In Search of That Northern Cardinal

Both yesterday and today, I looped before and after work around our community’s marina in search of that Northern Cardinal that had eluded me the previous days.  I was hoping he was a resident and just wanted one good shot of him if I could.  Yesterday as soon as I turned the corner, I saw him.  🙂   I stopped and stayed still as he flew from tree to tree.  What a flighty bird!  Once he seemed to feel he was far enough away from me, I decided to try to photograph him from my position instead of moving the car more or getting out.  I’m glad I did, afterwards he flew out of sight.  But I got him!

Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal

This morning he was present again, and I saw the Mrs this time.   Both eluded me going into a bush; but that was okay.  I’m thinking and hoping they are residents and I’ll be seeing more of them.  Hmmmm….maybe there’s a nest in that bush?  I’ll keep my eye on it.

Between yesterday and today’s loop, I am amazed by what I have seen by taking just ten quick minutes each time before moving on.  I have been sorely missing not having an osprey pair on our nest platform, especially after three previous seasons of constant osprey activity.  So discovering my little loop and its treasure of other birds has perked me up a bunch!  I just never thought of it before.  Here’s my variety of captures for my two days/four loops.

The Ruddy Duck was back.  He really is a beauty with his contrasting coloring.

Ruddy Duck - "Weren't you here before, lady?"

This mockingbird literally just flew up to the branch next to me in the car to pose for his picture!

Northern Mockingbird

Barn Swallows are perching along the boat dock lines, I definitely had a hard time focusing from my distance, so I’ll be working on getting better shots of these fellas.

Barn Swallows

Barn Swallow

Mr. Killdeer was busy running around, looking for something to eat.  After the next photo, he then ran over to the tennis courts, puffed up at me, then sat down and just watched me.  I slowly rolled on….




The male mallard in the next photo came out of nowhere onto the dock, as if to say hey, over here, take my picture!  So I did!


I almost missed the dove in this next photo, he was so close to me on the pavement as I was passing him.  If he hadn’t moved slightly, I would have.   I clicked clicked and thanked him for his time!

Mourning Dove

I also saw two osprey cruising on by.  The second one swooped down into the marshy inlet after I photographed him and grabbed a stick and took off.  Trees were in the way or I would have captured him with his stick.

Osprey with dinner


I definitely need some assistance on this next fella.  He was in the same marshy inlet where the osprey swooped down for the stick.  I had gotten out of the car to try to get a closer shot through the reeds, and scared out an American Robin in the bush right next to me, scared me to death!  Mrs. Robin was having a fit on a branch five feet from me, so I backed off but not before peeking at the nest.  No eggs yet, but an easy nest to keep an eye on later for some babies!

Dowitcher or Yellowlegs maybe? (UPDATE: Long-billed Dowitcher per Bob, thanks Bob!)

Next to the marina and tennis courts, we have a kind community neighbor who cares for the three purple martin houses and recently put them back up.  Last year I did spend a couple times trying to get a shot, but wasn’t very successful.  This time, WOW, I was thrilled with these two who gave me a sweet moment of their time.

Purple Martins

Purple Martin

There aren’t many purple martins yet, so I think that made it easier to photograph them.  Soon there will be so many, I’ll have to try again when the houses are full!

Finally, just down the road at Osprey Point where the osprey took up their new residence (and are busily building their nest), for the last couple weeks in the mornings there have been Canada geese hanging around.  Kept wanting to stop but didn’t and then they weren’t there for a few days.  So I told myself it served me right for not stopping.  This morning…..they were there…..and this time I stopped!  🙂

Canada Geese

I really had fun on my little photo op loops and couldn’t wait to share them with you.  I appreciate your stopping by and hope you enjoyed my local birds through my lens!

34 thoughts on “In Search of That Northern Cardinal

  1. So glad that you caught the cardinal . we had a Northern mockingbird in edmonton one year and everyone near and far was coming to that woman’s backyard to see the bird, including me. Rare in these parts.I do enjoy seeing photos from other regions to see what is in other people’s area.Keep up the good work.

