Friday’s Feathered Friends- American Dippers

Copyright ©2021 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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.

Th

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!

Fun Facts: Gleaned from allaboutbirds.org

  • The American Dipper chooses a nest site, invariably along a stream, that provides security from floods and predators. Availability of suitable nest sites appears to limit its populations.
  • To be able to survive in cold waters during the winter, the American Dipper has a low metabolic rate, extra oxygen-carrying capacity in its blood, and a thick coat of feathers.
  • Unlike most other songbirds, but similarly to ducks, the American Dipper molts its wing and tail feathers all at once in the late summer. The bird is flightless during this time.
  • The oldest American Dipper was over 8 years old, when it was recaptured and rereleased during a banding operation in South Dakota.

The American Dipper is North America’s only truly aquatic songbird. I’m so happy I finally saw them!

I hope you all have a great week-end!

Fuji X-T3| Fujinon 100-400mm| PS CC 22.4.1

more to come…

Catching the Red-eye

Copyright ©2020 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Eared-Grebe

This is a Breeding adult which you can easily ID by the fan of golden feathers at the “ear”. This image is from early spring where I spied it swimming in one of the ponds at the golf course where we live.

Fun fact- Grebes have lobed rather than fully webbed feet that sit at the rear of their body.

Fuji X-T3| Fujinon XF 100-400mm@400mm| PS CC 21.2.1

more to come…

Friday’s Feathered Friends- Waders

Copyright ©2020 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

This week’s theme for Lisa’s weekly Bird challenge is Waders.  In April and May, I was looking for them but saw only a few here, but they’re a pretty few.

American Avocets in breeding plumage:

American Avocets

Black-necked Stilt- I think this one is a male. I love their pink legs! I think they look fancy and classic with their black and white feathers and pink legs. Also, they have the sweetest big eyes!

Black-necked Stilt

and a White-faced Ibis- in breeding plumage:  It was the only one in the pond. I see a good size flock of them flyover every morning and evening but have no idea where they go or come from. I hope to find the flock one day.

White-faced Ibis

Now that we’re in Summer many of the migrating birds are gone like these waders. I look forward to their return in the winter and spring.

We’ve been having some hot and windy days with thunder a couple of days which brought lightning along and now there are a couple of bush fires in the area we’re watching. It’s supposed to cool down on Sunday but the wind isn’t going anywhere soon.

I hope you’ve had a good week, and your week-end is a good one too!

Fuji X-T3| Fujinon 100-400mm| PS CC 21.2

more to come…

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Wordless Wednesday- House Finch

Copyright © 2020 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

House Finch

Fuji X-T3| Fujinon XF100-400mm LM OIS at 400mm| 3/17/2020| SanDisk Digital Film

more to come…

Wild Weds. 49/52 Song Sparrow

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Song Sparrow…I think. Its song was pretty on this morning in June.

Sing a Song!

 

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm| PS CC 2019

more to come…

Wild Wednesday 23/52 White-tailed Kites

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

On and off for a few weeks I’ve been going to over to a nearby park to photograph and check on a young family of White-tailed Kites.  The adults have two Fledglings.  They aren’t quite ready to be on their own yet.  Mom and Dad are still hunting, and bringing in food for them.

I had hoped to see a mid-air food transfer between parent and fledgling, but that didn’t happen. Mom dropped the food in the nest on this evening.

White-tailed Kite with Prey

Myself and several friends went back the following morning bright and early.

Here’s a look at the Fledglings in the nest:

White-tailed Kite Fledglings

The Fledglings have been flying around the big fields practicing their hovering, spying prey, and diving, but I don’t know that they’ve actually caught anything on their own yet.

I went back again this past Saturday hoping to see and photograph the mid-air food transfer. It happened, but I missed it! After the oldest fledgling left the nest and it didn’t look like anything would happen following it, I set my camera back on the smaller fledgling still in the nest thinking it would follow shortly as it had before, then I heard oooh’s, and ahhh’s to my right and looked just in time to see the transfer but didn’t get my camera on it in time.  I didn’t anticipate that. 😥

Here’s one of the Fledglings in flight on my last visit June 2, 2018:

White-tailed Kite Fledgling in Flight

I fear they’ll be own their own and kicked out of the territory when I return next week.  Mom and Dad have already set up another nest across the field from this set of Fledgling’s nest, and they’re making the fledglings wait for longer periods of time between feedings.

