Sunday, April 16, 2017

April 16, 2017 Grand VUE

We had a record number of participants for birding this Saturday morning.  With twelve in the group, we took the typical route, which usually takes about 90 minutes.  We probably only go about a mile and a half, so the nature of the walk is all about birding, stopping, listening, and looking.  We began by examining a pile of flicker feathers.  I now have encountered 3 such mounds, so it is safe to say, the Cooper's hawk seems to have a preference.  It was a perfect day, bright, sunny, and 75 degrees, with no leaves yet to obstruct our views.  Towhees, Phoebe, sparrows (chipping, song, field), as well as pileated, red bellied, and downy all were observed.  A pileated did a fly by, and several were heard as these birds are in territorial mode.  Bluebird nests have 5 eggs, and one female stayed briefly in a nestbox when I opened it.  Three in the group had cameras (nice cameras at that) and pictures were taken.  We took the full 90 minutes, and enjoyed every step.  Hope to see some warblers, Orioles, cuckoos, and other migrants by next hike.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

May 7, 2016 Another Big Day at Grand Vue

After the best day on May 1, we followed that up with another very good day and some people returning for more birding.  In fact, I had two groups, 9:00 and 11:00.  Today held more tanagers, rose breasted grosbeaks, and bluebirds. Also, Indigo Buntings, Carolina and House Wrens, Orioles, Wood Thrush, Towhees, White-Crowned, Field, Chipping, and Song Sparrows all were popular.  I enjoyed some warblers: common yellow throat, yellow throated, red starts, and I await the return of a hooded warbler.  It is interesting to be able to predict birds at certain locations on our short walks.  When you know what to expect and you hear them before you see them, identification is simplified.  My first group had 5 and my second group had 2 individuals.  Both were enjoyable groups and all were captivated by the birds.  I return on May 21 at 9:00 for yet another eventful walk.  Note the picture and the caption, "When the Orioles have our attention".

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

May 1, 2016 Great Birding at Grand Vue

One of the best birding days happened on May first.  It began with four individuals meeting me at Grand Vue on this nice Saturday morning.  We began at the feeding stations with quick introductions and a statement about the red headed woodpecker that had been seen during the week.  Within a minute the bird paid us a visit, multiple times.  Next we were greeted by a rose breasted grosbeak and a scarlet tanager, almost side by side, in a tree. So we stayed by the feeding station and observed the grosbeak and downy, red bellied, hairy, and I saw a pileated at the park entrance.  So we had pretty much all of the woodpeckers on this day.  It just seemed like the birds were most accommodating as we set out for what turned out to be a slow walk.  Slow walks are a sign of good birding as we continually stopped to observe.  Bluebird nest boxes and hatched chicks were noted.  Then Northern Oriole, yellow-billed cuckoos, yellow throats, and a yellow throated verios were observed.  A group of 4 redstarts made them selves available right in front of us.   House wrens, brown thrasher, and other more commons were everywhere.  The place was full of great birds and we got good looks at all of them.  And these are all newly arrived resident birds that will remain here for the summer.  But on this day, with bright skies, and NO LEAVES it was an opportunity for which I was most thankful. Hopefully this Saturday will be equally rewarding.  Hope to see some warblers too.  Everyone enjoyed and I anticipate the return of these four, and probably some new guests as well. See you at 9:00 on Saturday.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

April 16, 2016 Grand View

Well, it's been a long time since I posted to this blog.  Today marks the first official birding morning at Grand Vue.  It was a beautiful day at the busy park.  At about 9:30 I walked to several nest boxes and found most to have nest material inside.  One nestbox had 5 bluebird eggs, so I expect a very active week or two.  I walked with Sam down the eastern point.  I call it Pileated Point as I always have those woodpeckers in that area.  We continued all the way down to the "cliffs" which is a nice area with a pretty significant rock face.  I noted that someone made some steps from rocks and also, cut some steps with a shovel.  Once we arrived we found a nice Phoebe nest inside a big overhang.  I will try to post the picture, which looked great.  Moss, mud, sticks, and other vegetation sort of glued to the liken and moss covered rocks.  There was about a 2 inch space between nest and ceiling, which allowed me room for a very close up picture of 5 white eggs.  On the way out, I saw and heard a Louisiana Waterthrush in the adjacent ravine.  I will be back to check on this bird, hopefully nesting.  He did not really respond to my bird app vocals, must be a little early for that.  Between waterthrush, phoebe nest, and multiple nest boxes with bluebird eggs, I don't know which was best.

