Whatever Weds. Ground Squirrel

Copyright © 2020 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

We don’t have squirrels with big bushy tails that live in trees here.  This breed is new to me, but thanks to Steve over athttps://portraitsofwildflowers.wordpress.com/ for sending a link to a PDF on squirrels in my part of NV I think this is a Belding’s Squirrel a type of Ground Squirrel.

Wikipedia says this about the Belding’s Squirrel

Belding’s ground squirrel (Urocitellus beldingi), also called pot gutsage rat or picket-pin,[2] is a squirrel that lives on mountains in the western United States. “

I laughed out loud reading the nicknames or common names for this squirrel. Pot gut works for as much as they eat! 😂 Sage rat too for we do have a lot of that here!

This one wiped out an entire birdseed cake in less than 4 hours and got in a fistfight paw-fight with another squirrel for the birdseed! I wish I had my camera ready for that. It was hilarious. They were standing in between the slats of the fence on their back legs, and this one punching the other one. I thought that’s how kangaroos look boxing! The rival squirrel quickly conceded leaving this one to happily eat the whole thing!

Ground Squirrel


We’ve been having high winds here so I’ve been indoors, but itching to get out. I hope to get out on Thursday for some birding.  I hope you’re all having a good week so far.

Happy Hump Day!

Fuji X-T3| Fujinon 100-400mm| SanDisk Digital Film| PS CC 21.1.2

more to come…


Friday’s Feathered Friends-Western Tanager

Copyright ©2020 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVEDWestern Tanager Male

Happy Friday!  I hope you all have a lovely week-end!

Fuji X-T3| Fujinon XF 100-400mm| SanDisk Digital Film| PS CC 21.1.2

more to come…


Friday’s Feathered Friends-Lifers + update

Copyright ©2020 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

April was a stellar month for birding, and I added 5 Life Birds! A Life or lifer is a bird you’ve seen for the 1st time.  I’ll share 4 of the 5 birds with images, but the 5th one… let’s save that story for a little bit.

Two of the new birds for me are Nuthatches. First up the Red-breasted Nuthatch.  The image isn’t upside down, the bird is! They spend a lot time upside down hunting for bugs.Red-breasted Nuthatch

The next Nuthatch was the Pygmy Nuthatch. They’re so little and quick. I confess I took a lot of images of them as long as they stayed within my sight hoping for a few decent images. I had better luck with the Red-breasted Nuthatch than the Pygmy, but hopefully, I’ll see them both again.

Pygmy Nuthatch

Next up keeping with the small bird theme was the Caliope Hummingbird. He is quite the character. 😀

Caliope Hummingbird Male

Caliope Hummingbird Male

Ensuite, the Black-headed Grosbeak Male. I was excited to make this ID! At first, I thought it was a Sparrow of some kind.

Black-headed Grosbeak

and lastly the Red-headed Woodpecker. I was so excited to see it and I got my camera up to my eye and he moved! Behind the trunk and never came up higher than this before he flew away. Woodpecker 1, Deborah 0!

Red-headed Woodpecker Male

I’ve been to this trail a couple of times since, but haven’t seen it or one again. 😭

But it’s a new month and I’ve already seen one new bird! Same story though, no picture. They’re fast and skittish! I’ll keep looking though.

All in all, April was a pretty great month of birding.

Oh, owl update, there are 2 Owlets! I’ve only seen one and I did post a pic on Instagram so, if you follow me there you’ve probably seen that already.  I’ll share that image here too so not to tease you.  Mama and Owlet. They blend into the tree so well don’t they? My neighbor went over on Tuesday to do some birding and told me the Owls are gone. That happened awfully fast!

Great horned Owl and Owlet

The Goose had her goslings and is out of the nest, but I didn’t get a good image of her and her mate with them. There were only 2 goslings. I hope to see them again. They were swimming up the river which is running pretty high and fast right now. I worried that the goslings wouldn’t keep up, but Mom was in front and Dad behind so all seemed to be going well for them.

