There are only two ways for a birder to find birds: either get out and chase them or let them come to you. If you feel lazy, you can take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count, February 15-18, 2008, or the Bird Watchers Digest Big Sit in October.
I can usually meet my 20-Bird RDA (BirdChaser’s Recommended Daily Allowance) by just sitting on the back patio.
The birds I expect to see so easily fall into these categories:
Gimme’s (can’t miss almost any day of the year): (17)
Should-see’s (usually seen at least once a week all year round): (10)
Just this morning, as I sipped coffee before Mary Lou and I took a walk, I photographed the above Green Heron and Snowy Egret. The egret exhibited an interesting behavior. It stirred up the water with one of its bright yellow feet, either to attract or to startle small fish into becoming its meal:
A pair of Mottled Ducks walked up on the lawn. Many of our local Mottled Ducks are rather heavy in the chest and may show some signs of genetic admixture with semi-domesticated Mallards, This pair is usually quite wary. They must nest in the wetlands nearby and appear to be of pure wild stock.
After we got back from our walk, I heard a ruckus and saw a Snowy Egret in a dueling match with a Tricolored Heron, obviously over fishing rights. Both birds had flown over to where a cormorant was diving near the edge of the lake. It probably was chasing some fish towards the shoreline.
On our walk we saw this weird hybrid duck. It has a green bill and was associating with a group of Muscovies. It lacks the red bare facial area of the Muscovy Duck and it “quacks” like a Mallard. Probably a Muscovy-Mallard mix, but with a green bill??
Also photographed this exotic Brown Anole on the patio. These critters have nearly displaced the Green Anole (or “Chameleon” that I wanted to buy as a little kid in New Jersey. The toy catalog said it came with a silver chain that attached to your shirt. Thankfully, my Mom resisted my pleadings).