Friday’s Feathered Friends- Lifers 3, 4, & 5 for 2021

Copyright ©2021 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

At the end of May He-Man and I went for a hike on a new to us trail called Deadman’s Creek Trail. It’s a nice short trail just a wee bit over a mile up and 280 foot elevation gain with a wonderful payoff at the end. There’s a lovely gazebo at the top of the hill, and the view is gorgeous.

Washoe Lake with Slide Mountain in the background
Washoe Lake Reflecting Slide Mountain

To top this off being a nice hike it was an even better hike because I saw three new to me birds on this trail!!

Number 3 new bird for the year was the Rock Wren. It posed for me nicely. Later it sang for us too.

Rock Wren

On the way down I saw the next two. First was the Female Lazuli Bunting. It’s not a great image as she was out of range of my lens, but it was a good enough look to get her identified. I’ve seen the male before but, not the female so I was excited to have now seen both the male and female of the species.

Lazuli Bunting Female

The last new to me bird was the Black-throated Sparrow. I’ve been back to try to get a better image of it twice, but I haven’t seen it again.

Black-throated Sparrow

All I know of how the trail got its name is back in the 1860’s a man bought a ranch near here and grew produce to sell to the miners in the valley. In 1864 he sold half his ranch to another man who became his business partner, but in 1865 the two ranchers were found shot dead. It was first thought they were murdered, but later they changed the thinking to a murder suicide situation. It’s a story true to the Wild West tales that’s for sure.

On a happier note there were wildflowers in bloom along the trail too. I put together a Contact Sheet with several thumbnail images of the highlights of the hike to share.

Deadman’s Creek Trail, Washoe County, Nevada

We’ve had #1 Grandson with us for 11 days and Big Baby Boy flew up for a short visit too. We’ve been going to the lake to beat the heat and paddle on my SUP board. If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen some of my images and videos of that so I won’t repeat that here.

Big Baby Boy left Tuesday, and Baby Girl, The Handsome Surveyor, and Littlest are arriving this evening for a short overnight stay and take #1 Grandson home tomorrow. The visits went by too fast!! That catches you up on my doings. What’s new with you?

I hope you’re all having a lovely week, and you have a great week-end!

Fuji X-T3| Fuji 100-400mm| iPhone 7Plus| Photoshop CC 22.4.2

more to come…

Friday’s Feathered Friends-Warbling Vireo

Copyright ©2021 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Continuing on with the newest “lifers” that I’ve picked up this year I present Lifer N° 2 for 2021…the Warbling Vireo.

I confess I would have missed this bird had I not been out with a local birding group. The leader for that day’s outing recognized its song, and I started peering into the foliage and spotted something flitting around. Hoping for it come out in the open for peek I waited, and waited. Finally a brief look!!

Then just as quickly it flew to another bush behind a branch and began singing its morning song.

These are the only decent images I was able to get of it, but I’m happy to have them!

They have a large range in the United States, but breed here in the Summer months.

Since this little one is singing in the last image I thought I’d try to add a sound file so you can hear one of its songs. Nuts! The link didn’t embed the sound file.

Clicking the link will open a new window with the recording of the Western Warbling Vireo

https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/110999

Fun Facts: Gleaned from allaboutbirds.org

  • Warbling Vireos have a good name—the males sing a fast, up-and-down, rollicking song that suits the word “warbling.” The early twentieth century ornithologist William Dawson described the song this way: “fresh as apples and as sweet as apple blossoms comes that dear, homely song from the willows.” The highly variable song usually ends on a high note, leading the birder Pete Dunne to describe it as sounding “like a happy drunk making a conversational point at a party.”
  • Across their wide range, Warbling Vireos differ from one population to another in several characteristics, including overall size, bill shape, plumage coloring, molt patterns, wintering areas, and vocalizations. The differences are significant enough to lead ornithologists to recognize six separate subspecies of Warbling Vireo, and at one time divided them into two species.
  • Brown-headed Cowbirds frequently deposit their own eggs in the nests of Warbling Vireos. In some instances, the vireo pair incubates the alien egg and raises the young cowbird until it fledges. Female vireos in some eastern populations, however, tend to puncture and eject interlopers’ eggs.
  • Researchers speculate that Warbling Vireo song is at least partially learned rather than hard-wired. They base this supposition in part on observations of one individual whose song more closely resembled that of a Red-eyed Vireo than that of its parents. The garbled song, they concluded, probably resulted from a flawed learning process during the bird’s development.
  • The longest-lived Warbling Vireo on record—a male that was originally banded in July 1966—was at least 13 years, 1 month old when it was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in California.