I hope all is going well for you too, and you have a lovely week-end!

Fujifilm X-T3| Fujinon 100-400mm| SanDisk Digital Film| PS CC 21.1.2

more to come…





Whatever Weds. The Milky Way

Copyright © 2020 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I woke up really early last week and the sky was cloudless so I thought I’d go out back and photograph the Milky Way.  The light-pollution is worse than I remember! This was at 3:49 A M!

Jupiter and Saturn are still shining brightly over the Pinenut Mountains. Mars has marched so far East it’s out of the frame.

Milky Way from my Patio_DMZ8560

What do you do when you wake up in the wee hours of the mornin?

Nikon D810|Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G| SunDisk Digital Film| PS CC 21.1.1

more to come…

Friday’s Feathered Friends-Nesting

Copyright ©2020 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I’ve been doing a lot of birding lately and I’ve come across some nesting birds.

The first one is a Great Horned Owl nesting in a broken branch of a big tree near the river.  I call her Sleepy Eyes.

Great Horned Owl Nesting

Not too far from her is a nesting goose. She too is nesting on a broken branch. I worry about her because I never see the mate nearby and I wonder if she’s eating? I sure hope so!  She’s usually tucked into the wood there so if you didn’t know to look you’d miss her. On this day she felt like sunning her face.

Goose Nesting

This next nest has been empty all winter and the other day while driving to my birding location I spotted the top of a head and pulled over to see who moved in.  A Hawk!

I don’t know what kind of a hawk, but guess a Red-tail since they’re most populous of the hawks here.

Hawk in the Nest

I’ll be keeping an eye on them hoping for chicks soon!

We’re supposed to hit 80 degrees on Saturday! I think Winter may have let go here.

I hope you’re all doing well, and have a nice week-end!


Fuji X-T3| Fujinon 100-400mm| SanDisk Digital Film| PS CC 21.1.1

more to come…

Whatever Weds. Conjunctions

Copyright ©2020 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I’ve still got my head in the clouds or tilted upward toward the sky.  This week there is a 3 planet and Moon conjunction going on in the wee hours before dawn and I’ve been up to see it two of the three mornings it’s visible.

Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars are all lined up beside or above the Moon.

Here’s how it appeared in my frame on April 14th, 2020.  All three planets were rising behind the Last Quarter Moon.  I caught a shooting star and a couple of satellites in my image too.   They did look a bit bigger with my eyes but look smaller when photographed.

Moon Jupiter Saturn Mars Shooting Star

Here’s how it looked this morning with all three planets rising above the Waning Crescent Moon (44%).  Jupiter is the brightest planet above and to the right of Saturn which is above the Moon, and Mars is following behind.  It looks like I caught a satellite just left and lower than the Moon again this morning.

Jupiter Saturn Mars and the Moon Apr 15 2020

It’s supposed to start raining tomorrow and cloud up, but if by chance it’s clear tomorrow morning I’ll be up to photograph it.  Tomorrow is the last day to observe them when they’re lined up so nicely then Mars will begin marching further eastward and be pulling further away from the other planets.


If you’re up an hour before sunrise on the 16th look southwest or look for the rising moon you can see the conjunction with your eyes no special gear required. Mars will be above and slightly right of the Moon with Saturn and Jupiter above Mars.

By the time first light appears in the morning sky before 6AM for me- dim Saturn and Mars are lost in the light and only Jupiter still burns bright above the moon.

I hope you’re all having a good week, and your spirits are up and you’re busy and well!

Nikon D810| Nikkor 35mm| Lexar Digital Film| PS CC 21.1.1

more to come…

UPDATE!  April 16, 2020 -It was clear this morning and the moon’s light shining in my bedroom window woke me up so I got up and photographed this line up too.  As you see Mars is moving further away from the other two planets. I won’t be getting up and photographing this one again this month. There are other things I have planned this month though. 😀

Waning Crescent Moon Mars Saturn Jupiter

Nikon D810| Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G| PS CC 21.1.1

more to come…