In addition, on recent walks, I have seen several Cooper's hawks, red-tailed Hawks, and a sharp shinned hawk.  I hope to find a nest location for all of these birds.  In March I also had a brown creeper, which was good to see.  Maybe I will get my first warbler in the up and coming week, or an oriole.

The day was a near perfect day, with sunshine, temperatures at around 80 degrees, and low humidity.  High adventure ropes course, swing, bungee drop, trampoline, and zip lining opened and made for a very active park.  And we ate at the trail head grill where I enjoyed mason Dixon barbecue with Ann, Sarabeth, Logan, and Emily.  It just doesn't get much better than that!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

May 2 and 3 2015 Grand Vue and Ohio River

Ah May, the best month of the year.  Two birding days did not disappoint.  On Saturday morning I hiked Grand Vue.  Three hooded warblers were the birds of the day.  In addition, many restarts, a yellow throated vireo, wood thrush, scarlet tanager, brown thrasher, and baltimore orioles all made it a great 2 hours.  All were first made known and identified by their song.

May 3 was also a great birding day.  I walked the trail by the river hoping for warblers, especially the prairie warble from last year.  Well, many yellow warblers were very territorial, but that was the only warbler.  Vireos were the best birds.  Within 200 yards I had red eyed, white eyed, yellow throated, AND warbling vireos were active.  Again, songs were the first indicator that made for easy identification.  The visuals would be tough, but the songs.... the best.  An osprey, orioles, thrasher, and many sparrows all made for a good walk.

My nest box in my yard, put up for bluebirds, is occupied by a titmouse.  I will post a picture.  I first thought chickadees were taking ownership as I observed them in and out.  But later openned the box to see the titmouse.  May 7 there are six speckled eggs.  More to follow.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Feb 7, 2015 Grand Vue

Nice day for a walk at Grand Vue.  55 degrees felt like spring today.  Checked owl boxes but there was no sign of anything using them.  Yesterday I attended the feeder watch.  The bird of the day was a red tailed hawk that landed in a nearby tree and stayed there for ten minutes or so.  We also had a pileated visit the suet feeder briefly.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

January 16, 2015 Birding Plans

I'm looking forward to a few planned events at Grand Vue.  On February 7 we will once again be holding a feeder watch.  Hopefully we have enough snow to bring in a lot of birds and mild temperatures to attract humans.  On March 7 Scott Shalaway will be doing a special on optics and on March 14 a special on cavity nesters.  I need to make a few boxes and also, move my owl boxes to lower locations.  Maybe that is how I will spend my day today.... well, better get moving.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

October 25, 2014 GRAND VUE

A long time between posts but today was a beautiful day to walk at Grand Vue.  I had hopes of seeing my first  "winter birds" and after seeing the usuals including bluebirds, carolina wrens, robins, blue jays, cardinals, chickadees, titmouse, song sparrows, nuthatches, gold finch, and a variety of woodpeckers; I did hear the familiar song of the whitethroated sparrow.  Eventually, there were 5 different birds in one location by the outdoor learning center.  So, its official, the winter birds are beginning the move into the area.  At Grand Vue that means the feeders will become busy places to see birds.  My next bird hike will be Saturday, November 15.  I think we will walk for about 45 minutes and then spend some time by the feeders.  I took a bag of black oil sunflower seeds to Grand Vue to kick things off.  See you on the 15th at 9:30.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

May 17 and 18 2014 - Grand Vue and Ohio River

Saturday, May 17 was overcast.  Sam O. joined me for a walk at Grand Vue.  The bird of the day was a Hooded Warbler.  We had a devil of a time getting a visual on the board but his voice gave him away.  It was near the same location where I had a singing male for 20 minutes 2 years ago.  Eventually I did get a perfect view.  I will check this some more to see if I have a breeding pair.   Bluebirds in abundance, orioles, wrens, redstarts, yellow throats, chestnut sided, and many more were seen.
Sunday, May 18 is bright and sunny.  I walked down by the river trail.  The birds of the day were  prairie Warbler (close up!), white eyed vireos (even closer), warbling vireo, yellow breasted chat, yellow warbler, orioles, broad-winged hawk, phoebe.  Last time I was there I also had willow flycatcher and bank swallows.  It is a great spot to see birds using the river as a route.

