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…

Whatever Weds. Looking Up

Copyright ©2022 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I hope everyone had a lovely week-end. We shared our holiday with Baby Girl and her family and had loads of fun.

We dyed Eggs for the Easter bunny to hide and the colors came out so pretty. We used Baby Girl’s fresh from the coop eggs which are mostly brown eggs. We had to leave the eggs in the dye longer but it was so worth it. Look at these colors! I love the red and green ones the best.

Dyed Easter Eggs

Instead of chocolates we took the kids cookies to paint. We found the kits at Costco and it was fun. Even the teenage Grand-daughters enjoyed painting their cookies. There was enough for me to do one so I painted along with a couple of the kids. They ate their cookies as soon as they finished painting them so I didn’t get a photo, unfortunately.

Painted Easter Egg Cookie

Later in the afternoon the youngest Grand-daughter taught me how to drive the little red Quad and after two loops I was zipping around the property having a blast. I can’t wait to ride it again. I plan to go down the harder roads on their property then!

Me zipping by on the quad. Image courtesy of Baby Girl.

Let’s go back to my camping trip and look up at the stars from Mono Lake.

” Be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love, to work, to play, and to look up at the stars.”~ Henry Van Dyke

Star Trails over Mono Lake, Tufas. 107 frames

There was quite a bit of airline traffic that night as you see. I took out a couple of airline tracks that were red and distracting I thought.

I hope everyone had a great week-end, and you’re glad of life this week and always!

Nikon D81-|Nikkor 24-120mm| iPhone| PS CC 22.2.2

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…

Whatever Weds. “You’re off to great places…

Copyright ©2022 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Today is your day. Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!” ~Dr. Seuss

Mt Shasta seen from Lower Klamath NWR, Oregon

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

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

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…

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