Friday, February 24, 2017

A big surprise!!

Yesterday I posted a few images from our road trip thru the desert. Todays images are from the surprise that we got while on our little road side lunch break. We had pulled off to the side of the road, just to grab a quick plate full of crackers, ham and cheese. Jeanne's angle was a little bit better than mine to be able to see down the road. She looked up and mentioned that there was something in the road. I handed her my binoculars, and she said it was a dog, but that it had a very short tail. When I leaned over to was not dog at all but a very large Bobcat! It was several hundred yards away, and trying to hand hold my heavy camera with a 500MM lens proved to be shaky at best, but there is no questioning what we got to see. At one point it laid down right along side the road, like it was going to take a nap. Then started walk towards us, finally getting to about 200 yards, before causally walking back into the desert!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Jeanne's Birthday

Last Sunday was Jeanne's birthday and in order celebrate, we got in the Durango, and headed out to the back country. We like to drive the in-mapped-small little roads...the Road Less Traveled so to speak. About 30 miles from here is a small little town called San Pedro. We left the main highway and headed northeast out thru the desert. We had about an inch of rain the day before, so things were any where from a bit full on deep, sucking muddy! Nothing like being 40+ miles from the nearest anything and driving thru huge bogs of mud and water....It just can't get any more fun than that!!

It is always fun to see new country, new bird areas, and just get away from town for a day. We got to see some wide open desert areas, some thick brushy areas, and some very nicely maintained agricultural areas..

Here are a few of the birds we did manage to see, even there were very few stops to shoot photos.

I just love the angle on this American Kestrel.

There was a little bit of a house and yard sort of clawed out of the desert brush, and it seemed to be a real magnet for the local birds. Black-headed Grosbeaks, Northern Cardinals, Northern Mockingbirds, three different sparrows, House
Finches, Gila Woodpeckers and Ladder-backed Woodpeckers. White-winged Doves as well as Common Ground Doves all were flying and pecking their way around the yard.

This female Northern Cardinal was caught sitting on the improvised fence.

A little father out into the desert, we ran across three Harris Hawks. This is a unique bird that they are one of the few Bird of Prey that will hunt cooperatively!

Then when we were in the agricultural areas, there were a lot of the migratory Mourning Doves. They spent the winter here, and then will start heading back north pretty soon.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The new hits just keep rolling...

After finding that Red-naped Sapsucker on Saturday, Jeanne and I made a run over to the Pacific side of the Baja, in hopes to find a good bunch of the seasonal shorebirds that we have found there in the past. The shorebirds were a bit of a bust, but we did manage to find a good bunch of fun birds. The highlight, which at the time seemed a little less of a thrill than it has turned out to be, was spotting a Nashville Warbler. This beautiful bird was feeding in a large blooming tree right at the edge of the little village, and at first I thought it was the very common Orange-crowned Warbler, which I had seen 20 or more of already that day. Once it climbed out on a branch so I could see it better, the blueish-gray head gave it away immediately. When I was doing my reporting, I found this bird to be quite rare for this area, and so I sent off a series of photos to help verify the identification, and location.  Here are the images that I submitted to eBird to verify!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A new bird weekend!

This last weekend stared off with a bang, or at least a steady pecking noise! Just as I was leaving the store early Saturday afternoon, my attention was caught by a small woodpecker that was giving the nearby palm tree a good working over. Now, normally, there is a pretty good population of Gila Woodpeckers, an occasional Ladder-backed Woodpecker, and an even rarer Gilded Flicker, that all make an appearance here in the general vicinity of the marina. This bird was just different...I was not sure right off, but ran for the camera quickly. This little woodpecker turned out to be Red-naped Sapsucker. While not completely unheard of, this was my first one ever, so I was very excited.

And in this image, you can see the red spot at the nap, that helps this bird get its name. Also the unique pattern on the back of this bird helps to make an identification.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

 I am still working my way thru the hundreds of photos that I got at the refuge on the last weekend of January. Here is a scenic shot of one of the two barns, that are surrounded by water, and of course waterfowl!

I have to admit that I was surprised to find this poor little, very cold, Anna's Hummingbird up there in the frosty cold Pacific Northwest

The Great Blue Herons are just beautiful this time of year!

I found this Song Sparrow getting a drink in one of the shallow, fresh water ponds!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

A few more from Nisqually Delta National Wildlife Refuge

This is the sign that you see first, right off of I-5 near Olympia, Washington

One of the beautiful diver ducks that were hanging around the refuge headquarters, this male Bufflehead was snacking on the green plants that were growing at the waters edge

This lovely little Yellow-rumped Warbler was near the growing beaver damn on the east side of the boardwalk loop

This is a male shoveler, a puddle duck that feeds on plant growth and insects that it can siphon thru its very wide bill.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Brown Creeper

One of the smallest birds that I have seen in the refuge, and with out a doubt, one of the hardest to see, is the Brown Creeper. Measuring in at around 5 inches this small bird is very well camouflaged. I was very fortunate to not only see this one but actually get a couple of decent photos! I have seen a few here and there, but they have never cooperated as far as giving up the photo op....

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Highlights from the Nisqually Delta Wildlife Refuge

This young Bald Eagle flew in to join one of the adults on a snag looking over the tidal flats at the refuge.

This beautiful Great Blue Heron was looking a little cold, but posed very nicely!

There were thousands of Ducks and Geese on the refuge, but none more impressive to me than the Northern Pintail drake!

Friday, February 3, 2017

The Chilly Northwest

Jeanne and I made a very quick trip back to Seattle, last weekend. Yes, I know, it was the dead of winter, but some things can't be helped! It was fun to see some of the winter birds from up there that do not travel to Mexico in the winter. I will post more shots as I get time to process the many shots that I got, but until then, here is one of my all time favorites for this time of year, the Spotted Towhee.