I hope you enjoyed seeing these Warbling Vireo images today, and I hope your Friday is going well, and you have a lovely week-end and I wish an early Happy Father’s Day to all the Dad’s in the US!

Fuji X-T3| Fuji 100-400mm| PS CC 22.4.2

more to come…

Friday’s Feathered Friends- American Dippers

Copyright ©2021 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

I’ve been rather slow at telling you about several new to me birds that I’ve seen this year. There have been 5 so far this year.

The first one I saw was back in February. Yeah, I know. I love making the images, going out hiking, birding, etc., but processing the images and writing…not so much.

So, this bird I saw in February really made me do my happy dance… jumping for joy happy dance because I tried to find this bird several times over a couple of years while I lived in San Jose sans success. Just less than two years after moving to Nevada I found not one but a pair!! Here without further ado is the American Dipper.

They were gathering nesting material under an overpass and flying into a hole under it. Lighting conditions weren’t great. They were in the shadow of the bridge making it hard to get a good image of them. I opened up the shadows in post editing.

Th

This next image shows the white eyelid they have that you only see when they blink.

Finally, I got lucky and one flew out into the sunlight!

Fun Facts: Gleaned from allaboutbirds.org

  • The American Dipper chooses a nest site, invariably along a stream, that provides security from floods and predators. Availability of suitable nest sites appears to limit its populations.
  • To be able to survive in cold waters during the winter, the American Dipper has a low metabolic rate, extra oxygen-carrying capacity in its blood, and a thick coat of feathers.
  • Unlike most other songbirds, but similarly to ducks, the American Dipper molts its wing and tail feathers all at once in the late summer. The bird is flightless during this time.
  • The oldest American Dipper was over 8 years old, when it was recaptured and rereleased during a banding operation in South Dakota.

The American Dipper is North America’s only truly aquatic songbird. I’m so happy I finally saw them!

I hope you all have a great week-end!

Fuji X-T3| Fujinon 100-400mm| PS CC 22.4.1

more to come…

Wordless Wednesday-Profile of an American Robin

Copyright ©2021 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

AA

Fuji X-T3| Fujinon 100-400mm @400mm| PS CC 22.4.1

more to come…

Friday’s Feathered Friends- Bald Eagle

Copyright ©2021 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

A few weeks ago while He-Man was riding his bike I was birding and while driving out in the ranches I spied two Adult Bald Eagles just hanging out next to each other on telephone poles. I hung around for quite awhile hoping they’d fly, but they were content to continue surveying the land so I moved on. Here’s the first one I saw.

Looking not much different is the second one. I think they’re a pair though they were pretty close in size so I’m not positive about that.

Fun Facts:

Bald Eagles have a reputation of being bandits. They will steal fish from Osprey’s talons in mid air!

The largest Bald Eagle nest on record is in St. Petersburg, FL, which was 2.9 meters in diameter, and 6.1 meters tall. (114.17 X 240.15 inches) HUGE!

Bald Eagles live a long time. The oldest recorded bird in the wild was at least 38 years old when it was hit by a car and killed in New York in 2015. It had been banded in 1977. 

Fun facts gleaned from allaboutbirds.org

I hope you all have a wonderful week-end!

