Bay Journal

Michael Burke

Fed-ag partnership helps dickcissel to keep to cropping up in fields

We were driving slowly west along Powder Mill Road when my wife, Pat, spotted a blue bird perched on a post. I pulled over and carefully backed up a bit, just in time to see the indigo bunting fly off. But with no road noise, we could hear a different bird singing away nearby. It only took a minute to find the songster sitting atop a fence.

He made a couple of soft buzzy notes...

Cape May warbler has its own part to play in spring’s avian orchestra

I stood on the boardwalk and turned to the early morning sun. I felt the warmth on my face and closed my eyes. The dawn chorus of birds enveloped me.

As I listened intently, I could make out several familiar songs. There was a hermit thrush nearby, singing its fluted notes. To my left an indigo bunting whistled its complex tune. Somewhere behind me came the rattling voice of a...

It’s time to ruffle feathers again – seek actions to protect birds

It was April 28, 1988, and I was aboard Amtrak, heading to Washington, DC, to see the Pennsylvania congressman whose re-election campaign I would soon be running. As the train slowly pulled out of the BWI station, I looked out the window at the forested wetlands that border the tracks. A brilliantly white long-legged wading bird stood at the edge of some open water, its imposing...

Tricolored herons: Here today, but where tomorrow?

Dropping out of the opalescent sky with its neck neatly tucked back, the heron floated into view. Swinging its long legs forward at the last second, the graceful bird landed at the edge of an open pool of water. The blue-gray body stood out against the tawny marsh grasses.

Seeing herons at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia is a common occurrence, but this bird...

Saltmarsh sparrow needs tide to turn in its favor if it is to survive

Chesapeake marshes in the winter have a special charm. An extraordinary range of warm brown, ocher and russet tones lend the grasses a hypnotic quality. At this time of the year, I tend to focus my attention on the Chesapeake’s bountiful waterfowl. But the marsh grasses are always there, adding a backdrop of ineffable beauty to any visit.

We were in the Blackwater National...

Downy woodpecker chips out its own niche in the avian world

Action at the bird feeders was continuous. Red-winged blackbirds had arrived, scattered across the backyard, eating spilled seeds and fighting for position on the suet feeder. Cardinals and chickadees were hungrily feeding on black oil sunflower seeds. A dozen mourning doves had staked out a prime location under the thistle feeder.

A single downy woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens)...

Joyful flight of the tree swallow is poetry in motion

Brilliant flashes of steel blue and white swirled and danced, careened and darted, twisted and dipped in a masterful display of aerial skills. The binoculars hung unused around my neck — these dazzling acrobats were best viewed with unaided eyes.

Simply put, tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) are joy in motion.

Birders tickled pink when roseate spoonbill showed up in Chesapeake watershed

Apparently, it all started on June 17 when Mikey Lutmerding spotted the unlikely pink visitor flying off into some nearby trees. It was pretty far away and only in view briefly, but Mikey knew he had just seen an extremely rare Chesapeake visitor: a roseate spoonbill.

Lutmerding entered his sighting into the popular eBird mobile birding app, making it the first record of a...

Hear, here! Brown thrasher’s songs alert you to its presence

A light rain was falling as dawn struggled to life. The sun didn’t so much rise as reluctantly brighten the landscape.

I was tired and a little cranky that this endless rain might confine us indoors for yet another day. I put the kettle on to boil and found myself staring vacantly out the kitchen window at the farmhouse’s backyard.

Ignoring the rain, a bird was busy hopping...

More articles »

About Michael Burke

Michael Burke's avatar Rachel Felver is Chesapeake Bay Program communications director for the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.

 

Ecotone Ecological Restoration
We Protect and Restore Watersheds
Design*Build*Inspect*Maintain*Survey
Stormwater Maintenance & Consulting
Restoring the Native Balance
ERNST SEED
ernstseed.com
Environmental Quality Services
Leaders in Stream Restoration since 1991
A Real Force for Nature

Learn more at www.eqrllc.com
Support Independent Journalism
Did you know that you can subscribe to the Bay Journal? Make a selection below to get your FREE subscription to the Bay Journal. You can get a print version delivered to your home or office or an electronic version delivered to your inbox.
Clydes Sports Shop
Island Out of Time
View this 30-minute documentary by clicking the ad.
Join Eastern Shore Land Conservation for the PARTY to PRESERVE.
Saturday, 10.12.19 
Time: 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Location: The Wilderness Farm, Trappe, MD
Include Bay Journal in your Estate Planning and preserve independent journalism for future generations.

Copyright ©2019 Bay Journal / Bay Journal Media / Advertise with Us

Terms of use | Privacy Policy