: 11.0-12.2 in
Weight: 3.9-5.6 oz
Wingspan: 16.5-20.1 in


#3 – Red-bellied Woodpecker (female)
Length: 9.4 in
Weight: 2.0-3.2 oz
Wingspan: 13.0-16.5 in


#4 – Red-headed Woodpecker
(the only one of the seven where the male and female look identical)
Length: 7.5-9.1 in
Weight: 2.0-3.2 oz
Wingspan: 16.5 in


#5 – Hairy Woodpecker (male)
Length: 7.1-10.2 in
Weight: 1.4-3.4 oz
Wingspan: 13.0-16.1 in


#6 – Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (male)
Length: 7.1-8.7 in
Weight: 1.5-1.9 oz
Wingspan: 13.4-15.8 in


#7 – Downy Woodpecker (male)
Length: 5.5-6.7 in
Weight: 0.7-1.0 oz
Wingspan: 9.8-11.8 in


As of this past week, I am still seeing all of them except the Red-headed and Hairy Woodpeckers, so there’s a good chance of more Wednesday Woodpecker posts.  🙂




More Cedar Waxwings


While my last post of Cedar Waxwings went live yesterday morning, I was out photographing three of them again in my backyard. I cannot hold these shots for a post down the line, so here we go!


Cedar Waxwing







Cedar Waxwings

I have a new passion for Cedar Waxwings.  Before the last few months, I’d only seen a small flock of a dozen or so at most, not often either.


Cedar Waxwings


I’ve now become accustomed to seeing them daily, early in the morning from my yard, so love it!


Cedar Waxwings


Past couple weeks, they’ve been traveling in larger flocks as they do in the fall/winter months.


Flock of Cedar Waxwings





The Cedar Waxwing’s tail tip is a bright yellow.  It’s possible to see some with orange/red tail tips.  This occurs from the bird’s diet.  They love honeysuckle berries, and it’s been found that the imported invasive Morrow’s Honeysuckle’s berries contains red as well as the normal yellow honeysuckle pigment.  If a Cedar Waxwing happens to eat enough of Morrow’s Honeysuckle berries at the time of feather formation (they molt between August and January), its tail feathers will have orange/red tips instead of the usual yellow.

I ‘ve seen orange/red tail tipped Cedar Waxwings.  Next, is a not-so-great shot of two Cedar Waxwings showing the tips of their tail orange/red.


Cedar Waxwings (top left, top right) have orange/red tail tips


One more photo of these gorgeous birds….


Cedar Waxwings



Eagle Fly-By

A Bald Eagle swooped down to the water to snatch a fish in front of our boat and then another appeared to try to take it unsuccessfully.

Bald Eagle Tango


They quickly split up, and the Eagle with it’s catch turned and did a fly-by directly in front of us.


Bald Eagle



My direction is given the eye in the next couple shots.





And off to a nearby tree to eat that catch!


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