Wordless Weds. Summer Wildflowers Illinois, USA

Copyright ©2022 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. DO NOT USE MY IMAGES WITHOUT EXPRESSED WRITTEN PERMISSION!

Yellow Coneflowers
Wild Carrot?
Echinacea

Fuji X-T3| Fujinon 100-400mm @400mm| PS CC 23.4.1

more to come…

Friday’s Feathered Friends-Allen’s Hummingbird Male

Copyright ©2022 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. DO NOT USE MY IMAGES WITHOUT EXPRESSED WRITTEN PERMISSION!

While visiting Big Baby Boy and The Dark Haired Beauty earlier this month I went out early one morning to photograph the flowers that were in bloom and saw to my delight an Allen’s Hummingbird male flitting around and landing on a Bottlebrush Bush.

Going for a sip
A bit miffed and ready to fly
ByeBye!

I haven’t seen these or hardly any Hummers where I live now so this really was a treat seeing this one. Aren’t his colors wonderful.

Fun Facts: gleaned from allaboutbirds.org

  • Male and female Allen’s Hummingbirds use different habitats during the breeding season. The male sets up a territory overseeing open areas of coastal scrub or chaparral, where he perches conspicuously on exposed branches. The female visits these areas, but after mating she heads into thickets or forests to build a nest and raise the young.
  • Allen’s Hummingbirds breed in a narrow strip of habitat along coastal Oregon and California. But within their tiny range two subspecies occur. One (Selasphorus sasin sasin) migrates to a small area in Mexico for the winter while the other (S. s. sedentarius) stays put in southern California year-round.
  • The Allen’s Hummingbird is a remarkably early migrant compared with most North American birds. Northbound birds may depart their wintering grounds as early as December, arriving on their breeding grounds as early as January when winter rains produce an abundance of flowers.
  • Like other birds, Allen’s Hummingbirds use their feet to help control their body temperature. When it’s cold outside they tuck their feet up against their bellies while flying, but when temperatures soar, they let their feet dangle to cool down.
  • The oldest recorded Allen’s Hummingbird was at least 5 years 11 months old when she was captured and rereleased in California during banding operations in 2009. She was banded in the same state in 2004.~allaboutbirds.org

It’s going to be blustery and chilly here this week-end with maybe some snow and rain in the mountains so, I’ll be near home this week-end. I hope you have something fun planned!

Fuji X-T3| Fuji 100-400mm Lens| PS CC 23.2.2

more to come…

Friday’s Feathered Friends-Western Kingbird

Copyright ©2022 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

While out for good long walk along the river recently I spied a Spring/ Summer visitor perched on a fence. The Western Kingbird. They’re one of the birds with lovely yellow in their coloring that visit here.

I think they’re so cheery with their bright yellow feathers, and gray heads.

They are in the Flycatcher family that hunts flying insects from its perch on a fence, trees, or utility wires.

They’re also famous for chasing and scolding intruders like Red-tailed Hawks, and American Kestrels.

Fun Facts gleaned from allaboutbirds.org

  • The Western Kingbird’s breeding range has been spreading for the last century as an unplanned result of human activities. By planting trees and installing utility poles in open areas, people have provided hunting perches and nest sites, and by clearing forests they have created open habitats suitable for foraging.
  • Though known as birds of the West, Western Kingbirds tend to wander during fall migration. They show up along the East Coast, between Florida and Newfoundland, every autumn—but only rarely during the spring. In 1915 Western Kingbirds began spending winters in Florida, where they are now regular winter residents.
  • Western Kingbirds aggressively fend off predators and other kingbirds from their territories. The males warn off intruders with harsh buzzes or whirring wings. Both males and females snap their bills and raise their red crowns (normally hidden under gray feathers on their heads) when provoked. As the breeding season wears on, each pair defends a smaller and smaller territory. By mid-incubation time the territory includes the nest tree and little else.
  • The Western Kingbird was originally known as the Arkansas Kingbird, but scientists changed its name to acknowledge its wide range across western North America.
  • The oldest Western Kingbird on record was a male, and at least 6 years, 11 months old, when he was found in South Dakota. ~allaboutbirds.org

We’ve been having big, strong winds lately so my sinus’ are a bit of a mess, but we’re looking at nice sunny days for the week-end here and hopefully the wind mellows out too.

