Author Archives: billhiltonjr

This Week at Hilton Pond (22-31 December 2013)—#587—“2013 Bird Banding Results: Better Than Last Year, But Still Below Average”

Figure 1. A male Prothonotary Warbler—only our 17th banded at Hilton Pond since 1982—was the most uncommon species banded locally in 2013. (Photo copyright Bill Hilton Jr.)

I was away from Hilton Pond Center on many occasions during 2013 and that—coupled with bander illness and a general dearth of birds—led to a year of below average banding success. Continue reading…

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This Week at Hilton Pond (8-21 December 2013)—#586—“23rd Annual York/Rock Hill (SC) Christmas Bird Count

Figure 1. Two Great Egrets (see photo) with black legs and yellow bills were probably the best sightings for this year’s York/Rock Hill (SC) Christmas Bird Count. They’re far more common on the Carolinas coast. (Photo copyright Bill Hilton Jr.)

In conjunction with National Audubon Society, “This Week at Hilton Pond” we organized and compiled the 23rd annual York/Rock hill (South Carolina) Christmas Bird Count. Continue reading…

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This Week at Hilton Pond (1-7 December 2013)—#585—“Wandering White-throat: A Long-lived Sparrow Meets Its Demise”

Figure 1. White-throated Sparrows, Zonotrichia albicollis (see photo), breed primarily in Canada, but many individuals migrate to the southern U.S. to spend the winter. (Photo copyright Bill Hilton Jr.)

Ever wonder why I devote so much time, energy, and thought to bird banding? In part it’s for the rush (and scientific validation) I get when notified one of “my” banded birds has been encountered at a faraway locale. Continue reading…

Posted in Amateur Science, Biology, General Interest, Nature Study, Observation, Ornithology, Photography, Wildlife | 1 Comment

This Week at Hilton Pond (1-30 November 2013)—#584—“Ujarráscals In Costa Rica: Hummingbirds Among The Chayote”

The first half of November I was in Costa Rica’s Orosi Valley for our 22nd Operation RubyThroat citizen science expedition to the Neotropics. Mist netting and live-trapping operations were centered at Ujarrás, a riverside agricultural community whose cash crop is Chayote–a squash that flowers prolifically and whose nectar is sought by hummers and other avifauna. Continue reading…

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This Week at Hilton Pond (21-31 October 2013)—#583—“Raise The Deck Midst Autumn Color”

We’ve been demolishing and rebuilding an observation deck “This Week at Hilton Pond,” but we haven’t been too busy to stand back and admire the fall color around us. Continue reading…

Posted in Biology, Botany, Climate, Nature Study, Phenology, Photography, This Week at Hilton Pond, Wildlife | Leave a comment

This Week at Hilton Pond (11-20 October 2013)—#582—“Schweinitz’s Sunflower: Endangered Species Revisited”

Since 2006 I’ve been following ups and downs of the Center’s solitary specimen of Schweinitz’s Sunflower—a federally endangered species that once flourished on the vast Piedmont Prairie of the Carolinas. Continue reading…

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This Week at Hilton Pond (1-10 October 2013)—#581—“Northern Flicker: An Atypical Woodpecker”

“This Week at Hilton Pond” I netted a locally uncommon Northern Flicker—a woodpecker whose mud-caked, slightly decurved bill revealed something about the bird’s atypical behavior. Continue reading…

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This Week at Hilton Pond (21-30 September 2013)—#580—“September Surprises: A Spider, A Dove, And A Bug”

We had several unexpected encounters at Hilton Pond the latter third of last month, what with the presence of a very large spider web, a Mourning Dove with telltale plumage, and a stinky bug new to the Carolinas and–until recently–all of North America. Continue reading…

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This Week at Hilton Pond (11-20 September 2013)—#579—“September Couplets: Two Plants, Two Birds, Two Six-leggers, And A Couple Of Cryptogams”

It’s September and organisms are starting that all-important shift from hot days of the summer reproductive season to the relative inactivity of cold weather months. Continue reading…

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This Week at Hilton Pond (16-31 August 2013)—#577—“West Virginia Flowers (Wild And Otherwise)—And Pollinators, Too”

Figure 1.  The Goldenrod Soldier Beetle, Chauliognathus pensylvanicus, certainly feeds on nectar from its namesake flower (Solidago spp.), but it also visits and undoubtedly pollinates other wild flora. (Photo copyright Bill Hilton Jr.)

I was in southern West Virginia in late August for the annual New River Hummingbird Festival and got to spend some time in the field with a Canon SX50 (set to macro), photographing flowers (wild and otherwise) and some of their pollinators–including butterflies and hummingbirds. Continue reading…

Posted in Biology, Education, Entomology, Nature Study, Ornithology, Photography, This Week at Hilton Pond, Uncategorized | Leave a comment