A friend came up for the week-end and we birded, and admired wildflowers, and hiked. He-Man even joined us on the longest hike which was just over 6 miles, and we climbed 640ft in the Eastern Sierras.
We also had the pleasure of seeing several butterflies. Here are two.
I think this is a Fritillary maybe a Meadow Fritillary? If you know what it is I’d love to know for sure.
This one I was able to identify as the Western White Butterfly.
This one is a first for me!
The wildflowers in the high country are in full bloom and gorgeous, and I’ve picked up a few new to me birds! I’ll be sharing those in future posts…after I have nailed down their identities. I’m still not quite certain on two of them.
Merlin my bird app isn’t giving me a definitive answer so, I’m still trying to figure them out.
The smoke here seems to get better, then it gets worse. The Tamarack Fire is still burning and when I last checked it was still 0% contained and the winds in the afternoon have been very gusty not helping the fire crews at. all!
I am hopeful that fire crews will be able to get it under control sooner rather than later.
That’s about it from here. I hope your week is going well.
Last week I went birding with the Audubon Group and we were treated to a sighting that not only was a new to me bird, but a rare bird to this area too. Lifer number 6 for 2021 is the Pine Grosbeak. This is a female.
This was a “lifer” for about half the group and there were only 9 of us birding that morning. It was quite exciting!
Pine Grosbeaks eat a lot of plants, but it can be tough for their nestlings to eat and digest all that vegetation. Instead of feeding plants directly to their nestlings, they regurgitate a paste of insects and vegetable matter that they store in pouches at the lower part of their jaw on either side of their tongues.
Not all Pine Grosbeaks are the same. Not only do they differ in the amount and intensity of red across their range, they are also different sizes. Body size and wing and tail length generally increase from Newfoundland westward to the Yukon Territory. But birds on Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Island) in British Columbia, Canada, and in California are among the smallest of all Pine Grosbeaks. Wings and tails of birds on Haida Gwaii are around a half inch smaller than birds in Alaska.
Pine Grosbeaks aren’t just in North America. They also breed in subalpine evergreen forests from eastern Asia to Scandinavia.
The tameness and slow-moving behavior of the Pine Grosbeak prompted locals in Newfoundland to affectionately call it a “mope.”
Winter flocks may stay near a tree with abundant fruit until all of it is consumed.
The oldest recorded Pine Grosbeak was a male, and at least 9 years, 9 months old when he was found in Quebec in 1970. He was first captured and banded in Connecticut in 1961.
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.
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!
He-Man and I have been traveling between our children’s homes in April which has been fun, and wonderful. Our latest trip we went to see our son in SoCal for several days. One evening we went down to the pier hoping for a good sunset. It wasn’t bad, but the company was perfect.
We dined out in restaurants and it was grand! Really. I missed dining out. We ate in places that we don’t have at home like Thai, Greek, and fresh Seafood. I was bad and didn’t take any images of the food at these places. Sorry!
We took after dinner hikes up in the canyon near Big Baby Boy’s and The Dark Haired Beauty’s place, and it was lovely. Spring wildflowers were in bloom.
Here’s a Sweet Pea of some sort- Sandy Beach or Chaparral? They are the largest flowers in the Pea family I’ve ever seen before.
I only took my Fuji X-T3 and my newest lens for it the Fujinon XF 16-80mm.
I’ve had the lens a couple of months now and really haven’t used it all that much, but this trip it got some love. I think it did a good job and its small, as well as light weight so it made a great travel kit.
There’s a nesting Red-tailed Hawk in a tree at the Golf Course where we live. I am hoping to get some good images of the chick and the parents bringing in food. So far I’ve not been lucky.
I hope you’re all having a good week so far. What’s new with you?
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.
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.
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?
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.
I told you I would show you the beautiful Vermilion Flycatcher that I went to see in Maxwell, CA a few week ago, and today is the day! He’s a year round resident of Mexico and South America. He does come north to So. Texas and So. California for breeding season, and has been seen in the states along the gulf coast states. How this one found his way up here in Central Calif. is a mystery, but it’s been returning for 5 winters now. He’s rare there.
Isn’t he pretty?
Fuji X-T3 w/ Fuji 100-400mm lens @400mm
Almost two weeks ago He-Man went up to Washoe Co. the next county over to go on a bike ride and I went with him not to ride, but to bird while he rode and guess who I saw? The White-headed Woodpecker! This is a male. I only saw this species for the first time last year so I still do a happy dance when I see one.
This one was so busy foraging he didn’t care about me too much. Once in awhile he did check me out.
Fuji X-T3| Fuji 100-400mm @400mm
Sunday two neighbors and I went for our walk and we decided to go further than the mailbox and go up the hill and come home the back way where we saw Mountain Bluebirds foraging in the Russian Olive trees. The Olives are like little nuts that they seem to really like.
I saw this species for the first time last Spring, but didn’t have my camera with me but, by the time I raced home on foot to get the camera and return to the spot I saw one it was gone. I am so glad I had a camera with me on Sunday! Mountain Bluebird Male–
It’s been a good birdy couple of weeks that has been waylaid by weather. We’ve had snow! I won’t be out birding for a few days.
I hope you all have a lovely weekend, stay healthy, and safe.