Sunday, December 31, 2017
Monday, December 25, 2017
From all of us at Geotripper's California Birds, we wish you a happy holiday, a merry Christmas, and a wonderful new year!
Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Monday, December 18, 2017
Friday, December 15, 2017
Thursday, December 14, 2017
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
|Three Sandhill Cranes soar against a backdrop of hundreds of geese|
Monday, December 11, 2017
Of course it was late in the day and there was no sunlight so I only got a silhouette in my photos, and I couldn't even tell whether it was a male or female at first. The prominent crest is the giveaway that it was a Phainopepla, but the males are a silky black color while the females are gray. I slowly walked past the bush until I could look back and see the gray color of the female. I used the photo-editing program to extremes to bring out the features of the bird in the picture below. I still couldn't bring out the striking red eye of the bird, but you can see that in some of my earlier posts.
Sunday, December 10, 2017
It took me two days to get these two shots. I hiked the river twice in the last two days, and saw these birds (or single bird twice) in bushes about fifty yards from each other. The bird didn't seem too concerned about me, but it was hungry and stayed on the move. I finally got lucky when I started to anticipate where the bird would land next and had the camera focused on that spot. I think the picture above is my best so far (compare to my others here; you be the judge!). The one below was the best from my efforts yesterday.
In case it's not clear (and it isn't in these pictures), there are red/ruby colored feathers on the head of the males. They are usually folded down and not easily visible, except during the breeding season. The birds don't weigh even an ounce, and their eggs are also small...50 of them would add up to a single ounce. There will be up to a dozen eggs in a brood. Mama must be very tired...
Friday, December 8, 2017
I'm seeing more birds along the Tuolumne Parkway Trail these days. I'm not sure of the reason, but I'm happy enough to try and photograph them. This Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) has been a fairly uncommon sight on this part of the river where it exits the Sierra Nevada and rolls into the Great Valley. They aren't rare as such. I've been monitoring a number of nests just upstream, so I know they are always around. I just don't see them on this section of trail.
Thursday, December 7, 2017
I've had a couple of new birds show up on the blog in the last couple of posts, including the White-tailed Kite that surprised me last week a few blocks from home. On the other hand, I did some heavy-duty traveling and found myself in Oregon for Thanksgiving. I was visiting family in their home on a bluff above the Siuslaw River estuary.
The Siuslaw River marks the northern boundary of the Oregon Dunes National Recreational Area, which extends south for forty miles along the coast. The north bank of the river is preserved as Harbor Vista County Park, which was a short walk away through the neighborhood. I walk there whenever I visit, and something interesting is usually happening on the tidal flats. When the tide is out, there are several acres of mud, and various shorebirds will be hanging out. When the tide is up, the water birds show up. When I got there the tide was in, and I saw some Hooded Mergansers (Lophodytes cucullatus) for the first time (it's been three years of bird-watching, but I'm still getting started).
The pair of them were hunting for prey in the flooded tidal flat. While I watched, one of them caught some kind of crustacean and gobbled it up.
I think they were a couple of females, but as always, I accept corrections. They are ducks that nest in cavities in trees, and when the ducklings are only 24 hours old, they jump out of the nest onto the ground, falling 50 feet or more. They follow mom to the nearest water source.
I'll be back in Oregon in a few weeks for the holidays. I hope to see a few more interesting birds then!
Sunday, December 3, 2017
This one was on the Tuolumne River the other day in its characteristic habitat of an oak woodland. Although they live almost exclusively among the oaks, they don't consume acorns. They mostly eat insects that they dig out of the bark, and occasionally they will eat native berries, like elderberries or poison oak.