This one was growing in bog in Cape Breton Highlands, along with other bog specialties like Canadian Burnet & Pitcher Plant. Had it IDed as S. purshii, which seems to synonymize to S. uliginosa var. linoides.
I took goldenrod identification as a challenge on our recent trip to Maine & Nova Scotia (quibbles, kibbitzes & $0.02 of course welcome). This one is large & showy. It was growing on the banks of the Maccan River estuary at the head of the Bay of Fundy, where we witnessed a tidal bore. Closeup here.
I took goldenrod identification as a challenge on our recent trip to Maine & Nova Scotia (quibbles, kibbitzes & $0.02 of course welcome). I think this was roadside in coastal New Brunswick.
I took goldenrod identification as a challenge on our recent trip to Maine & Nova Scotia (quibbles, kibbitzes & $0.02 of course welcome). This one was common, especially in lusher, damper areas; seen here in a roadside thicket. Hairy stems, leaves toothed & usually very rough -- view original size to see details.
Another challenge: asters! (Quibbles, kibbitzes & $0.02 of course welcome.) This species was seen in only 1 location: open spruce/birch forest understory during a beautiful hike along coastal bluffs in Canada's Fundy National Park. Formerly called Aster acuminatus. The 'bad hair day' appearance seems pretty typical for this species, judginf from photos I'm seeing elsewhere.
Another challenge: asters! (Quibbles, kibbitzes & $0.02 of course welcome.) This one seemed to be fairly common roadside, seen here in coastal New Brunswick, Canada. Flowers are ~.5" (~1 cm) across. Formerly called Aster lateriflorus.
Tiny, seen in coastal New Brunswick, Canada. Only specimen seen. I don't know whether it had basal leaves -- this was a "shoot from the hip" shot on my way back to the car. It's a miracle it even came out.
I took goldenrod identification as a challenge on our recent trip to Maine & Nova Scotia (quibbles, kibbitzes & $0.02 of course welcome). This stuff was 1-2' tall, widespread in waste places (eg barren roadsides). Got this shot in the morning across from our motel. I'm not 100% sure of the ID, since it doesn't look all that grey to me, but it's the only thing that seems to fit.
This was close enough to a blackground that I decided to try it that way. What do you think? Here's the original.
My book says "dry open places," but this patch was growing along a shaded wood margin at the edge of a bog.
Yes, he & his mate are almost never absent from my establishment. I almost want to say, "You birds need to get a life!" But they're so beautiful, I never get tired of seeing them. And I couldn't resist this shot with the freshly fallen snow, even if it has been done on about a million different Christmas cards.
Spring 2005: The SUMMER TANAGER reported by Bob Horton Tues continues at Sandy Hook north beach, seen 8-8:30 AM Thurs 4/28/05 south of the bunker that's in front of the hawk watch tower. It's a mostly-molted 1st-spring male.
Uncommon to get this species his far north in NJ -- the northern limit of its usual breeding range is Cape May or Belleplain. When we do see one, it's usually a bird like this one that temporarily 'overshoots' during spring migration.
Fox sparrow. Finally got some semi-presentable backyard photos, prompted mostly by this guy. 1st time I've seen 1 at my feeder. (Anybody know if they're starting to move north, or if it's just a random winterer? I'm in central NJ, N edge of their winter range.) Digiscoped thru binocs.
Dark-eyed junco. Digiscoped thru binocs.
A robins' nest fell out of the tree in front of our house. Two nestlings were killed, but this one survived the fall. This would be the second brood of the summer -- not only is it mid-July, but there was a fully fledged juvenile hanging around too. I was going to just put the baby bird back in the tree, but as soon as I picked it up I could tell it was too young to perch without the nest. So I got out a stepladder, put the nest back in the tree, tied it there with twine (now why didn't the parents think of that?), & put the baby back in it. Meanwhile the parent is going nuts (there was only one in attendance), cheeping a mile a minute & buzzing me a couple of times.
The story has a happy ending. I was worried that this bird might have been injured in the fall, but it seems to be fine & is growing like a beansprout. The fall was 4 days ago; today it is well along towards fledging: actively perching next to the old nest, & clearly recognizable as a robin, with pretty little red feathers filling in on the breast.
So I can feel good knowing I did a good deed, helping to perpetuate the genes for poor nest building amongst robins. :-)
Incidentally, when I picked the bird up my hand came away just covered with feather mites. Tiny little black things, booking a mile a minute. I tried to get a macro, but just too small. They seemed to be harmless. Unlike the 1 bird louse that came with them -- it bit me while I was trying to photograph it & got summarily squished for its trouble.
POSTSCRIPT: The story has a second happy ending. What I didn't mention was that while I was busy messing around with ladders & robin's nests & twine & the poor nestling, my poor sweetie -- a brand new romance at the time -- was busy cooling his heels curbside at Newark airport. I was half an hour late picking up him and a friend from an international flight.
I guess he forgave me, because he married me anyway.
These are adults, despite the light underparts -- at least, 1 of them was carrying nesting material.
The hawk was mobbed for about 10' by a pair of blue jays, but stood his ground. The jays were "called in" by a red-winged blackbird (not shown) that perched in the tree above the hawk & made some noise, but had left by this point.
At woodcreeper's feeders, availing herself of the sunflower seeds. We struck out on the long-eared owls, but this was a nice consolation prize. Thanks again, woodcreeper!
Digiscoped thru binocs. Not gonna make Natl Geog, but it'll do til I get a closer one.
