Archive for April, 2012

Eastern Screech-Owl (female)

April 29, 2012

A rufous Eastern Screech-Owl (Otus asio) shown by Ms. Gabby Hrycyshyn, volunteer bird handler from The Raptor Conservancy of Virginia. This “teaching bird” has several disabilities that make it unsuitable for release to the wild: the Screech-Owl was hit by a car, resulting in permanent structural damage to both eyes.

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The Screech-Owl was one of several birds featured in a raptor demonstration at the Belle Haven picnic area, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. According to Mr. Kent Knowles, president of The Raptor Conservancy of Virginia, …

The Eastern Screech Owl is a female. We can tell that by weight, not plumage. The males in that species weigh about one third less than the females.

The event was hosted by Friends of Dyke Marsh, National Park Service, and The Raptor Conservancy of Virginia.

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In the preceding gallery, Photos 1-2 show the Screech-Owl with a Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis); Photo 3 shows the Screech-Owl with a Barred Owl (Strix varia). Ms. Gabby Hrycyshyn handled the Screech-Owl in all three photos; Mr. Kent Knowles handled the two larger birds. Photo 1 is captioned, “Yikes, Gabby — PLEASE don’t let that BIG bird eat me!”

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

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Red-shouldered Hawk

April 27, 2012

A Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) shown by Kent Knowles, president of The Raptor Conservancy of Virginia. This “teaching bird” has several disabilities that make it unsuitable for release to the wild: the hawk was hit by a car, fracturing its right wing through the elbow joint; the bird has almost no wing extension on its right side as a result.

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The hawk was one of several birds featured in a raptor demonstration at the Belle Haven picnic area, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. According to Mr. Knowles, …

There is no way to tell a Red-shouldered male from a female by sight or weight. Since this one is relatively small I would guess it is a male, but that is only a guess. It is a third-year bird.

The event was hosted by Friends of Dyke Marsh, National Park Service, and The Raptor Conservancy of Virginia. Mr. Knowles’ extraordinary rapport with raptors is clearly evident in the following photos!

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Ms. Gabby Hrycyshyn, assisting Mr. Knowles with the raptor demonstration, is shown holding an American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) in Photo 6 of 7 in the preceding gallery. The kestrel is featured in a follow-up post: American Kestrel (male).

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Red-tailed Hawk (female)

April 25, 2012

A Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) showing off with a little encouragement from Kent Knowles, president of The Raptor Conservancy of Virginia. This beautiful “teaching bird” has several disabilities that make it unsuitable for release to the wild: the hawk was probably hit by a car, causing multiple wing injuries; the bird is almost non-flighted as a result.

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The hawk was one of several birds featured in a raptor demonstration at the Belle Haven picnic area, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. The event was hosted by Friends of Dyke Marsh, National Park Service, and The Raptor Conservancy of Virginia.

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Ms. Gabby Hrycyshyn, assisting Mr. Knowles with the raptor demonstration, is shown holding an American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) in all of the photos in the preceding gallery. The kestrel is featured in a follow-up post: American Kestrel (male).

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Barred Owl (female)

April 23, 2012

A Barred Owl (Strix varia) shown by Kent Knowles, president of The Raptor Conservancy of Virginia. This “teaching bird” has several disabilities that make it unsuitable for release to the wild: the owl’s left hip was crushed when it was hit by a car; the bird has limited use of its very fragile left leg as a result.

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The owl was one of several birds featured in a raptor demonstration at the Belle Haven picnic area, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. The event was hosted by Friends of Dyke Marsh, National Park Service, and The Raptor Conservancy of Virginia.

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Another great catch, Great Egret!

April 21, 2012

A Great Egret (Ardea alba), a large white heron with long black legs and yellow-orange bill, spotted during a photowalk through Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. Can anyone identify the fish in the bird’s bill? If I were to make a wild guess, then I’d say the fish is some type of sunfish.

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Editor’s Note: I consulted David Lawlor, Resource Manager, Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County Park Authority, for help in identifying the fish. According to David, …

I would say you are correct — the fish is a sunfish of some type and my first guess would be a green sunfish, but it is hard to tell from the picture.

David’s tentative species identification is supported by maps showing the distribution of sunfish at Fairfax County monitoring sites. Thanks, David!

See also Great catch, Great Egret!, one of my Posterous posts.

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Common Whitetail dragonfly (female, oviposition)

April 19, 2012

A four-image time series showing a female Common Whitetail dragonfly (Libellula lydia, Plathemis lydia) laying eggs by the process of oviposition. The female dragonfly skims the water repeatedly (see Photo 4), picking up drops of water that are used to flick fertilized eggs toward the shore (see Photo 3). The process typically lasts a few seconds to a few minutes.

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This individual was spotted during a photowalk through Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Common Muskrat (predator-prey)

April 17, 2012

An adult muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus zibethicus), a semi-aquatic rodent, spotted during a photowalk through Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual appears to be eating a frog.

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Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Tree Swallows (nesting pair)

April 15, 2012

A seven-image sequence of photos featuring a nesting pair of Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) spotted during a photowalk through Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. Photo 1 of 7 shows the female feeding chicks inside the nesting box; the male is perching on top of the box, shown right. Photos 2 through 7 show the female flying to join the male on top of the nesting box.

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Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

More Osprey in flight (male)

April 13, 2012

A trio of BIFs, that is, photographs of “birds in flight.” Photo 1 and 2 are entitled, “Bandits at 2 o’clock!” Photo 3 of 3 is entitled, “Stealth Osprey: Flying below the radar.”

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This individual is a male Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) flying to and from its nest at Belle Haven Marina, located along the tidal Potomac River in suburban Washington, D.C., south of Old Town Alexandria, Virginia USA.

Related Resources:

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Northern Mockingbird

April 10, 2012

A Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) spotted during a photowalk through Dogue Creek Stream Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

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Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com


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