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Posts from the ‘Birding’ Category

Hummingbirds as Colorful as Easter Eggs!

I went for a drive today to scout out a place to photograph the rising moon and found myself outside the Smithsonian Institution’s Whipple Observatory. It wasn’t open today but I plan to check out their schedule and try to visit when the facility is open to visitors. I parked in the picnic lot nearby and spotted several hummingbirds scampering around some nearby flowering bushes.

These are Broadbilled  Hummingbirds, Male and Female.

Then is gorgeous Costa’s Hummingbird made an appearance. His head looked black until the light hit it! Magnificent to watch! These birds are as colorful as Easter Eggs!!

The cloud cover thwarted my attempts to photograph the full moon tonight so I was happy to have captured these photos and spent the evening getting them ready for you! Enjoy!

 

There’s No Place Like Home..for Dexter!

While Steve and I went out hiking in Madera Canyon today, Dexter stayed behind at Central Pet, a lovely boarding and grooming facility right next door to De Anza RV Resort. Steve and I checked the place out a few days ago. We talk to the staff, took a tour, and were impressed with what we saw. When we picked up Dexter this afternoon they sent him home with a swag bag and a report card indicating that he enjoyed his stay! It’s great to have a safe and comfortable place for him to play while we are out hiking the Canyons looking for birds. He was glad to see us, tired out from his big adventure, and is happy to be back in our little house-on-wheels!

Steve and I are also tired but happy. We are madly downloading hundreds of photos and hoping to find a few keepers. We saw and tried to photograph many beautiful birds up in the canyon today. Here’s just a taste…this is a Broad-billed Hummingbird I saw today!

Back out Birding!

Steve and I spent the morning settling into the campground and doing some research on places to go birding in the area. We drove out to a local park where there is a team of birders from all over the world on Black Hawk Watch. These dedicated birders use binoculars and high powered telescopes to observe, count, and document area raptors like Sharp-Shinned Hawks, Golden Eagles, and the rare Common Black Hawk. This is the prime season in this area for the Common Black Hawk ( unfortunately named since it’s not common at all!). This bird has only about 250 documented pairs remaining in the USA and they are congregating here this week! We spent time talking with these birders and hope to see some of these majestic birds. We took a short hike down a  trail off Santa Gertrudis Lane that follows the Santa Cruz River and found a few birds along the way.

This Say’s Phoebe was tucked back into the branches of a Palo Verde tree and was quite shy and fast moving but I got a couple of shots of her.

This butterfly was also pretty skittish and a challenging subject but I was persistent and managed one good shot.

The trees were more cooperative models…

 

I caught a few shots of this Gila Woodpecker although she was pretty far away and at the reach of my lens. I’ll have to keep trying to get a more clear shot of this species.

My best shot of the day, however, was this beautiful Wilson’s Warbler that I was fortunate enough to snap before she took to cover.

Resting, Recuperating, and Antibiotics

This sinus infection has really taken it’s toll on me today. I sewed a bit this morning but soon found I was picking out more stitches than I was sewing so I put it away. The next step in this quilt is topstitching the curves and I’m afraid the stitching on my curves looked more than a bit wonky! I guess it will keep…

 

I lay down for a little rest after lunch and slept for 3 hours! I’m still feeling tired so I’ll keep listening to my body and continue to rest today.

This is a photo I snapped in the supermarket yesterday. I thought all the fresh and unusual fruits on display looked quite festive.

These are also pictures from a couple of days ago. I finally managed to get some snaps of the Gambel’s Quail by baiting them with some bird seed. they move so fast! Being quite shy, they scuttle about quickly jumping from one place of cover to another so it’s difficult to get them to stay in the open long enough for a photo.

Let’s hope the antibiotic is doing its job and I will have more energy tomorrow.

 

Beautiful Birds Along the Rio Grande

Dexter and I enjoyed a lovely walk along the Rio Grande again today. It was a sunny 72 degrees with a light breeze. Heaven! Along the way, we encountered several beautiful birds starting with my old friend from yesterday, the Phainopepla. I was ready for him this time having brought my Nikon D5200 fitted with the 55-300mm lens:

The mistletoe in this tree really set off his shiny black feathers and bright red eye.

Next, I spotted a Black Crested Night Heron hunting along the banks of the river. I managed one good shot of him before he took flight. He was also sporting a bright red eye!

I was amazed at how large he looked in flight compared to how compact he was on shore. He made such cool shapes with his body in flight.

We continued along the trail as it ran parallel to the river, stopping frequently to look for more birds. I have learned that scoping out birds to shoot with the camera requires a bit of patience. It helps to Stop, Listen, and Look. When birds sense movement, like when you are walking, they scatter as fast as Munchkins in the face of the Wicked Witch of the West! If you remain still, they will return to their business in a relatively short period of time. Listening helps to pinpoint their location. Often, birds are surrounding you but they can be difficult to see when they are tucked back into the landscape or shrubbery. Blending in well with their surrounding with natural camouflage helps them stay alive. I’m beginning to become familiar with the calls of several birds and listening to their chatter helps me to locate them in a tree or shrub.

This beautiful Cedar Waxwing blended in well with his surroundings with his yellow belly. He was easier to spot out in the open.

This little House Finch kept his eye on me and Dexter from a safe distance to see what we were up to.

Dexter kept himself amused while I shot photos. I kept him tethered to me by buttoning his leash into my shirt. That leaves my hands free to shoot. He’s getting better at the “wait” command and takes the opportunity to roll in the dirt when we stop walking. Notice the “Who Me?? I wasn’t doin’ nothin'” expression on his face. Yeah right….I see another bath in his future.

I caught up with the Phainopepla again further down the river. He seemed to be trying to get the attention of a young lady in the tree but was being rebuffed either by her or by another suitor. He kept trying though and was posing, calling, and showing off his tail feathers in an attempt to garner her favor.

In the same tree,  I encountered a pair of Western Blue Birds eating their lunch. One finally came out into the open long enough for a quick shot.

On our way back to the camper, we spotted this Ladder-Backed Woodpecker feeding in the low brush.

It was a good birding day!