I am a little late kicking off the New Year this year — unlike last year, when I got a new bird (a Cape May Warbler) on New Year’s Day, this year I did not go “serious” birding until today, the 3rd.
But this year I got 2, instead of 1, new bird on this day!
The first one is A Vermilion Flycatcher. This is a “mega bird” for the State of Maryland (meaning it is very rare). It is, in fact, a sub-tropical bird, usually found in southwest U.S., Mexico, and Central and South Americas. But one — a female — has been spotted in the Eastern Shore of Maryland recently. The recent warm spell in this part of the country probably contributed to its lingering. Today I finally made the trip to see this bird. Thanks to some helpful birders, I quickly located the bird. Though it was perched far, I was able to snap some pictures.
Since I was already on this side of the Chesapeake Bay, I decided to take a detour to go to Conowingo Dam. This dam sits on the Susquehanna River above the beginning of the Chesapeake Bay at Havre de Grace. It is know for the congregation of Bald Eagles in winter (for easy picking of fish below the dam), but the reason I went was because another rare bird, an Iceland Gull, has been reported there.
Again, thanks to a helpful birder, I quickly located the gull. This is an immature gull, pale brown in color, and far in the middle of the river below the base of the dam. To be honest, if not for the more experienced birder, I would have a very, very hard time spotting it. I was able to take a few pictures, though because of the distance, they are far short of spectacular.
Both the flycatcher and gull are new birds for me, not a bad way to start a New Year!
Just then the icing on the cake arrived — a Bald Eagle flew by, majestic in the late afternoon sun. I snapped away and some of these pictures a little less short of spectacular.
If you wish to see more of my nature pictures, and pictures of many other nature lovers, you are welcome to join the Facebook group Nature Lovers of Virginia.