Monday, January 23, 2017

Social Flycatcher

In yesterdays post, I had commented about the Great Kiskadee that I had spotted, just before the Russet-crowned Flycatcher made its appearance. Very similar to the Social Flycatcher, with a slightly longer, thicker bill bill, and often visible yellow crown, this bird lives in the same locations, so one needs to pay attention to what you are looking at. The biggest field identification aspect is that the Great Kiskadee has a strong Rufous coloration to the wing and tail edges, while the Social Flycatcher only has slight rufous edges....hum. Case in point, I recently did a story about the Great Kiskadee, posted several pictures of a Great Kiskadee, but missed the fact that the lead photo was actually a Social Flycatcher (color me rufous embarrassed) So, with great care, here are a couple of my Great Kiskadee pics from Last weekend. In the last photo, you can see the often hidden yellow crown.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

A last minute appearence!

After several hours traipsing around the bushes of Bosque los Colomos, in Guadalajara, and finding lots of birds, some new, some old, the one bird that I had not been able to find was the Russet-crowned Mot-mot. I had promised Jeanne, just a few minutes more, as I wanted to walk along this one area, and then we will head back to the hotel. There was a rumor of several Eastern Bluebirds, as well a couple of Male Vermillion Flycatchers in that area. While I never did get a good shot of the bluebirds, I was quite surprised by a Great Kiskadee that landed right in from of me. A few nice images later it flew off, as if be chased away. In fact, it was, as a pair of Russet-crowned Mot-mots flew right in and took the same spot as the Great Kiskadee. I was very excited, especially when one flew right down, nearly at my feet, and grabbed a bug. I was not able to get the bird on the ground, but it obliged me, by carrying its lunch up to a close by branch, and showing off its snack!

A trip to Guadalajara will just never be the same with out a chance to see some Mot-mots.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

There is a always a bird somewhere.

The amount of time that I spend tracking down, photographing or showing other people birds can at time be a bit over whelming, especially to my lovely wife Jeanne. Her patience is worthy of sainthood! When ever we travel, there always seems to be at least some small amount of that time set aside for me to track down the birds of that new location. Now that Jeanne is back walking like a champion, I am making a concerted effort to make sure that there is a better balance in our time, and she has the opportunity to dedicate some time to photography that she enjoys. So, with that in mind, last weekend when we went to Guadalajara, an city of 8 +  million people, and a rich history, we make the decision to spend one day at Bosque los Colomos park so I could chase birds, and then to Tlaquepaque, the historic district so Jeanne could shoot the colors and architecture.  

With this division of interest, she ends up reading a book in a park some where while I am off in the trees, and then I sit is a cafĂ© while she wanders the parks, churches and town squares! No matter where we are there just always seems to be a bird or two around. Case in point, last week Jeanne wandered around the historic areas, ands I sat under a tree, watching the Hummingbirds, Western Tanagers, Yellow-rumped Warblers, and Gila Woodpeckers all flying in and out of a very old tree in the middle of church courtyard. The church had started it construction in the 1700's, so this tree had to be very old, but just how much so I have no way of telling.

This Gila Woodpecker found some kind of white sappy stuff that it dug out and ate.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Another new Warbler

Guadalajara was very helpful to my bird list, especially the Warbler Family. I was able to see five different species, with two of them being new to my Life List. The Yellow-rumped Warbler, The Wilsons Warbler and the Townsends Warbler were all spotted, but had already been seen before. I featured the new Black-throated Gray Warbler here a couple of days ago, and so today I will show off the latest of my new Warblers, the Black and White Warbler! I only saw one, it did not stick around for much in the way photography posing, but I did get a couple decent shots.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


While there have been several small groups of parrots and parakeets that I seen, all of which were birds that escaped from captivity. In many of the large US cities, pet birds end up escaping and form up small groups, that seem to thrive in the urban environment. On our trip to Parque Bosque de Coloma, in Guadalajara, I got to see my first real live parrots that are native to the area. This small group of Lilac-crowned Amazons were hanging around in the tops of the trees in the park. They were a long ways up, and the conditions were not perfect so these are not great images, but there are good enough for an identification.

Monday, January 16, 2017

A bunch of new birds

Jeanne and I arrived back in La Paz, with some very good news for her, and several new birds on my Life List. For her, the Doctor gave her a 100% fully recovered notice, with the ability to go do anything she wants, or at least can do.

For me, there were six new birds that got on my list, with a bunch of birds from last trip that made appearances again. I will spend this week sharing them with you. The first one for today, is also the one I am most excited about, the Black-throated Gray Warbler. I have to say that a lot of my excitement comes from this bird never even being on my radar! The others were all possibilities, birds I had researched with the idea that I might see them, but not this little bird! Complete Surprise.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Leaving on a jet plane

We are on our way to Guadalajara, for Jeanne's last check up with her surgeon. We are both very excited about that, and am quite sure all is great. She has been walking every morning and went for a 5 mile hike with me last week.

Of course there will be a little Birding time, as we are meeting up with a local birder, so there might be a new spot or two to explore. If not, we can always go to Bosuque De La Coloma, the park that I have shot in a couple of times. There are so many wonderful birds there! Mot Mot's, several different Hummingbirds, flycatchers....We will be back inn La Paz on Sunday afternoon, so hopefully I will have a bunch of new photos to share here!

Here is one of my all time favorite, The Russet-crowned Mot Mot from our last trip over! Isn't that just the coolest tail ever?

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Xanthus's Hummingbird

The Southern Baja has a total of 6 recognized endemic species. In the huge arroyo that Jeanne and I spend the holiday break in, just happens to have a nice population of these little beauties. The Xanthus's Hummingbird is only found here on the Baja, and like most Hummingbirds of this region live on the nectar they can find in the local plants and flowers. Below are a few of the photos I was able to get, despite the fact that most of the entire week was a gray cloudy group of days.

Here is a close up profile that clearly shows the white eyebrow stripe

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Lark Sparrow versus Lark Bunting

While on our vacation during the holidays, I was able to see several Lark Buntings, as well as several Lark Sparrows. The Lark Sparrows are pretty common, but this was the first time to get to see the Lark Buntings this year. Since I was able to get a couple of pretty good images, here are a couple for comparison.

The Lark Sparrow has a very bold head pattern, and no striping on the breast.

The Lark Bunting has a less distinctive facial pattern, beautiful streaks on the breast, and bold white edges on the wing coverts. The bunting also has a dramatic change in plumage for the breeding season, going completely black with the exception of the white edges on the wings.

Here is another picture of the Lark Bunting!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

2017 Calendar

This years "Birds of the Southern Baja" bird calendar featuring my photos from 2016 has hit the shelves. They are $20.00 US Dollars and that includes shipping. I have a few here in Mexico as well as a few left up in the US. Drop me an e-mail or put a reply on here and we will get one out to you ASAP
 Thanks everybody!