We see a lot of exotic (to me) birds here.  We have 7 trees in our yard, and I guess the birds like that!  The kids and I have started having fun trying to catch them on camera and figure out what they are using the Cornell Lab of Orinthology "All About Birds" website.  Since we're taking pictures from our window most of the time, the pictures are a result of intense digital zooming - so, sorry if they're not really great quality!  But you can see more pictures on the Cornell site if you'd like.

Carolina Chickadee

posted Feb 24, 2012, 6:01 PM by Christine Merrill   [ updated Feb 24, 2012, 6:01 PM ]

Purple Finch

posted Feb 24, 2012, 5:58 PM by Christine Merrill   [ updated Feb 24, 2012, 5:58 PM ]

I put up a bird feeder in my side yard - sooo fun to watch the birds while I eat my breakfast!  But one result is seeing birds that didn't used to like my yard!  I thought this one was a house finch, but the more I look at it, the more I think it's a purple finch - despite its definite rosy color.  Somehow, purple finch sounds much more exotic than house finch, so I feel thrilled to have had him visit, even though I know he's a common bird :)

And here's one more, with a chickadee and robin.

Gray Catbird

posted Jan 21, 2012, 7:15 AM by Christine Merrill   [ updated Jan 21, 2012, 7:15 AM ]

We see these allll the time, never had an idea what it was until we went to Rock Creek Park one day and saw them listed as a local bird.  It was a great "aha!" moment!


posted May 8, 2011, 6:18 PM by Christine Merrill   [ updated May 8, 2011, 6:26 PM ]

On a bike ride to National Harbor (on the Potomac river) last week, I saw a really cool bird of prey fishing on the river.  I know it was fishing because we saw it dive for a fish - pretty neat.  But I don't know for sure what it was.  I didn't get a very good picture for taking home to identify it.  (Even though we had a really great view of it just forget details)

Yeah, how about that shot of the wing! :)  Anyway, my best guess is that it was an osprey, which would make sense since they are fishing birds and have white undersides.  Just all the pictures I've seen have a different sort of pattern on the wings than this did...and although it was big, I don't know if it was THAT big.  Oh well, I guess I'll never know...except that I saw him again in the same place a week later, so maybe SOMEDAY, I'll get a real picture!

After taking this picture and pondering about whether it was an osprey, I recalled that I have a bunch of pictures of ospreys from a canoe trip on the Patuxent we took last year, so I thought I'd put one here to make the post more convincing :)

Tufted Titmouse

posted Apr 27, 2011, 1:01 PM by Christine Merrill   [ updated Apr 27, 2011, 1:07 PM ]

What a strange name :)  We saw a pair in Forest Heights about a mile from our house while coming home from a bike ride.  I almost wrote them off as the usual sparrow or robin, since that's all I see near people's houses it seems like, but on second glance, I saw that it wasn't something I recognized.  It was quite the adventure figuring out what it was, since I'd never heard of a titmouse before.  Did you know that the plural is titmice?

Here's more info, here's a rotten picture :)


posted Apr 21, 2011, 11:24 AM by Christine Merrill   [ updated Apr 21, 2011, 11:29 AM ]

We went to Fort McHenry yesterday for a field trip - very cool, and my first time going to Baltimore (as opposed to driving around Baltimore on my way somewhere else...)  Of course, I was thrilled to get out of the car and see the absolutely signature Baltimore Oriole sitting in a tree right in front of my car.  Only now that I look on the internet and find that there's more than one kind of Oriole on the Atlantic coast, I'm not sure it was.  It sorta looks more like and Orchard Oriole, to me, actually.  Of course, I really only saw it's tummy side, so it makes it tough.  Maybe I'll have to go back to Baltimore again sometime...

Black Vulture

posted Apr 21, 2011, 11:15 AM by Christine Merrill   [ updated Apr 21, 2011, 11:24 AM ]

Biking by National Harbor a few days after lots of rain and the resultant debris accumulating on the river shore (that's the Potomac, for those not familiar with the area), we saw an incredibly tame vulture who had no problem pecking through the trash with us really close to him.  I never appreciated how really ugly these guys are. 

Eastern Bluebird

posted Mar 20, 2011, 11:07 AM by Christine Merrill   [ updated Mar 20, 2011, 11:10 AM ]

We went to Oxon Hill Farm last week for a picnic (70 degrees and sunny, baby!!) and rode a bit down the bike path.  We didn't go too far because it was steep and I wasn't sure we'd make it back up.  But it was worth it to see an amazingly brilliant deep blue bird that I chased around to try to take a picture of.  It made me wish I had a better camera!  I believe it was an Eastern Bluebird, and you can read more about it here.

I can TOTALLY tell that's a bluebird from those pictures, huh!  If you don't like it, send donations to the camera fund :)

Cardinals at Mt. Vernon

posted Mar 20, 2011, 11:06 AM by Christine Merrill   [ updated Mar 20, 2011, 11:06 AM ]

A couple of fun birdfeeder pictures

posted Mar 20, 2011, 11:04 AM by Christine Merrill   [ updated Mar 20, 2011, 11:06 AM ]

European Starlings and Flightless Tree Bird :)

1-10 of 35