Fuji X-T3| Fuji 100-400mm| PS CC 22.2

more to come…

Friday’s Feathered Friends-Sage Thrasher

Copyright ©2021 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

My neighbor and I have begun taking our cameras on our walks because we’re seeing more and more of the Spring migrating birds passing though. Last week on a longer walk to another neighborhood we spotted this guy eating those Russian Olives. Don’t they look like pearls?

Sage Thrasher

They are the smallest of the Thrashers and love the sagebrush of the western states. We’re on the western edge of its breeding territory. They mimic other birds while they sing. I didn’t hear this one singing though.

I was surprised to see this one up in tree! They usually are hanging around the sagebrush and will hide in it.

I hope you all have a great weekend, and if you’re watching the game I hope your team wins.

Fuji X-T3| Fuji 100-400mm| PS CC 22.1.1

more to come…

Friday’s Feathered Friends-Great Horned Owl

Copyright ©2021 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Saturday I met some friends at a National Wildlife Refuge for some birding. One of those friends was Gordon. Some of you know him from his blog

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/84102527/posts/3117603841

We adhered to the the Corona Virus Covid-19 guidelines by each driving their own car, and when out of the car we wore our masks and stood well apart. I can’t tell you how great it was to see friends I’d not seen in quite awhile. We had great birdy day with great weather for it too.

Upon my arrival while walking to the duck pond I crossed paths with another birder whom I didn’t know, but I ask him if he’d been seeing good birds and he replied while pointing that there was a Great Horned Owl just down there, and told me where to look. When I got to the pond I shared this info with my friends and we all headed up the trail to find the tree. While the Owl wasn’t in the tree he or she wasn’t too far away and we got some great looks, and images of it.

It’s not “in” the tree where it has its nest, but what a great look we got here. Wide awake!

Here it is in its nest. Just a split in the tree.

Copyright © 2021 Deborah M. Zajac ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Fun facts about the Great Horned Owl- From All About Birds.

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Great_Horned_Owl/

  • Great Horned Owls are fierce predators that can take large prey, including raptors such as Ospreys, Peregrine Falcons, Prairie Falcons, and other owls. They also eat much smaller items such as rodents, frogs, and scorpions.
  • When clenched, a Great Horned Owl’s strong talons require a force of 28 pounds to open. The owls use this deadly grip to sever the spine of large prey.
  • If you hear an agitated group of cawing American Crows, they may be mobbing a Great Horned Owl. Crows may gather from near and far and harass the owl for hours. The crows have good reason, because the Great Horned Owl is their most dangerous predator.
  • Even though the female Great Horned Owl is larger than her mate, the male has a larger voice box and a deeper voice. Pairs often call together, with audible differences in pitch.
  • Great Horned Owls are covered in extremely soft feathers that insulate them against the cold winter weather and help them fly very quietly in pursuit of prey. Their short, wide wings allow them to maneuver among the trees of the forest.
  • Great Horned Owls have large eyes, pupils that open widely in the dark, and retinas containing many rod cells for excellent night vision. Their eyes don’t move in their sockets, but they can swivel their heads more than 180 degrees to look in any direction. They also have sensitive hearing, thanks in part to facial disc feathers that direct sound waves to their ears.
  • The oldest Great Horned Owl on record was at least 28 years old when it was found in Ohio in 2005.

Late in the afternoon we returned to this refuge and went to look for the Owl again. It wasn’t in the nest, but perched on top of branch.

Great Horned Owl on a tree top

The Great Horned Owl is one of the most common owls in North America. It lives in deserts, wetlands, forests, grasslands, backyards, cities, and just about any other semi-open habitat between the Artic and the tropics. We were really excited and happy to see this one.

OT- My 11th Blogaverisary on WP was Wednesday I’d like to thank everyone who has followed me, left comments, for the conversations, lessons learned, and the friendships I’ve made with quite a few of you over the years. Thank you!🥰

Fuji X-T3| Fuji 100-400mm XF WR OIS lens| PS CC 22.1.0

more to come…