Sunday, January 13, 2013

I'm back!

After not posting here in over 2 years, I have decided to start this blog up again. If you were following me before, you may have noticed that I decided to change the name from "Church's Artistry" to "Bird, bird, bird...Squirrel!" I thought that with a fresh start a new name was appropriate, and it more closely matches the direction and purpose of this blog. There are some exciting things coming up in the near future, so be sure to check back occasionally!
For now, however, I do have two photos to share. After running some errands today I decided to stop at a small "duck pond" that stays unfrozen during the winter in Centre County, Pennsylvania. I had heard that an immature Double-crested Cormorant had landed there a few days ago which is very rare for this particular location. Double-crested Cormorants (DCCO) can occasionally be found in large lakes in the area during the winter, but this little pond is definitely not typical DCCO habitat. Of course I didn't have my long lens camera with me, so I had to use my point-and-shoot camera through my binoculars (called digi-binning) to get these photos. I was able to get two photos that aren't great, but will do for identification and documentation purposes. Oh, and while I was photographing this DCCO, I heard some chewing behind me in a tree and just had to take a photo of a Red Squirrel gnawing on a Black Walnut.
Double-crested Cormorant - these birds dive underwater to catch their food which consists of nearly all fish. Insects, crustaceans, or amphibians may be eaten if available. 

Double-crested Cormorant drying it's wings. These birds do not have as much oil on their feathers as other water birds (such as a duck), so they often are seen standing on a rock or other elevated surface with their wings spread. Their lack of water repellency is thought to help them dive and hunt underwater. 

Red Squirrel gnawing on a Black Walnut. These squirrels enjoy a variety of fruits, nuts, seeds, and mushrooms, but they prefer the seeds of cone-producing trees.