May 11, 2014 Grantsville and High Point PA

The birding was good on our usual route as Gary and I made our way, windows down, from Grantsville and into PA.  We didn't necessarily have the biggest numbers but we limited our habitat on this drive, moving slowly.  Most notable birds:  Red-headed Woodpecker, Blue Headed Verios, Ruffed Grouse (close), Hermit Thrush, Red-breasted nuthatch, Canada Warbler (close-up) Magnolia Warblers, Chestnut Sided Warbler, Oven bird, black throated blues and greens, yellow throats, redstarts, and possibly a nashville warbler.  Also Meadowlark, Bobolinks, and a host of others.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

May 3-4, 2014 GRAND VUE

    May starts with good birding.  Our first Grand Vue birding day began with John and myself noting the birds at the feeding stations.  In particular, the rose-breasted grosbeak was a good bird to see.  It appears they have had a good year.  I have heard from many people stating they have grosbeaks.  I think they all arrived at the same time in big numbers.
    The bird of the day however, was the SUMMER TANAGER.  This was a first for me.  It was a first year, spring male so it had a red head, patches of orange, olive green, and yellow over the rest of the body.  I observed on three seperate occassions and within 20 feet, from trees to mulch under the feeding stations, to the grass, this bird moved slowly foraging for insects.  I asked Bill if he has seen one in the Ohio Valley.  He replied that over the years he has seen three including a nesting pair but for the most part it was years ago and years apart.
   The walk continued with many other birds observed.  A kingbird, nesting bluebirds and tree swallow, red start, also a close encounter with a red tailed hawk, and an aggressive house wren all made for a good day.  Also noted a coopers hawk and white throated sparrow.
   May 4 was also good.  Today I saw a willow flycatcher and yellow throated verio on my walk through the east ravine.  I did not see any waterthrush which was my goal.  But the walk was great with many many birds.  Wood thrush, woodpeckers, redstart, and many more.  I also observed a phoebe on nest near the location where waterthrush nested last year.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Competition for nest box

The nest box by my lawn was quickly taken by english sparrows.  My neighbor and I removed several early nests.  Then we saw a pair of bluebird take over and in fact fight off the english sparrows.  I was excited then disappointed to see the sparrows return and bluebirds disappear.  I disposed of a male sparrow but the box has remained empty.  It just goes to show how competitive the birds are for next location and the negative impact the sparrow has had on the bluebird.

April 21, 2014 Grand Vue Nest Box Walk

I walked Grand Vue to check on nest boxes.  I have 20 boxes up of which 15 are bluebird sized.  Currently there are 9 active nests.  One of the boxes has a tree swallow nest.  It needs repaired as I noted that the wood hinge has broken.  I placed some boxes close to each other in hopes of getting other species as well. Two boxes had blue bird nests with 5 eggs.  Several had 1-3 eggs.  A few had no eggs.  Nine out of 15 isn't bad but I hope to have a dozen active nests.

April 20 2014 Florida

My trip to Florida gave opportunity for some birding.  Englewood is home to a small sanctuary called Lemon Bay.  There I saw a nest of Bald Eagles.  Florida eagles are bigger than any I have seen before.  First time birds for me included Least Terns and a Worm Eating Warbler!  Also I noted yellow throats, red starts, black throated greens, and chestnut sided warblers.  Great crested flycatchers and a host herons including little green, black crowned night herons, little blues, and others.  Egrets were abundant.  Gulls and anhingas were also noted.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

March 22 2014 Grand Vue Birding

No takers for the first hike of the spring.  I enjoyed a long hike on my own.  Went off trail hiking from the northern back ridge down through the ravine eastward to the power lines and outdoor classroom.  No activity observed in any of the nest boxes so it appears it will not be an early nesting season.  Of course the english sparrows have found the nest box in our yard  Anyway the birds I saw included: tree swallows, cooper's hawk, field sparrows, blue birds, cowbirds, towhees, Carolina wrens, cardinals, blue jays, song sparrows, crows, chickadees, titmice, juncos, downy, hairy, red-bellied woodpeckers, and probably some I don't remember. 55 degrees and sunny was fantastic.

