Best Bird Pictures July 22

wood ducks in hiding
female ruby-throated hummingbird
belted kingfisher

Mottled Duck
Mottled Duck

Red-shouldered Hawk
Hawk
belted kingfisher
Eastern Phoebe
Adult Red-headed Woodpecker and Juvenile
Juvenile Red-headed Woodpecker
female ruby-throated hummingbird
Male Red-bellied Woodpecker
Brown-headed Nuthatch

My Best Bird Pictures in June 22

Great Blue Heron having a snack
Bank swallow
Eastern phoebe
Great Blue Heron
Blue Grosbeak
Red-winged Blackbird
Male Eastern Towhee
male goldfinch
Fledgling bluebird and dad

“And God said, ‘Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.'” Genesis 1:20

Birding at MacAlpine Creek Park January 2022

I bought a journal to keep track of some of the birds I’ve seen and places I’ve visited, but like most of my journals, my writing in it has been haphazard at best. Since I still would like to keep some kind of record, I decided to start recording some of my adventures in this blog.

Reading that various ducks winter at MacAlpine Creek Park (in Charlotte,NC), I have made several visits in the past few months, hoping to see new waterfowl. So far, I’ve only seen mallards and Canadian geese. As much as I like to see these birds, I’ve been disappointed not to see anything new.

On my most recent trip to MacAlpine, I saw several types of birds and most excitedly, several I hadn’t seen there before (though not the waterfowl I expected). I started on my usual route to the marshy area where I have seen a great blue heron and an egret on several visits. Much to my disappointment, there was nothing there. Some mallards soon flew in, but I kept looking for the egret and heron. Then I noticed a bird sitting on a metal cross in the pond (I have no idea why that cross is there. Maybe someone can enlighten me.) Using my binoculars, I realized it was a kingfisher. A first time sighting for me. I took a few pictures and decided to go to the other trail I usually walk and maybe I would come back before I left to look one more time.

Belted Kingfisher

Just as I was leaving that area, a heron flew over my head and landed in a tree. I had never seen this bird in a tree (though I have since learned they nest in trees) and took several pictures from different angles.

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

I made my way back to the front pond, hoping some ducks had shown up. I saw some white birds that looked like seagulls. And before anyone corrects me, I know gulls are not just “seagulls” but I confess that is still how I think of them. Anyway, I have never seen these birds at McAlpine before. They didn’t stay long. They were gone by the time I made my loop.

Ring-billed gull
Colony of Gulls

Walking along the other side of the marsh, I finally saw the egret. I guess the slightly warmer weather brought out the turtle.

Turtle and Great Egret

As I continued my walk, I saw something a bit strange up in a tree. I thought it might just be some trash (more than once I’ve trained my binoculars on a plastic bag), then thought maybe it was a nest of some sort.

Strange creature

You probably notice the beak, but I didn’t even see that at first. Once I saw the leg (that’s just one leg; the other is a branch), I realized it was a bird. Another heron. He was probably trying to take a nap, but I walked around him as close as I could and got quite a few shots even before he woke up and began his creaky cry.

Great Blue Heron

I usually see several downy woodpeckers at McAlpine but not this day. However, I did see two other types of woodpeckers. The first a red-bellied woodpecker who I always hear, even if I don’t see them. They are very noisy birds and that’s not counting their rat-a-tat-tatting on trees.

Red-bellied Woodpecker, male

While I was snapping pictures of this woodpecker, I heard another one drilling very loudly behind me. I’m always reluctant to turn from something I have discovered as I can quickly lose sight of them and a bird in a hand, etc. But, fortunately, I did turn around in time to see a pileated woodpecker. The first I’ve seen here.

Pileated Woodpecker

Last, but not least, I saw a couple of cardinals, a mockingbird, several eastern phoebes, a couple of tufted titmice, and, of course, a scurry of squirrels.

Male Northern Cardinal
Eastern Phoebe
Grey Squirrel

I saw a good variety that day and was pleased with what I saw, even though I still didn’t see any different ducks. I also talked to a couple of other birders who had seen a hawk at close range and was told by another birder of a barred owl that lives there. I’m still hoping to see that owl and get some good pictures of the hawks on future trips.

Tufted titmouse