Northern Lapwing in Maryland

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A common species in Europe and Asia, there are occasional rare sightings of the Northern Lapwing along the east coast of the United States and Canada.

Two days ago I saw a fellow Maryland blogger’s post on his sighting of the Northern Lapwing in Maryland about a half hour from me, and I was out the door within the hour!  Thank you, BiologistSoup!  Not only for the great post and tip, but this also let me know my ebird alerts for Queen Anne’s County were disengaged….I fixed that right away too!  😉

Welcome to my bird lifer list #248 Northern Lapwing!  💃🤗😊

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Northern Lapwing in center of circle, Snow Geese in the background (full frame)

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For three days and continuing, the Northern Lapwing has been on private property on the far shoreline of the pond, seen only from the road.  It was a reach for my lens to focus from the shoulder; but I am still delighted and thankful!

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Northern Lapwing surrounded by Snow Geese feathers

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Winter storms in the Atlantic have occasionally been associated with small influxes of Northern Lapwings in North America.  Wonder if this one arrived by storm?

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Northern Lapwing in flight

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I got to see the Northern Lapwing take flight three times due to passing Eagles and Snow Geese disturbances.  After circling off in the background, it would return to the same muddy area of the pond and land.  Here’s my best two flight shots.

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Northern Lapwing in flight

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The Lapwing’s disturbances were added awesome birding experiences and photo ops for us 3-4 cars still on the road’s shoulder.

Two adults and one juvenile Eagle made their appearances known with several fly-bys.  Thousands of Snow Geese also came in for a landing and began taking over the pond at one point (post forthcoming!).  The lone Northern Lapwing had to hide from sight in a clump of grasses, poor little one.  But s/he reappeared when the geese did another lift-off back out and away from the pond.  Those Eagles had everyone in a tizzy!

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More Birds in Snow

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Fully shaded snow is still around; but for the most part, it has all melted.  Here’s more of my backyard birds that gave me some beautiful snow opportunities!

Three species total, starting with Dark-eyed Juncos….

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Dark-eyed Junco

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Dark-eyed Junco

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Dark-eyed Junco

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Dark-eyed Junco

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Followed by the Tufted Titmouse….

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Tufted Titmouse

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Tufted Titmouse pair

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Tufted Titmouse

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Tufted Titmouse

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And the third which is always a favorite among many, the Northern Cardinal.

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Northern Cardinal (male)

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Northern Cardinal (male)

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Northern Cardinal (female)

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Northern Cardinal (female)

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Northern Cardinal (male)

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Northern Cardinal (male)

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I’ve been out to new areas birding the past two days with some exciting sights, posts forthcoming!

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More “Snow” Birds

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This past Thursday morning we received an additional 3-4 inches of snow along with brutal cold 20-25 mph winds, so it kept the birds hidden in shelter while Governor Mockingbird kept an eye on our backyard.

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Northern Mockingbird after fresh new snow
Backyard Governor
“Locals Allowed, Uninvited Removed Immediately”

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These are “the Locals” who co-habitat nicely with Mr. Mockingbird.  They were photographed just before our second snowfall.

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House Finch (male)

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Dark-eyed Junco

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Dark-eyed Junco

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Yellow-rumped Warbler (female)

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Tufted Titmouse

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White-throated Sparrow

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Northern Cardinal (male)

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Northern Cardinal (male)

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We climbed in temperatures enough for this afternoon’s precipitation to be all rain.  Our 11-12″ from two snowfalls in past week is almost gone already.  But I’m sure I’ve got at least one more post of birds in the snow.  😏

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Cuteness Overload

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This young male Northern Cardinal knee-deep in the snow gets my vote on cuteness overload.  😊

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Northern Cardinal (male)

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Northern Cardinal (male)

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Northern Cardinal (male)

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(Side note – The side shadowing in the photos are my deck rails, from me shooting through them from my backdoor. 😉 )

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Birds and Snow

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I’ve put some previous photos in past weeks on hold, so I could continue with the birds I’ve captured in my back yard the first days they were dealing with the heavy snow and wind that arrived Sunday.

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Northern Mockingbird

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Blue Jay

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Red-winged Blackbirds (females and immatures, at least two males)

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Red-winged Blackbird (male)

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House Finch (male)

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Dark-eyed Junco

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European Starling

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Northern Cardinal (male) and House Sparrow (female)

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White-throated Sparrow

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The snow has been melting quickly and making a mess everywhere.  Tonight we are forecast for another 3-5 inches of snow.  Yay!

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Cardinals in Snow

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We got caught in the surprise snowstorm that swept across the mid-Atlantic Sunday, dumping 9-10″ on us locally.  The filled feeders kept my backyard birds fueled and energized, which kept me delightfully entertained for the last couple days shooting from my back door.

