Friday, October 28, 2016

Returning Terns

Another of our relatively common migrants here to the La Paz area, are the Elegant Terns. Thru-out the winter we will have quite a few of the Elegants as well as a large number of Royal Terns. The Elegant Tern is recognized by the slightly lighter in color, as well as slightly slimmer bill than the Royal Tern. The nap, or dark feathers that run from the top of the head to back, near the neck are a little longer on the Elegant than the Royal as well.

In the last couple of weeks, we have had a lot of Elegants start to show up on the sand bars and edges of the bays. This photo is a section of a sand bar nearly 150 yards long, so it is hard to show the whole thing. 

These slim, approximately 17" birds feed by diving into the water to catch small minnows. Catching one of these very fast, relatively small birds, while diving is quite a challenge..

They will hover....looking for that perfect little morsel...

Then, dive straight down....

Here is a shot just milliseconds before hitting the water

Hoping to get there before the minnow has a chance to dive out of harms ways.

After a few little snacks, it is off to the sand bar or rock piling to stretch out, get dry and perhaps take a nap!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Laughing gulls

One of the cool looking gulls that live in this area, are the Laughing Gulls. They represent less than 1 percent of the gull population in the La Paz are, but with their springtime plumage, the completely black head, they do stand out.

Once the fall (non-breeding) season gets here, the plumage changes to the more drab, boring colors, that in many cases make identification a little more challenging.

Here is the spring (breeding) plumage

And here is what they look like now.

Just to show the difference, here is a Franklin's Gull, in spring plumage. The biggest identifier is the much broader eye arcs, where the Franklin's are thinner.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Playing catch up

This that time of year that all of our cruising customers all return to Mexico. This just plain keeps us hopping, so, I now I am playing catch up with my blog. I have managed to get out for a morning here and there to do some photography work! Over the next few days I will post several of my favorites from the two weeks!

Many of the migrant birds, that went north for the summer are starting to return. Unfortunately, they are coming back in their less than vibrant summer plumage. Oh well, it is just nice to see some new birds showing up!

This Long-billed Curlew is a great example of a newly returned bird

In this photo it is joined by a Willet on the right and a Short-billed Dowitcher on the left

The tide was way in so some of the birds just choose to roost in the tops of the mangroves
Here is the White Ibis

And this beautiful bird is the Great Egret