Friday’s Feathered Friends-Northern Harrier

Copyright ©2021 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Several weeks ago He-Man was up for exploring so I took him to some of my birding spots that he hasn’t been to yet. While driving into one area I spotted a Northern Harrier on the ground in an irrigation ditch and as soon as we parked I took off to try to get a photo of it. It remained still and let me take a series of images of it. I wondered if it had a meal in that pile of weeds/grass?

Sitting Northern Harrier Male;

Afterwards I caught up with He-Man and while we were picking our way through a field avoiding the muddiest spots he spotted another one sitting in the field. WOOT!

Later on I spied her flying and on the lookout for a meal.

Look at this wing span! She’s ready to pounce! She came up empty and flew out of my range and view onto a new hunting ground no doubt across the pond.

Cool facts:

Male Northern Harriers can have up to 5 mates at once though most only have two. The males provides the food, and the females take care of incubating the eggs and brood the chicks.

Northern Harriers are the most owl like of the hawks, but they are not related to owls. They rely on their hearing and vision to find prey. They have a disk shaped face the looks and functions like an owls with stiff facial feathers that direct sound to their ears.

Juvenile males have pale greenish-yellow eyes, while juvenile females have dark chocolate brown eyes. The eye color of both sexes changes gradually to lemon yellow by adulthood. I didn’t know that!

They eat small mammals and small birds but have been known to take down ducks and rabbits.

The oldest known Northern Harrier on record was a Female at least 15 years, 4 months old when she was captured and released in 2001 by a bird bander in Quebec. She had been banded in New Jersey in 1986.

Cool facts gleaned from allaboutbirds.org

The Harriers were the most exciting sighting at this location soon we were on our way to find a meal ourselves then call it day and head home.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, keep safe and warm!

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

more to come…

Wild Wednesday 4/52 White-tailed Kite

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

A friend and I went birding Saturday at two Wildlife Refuges. We reversed the order we normally do these two refuges and I’m glad we did. It was pretty birdy at Merced Wildlife National Refuge, but I’m going to share with you the last bird I photographed for the day at San Luis National Wildlife Refuge.

And, what a bird to end the day on! It’s my favorite raptor.

White-tailed Kite

It’s a medium sized raptor and likes open grasslands, and savannas.  It hovers while hunting for prey, and have big amber/red eyes. Here’s some information about their hunting behavior from allaboutbirds.com

While hunting, the White-tailed Kite characteristically hovers up to 80 feet off the ground and then drops straight down onto prey items. This ability to hold a stationary position in midair without flapping is accomplished by facing into the wind, and is so characteristic of these birds that it has come to be called kiting. White-tailed Kites also perform ritualized courtship displays in which a male offers prey to a female prior to egg laying. In an often spectacular aerial exchange, the female flies up to meet the male, turns upside-down, and grasps the prey.“`allaboutbirds.com

I think they’re the prettiest of the raptors.  If I could be a bird this is the one I’d be. 🙂

You’ll find them up and down Western to Central California, Oregon, Mexico, Central and South America.

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm@500mm| 1/640s| ISO 500| cropped| Hoodman Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…

 

 

 

Wordless Wednesday 46/52 Ross’s Goose & Snow Geese

Copyright © 2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Snow Geese evening Fly-In

Wordless Wednesday 46/52 Ross's Goose and Snow Geese

Nikon D700| Nikkor 200-500mm| Lexar Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…

Wordless Wednesday 39/52 American Kestrel

Copyright © 2017 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Nikon D810; Nikkor 200-500mm @500mm | hand-held| SanDisk Digital Film| PS CC 2017

more to come…

Wordless Wednesday 33/52 Anna’s Hummingbird

Copyright ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Anna's Hummingbird

Nikon D700| Nikkor 200-500mm| SanDisk Digital Film| PS CC 2017

more to come…

American Bald Eagle & Me

Copyright © 2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I was birding on Saturday June 3rd looking for an Indigo Bunting and upon my arrival to the location soaring over my head was an American Bald Eagle! That’s a big deal in Santa Clara County. Eagles have been making a comeback here for the last few years which is super exciting to birders, but there are still only a handful here.

Anyway, it flew across the pond to a grove of tall trees and perched there and looked like he/or she was settled in for a long rest.  I watched it for sometime then moved to the grassy area to photograph Western Bluebirds which I’ll be sharing soon.

Then I followed some Red-winged Blackbirds a bit then turned around to check on the Eagle and OMG! It was flying right for me!

I brought my camera up to my face in lighting speed, and fired off a burst of images following its flight path.  We made eye to camera lens contact, then it veered right and headed for the northern hills, and I lost it.  I was doing my happy dance! Isn’t that wing span somethin’?

Click on the image to see it better. WP compression isn’t working for me again. 😦  I may have to mess around with image sizes again to find something that looks good without having to click on an image.

I received my 200-500mm back from Nikon Service on Thursday, but I haven’t felt good enough to get out with it.  I hope tomorrow this bug is over being in my system so I can go out and play!

Hope you all are having a great start to your week-end!

Nikon D810| Nikkor 300mm f/4| Hoodman Digital Film| PS CC 2017

more to come…

 

Project 52: Wordless Wednesday 1/52

Copyright  ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Snow Geese in Flight

Snow Geese in Flight

Snow Goose in Flight

Snow Geese in Flight

Nikon D700| Nikkor 200-500mm @500mm| Lexar Professional Digital Film| PS CC 2017

More to come…