We saw this Little Bee-eater at Kotu Creek in The Gambia. He was flying around catching bees and kept returning to the same place on this branch. Every few minutes he would get a bee and hit it repeatedly against the branch to remove the sting. Then when the bee wasn’t moving anymore he would squeeze venom out before swallowing it. You can actually see a little squirt of venom come out of the bee. We watched this colorful little guy and some of his friends do this over and over again.
We moved into our new digs in Round Lake Beach ten days ago and hadn’t seen a single bird in our backyard. All that changed today when we saw a goldfinch on one of two bird feeders that we put up five days ago.
Today our Wingscapes Birdcam captured a Common Redpoll snacking on nyger seed among the usual American Goldfinches. This is the 15th bird to be snapped by the birdcam. These birds are usually sparse in Northern Illinois but this area is seeing a finch invasion this winter. How cool is that?
Today we drove down to Starved Rock State Park for the 12th annual Bald Eagle Watch. It was about a 2-hour drive and we got there nice and early at around 9 o’clock. The activities for the fair were split over two buildings: the Illinois Waterway Visitor Center on the north side of the Illinois River and the Starved Rock Lodge on the other side. There were educational programs, live raptor presentations, stands from companies and organizations and other activities in both buildings throughout the day.
We first stopped by at the visitor center and were immediately struck by all the Bald Eagles flying around and sitting in the trees:
Two years ago we were in The Gambia where we stayed at Paradise Suites Hotel in Kololi. We were in this great country from 5 to 15 January 2007 and during this time we did a five-day birdwatching safari upriver to Georgetown under the expert birdwatching guidance of Ebrima Sidebe. We had a great time and saw over 175 different species of birds. After the 5-day excursion and on our last day in The Gambia we visited Abuko Nature Reserve.
Here is a list of my five favorite birdwatching places in the Netherlands and some of my favorite photos of birds that we’ve seen. My top 5 birding locations are:
- Lepelaarplassen, Flevoland
- De Muy & De Petten on Texel, Noord Holland
- Starrevaart in Leidschendam, Zuid Holland
- Zuidpier in IJmuiden, Zuid Holland
- De Putten, Noord Holland
Common Kingfisher near De Lepelaarshut
For Christmas I got a Wingscapes Birdcam from Santa. It’s a weather-resistant outdoor camera designed to take photos and videos of birds. I’ve had it take photos for the last couple of days and the backyard Birdcam bird count is up to twelve species. Here are some of the photos we’ve gotten so far: Blue Jay; American Tree Sparrow; Mourning Dove.
Yesterday we drove down to Lincoln Park in Chicago and briefly visited the Jarvis Migratory Bird Sanctuary. We had heard that a Great Horned Owl had been sighted there the last few days so we went to have a look for it. Unfortunately we couldn’t find it, but it was still nice to see the bird sanctuary.
It’s been snowing here all day and the forecast is more snow until 6pm tomorrow. Not so great for all those people that still have Christmas shopping to do! The roads around here were a mess today. When we got home we found hundreds of little bird prints on the porch. Looks like they had quite a party while we were gone. 😉
Last Wednesday we went to Texel for the second time (last time was in April last year). We took the train from Leiden to Den Helder and then the 9:30 Teso ferry to Het Horntje on Texel. It was a beautiful day for bicycling around Texel: 30oC and sunny.