Monday, March 10, 2014

March 10 2014 Grand Vue Nest Box Additions

I have completed 11 new nestboxes.  I took 9 to Grand Vue and distributed them to new sites including three by the old cabins, an additional box by the new cabins, and other selected locations.  So, now there are a total of 20 boxes ready for use this spring.  My count includes three small boxes, two large screech owl boxes, and 15 bluebird boxes.  I put one box on the golf course and am interested in seeing if there is any difference in nest success.  The golf course is subjected to heavy pesticide and fertilizer.  It hope to see if this has any significance. I still have one box and am considering taking it to Nauvoo.   In addition I placed a box in the open yard between my house and a neighbor, Mike Wade.  Mike and his grand kids, Grace and Dawson will enjoy the birds if we get some tennants.  I look forward to blue birds in the yard so I keep my fingers crossed.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Nestboxes in the works

I spent some time last weekend cutting some wood for nest boxes.  I have pieces cut for 12 new bluebird boxes.  Hopefully this weekend I can drill holes, put in hing pegs, and assemble some of these boxes.  I do remember that in 2012 I had a nest in mid March and eggs on March 28, 2012.   So, I'm on a bit of a time frame.  More to follow about box production and placement.

Saturday, February 22, 2014


It was great to get a Grand Vue day with spring like temperatures.  I have officially switched gears and am now in nest box mode.  I cleaned out 7 bluebird boxes, 2 small boxes, and checked two screech owl boxes.  I saw at least 20 bluebirds today along with turkey vultures, towhees, song sparrows, and all the woodpeckers except the piliated. Also a Cooper's hawk and red tailed hawk. Robins were active..... ah spring is just around the corner.
Mark your calendars for Grand Vue Birding Days:  March 8 is the last bird count beginning at 11:00.
March 22, April 5 and 19.  Meet at the banquet hall at 9:30 and we go from there.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

February 16, 2014 BIRD BEHAVIOR at feeding station

I changed things up on my bird feeding this weekend and post an activity about bird behavior.  To begin you must visualize my feeding situation and layout.  I live in Moundsville but on the outskirts.  My house is surrounded by other homes but is 200 yards from the edge of the woods.  I have maintained feeding birds for years and is on the dining list of birds who no doubt know there will be food available: Sunflower, Niger, and Suet.
I live on a hillside so my back door and deck are up high.  In fact my basement door exits directly onto my back yard patio.  I feed from a feeder and suet on my deck.  I also, throw food out under my feeder which is 15 feet below... I cannot see the ground below my feeder leaving those ground dwellers on my basement level mostly unobserved.  Well, this weekend I did not feed on the ground level and only put out seeds on my deck level scattering a great deal across a larger part of the deck.  So if ground dwellers wanted fresh seeds, they would have to come up to the deck.

"Bird count" birds today:  6 cardinals, three nuthatches, 15 house finches, 5 song sparrows, two downy woodpeckers, two red bellied woodpeckers, 8 chickadees, 7 titmice, 5 gold finch, 3 blue jays, 8 starlings, 3 english sparrows, 5 juncos,  two carolina wrens ....... all within ten feet of my window.  It snowed and I had active feeders during this 2 hour observation.

The activity:  Match the birds above to the observation below.

______- one female appeared to have some symptoms of conjunctivitis.  She seemed overly aggressive toward other birds.

______- this species pretty much declined my invitation to the deck and preferred to find seed left over from the week, even though the snow cover made doing so more difficult.  When it did come to the deck, it "hopped" from place to place, never going to the feeder.

______- these two species were first to find my small bucket of sunflower seeds that I kept under my swing, two feet from my widow.  They were the only birds eating from that food source, taking one seed at a time flying elsewhere to eat.

_____ - this species stayed together in a nearby tree, then swarmed the feeders together eating primarily from the suet cakes.

_____- this loud species owned the feeder when it came to feed on sunflower.  Others vacated.

_____- this species "ran" back and forth more than did the others, picking up small leftovers all around the feeding area.

_____- this species was most sedentary, eating from one seated position for the longest time.

_____- observed three species feeding from a small hole on the side of the feeder when the busy feeder did not provide space

_____- this species used its tail more than any other to maintain its position on the suet cakes, primarily.

_____-this species seemed to enjoy the crumbs of suet that landed on the deck as its main course.

Point being, you can identify the bird quite often just by its behavior.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