I’ve been thinking about photographing the upcoming Lunar Eclipse. I won’t be able to see the entire thing from start to finish, but I’ll be able to see Totality. I’ll probably just photograph it from my yard. What about you, are you planning to watch it or photograph it?

I hope you all have a lovely week-end, and to all the Mom’s and Grandmother’s, I wish you a very Happy Mother’s Day! 🌼💗

Fuji X-T3| Fujinon 100-400mm| PS CC 23.2.2

more to come…

Friday’s Feathered Friends- Bald Eagles

Copyright ©2022 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

At the end of February I met up with some friends one of them Gordon from https://undiscoverdimagesamongstus2.wordpress.com/ We met up in Oregon in the Klamath Basin region to do some birding. We were hoping to see American Bald Eagles and the other usual winter suspects.

What we didn’t expect was to see 17 American Bald Eagles around and on the first pond we went to!

You know we hit that pond several times while there mornings, and afternoons.

The first morning we were all together was Saturday we rose early and headed to the pond. It was a chilly 14 degrees Fahrenheit, but we saw Eagles. Later that afternoon we went back and saw an Eagle trying to retrieve its prey from the icy pond water.

American Bald Eagle- Incoming!

It missed, but oh, it was so cool seeing it try.

Missed!

It landed in the water then pulled up and swung around again for another pass.

Landed in icy water
Pull up!

This time it tried a different approach, and missed again!

American Bald Eagle over the Target!

Then it just flew away leaving us wondering if this was just retrieving practice?

American Bald Eagle Adult in Flight

It was quite exciting and entertaining to watch and one of the highlights of the week-end.

Fun Facts:

The American Bald Eagle has been the national emblem of the United States since 1782.

These magnificent birds aren’t really bald, but their white-feathered heads gleam in contrast to their chocolate brown bodies and wings.

Rather than do their own fishing, Bald Eagles often go after other creatures’ catches. A Bald Eagle will harass a hunting Osprey until the smaller raptor drops its prey in midair, where the eagle swoops it up. A Bald Eagle may even snatch a fish directly out of an Osprey’s talons. Fishing mammals (even people sometimes) can also lose prey to Bald Eagle piracy.

Had Benjamin Franklin prevailed, the U.S. emblem might have been the Wild Turkey. In 1784, Franklin disparaged the national bird’s thieving tendencies and its vulnerability to harassment by small birds. “For my own part,” he wrote, “I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. … Besides he is a rank Coward: The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the District.”

Sometimes even the national bird has to cut loose. Bald Eagles have been known to play with plastic bottles and other objects pressed into service as toys. One observer witnessed six Bald Eagles passing sticks to each other in midair.

The largest Bald Eagle nest on record, in St. Petersburg, Florida, was 2.9 meters in diameter and 6.1 meters tall. Another famous nest—in Vermilion, Ohio—was shaped like a wine glass and weighed almost two metric tons. It was used for 34 years until the tree blew down.

Immature Bald Eagles spend the first four years of their lives in nomadic exploration of vast territories and can fly hundreds of miles per day. Some young birds from Florida have wandered north as far as Michigan, and birds from California have reached Alaska.

Bald Eagles occasionally hunt cooperatively, with one individual flushing prey towards another.

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

Once endangered by hunting and pesticides, Bald Eagles have flourished under protection.

Fun Facts gleaned from All About Birds

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

I will be sharing more images from this trip in future posts. Until then I hope you cut loose a little and have a lovely week-end! 😀

Fuji X-T3| Fujinon 100-400mm| PS CC 23.2.1

more to come…

Friday’s Feathered Friends- A walk by the slough

Copyright ©2022 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Last week I met up with some local Audubon club members for a bird walk. Here’s some of the exciting birds we saw.