I’ll be offline by the time this post goes live. I’m leaving the house in He-Man’s, and #1 Grandson’s capable hands while I’ll be camping in the wilderness with a group of photographers. 12 of us plus guides, and a cook are going to be tracking by foot, and horseback Wild Mustangs.  I can’t tell you how excited I am about this trip!

As I type my bags are nearly packed. I’m waffling on which wide angle lens to take, and worrying about staying within my dunnage weight limit of 40 pounds!

Wish me luck that I don’t get thrown from my horse, we find the team of Wild Mustangs, get loads of wonderful images made,  Hot Dogs don’t make an appearance on our dining menu.  Some of you know I don’t like Hot Dogs, and I don’t get so saddle sore I’m unable to ride.  I’m packing Butt Butter! ☺

I’ll catch up with you all when I get back.  Until then I hope you have a wonderful week, and stay safe!

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm| SanDisk Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…

 

Wild Wednesday 22/52 American Bald Eagles

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Last year we had a pair of American Bald Eagles make a nest in a Redwood tree which is located in the front yard of an Elementary School right here in Silicon Valley. It was very exciting news.  We hoped they’d return this year. Not only did they return to their nest they’ve had two chicks!

Myself and several friends had made a couple of trips over to see and photograph them, 2 weeks ago we met there again.  When I pulled up there were many photographers there, and they were quickly changing positions, and pointing up, one friend already there motioned me to hurry.  There was something exciting happening.  I quickly parked, got out of the car then went to get my camera out of the back of my car. The Female was coming in and she had dinner!  I had to act fast she was flying low, fast, and being dogged by crows who squawked at her the whole time.

There was a row of trees blocking my view, so I ducked down, and sans tripod got her in my viewfinder and fired off three rapid shots then I lost her in the trees. Since I was hand-holding my 200-500mm lens  I wobble all over the place and my position of ducking and shooting wasn’t stable. I didn’t have much hope for having a decent shot. My rig weighs just a smidge under 8 pounds (4kg). I’ve never had any arm strength. 😥 Two of the images were nothing but a blurry blob in the frame, but one was worth saving for myself. It’s not print quality, but I thought I show you it anyway because you can tell what birds they are, and what’s happening.

Mama Eagle scored a whole duck for dinner. A whole duck! There were 3 crows dogging her, but I only got one in the frame with her. See the duck?

Milpitas Eagle Famale with Kill and Crow Chaser

Mama stayed near the nest watching the Eaglets eat for sometime, and the Eaglets would pop their heads up from time to time looking for their parents.

American Bald Eagle Chicks

Mama decided it was time for another flight.  I photographed her just as she left the branch she was on.  I love this shot! Her wings are enormous!  I barely fit all of her in my frame.

American Bald Eagle Adult Female

Dad was nearby on a branch higher up keeping watch, but after Mama left and the chicks were fed he thought it was safe for him to come down and clean off his beak.

He cleaned it by rubbing and wiping it on that branch.  Under his back end below the branch is the nest. You can just make out a chick in there.  Dad has lost all his beautiful white tail feathers!  I hope they grow back.

American Bald Eagle Adult Male

We stayed watching and photographing them until sundown when we lost the good light. I have more images I want to share of the adults, but again I’ll wait for a rainy day, by then I may a few of the Chicks as Fledglings.

Pets Update:  I finally took a photo of Box, and someone cough! (Dan) reminded me that I haven’t shared a photo of Diva Dog in sometime.  Imagonna fix that for ya. 🙂 I had Yosemite Sam pop into my head when I heard that last sentence in my head. 😜

Box is still shy:  He loves to hide in the back corners, and he loves his hay bag. I got him at a good time munching on hay.

Box the Guinea Pig

 

…and for Dan, Diva Dog- Yesterday was in the 80’s and today is supposed to be 89°F.  Early summer?  When it’s hot she likes to lay on the cool wood floor in the entry hall, or on our bathroom floor’s Travertine tiles.  She wouldn’t pose for me. Too hot! I’m sorry you can’t see her cute neckerchief.

Diva Dog Staying Cool

It’s supposed to cool down mid week. I hope you’re not too hot or cold,  and I hope you’re all having a good week, and great day!

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm @500mm| SanDisk Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…