February 8,2014 GRAND VUE Project Feeder Watch

I enjoyed a few hours at Grand Vue for feeder watch.  Nine or ten people just counting birds at the feeders was a great time.  I arrived 45 minutes early to hike in search of birds we probably would not see at a feeder.  Anyway, a difficult 90 minutes of walking yielded no kinglets, no winter wren, and no sapsucker as I had hoped.  As we watched and counted birds at the feeders Scott and I were just talking about not seeing brown creepers in Marshall County when right on que we had one at the base of a tree.  Other than that, a tree sparrow, some white throated sparrows, and other common birds.  The biggest count was 45 juncos.  Anyway, this crisp, cold day was successful.  We do it again in March!  By then it will be time to set up some more walks and get ready for spring.
There has been much talk about other birds this week.  Grebes, mergansers, gulls, peregrine, buffleheads, and other birds along the frozen river are all being talked about.  Also, rumors of a snowy owl in town have my attention.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Early December 2013

Its all about weather now.  When we get snow the feeders fill with birds and when it stays mild the birds stay in their preferred habitats.  Last weekend (Dec 7) we had snow and I had many birds on my deck and ground below.  Two birds were notable.  First I saw a small bird on my deck exploring everything except seeds.  He had me puzzled for a while but then as I watched from my window he moved from deck floor to swing which is just outside my window.  As if to say, "take a close look" he moved across the top of the swing not 3 feet from my face.  A yellow-rumped warbler in December is a first for me.  The next bird was a white-crowned sparrow.  No matter how often I see a bird, its always nice to see the first one of the year or one that seems out of place and time.
The weatherman called for up to 4 inches of snow this morning, but instead we have a cold, wet day with no snow.  I'm sure there are some locals getting hit with some snow, but not down in the valley.  So we have very few birds this day.  Can't believe I'm saying this but I think I'm ready to wake up to a snow that takes me on a crisp and crunchy hike at Grand Vue.  Maybe a kinglet or a sapsucker to make the hike noteworthy.  Well, it appears that will have to wait for another day.

Monday, October 28, 2013

October-November 2013

October yielded no notable birds.  Now I'm seeing juncos and other winter birds so the shift changes to feeding stations.  Grand Vue added another feeding station which is located back in the woods.  The station has been very busy.  Anyway, two Saturdays in November are now scheduled, November 16 and 30.  see you at 9:30.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

August 24, 2013 Grand Vue

On this bright sunny day I enjoyed the company of one birder as we sought out early moving birds.  We did see our common birds as well as a wood pewee.  I did not notice bluebirds which have been so common.  The bird of the day was I believe a magnolia warbler.  I used the warbler guide to identify a first year, fall female.  This bird was a quick mover with lots of yellow on the throat and stomach.  An eyer ring was distinctive and the wing bars made me lean toward the maggie identification.   It was my first Magnolia at Grandvue.
The next scheduled outings will be the last two Saturdays in September for "warbler weekends". Hopefully we will have an abundance of warblers as difficult as they may be.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Grand Vue Plans - Warbler Weekends

August 10 is our next scheduled walk.  9:30 at the banquet hall.  Also, plans are underway to seek out fall migrating warblers.  Warbler weekends are planned for the last two Saturdays in September.  I look forward to the challenges that these birds will bring at Grand Vue.

Saturday, June 29, 2013


Consider yourself invited to come to Grand Vue for a birding activity.  We begin at the main office and walk well maintained trails seeing what the habitat has to offer.  Currently bluebirds are active nesters and many fledglings are out and about.  For our last hike we had two adults and two very interested young birders.  These two girls, grades 2 and 3 were great.  They had great interest, asked good questions, and sought out birds on their bird list.  We will do more to attract young birders and plan activities that are kid and parent friendly.  Birding begins at 9:30.  See you at Grand Vue!

Braxton County and Burnsville Lake

In mid June a friend and I went on a two day fishing trip to Burnsville Lake.  Staying at a campsite at Bulltown Campgrounds was very good.  I recommend the campground.  The fishing however was not  good as the heavy rains preceded our arrival.  Chocolate milk is not the color you want to see in the water when fishing.  None the less we had a great time and saw many birds, barred owl, northern waterthrush, redstarts, yellowthroats, chestnut-sided, and many other warblers and flycatchers.  A highlight was watching a black bear swim the 300 yard width of the lake.