This first bird was a neat sighting. It’s a Graylag x Swan hybrid we discovered. The ebird monitor for Washoe county wrote me after seeing my images of the goose this. “Your documentation shows this is a “Domestic goose with a mix of Graylag and Swan Goose (aka Chinese Goose) ancestry. The dark stripe from the top of the head down the back of the neck, and the bulging forehead are Swan Goose traits, while the orange bill and a few other features are Graylag traits. ” P.H. Isn’t that interesting! It’s a handsome goose and several people we ran into while admiring and photographing it told us they named him. One family called him Barney, and another one calls him Harry. He’s quite the celebrity there.

Graylag Goose

Another exciting sighting was a large group of White-fronted Geese. We don’t see those a lot here so, we watched and photographed them for awhile too.

White-fronted Goose

Saving the best for last, and it was the last bird we saw on our way back to the parking before we finished up was the Immature Audubon’s Yellow-rump Warbler. This was a lifer for me! Isn’t it cute!

Audubon’s Yellow-rump Warbler-immature

I’ll be birding with friends this week-end and hoping to see lots of birds. I hope you all have a great week-end!

Fuji X-T3| Fujinon 100-400mm @400mm| PS CC 23.2.0

more to come…

Friday’s Feathered Friends- American Bald Eagle

Copyright ©2022 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

While out birding with the birding group at the beginning of the month we saw this wonderfully majestic bird fly in low and land on this branch above a pond.

American Bald Eagle

It stayed there for quite awhile just taking in its surroundings. I turned my attention to another bird for a second and poof! Off flew the Eagle.

I’m way behind with your blogs as I spent the better part of this week at Baby Girl’s doing school runs, and playing with Littlest while she was swamped with training meetings. I’m home now and beginning to play catch up.

I hope you all have a wonderful week-end. I’ll be catching up with laundry, emails, snail mail, and blogs, and speaking of blogs WP sent me a notice today wishing me a happy 12th Blogversary.12 years! It doesn’t feel that long to me. Thank you all so much for finding my blog, for the comments, conversations, and most of all for the friendships we’ve forged throughout these years. 🥰 Thank you all so much!!

Fuji X-T3| Fujinon 100-400mm| PS CC 23.0.0

more to come…

Friday’s Feathered Friends- Wood Duck

Copyright ©2021 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

A couple of week ago I discovered a new park with a pond not far from home and this beautiful male Wood Duck was there among the mallards and geese.

Wood Duck Male

I heard there was a female there too but, I never saw her. She too is quite striking and pretty. Here’s an image I made last year along the river of a female Wood Duck checking out a tree for a nesting spot I thought as they nest in holes in trees or if available a nesting box. They have claws that can grip bark so they can perch on branches.

The Wood Duck is one of the prettiest ducks of all the waterfowl.

Fun facts:

  • Natural cavities for nesting are scarce, and the Wood Duck readily uses nest boxes provided for it. If nest boxes are placed too close together, many females lay eggs in the nests of other females.
  • Wood Ducks pair up in January, and most birds arriving at the breeding grounds in the spring are already paired. The Wood Duck is the only North American duck that regularly produces two broods in one year.
  • The Wood Duck nests in trees near water, sometimes directly over water, but other times over a mile away. After hatching, the ducklings jump down from the nest tree and make their way to water. The mother calls them to her, but does not help them in any way. The ducklings may jump from heights of over 50 feet without injury.
  • The oldest recorded Wood Duck was a male and at least 22 years, 6 months old. He had been banded in Oregon and was found in California.

We got a good snow dump during the night and early morning hours on Tuesday. It made everything so pretty! As I write this (Thursday) we’re supposed to get more snow today. #1 Grandson will be celebrating his 9th year on this planet next week. I hope we can get over the mountains to see him to help him celebrate. 9 years old! Time is flying by.

What are you doing this week-end, anything good? Have you finished your holiday shopping?

Fuji X-T3| Fujinon 100-400mm| PS CC 23.0.0

more to come…