    • Thanks Jerry. Although birding while driving is working out pretty good, I was thinking to myself, boy I’m feeling lazy….no walking/hiking, and it feels like cheating! Got out of the car and walked around today. LOL A little exercise is always a plus! 🙂

  2. Thank you Donna for sharing such beautiful post! One day I’ll have to take a drive to that area. 🙂

    • Thanks HJ! You would not be disappointed visiting any where along the Chesapeake Bay, but I’ll admit my preference is Maryland’s Eastern Shores, where numerous wildlife management and refuges are located. You’d need a week for sure! 😉

      • You’re right about that, I was checking the areas on Google maps, Chesapeake Bay is very large and is divided by MD and VA. I’ll do more research about refuges etc. Thanks for the info. 🙂

  3. Loved the ruddy duck shot! SO good. Maybe that’s the one we want. So hard to choose. Also loved “Dr.”Killdeer 😉
    Awesome variety we have – who knew? Those cardinals are ever present in our NJ backyard along with the mourning doves, blue jays, a variety of woodpecker and recently turkey buzzards and small falcons!? Wish you were here to document it all!
    We’ll be down Sunday – will you be there in the afternoon?

    • That ruddy duck was there again today, I’m seeing him in the evenings around 5-6pm. He’s hanging around in Marina 1 by the floating dock and pool. Check that area out this weekend to see if he’s still there. Dr. Killdeer LOL! Wow, you have a nice variety in your backyard in NJ too! My grandson is suppose to be visiting (oh yea the kids too LOL), my little sweetheart is suppose to be spending the night with us. 🙂 I’ll be playing Grandmom but you can try calling me to see if the plans changed.

  4. Oh how fun! Thanks for sharing these photos of your bird loop. What beautiful (and funny!) characters. I know sometimes you just laugh.

    • I do laugh at them….and chat with them, LOL. They probably are talking amongst themselves about that crazy lady with that darn camera. Although doesn’t it look like some of them realy want their picture taken??!!! 😉

  5. I just wrote this but it disappeared? I was saying I love the ruddy duck photo – maybe that’s the one we want! And also loved what I would think of as “Doctor” Kildeer. ;-)We will be down on Sunday, will you be there that afternoon?

  6. Using the car for a blind is an excellent way to get bird photos. I have gotten my best shots from the car. I just had to learn to maneuver the vehicle into some rather unique positions at times. LOL. You done an excellent job here and came up with a great collection of different species.
    I think you have a Long-billed Dowitcher. Not 100% sure, but I don’t see the familiar orange legs of the Greater Yellowlegs. But it is hard to tell the way the light was. Thanks for sharing. I will look forward to seeing more. 🙂

    • I know what you mean about maneuvering the car, when I’ve got the car in a position that works for the shot, I sometimes forget I’m slightly rolling while shooting to get a better angle or light and look up seeing myself heading for something I don’t want to meet. LOL Thanks for ID, I had a couple more shots of him and I kinda saw a bit of yellowish but it wasn’t bright, so I wasn’t sure. Hey I still did good, at least he is one of the two, and you didn’t tell me he was something completely different. 🙂 I am learning about other birds more and more every day thanks to you and all my other bird blogger friends. You all inspire me! And Bob, you’ll be pleased to know I am editing raw images only now; with your help and a lot of playing, I’ve become very comfortable with it now. Thanks again!

  7. So happy you were able to capture your cardinal. Here, in my neck of the woods, I have them plentiful and year round. I loved your Ruddy Duck, I’ve never seen one before and what a cute “chubby” barn swallow. I really enjoy your blog Donna!

    • Thanks Joleen, I’m looking forward to a cardinal capture over the summer on your blog which I really enjoy too! The Ruddy Duck fella was back again last evening and this morning. I got a little closer to him this morning and am anxious to see the shots tonight. Isn’t his blue-bill pretty? He is a beauty!

  8. Do you not see cardinals very often? At Mariner Point Park in Joppatowne, there are a dozen or more! Many people use the park’s trail for walking and bring bird seed. The cardinals have become accustomed to flying near people.

