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- 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…

Whatever Weds. North American Elk

Copyright ©2022 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

One of the highlights we had while visiting Rocky Mountain National Park last October were the North American Elk herds. The surprising thing is just how BIG they are. They stand 5 feet tall at the shoulder, and weigh several hundred pounds. The females are half their size. Only the males have antlers which they shed each winter. Their antler can grow up to an inch a day!

One morning while in Estes Park I saw a Bull laying in the shade with his harem and made my over to get some images of them.

The bull …

North American Elk Bull

He had about dozen females (called cows) in his harem. Here he is with some of them just chillin.

Bull Elk with some of his harem

Here’s an image of a bull and some of his harem we saw the night before just after the sun went behind the mountains while in Rocky Mountain National Park.

North American Elk Bull with Harem

The rutting season begins in October so the bulls were on high alert keeping a close eye on their harems and keeping them close by.

Fun Fact-

Free roaming elk have a lifespan of 10-13 years in the wild.

https://www.nps.gov/romo/learn/nature/elk.htm

We really enjoyed seeing these wonderful animals while we in the park. They really do enrich the visit.

Fuji X-T3| Fujinon 100-400mm| PS CC 23.1.1

more to come

Whatever Weds. Cattails

Copyright ©2022 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I like cattails even when they get all crazy and fluffy. I always think of it as organized chaos.

I’ve also always liked this bit of Mary Oliver’s poem regarding cattails,

“the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.”

From her poem- In Blackwater Woods.

Happy Hump Day! I hope your week is going well.

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

more to come…

Wordless Weds. Little Red Squirrel-I think!

Copyright ©2021 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The cutest little thing just popped up and started munching. Birding in the Carson Range 2021

Fuji X-T3| Fuji 100-400mm| PS CC 22.5

more to come…

Friday Feathered Friends-Cassin’s Finch

Copyright ©2021 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Back in July I saw this beauty, he was my 7th Lifer for the year!

Cassin’s Finch-Male

They live in the mountains of western North America. I am really surprised that it took me so long to spot one, but it did.

Fun Facts: gleaned from allaboutbirds.org

The Cassin’s Finch was first collected on an 1850s expedition to the southwestern mountains by the Pacific Railroad Survey. The eminent ornithologist John Cassin, who created illustrations for the survey, called the pink-tinged finch the “greatest bird in the lot.” Cassin asked his friend and colleague Spencer Baird to name the new species after him.

Male Cassin’s Finches have red crown feathers thanks to carotenoid pigments, which they acquire when they swallow colorful foods like the orange berries of firethorn plants.

Male Cassin’s Finches remain brownish and look like females during their first breeding season. During this time they sing, and this may give the false impression that both sexes sing. These young males may group into “bachelor flocks” during that first breeding season.

The Cassin’s Finch is an accomplished mimic, often adding the calls of other species into its own songs.

The Cassin’s Finch breeds semicolonially, with nests on average 80 feet apart. Nests are sometimes as close as 3 feet apart—this usually causes a fight between males until one of the pair gives up. If the first nest is substantially earlier than the other, however, such close nesting may be tolerated.

The Cassin’s Finch craves salt, and is often found visiting mineral deposits on the ground.

The oldest recorded Cassin’s Finch was a male, and at least seven years old when he was recaptured and released during banding operations in Oregon in 1979. He had been banded in the same state in 1974. ~ allaboutbirds.com

We’re still dealing with a lot of smoke from the two biggest fires in California.

As I type this on Thursday our AQI is bad, but not as awful as it was on Monday when we flew into Reno on our way home from visiting Big Baby Boy, and the Dark Haired Beauty. Monday the AQI was a whopping 398!

I saw the pilots on the way out of the plane and said, “I sure am glad you were able to see to land, because I couldn’t see a thing!” One of the pilots replied, ” We had one eye opened and hoped for the best.” 🤣😜

I’m glad it was the good eye!

He-Man said he was thinking about the scene in the movie Airplane. Flying on instruments LOL!!

I hope you all have a great week-end!!

Fuji X-T3| Fujinon 100-400mm| PS CC 22.5.0

more to come…

A Dragon, Damsels, and a Sphinx

Copyright ©2021 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Dragonfly
Damselflies ❤
White-lined Sphinx

It was the first time I’ve seen the White-Lined Sphinx. Some people call it the Hummingbird Moth because it looks and acts like a Hummingbird. It was so cool seeing it fly and hover over these flowers feeding.

Hum, I don’t know what’s happening but my images look soft in WP lately. Sigh. Any ideas?

I had company last week-end then we went over the mountains to see the boys, Baby Girl, and The Handsome Surveyor for a couple of days so I am behind, but I’ll catch up with you in a tick!

I hope you all have a wonderful week-end!

Fuji X-T3| Fujinon 100-400mm| PS CC 22.4.3

more to come…