Monday, June 22, 2009

Blog move ...Joe Root.... Twitter

Hey all you peeps we are moving this blog. We were invited by the Erie Times and Go Erie to move our blog on over to them. We accepted and it is now up and running. So hop or fly on over to check it out and sign up for our RSS feed there or sign up to receive email updates there.
Hope this will not inconvenience you to much.

Our latest post there is a quest to find where Joe Root is buried. If you have any knowledge of his final resting place we would love to know. You can email us at or

And finally Michele and I have brought Presque Isle Naturally to Twitter. So come and join in and follow us as we trek Presque Isle State Park.

We will be leaving this blog in tack for future reference.

One more thing we are acquiring a new contributor. His name is Brian and we will be introducing him on the new blog.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The black-billed cuckoo is probably most renowned for, well, being heard and not seen. I can’t imagine why this handsome bird would want to hide from the rest of the world! Despite it’s secretive reputation, Toni and I found this bird along Dead Pond Trail at Presque Isle on Saturday the 13th. At first I thought I was hearing a turkey in the brush but then this guy popped up much to our surprise (and delight!). It is quite probable that this is one of a pair of cuckoos that may be nesting on the park. Cuckoos, black-billed and their yellow-billed cousins, aren’t often seen on the park but are believed to nest there in some years. Cuckoos eat primarily caterpillars and the presence of the cuckoos is said to coincide with the availability of their favorite meal.
Toni and I have also been having fun following an active Baltimore Orioles nest and will be sending that your way soon, so....stay tuned for some super cuteness!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


On a recent trip to Presque Isle to photograph the least bitterns, this eastern kingbird landed on the wire above and feasted on his fresh catch of the day--dragonfly. There were three of us there taking photos and I was lucky enough to be the one just under the kingbird. It took him awhile but he finally got the whole thing down his gullet.Presque Isle, Naturally, has been picked up by our local newspaper, Erie Times News, for their on-line news. They have offered to host us and hopefully do some promotion. We are currently in the process of migrating Presque Isle, Naturally to their server. We'll keep you posted on the progress and let us know when you can visit us at our new home.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Brown Thrasher

The Brown Thrasher: How cool looking is this bird!?!? Those eyes! I shot this stunner along Dead Pond Trail on Saturday, June 6th. S/He was pretty cooperative, allowing me to take several (100) shots from different angles:) I've always liked the brown thrasher but they tend to be pretty inconspicuous, hanging out in the underbrush scratching up leaves and debris in search of lunch. I was happy for the opportunity to get great looks at this beauty and share some of my luck with you! Thanks, T, for helping me with the luck!
Least Bittern Update: Nothing new to report. No one has seen the bitterns for several days now and it appears the nest has been abandoned:(

Saturday, June 6, 2009


Huh, I knew I'd get your attention! I think the birders out there know what bird makes the "free beer" call. Yes, that's right, the alder flycatcher! I heard this guy in the woods off Duck Pond Trail and grabbed a few shots before he flew off behind the bar...without giving me my beer:(Oh, well maybe next time!


I did get a few more shots of the bitterns before the eggs hatched. Word is the eggs hatched on Monday, the 1st of June. As of Thursday there had been little activity observed at the nest per several reports I had heard. The parents were not around much of the time and no chicks were observed. I visited the nest about 5 p.m. on Thursday and was unable to see the adults or the chicks on the nest. My friend, Julie, had been at the nest site on Wednesday late afternoon and saw three chicks. That is the last siting of which I've heard. I am heading down to PISP this afternoon and will keep you posted.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Not the Least Bit Least

LEAST BITTERN- not a name I would've chosen for this, not the least bit least, bird. Sure, it's the smallest member of the heron family but how 'bout the Diminutive Bittern, not the Least Bittern?!
Oh, well, since I am (thankfully) not in charge of taxonomy: The least bittern that has nested about 40 feet off the road on Niagara Pond certainly has garnered the attention and admiration of birders, nature lovers, photographers and many curious passers-by in the area. It even made the Erie Times News, so it's ranking right up there with the bald eagles. Some have even commented, dare I say, that it is even better than the eagles. I'm sure much of that has due to the proximity and visibility of the nest which provides unheard of opportunities to see the mating and nesting behaviors of these notoriously shy birds. Cornell describes the Least Bittern as "A tiny heron, furtive and surpassingly well camouflaged, the Least Bittern is one of the most difficult North American marsh birds to spot. " Yet, we've been able to watch the bittern couple for nearly 3 weeks now, as they take turns tending to their 5-6 eggs. This is truly a gift to behold. The attentive parents roll the eggs gingerly around the nest and take turns gently incubating the precious pale orbs that house their progeny.
Most sources I have referenced describe the eggs as a very pale blue or green, the eggs in this nest appear to be very pale green. Despite their gentle appearance we have witnessed these protective parents defend their nest vigorously. In the photo above, the male bittern is bothered by a noisy red-winged blackbird gathering material for her own nest which is less than 10 feet from the bitterns' nest.As you can see in this last shot, the cattails are really starting to fill in. I haven't been able to get to the nest for several days and I suspect the nest is almost totally hidden now. The eggs are probably going to hatch very soon if they haven't already. Incubation is 17-21 days and that definitely puts us in the ball park.
I hope to get down to the nest tomorrow and check it out. If I can see anything I'll let you know!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Still More Festival of the Bird Highlights

Janet Price, President of the Presque Isle Audubon Society (PIAS) addresses the attendees at the wrap up luncheon.
There were, indeed, so many highlights that we could've made a blog just about the festival ;) On Sunday, May 1oth, the 2nd annual Festival of the Birds at Presque Isle drew to an end with some fun family activities including, more birding field trips, lunch with a wrap up of the sightings for the festival, a fledgling artists' workshop, children' activities and a presentation by the Tamarack Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center (see previous post). My esteemed co-blogger, Toni Kelly, was one of the three featured artists along with Kel McDonald and Jan Lutz. All three generously shared their time and expertise helping some enthusiastic artists-to-be create a work of their own.
The final count of different species for this years festival was approximately 120. Many participants reported Life birds and one gentleman reported 5 Lifers!

Fledgling artists work on a Nature Book designed by Toni Kelly.
Marion Gallivan, PIAS Trustee and Chairperson for Grants, already pondering her strategy for next year's festival.Pat Howell, Chair of PIAS Education Committee, addresses the youngsters who attended the Fledgling Artists' Workshop.Our able captain of the pontoon boat, The Swamp Crawler, Julie Leonard!


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