Friday Most Fowl- Great Horned Owl Pair

Copyright © 2019 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

This pair is living in a barn on a ranch not too far from me. The owners were kind enough to let me and a birding friend wander around for a bit.

Great-horned Owl Pair

These two were a real treat to see.

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm| Hoodman Digital Film| PS CC 20.0.6

more to come…

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Whatever Weds. This and That

Copyright © 2019 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I thought I’d share several images I’ve made in the last few weeks and have been working on to share.

Golden Hour over the 13th Fairway, the Eastern Sierras, and the marsh as seen looking southwest from my patio.

Golden Hour on the Eastern Sierras and Neighborhood

A new bird for me! A Rough-winged Swallow with lunch.  If I have not made the correct ID for this one please let me know!

Roughed-winged Swallow with Lunch

Last Friday a friend came up for a Doctor’s appointment and spent the night, but after her appointment, we went out exploring my area looking for some Nevada Wild Mustangs; we had Lady Luck with us b/c we found a small band!  Doing a little research we discovered that this  Black/Blue Stallion is called Zorro.

Zorro

Here’s one of Zorro’s band members with some Hitchhikers.

Wild Mustang with Birds out for a ride

I’m looking forward to getting to know the Wild Mustangs of Nevada and this band.

To close out this week’s post I’ll share a sunset from last week. This was made while I was on my patio.

Sunset from my Patio

 

I hope you’re all having a great week so far, and as they say out here in the Valley, let’s get our Hump Day Dance on and bump those hips! 😂

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm and Nikkor 50mm| Lexar and Hoodman Digital Film| PS CC 2019

more to come…

Whatever Weds. Great-tailed Grackle

Copyright ©2019 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

This bird was on the back fence competing for food with the Yellow-headed Blackbirds making rather lewd calls to scare them off.

He looks a bit grumpy, doesn’t he?

Blackbird

Since we’ve been pretty well settled in we’ve been having family and friends come to visit which is why I’ve been less active on the blog lately.

Baby Girl, the Handsome Surveyor, and the boys came for Mother’s Day and my Birthday, then a good friend stopped by for the night while traveling, and we’ve had Big Baby Boy home for 5 days. Sadly, he’s heading back to SOCAL today.

Both the kids said, “it feels like home!” at the new house and are happy, and like it here too.

The weather has been a bit gloomy lately and driving home from Baby Girl’s Sunday we had snow in the mountains. It was a gorgeous winter wonderland with the tall pines flocked in snow.

On the homefront- I’m still waiting for the countertop for the base laundry room cabinets to come in. The pantry cabinet I ordered arrived damaged and went back, and a wall cabinet got smashed in transit and I’m waiting for that replacement.

The closet shelving in the office and retreat are complete, and He-Man’s Master Closet is finished. He wasted no time filling it up!

The house in Silicon Valley went on the market Friday.  Here’s hoping for a sale soon!

I hope you all are having a good week!

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm| Hoodman Digital Film| PS CC 2019 & iPhone 7 Plus

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 33/52 Snowy Plovers

Copyright © 2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

While at the beach a couple weeks ago to photograph the Moon we came across a protected area where we discovered Snowy Plovers nesting.

They’re a small shorebird found on beaches, and barren ground all across North American Gulf and Pacific coasts and here and there in California, Texas, and Saskatchewan inland areas. They are also found in South America, and Eurasia.

Snowy Plover

Neat facts from allaboutbirds.org:

The Snowy Plover will many time raise two broods a year, and sometimes three in places where the breeding season is long.  The female deserts her mate and brood about the time the chicks hatch and initiates a new breeding with a different male.

Snowy Plover in Nest

Young Snowy Plovers leave their nest within three hours of hatching! They flatten themselves on the ground when a parent signal the approach of people or possible predators.  They walk, run, and swim well and forage unaided by parents, but need periodic brooding for many days after hatching.

The oldest recorded Snowy Plover was at least 15 years, 2 months old when it was spotted in the wild in California and identified by its band. ~allaboutbirds.org

This one was really close to the edge of the protected nesting area which was great. It gave us really great looks, and photo ops.

Snowy Plover

Sadly, the Snowy Plover population is listed as Near Threatened as their numbers are in decline.  It’s believed their habitat is in decline due to habitat alteration, and increased recreational use of beaches.

I was happy to see this section roped/taped off, and no one breached the barrier while I was there so, it looks like people are respecting them, and the rules to stay out of the area while they’re nesting. I hope that bodes well for a successful breeding season for these cute little shorebirds.

I hope your week is going well, and you all have a lovely week-end!

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm @500mm| Lexar 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…

 

 

Wild Weds. 19/52 Mandarin Duck Male

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Several months ago I went birding near Sacramento, CA. to look for two exotic ducks, one was the Wood Duck which I blogged about here.  The other was the Mandarin Duck.

The week before I visited the pond there were two pair at the pond, but the morning I went there was only a lone male.  He’s gorgeous don’t you think?

Mandarin Duck Male

He sought the shade of a palm tree, but soon came out from under again, thankfully!

Mandarin Duck Male

Here are several facts about the Mandarin Duck:

The Mandarin Duck Drake is widely considered the world’s most beautiful of the ducks. It’s a native of China and Japan.  They favor small wooded ponds and avoid large bodies of water.

There are limited populations in the United States; they’re usually escapees from captivity.  China exported thousands of Mandarins, but the trade was banned in 1975.

They are wonderful fliers, able to fly through trees, with remarkable agility.

They will often perch in trees, but the female will lay her eggs (9-12 eggs) in a hole or cavity of a tree, or if a nesting box if one is available.  Once the Female has gathered her brood she takes them straight to the water!  Mandarin Ducks only pair up for a season. New pairs form again in the Fall/Autumn. ~https://www.livingwithbirds.com/tweetapedia/21-facts-on-mandarin-duck

I was thrilled there was still one there for me to see and photograph.

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm @500mm| f/8| 1/200s| ISO 800| Tripod w/Wimberley Sidekick Gimbal Head

more to come…