Sunday, November 29, 2009

Northern Mockingbird Attacks!

I went over to see the Hooded Mergansers after our weekly banding session and found the small flock being harassed by something much larger. A Red-tailed Hawk.

The hawk was pretty jumpy and as I got closer for a shot it flew up to a nearby tree. You can still see that bright red tail, though.

Red-tailed Hawk

I was really struck by those leg feathers of this darker-than-usual bird for our area.

Red-tailed Hawk

I drove around the retention pond to hopefully get a better view but it flew off again. Suddenly, the van came under attack from a more ferocious opponent. A Northern Mockingbird!

Northern Mockingbird

I haven't seen a bird attack my car before. It spent a lot of time sitting on the rearview mirror and would then attack the passenger side window. Yes, it was hopping mad!

Northern Mockingbird

From time to time it would fly to the back of the van for a shot and then come back to the mirror. Occasionaly it would fly onto the hood and attack the windshield wipers.

Northern Mockingbird

Crazy bird. Go pick on that hawk!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanks For the Parent's House

Stopped by the parent's house after Thanksgiving for a visit and it turned into a good move. Especially after getting a new bird I have been searching for over the past 2 years.

I was reading the paper early in the morning and noticed just a few Mourning Doves at the feeders. A bit later I had a feeling that I should look toward the feeders again and there was a small tail sticking out from the feeder. Just a House Sparrow but other birds were moving about in the shrubs.

First a Cardinal but then a Titmouse. Then a Palm Warbler. Then something else. A House Finch. This shot is through the back window with a screen but a good document for their house.

House Finch

Filling the birdbath seems to be paying off.

Next sighting was a Carolina Chickadee. Not common in this area but they are moving their range southward. I got a shot of it out front a bit later.

Carolina Chickadee

An easy way to find any present Chickadees is by following the sounds of the Tufted Titmice which were gleaning from the shrubs and holly trees. Then moving on to the feeders.

Tufted Titmouse

Best find, though, was a single Pine Siskin hanging out with the Goldfinches that arrived with the feeding flock. No photos but a Life Bird for me. I have been trying to find one for years and there it was in the backyard 100 miles from my house.

Thankful for that, at least.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

A blast from the past when I was starting to get into photographing birds. This was using the old 500 mm mirror lens out on Canoe Creek Road.


Turkey tastes gooooood.

Hope everyone has a great holiday weekend!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hooded Mergansers Return

On the way home from banding this Sunday I swung by the old workplace and searched for the Hooded Mergansers that frequent the retention pond next to a parking lot.

Right on time but I only had about 2 seconds to get a shot before the 3 birds dove under water and vanished beneath the parking structure.

Hooded Merganser

Still nice to know that they are back.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Another Blue-winged Teal

Went back to Lake Weldona to try for a better shot of the Blue-winged Teals. Ended up with a couple OK ones.

Blue-winged Teal

Love the way the wings reflect green at certain angles.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Tufted Titmouse

One of my favorite sounds during the day is that of the Tufted Titmice swooping in to feed.

Tufted Titmouse

Not only do they provide a joyous viewing experience but they often attract other birds that join in on feeding around the oaks.

Always causes me to drop what ever I am doing so I can scope out the backyard.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Some of the Winter Ducks

They were way out there but still there. My first shots of the Winter Ducks of the season.

Mainly a small flock of Ring-necked Ducks.

Ring-necked Duck

Better yet, there was another new arrival. Our first Ruddy Duck! It is the one at the bottom with its head tucked in.

Ruddy Duck

Many, many more to arrive!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Blue-winged Teal

Took a swing by a hidden away lake near home and was surprised to find 20 Blue-winged Teal settled on the shore and wading in the swallow waters.

Blue-winged Teal

Always a nice addition to the Winter arrivals but I just can't figure out why they would even come up with such a descriptive name!

Blue-winged Teal

Just down the edge of the lake was a busy little Pied-billed Grebe searching for tasty morsels.

Pied-billed Grebe

Need to keep checking this lake as the season moves along.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Hoo, Two.

I have been wondering for a while why Screech Owls look a certain way. Often, I see them with rounded heads and other times they seem to have longer, more pointed "ears".

This was prompted by a close series of shots that I was able to capture over the past week or so. The first was the discovery of an owl during the day in the front yard. You can find those images here.

Then, there was a ruckus out back once night fell. Sounded like a bird chirping but that would be odd. Being night, and all.

I stepped out to explore and figured that the noises were actually Flying Squirrels giving distress calls. Hmmm. As my eyes grew more accustomed to the dark, I could make out a shape perched on one of the feeder poles.

I ran in for the camera, thinking I knew what it was, and rushed back out in time to get one shot of the visitor.

Eastern Screech Owl

Yes! Another Screech Owl! Possibly the same from the previous post. If so, it had a rounded head.

Researching this difference I find that Screech Owls raise their 'ears' during the day while sitting in trees or bushes. It is thought that this is to help them blend in with their surrounding better. At night they do not need this disguise so they relax those feathers.


Saturday, November 07, 2009


Why, relax? The Winter Birds are gathering. Now I can stop staring over my shoulder when I drive the boys to school. Waiting for that first sighting of new ducks on the lake.

Today, there were 5 Ring-necked Ducks and 3 American Coots on Lake Davis.

This year, the lake levels are back to normal for the first time in quite a while. Hopefully, that will mean more ducks than the past couple years.

Let the flocking begin!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Another Year, Another Say's Sighting

We now have records of the Say's Phoebe for 3 years straight. Technically a Western bird, this individual has been showing up for at least the past 3 years at the same field. Someday I hope to arrive when it is near the road. Every time I get there it is halfway out in the the field on the midway fence.

Always looks like this.

Say's Phoebe

Doesn't help that I always seem to get out there during rainy or excessively overcast days. One day I might show up when it is able to fly more freely. Especially, considering the heavy Kestrel occupation.

So, I headed out toward home by way of Lust Road to see if anything was happening there. Like Ranch Road, many, many Kestrels. I just wish that they were not so skittish. I barely got this shot.

American Kestrel

The only bird not paying attention to the Kestrels were the many Loggerhead Shrikes. This shot is actually through the side window in the gloom.

Loggerhead Shrike

One more bird before the toll road. I found 2 Western Kingbirds up on the wires along Harmon Road. One stayed long enough for a shot.

Western Kindbird

More Winter birds to arrive. Can't wait!