Monday, June 10, 2013

June 8,2013 OFF TRAIL HIKE - Waterthrush NEST

     I think the talk about our off trail hike and the threat of rain may have scared some people off.  There were no takers on our Saturday walk down into the ravine.  So I walked alone, which is never a bad thing.  My intent was to show new habitat and in so doing new birds, namely the Louisiana Waterthrush. I've observed these birds on many occasions and they quickly became one of my favored birds. I've even tried locating nests but timing and the difficulty of doing so seem impossible. I remember the first time I saw this bird.  I was at the Middle Creek School parking lot observing the heron rookery.  The waterthrush's song got my attention as it sang on a branch.  Its three long introductory notes to me sounded like a song sparrow but the visual had me stumped.  It looked more like an ovenbird.  Scott Shallaway helped me make the identification.  Since then I am more vigilant in finding both the Louisiana and Northern Waterthrush.
    So my vigilance took me down into a deep ravine.  Its not a long walk, just a steep one.  I followed the stream bed for about five minutes and heard the call note of a waterthrush so I stopped.  Soon I had a visual on one bird with a beak full of insects.  Within a minute I watched the bird make its way up the steep bank maybe twenty feet up near the top where the grass and roots created an overhang in some sturdy ground.  There she disappeared for a moment feeding her nest of chicks.
   I climbed the bank, took some pictures (posted) and then sat and observed the calling, fanned-tail bobbing, singing, and feeding behavior of this pair of Waterthrush.  The climb was nearly impossible as muddy conditions made for bad footing.  I noted that the bird that watched me climb was extremely wary of approaching the nest.  The other bird was quick to enter, feed and leave but the first bird took along time to make its way back.
   So much time was spent observing this activity that I ran out of time to continue the long ravine hike.  So I simply made my way back up the hill toward the banquet hall.  Before leaving I also observed an Acadian Flycatcher on nest and the constant perseek of its partner in the tree near the waterthrush.  It was already a good nest day. Had I continued down stream I probably would have encountered a pileated woodpecker family.  I hear them in this ravine constantly.
   As I checked nest boxes I encountered new bluebird eggs, tree swallow young quickly changing, and also a busy Baltimore Oriole nest.  So what a day at Grand Vue!  June is prime time for nesting and fledgling activity and as such, prime time to take hikes to places seldom seen.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Next birding hike is scheduled for Saturday, June 8 at Grand Vue.  However, as advertised this walk will not be the typical walk on the trails.  Weather permitting we will hike a steep grade down into a ravine and small stream bed.  I hope to find some species that are not so common.  Anyway, meet me at the banquet hall at 9:30 and wear your good hiking shoes. See you at Grand Vue!!

Monday, May 27, 2013

May 18 and 27 2013 (Grand Vue and North Carolina)

I'm sitting in a beautiful backyard visiting friends in Matthews NC in Charlotte.  The yard is made nice not only by the pool and patio area but as much so by the maturing trees and vast landscaping.  This vegetation  and feeding stations bring in birds.  So the air is full of the sounds from the three best mimics, mocking bird, catbird, and brown thrasher. The song sparrow and robin make their presence Also, blue jays cardinals, house and gold finches, Carolina wren, chicadee and titmouse.  They are non stop companions this and every morning.

May 18 at Grand Vue was of interest to me.  Nesting season is in full force.  Again I had an up close view of the tree swallow.  Cedar waxwings are back. Also I located a flicker nest and an oriole nest located at the bottom of the pathway from the newly seeded area to the lower trail.  I watched the female enter and exit multiple times.  In addition the bluebird boxes have now completed the first brood and I'm sure I will see round two happen.
My Grand Vue only list is now up to 57 species.  Its funny I had to add great blue heron and black vulture.  The black vulture was a good bird to add but the heron was a "fly over".  The lists have been popular.

Saturday, May 11, 2013


We've had a lot of rain and fairly severe weather. That resulted in no takers for our hike today on this overcast and cool morning.  However, those same conditions result in many birds being forced out of the air, their flights grounded or at least delayed.  So it was actually a perfect day for birding.  So I added to my Grand Vue list today the following birds: Chestnut-sided Warbler, Hooded Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, and Yellow-throated Warbler.  I also saw Indigo Bunting, Eastern Wood-pewee, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Yellow-throated Vireo and much activity at the nest boxes.  My list now includes 53 species all seen at Grand Vue.  I took some pictures of the young birds in two bluebird nests and the eggs in the tree swallow nest posting several to this blog.  Grand vue looked great and really there was no rain, just wet conditions.
I'm not available for the next two weeks so birding is on your own....... but often that yields best results.  Until June 8, enjoy the sights, sounds, and birds of Spring.  Remember we are scheduled to do an off trail hike.