So bright and beautiful against snow is our Northern Cardinals.  I probably spent more time running to try to photograph them more than any other bird.  Here are some of my favorites from the last two days.

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Northern Cardinal (male)

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Northern Cardinal (male)

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Northern Cardinal (female)

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Eating snow gives you…..

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A milk mustache!

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Northern Cardinal (male)

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Northern Cardinal (male)

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Northern Cardinal (male)

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Northern Cardinal (female)

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More ‘snow’ birds next post!

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Bald Eagles at Eastern Neck NWR

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This is my third post sharing my visit December 26th to Eastern Neck NWR.  As soon as I arrived, I saw two Bald Eagles flying together.  No love taps or chasing, just a nice bonding cruise across the sky.

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Bald Eagles flying together

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This next Eagle proved to be difficult to photography with all those little branches, no matter where I stood.

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Bald Eagle 01

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This last Eagle gave me so many pretty shots that s/he’s the main event of this post.

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Bald Eagle 02

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It had such a beautiful, intense look as it constantly scoured all directions.

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Bald Eagle 03

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In the next photo, notice the Eagle’s head is rotated about 180 degrees to look behind it.  Eagles have 14 cervical vertebrae allowing for the 180 degrees rotation.

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Bald Eagle 04 – rotating head 180 degrees

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Bald Eagle 05

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I slowly made my way closer to the Eagle, while my mind was in a repeating loop, “Please don’t fly….please don’t fly…..”

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Bald Eagle 06

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This Eagle was most definitely looking for someone.  Those eyes!

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Bald Eagle 07

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The Eagle even gave a couple looks my way but didn’t seem to care about me.

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Bald Eagle 08

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At one point, the Eagle let out a call.

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Bald Eagle 09

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And then looked back at me so pretty!

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Bald Eagle 10

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I excitedly thought it’s mate was flying up behind me!

As I spun around, it was actually a car that had just pulled up, and a family was getting out.  The Eagle was no doubt taking note of the humans now gathering.  🙂

The parents and their teenage son had driven two hours to visit the refuge for the first time, hoping to see an Eagle.  It was a delight to see their excitement.

We marveled over the Eagle together and then left it to it’s viewing.  It wasn’t going anywhere.  At least, not yet.

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More Birds at Eastern Neck NWR

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Surrounded by the Chester River, Eastern Neck Island is 2,285 acres and hosts the Eastern Neck NWR.  It is accessible by crossing the Eastern Neck bridge to the island.  The refuge includes a ramp nearby for launching small boats and kayaks.

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Eastern Neck Island bridge and pedestrian walk (people fish from the bridge)
(photo taken from the island refuge side)

Here are some of the other birds I captured during my visit December 26th at the refuge.

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Ring-billed Gulls

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American Wigeons

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American Robin

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Song Sparrow

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Swamp Sparrow

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Canada Geese

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Red-tailed Hawk

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Great Blue Heron

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Downy Woodpecker (male)

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This fella gets two photos posted, he is just too adorable and the holly berries in the background gave a nice bonus to the shots.

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Downy Woodpecker (male)

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I’ve planned one more post for this day’s visit to the refuge, sharing the Bald Eagles I encountered……forthcoming!

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Tundra Swans At Eastern Neck NWR

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I mentioned I was going to try to find some time to visit Eastern Neck NWR the week after Christmas.  When I got up the day after Christmas and viewed the weather for the week, I realized my present morning was to be the best weather day for the whole week.

So I shifted gears and took off to the refuge roughly ten miles away for a couple hours to see what I could find.  I was hoping to see Tundra Swans on the water.

They were there!

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Tundra Swans

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Tundra Swans

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Tundra Swans

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Tundra Swans

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I even witnessed another Tundra Swan squabble.  This time I’ll share the action in a slideshow for a different viewing for you.  😁

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Tundra Swan squabble slide show

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The temperatures were in the high 40s-low 50s°F that morning at the refuge, it turned into a very enjoyable couple hours.  Very few people were around, so it was awesome to come upon bird sightings just waiting to be seen by me.  Some even allowed me some photo ops. 🤗  Those posts forthcoming!

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Five On The Wing – #22

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Another five bird species in flight, with these all also being raptors!

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Cooper’s Hawk
Wingspan 24.4-35.4 inches (62-90 cm)

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Bald Eagle
Wingspan 72-90 inches (182cm-229cm)

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Northern Harrier
Wingspan 40.2-46.5 inches (102-118 cm)

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Red-tailed Hawk
Wingspan 44.9-52.4 inches (114-133 cm)

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Red-shouldered Hawk
Wingspan 37.0-43.7 inches (94-111 cm)

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