First set of photos with my new toy! It's a Canon A520 mini prosumer camera (my old Olympus bit the dust). I'm still learning my way around it, but it seems to take nice pics. I ran into somebody who was feeding the gulls while I was doing a dry run for our Christmas Bird Count, & took advantage of it to try some in-flight shots. Needed a slightly faster shutter speed for most of them, but here are a couple that came out good.
Adult summer American Herring Gull
There were at least 3 Black & 2 Roseate Terns in with this flock of ~1000 Common Terns.
The business end of an angry bird. It took exception to us approaching the roped-off bare beach area at Cape May Point (where they feed & roost with their fledglings, although there was no obvious fledgling in sight at the time). Guess the bird had different ideas about how far its nesting territory extended than the humans who put up the ropes. :-) Needless to say, we backed off to avoid stressing the bird, but I managed to snap this picture 1st of it buzzing us. The shot is right-side up; the bird is just starting to peel off sideways. f9 @1/320
The willets were teasing me at Brig -- just close enough to tempt me to grab the camera, but never close enough for a good shot. Well, we need a willet in flight for the Field Guide group. Hopefully 1 of you Real Photographers out there can get a better one for us -- you can consider this shot not so much a challenge as a plea :-).
A Willet is a rather large bird to be balancing on a telephone wire, but that's just what they seem to have taken it into their heads to do.
This is a naturally-occurring hybrid between a (presumably) wild-type Mallard and an American Black Duck. They are supposedly fairly common (as hybrids go), although this is the 1st one I've seen. (The 2nd one was on a Christmas Bird Count a couple of days later. They were ~5 mi apart; I have no idea if it was the same individual. Both were flocking with Mallards.) Anas rubripes x platyrhynchos.
These were so cute I couldn't resist, although Canada Geese are a bit of a plague here. There are services that will come by with a border collie & chase them away from your property a few times a week. They never used to be resident, just migrated thru. But now we have nonmigratory populations. Legend has it that they derive from domesticated birds (probably selected for those that had lost their migratory instinct, allowing the owners to keep them around!) that were used as living decoys by market gunners in the 1st half of the 20th century. When that practice was outlawed, the birds were released.
But regardless of their origin, manmade habitat changes have made our environment much more Canada-goose-friendly, & much less friendly to the birds that used to live here. Geese graze on lawns. As we've converted forests & wetlands to lawns, geese are in, & ducks & warblers are out.
OK, I have a dirty little secret to confess: I'm interested in domestic waterfowl. No, get your mind out of the gutter; I'm interested in them as a birder -- but that's something no Real Birder would generally confess to. It's kinda the birder's version of eating quiche. And this is one strange bird -- perhaps tracing to some sort of domestic origin, though who knows.
So, what is it? Barnacle x Canada x ???? It was as big as the large Canadas (ssp canadensis). The face looks like Barnacle Goose (Branta leucopsis), the brown parts like Canada (B. canadensis), I don't know where the unpigmented belly & legs are coming from, & I'm convinced the speckled neck was created by grafting, not hybridizing.
EDIT: Thank you to Nikolas Haass for the following expert opinion:
"There is definitely NO Barnacle Goose involved. The
white cheek is a feature of many hybrids, whose
parents do NOT show white cheeks! Hybrids often are
intermediates between their parents. Hawever, they
often show field marks of a third species not
I think it is either Greylag x Canada, Greater
White-fronted x Canada or Swan Goose x Canada."
With Nikolas's answer, I've come to realize that the white patches are generic. That is, they are not indicative of any one species (ie white cheeks don't imply Barnacle). Rather, they are an emergent property that comes from defects in pigment cell migration during embryonic development. (In fact, I've been meaning to write this description up & submit this photo to the Emergence group for quite a while.)
Pigment cells (melanocytes) are actually derived from the top (the "neural crest") of the embryonic spinal cord (the "neural tube"). They migrate from there out and down along both sides of the body, meeting at the bottom. If they don't quite meet, then you get white patches, like the cheeks & belly of this bird. If they do meet, but are too sparse to fill in the entire skin surface, then you get white speckles, like the neck of this bird.
These markings are often part of normal development -- eg, depending on far they make it, you get a star, blaze, or bald marking on a horse's face, a tuxedo cat or duck, etc. (In fact, it occurrs to me that for social species in which recognizing individuals is important, such a variable repertoire for producing distinctive facial appearances may well be useful. It's also a good mechanism for creating camouflage patches to break up an outline, or the countershading -- dark back, light belly -- so common thruout the animal kindgom.) This is also responsible for the white "front" just behind the bill in certain wild-type geese or ducks, eg scaups or Greater White-fronted Goose. And in Greylag geese, domestic varieties can also show it -- in fact, failing to recognize the generic nature of that marking led to my confusion in ID'ing these domestic Greylags, seen in the same shot with the much smaller GWFG.
However, the white patches can also indicate individuals in which embryonic development didn't proceed quite according to the normal plan. And a hybrid is a pretty good candidate for that. So, for that matter, is a domestic animal -- these have been inbred, hybridized, exempted from natural selection, and otherwise genetically tortured. So you might expect a relatively high frequency in domestic animals, like the aforementioned domesticated Greylag-stock geese.
Note: Sighted this individual again on 3 April 2010, a mile or so from the original location. And Bernie Sloan has a shot from Nov 2012: www.flickr.com/photos/14463444@N07/8218852076/in/photostream.