Friday, May 10, 2013

MAY 11, 2013 Grand Vue Birding

Our next birding hike is Saturday, May 11, 2013.  We meet rain or shine at the banquet hall and go from there.  Dress for the weather and plan to see Bluebird chicks and tree swallow eggs.  Who knows what the next walk will yield so bring your birding challenge checklists or pick one up in the main office.  See you at Grand Vue!

Monday, May 6, 2013

"OFF TRAIL" Bird Hike at Grand Vue on June 8

June 8            9:30-11:30    Banquet Hall
On this day Woody will lead a group to  explore new habitat.  With several people using the “BIG Challenge Birding List” we have to seek out some of those more difficult birds.  So, beginning at the banquet hall at 9:30 we will go off trail moving down into the ravine where we will find steep banks,  small creeks, mature trees, and deep leave matter.  This change in habitat should result in finding several species that one would never see up on the ridges.  Several flycatchers and warblers, in particular  Northern and Louisiana Water Thrush are much more common in these remote locations.

Please be advised should you choose to take this hiking adventure, wear hiking apparel.  The hike down into the ravine isn’t so bad but the walk back up to Grand Vue is quite the work-out.  If we see birds this hike could take as long as two hours.

 Of course everyone is welcome to come and form a group to walk the traditional trail loop, looking at the progress made by bluebirds, orioles, sparrows, and other birds not yet seen.

MAY 4 AND 5, 2013 Birding Group at Grand Vue

On Saturday, May 4 I met with five others and enjoyed a great day with perfect weather.  The orioles continue to be vocal and abundant.  The American Redstarts are in high numbers this year as we saw many birds in many different locations.  In addition we added tree swallows to our lists.  In fact, a pair of swallows is using the bluebird box on the post behind the banquet hall.  I was hoping for swallows as I placed two boxes too close together for bluebirds to build nests in both. With 80 birds on the list I now have 47 birds observed.  Of note I have yet to see the elusive house sparrow at Grand Vue, ha ha!

On Sunday, May 5 I returned for an evening walk.  I have been considering an off trail day with those who want to explore other habitats.  So I walked down into a ravine.  It paid off with more good birds.  More Redstarts and a catbird were the first birds.  I added Wood Thrush and Rose Breasted Gross Beak.  But my favorite birds were two seperate pairs of Louisiana Water Thrush.  This was the primary intent for my hike.  The habitat was classic water thrush; steep banks, lots of leaves, heavy shade, and a small creek.  Once in the ravine I simply followed the creek bed searching for waterthrush.  As I walked a bird flew straight at me with the direct flight of a water thrush.  Picture steep banks to either side, me on a rock in the creek bed, and a water thrush flying straight at me.  The bird landed but 15-20 feet away, bobbing its tail constantly as it foraged for food.  I struggle with identifying Louisiana and Northern Water Thrush so I used my app on my iphone.  After seeing the reaction to the audio I knew I was looking at a Louisiana!  After staying for a good 15 minutes I left that pair behind only to find another pair 15 minutes down streem.  I really enjoyed the hike and vowed to invite others to do the same.  I took 2 hours to complete the walk but time well spent indeed.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Next birding events at Grand Vue - May 4 and 11 at 9:30.

See you at Grand Vue!

April 27, 2013 GRAND VUIE

     We enjoyed a perfect morning at Grand Vue.  Upon arrival I was greeted by 20+ gold finch at the feeding station.  True, this is not uncommon but with the addition of bright yellow plumage it is notable.  Indeed this was a "rush" of gold finch.  Also noted was the phoebe singing behind the conference center.  This week Rick texted a great picture of a rose breasted gross-beak feeding at the window feeder though I did not see or hear him today.

      At 9:30 I met up with Tom, Dave, and Sam and spent some time at the feeding station before moving onto the trails.  We looked over the birding challenge checklists and I carried my "big" challenge list from last week. Near the end of our 90 min walk we were joined by the lady from the state of Washington.  She attended previously but I can not remember her name.

   The walk was productive.  Bluebird boxes are all in varying stages.  One has 5 eggs, three have 4 eggs, one had 2 eggs, and one completed nest had no eggs.  Two boxes are not occupied. I could add to my Grand Vue checklist the following species:  Redstart, Baltimore Oriole, more brown thrashers, Wood Thrush, and Barn Swallow.  After three visits to Grand Vue I have recorded 35 of the 80 species listed.  Many fairly common birds have yet to be checked.  The elusive house sparrow has yet to be seen!  I hope to see more warblers....its all in the timing.