    • We don’t right around where we’re at, I’m thinking because it is mostly marshy and water inlets, not the ideal cardinal habitat maybe? Once I’m on the road heading ‘inland’, then I see them, sometimes in flocks which is really pretty to see. That’s cool the cardinals are accustomed at MPP, they know there’s food for them, kind of like our area year-round mallards, I think some would let you practically pet them, lol.

  9. Your cardinal pictures are PRICELESS! They are the best I have ever seen!!! I loved your “convict” killdeer photos as well. I have never seen one before and they are so cute! The barn swallows are precious and so colorful!!

    What a great family you have! They make the “perfect” family. You don’t have to feed them, clean up after them, or care for them. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy them! What an impressive photo album you have!! 🙂

    • Thanks Linda for your wonderful comments! At first I thought the pink was taking away from the red cardinal but then I started liking it myself, thought how different and colorful. On your family comment, I laughed and thought, wow that’s so right! Although I will admit I have tossed bread off my balcony, but my hubby hollers at me that we’ll have huge messes on the balcony when my buddies keep returning LOL.

  10. I have feed the birds too and hand fed a turtle last year. Feels good to help out. Don’t see my favorite turtle yet this year, maybe I killed him with kindness. Hope he survived the winter. Once we start feeding them we disrupt nature. Since I am Italian, I want to feed everything. Last week there was a dead fish on our shore that I saw a crow eating out the eyes. I took a stick and picked up the fish between the eyes and flung it more into the middle of the lake. About 5 minutes later our female osprey “Angie” dove in and picked it up. I was so surprised because I didn’t think they would eat anything already dead. She must have been really hungry and “Angelo” lets her fend for herself. He’s letting her be independent. Since unfortunately I can’t sit and watch all day, I don’t know if he is bringing her the fish now or not. I know that one of them is on the nest all the time though. 🙂 Geez 35 days is such a long time to wait.

    I’ve decided to name them Angelo and Angie after my uncle Angelo who will be 90 in a few weeks. I plan on naming them like hurricane’s alphabeticaly. I am optomistically anticipating 3 offspring every year: 🙂
    2012: Antonio, Adrean, Anita
    2013: Benito, Bella, Brando
    2014 Caterina, Carlo, Columbo
    2015: Dino, Dante, Danielle


    Thanks again for your wonderful site, great pictures, and awesome commentary.

    • Awwwww, so kind, I love babies and always do want to help but know we shouldn’t. Wow, I’m surprised too that Angie went for the dead fish, but hey if you’re hungry! I bet they can tell if it’s freshly dead and wouldn’t eat it if it were rotting. Doe Angie return to the nest with her fish to eat them or does she go off to a tree? I know Oliver 99% time catered to Olivia, she was one bossy osprey! But I’m watching a pair off to the left on a channel marker and they both seemed to be fishing for themselves too. I think they may have a clutch of eggs now, but I need to get hubby and boat back in water to go get an up-close inspection of them and the others sprinkled all around the area.

      35 days…. I know, seems forever on osprey-time!

      Love your name choices! And I love your anticipation and excitement, makes it fun and enjoyable. You’ll be surprised at the storybook adventures you’ve witnessed and photographed by the end of this season! You may need to start a blog! LOL 🙂

  11. Angie takes the fish to a nearby branch. I guess she needs a little time away! You can see Angelo nervously in the nest looking around for her like her turn for freedom is just about up. Very cute to watch them and their personalities. I am watching them from a telescope inside and Angie is so observant she can see me in the window and plays peek a boo with me to see if I am still watching her. Since I don’t want to imtimidate I usually back away so she can concentrate on her incubation magic. 🙂

    I don’t know if they are both in the nest sometimes or he sleeps in the same tree or a tree across the cove. It seems that they are a very independent couple. To each his own! Whatever works. Hope that nest is going to be big enough. My worry right now is that they can accidentally break an egg getting in and out of the nest. I am so curiously as to how many are up there. Hopefully we’re having triplets, but anything will be a blessing!!

    I especially love watching Angelo on a close branch and he does this cute head-bob from side to side like he is dancing. I think he is looking for fish in the water but he may just be musically inclined. I love your pictures of the wind at their back making their head feathers look like a new hair do. I’ve seen ours in the tree like that sometimes and it makes me smile. 🙂

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