Friday’s Feathered Friends-Red-Tail Hawk Chick

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

The Red-Tail Hawk is back using the same nest as last year for this year’s breeding season. Yipee!

On the 15th while on my walk I think I spied a little head so when I got home I grabbed my camera and went back out to take photos of the nest and sure enough there was a chick in the nest and Mom too.

Red-Tail Hawk and sleepy chick

It wasn’t long before Mom took flight to stretch her wings. She flew into a tree across the way a bit to keep watch and once in awhile she called out letting the chick know she was near…I think. I kept waiting hoping the chick would sit up and it paid off.

Red-tail Hawk Chick

Look how fuzzy and soft it looks! 2 weeks later look how big it is and there’s less fuzz and more brown.

Red-tail Hawk Chick

The tree has leafed out quite a bit too making it a bit more difficult to see the chick. This is heavily cropped as well.

I’ll keep checking in on it and hopefully, I won’t miss the fledging like I did last year.

Fun Facts-gleaned from allaboutbirds.org

  • The Red-tailed Hawk has a thrilling, raspy scream that sounds exactly like a raptor should sound. At least, that’s what Hollywood directors seem to think. Whenever a hawk or eagle appears onscreen, no matter what species, the shrill cry on the soundtrack is almost always a Red-tailed Hawk.
  • Birds are amazingly adapted for life in the air. The Red-tailed Hawk is one of the largest birds you’ll see in North America, yet even the biggest females weigh in at only about 3 pounds. A similar-sized small dog might weigh 10 times that.
  • The “Harlan’s Hawk” breeds in Alaska and northwestern Canada, and winters on the southern Great Plains. This very dark form of the Red-tailed Hawk has a marbled white, brown, and gray tail instead of a red one. It’s so distinctive that it was once considered a separate species, until ornithologists discovered many individuals that were intermediate between Harlan’s and more typical Red-tailed Hawks.
  • Courting Red-tailed Hawks put on a display in which they soar in wide circles at a great height. The male dives steeply, then shoots up again at an angle nearly as steep. After several of these swoops he approaches the female from above, extends his legs, and touches her briefly. Sometimes, the pair grab onto one other, clasp talons, and plummet in spirals toward the ground before pulling away.
  • Red-tailed Hawks have been seen hunting as a pair, guarding opposite sides of the same tree to catch tree squirrels.
  • The oldest known wild Red-tailed Hawk was at least 30 years, 8 months old when it was found in Michigan in 2011, the same state where it had been banded in 1981.

I hope you all have a lovely week-end!

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

more to come…

Whatever Weds. Sunset Colors & Swirly Clouds

Copyright ©2022 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

I’m home from a long week-end of camping and photography with friends old and new. I’m still culling images, but here’s one from Mono Lake taken shortly after sunset. I was set up to shoot west but looking around I saw this cloud developing to the northeast so I turned my camera around and waited for this to unfold. This cloud formation and color were wonderful and a beautiful end to a fun day.

Mono Lake, Clouds, and Tufas. Friday April, 8, 2022

Nikon D810| 24-120mm@24mm| f/10| ISO 100| PS CC 23.2.2

more to come…

Whatever Weds. This and That

Copyright ©2022 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

We had #1 Grandson with us last week which was so nice. One of the things we did was visit an Animal Sanctuary in No. Reno called Animal Ark. My favorite were the Cheetahs. Here are two. One wanted to play but, the other wasn’t interested at all so, they’re just chillin.

Cheetahs

Here’s a rare look at #1 Grandson. We had fun measuring our arms comparing them to wingspans of No. American birds. Mine was the same as a Turkey Vulture.

#1 Grandson’s is as large as a Red-tailed Hawk

All too soon it was time to take him home.

The week before his visit I had gone birding locally and saw some good birds. One I was super excited about seeing was the Pinyon Jay. I’ve been waiting for their Spring arrival so I could try again getting a decent image of one. This bird was a lifer for me in 2019 but, they were flying by so fast then that I failed to get a decent shot of one. Finally, on this walk-about I got a few but, that tree on the right is in the way. I was afraid to get any closer and scare it off which I eventually did anyway. 😮 They travel and forage in large flocks- on this day I counted 17 in all.

Photograph

Spring is breaking out all over the west now. When we took #1 Grandson home I noticed Baby Girl’s Apple tree was blooming so I took a quick snap of a blossom.


Apple blossom

I’ve been doing some projects from the book by Wendy Tait- Watercolor Flowers. This is project #2 Roses.

Photograph

I’ve painted 3 of these now- 1 8×10 in. and 2 5X7in. I’m making progress getting my paint to water ratio right, and blending is definitely improving. There are 8 projects in the book with step by step directions and images. I like the book a lot. I’m moving on to project 3 hopefully I’ll continue to improve.

Tomorrow I’m meeting friends down in the Mono Basin to do some photography and camping. I’m hoping for good weather, and clear night skies. I hope you all are having a good week, and your week-end is fun!

Fuji X-T3| iPhone 7 Plus| 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…

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…

Whatever Weds. Butterflies

Copyright ©2021 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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.

Fritillary? Wildflower?

This one I was able to identify as the Western White Butterfly.

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.

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

more to come…