Wild Wednesday 20/52 Deep Greens and Blues are the Colors I Choose

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

On Saturday I went birding locally in the morning hoping to see a Lazuli Bunting. They’re only here in the Spring and I heard they were spotted in a place I’d seen one four years ago.  It was a stellar morning of birding! Not only did I get a brief look at the Lazuli Bunting, but I also saw lots of Violet-green Swallows. 🙂

Both birds have amazing colors.

Lazuli Bunting Male-  He’s song bird.

Lazuli Bunting

Violet-green Swallow Male

Violet-green Swallow

…and I got the “look” from a White-tailed Kite while she was hunting. You know how much I like them. My favorite of the Birds of Prey.  I like to think she was wishing me a Happy Birthday. 🙂

White-tailed Kite

I had a birdy long week-end that included some hiking/walking . Saturday I hiked just a smidge over a mile half of it was uphill and the beginning was steep.  Monday I hiked a bit over 2 miles, and Tuesday afternoon I hiked just over 4 miles.  He-Man and I hiked a trail we hadn’t hiked in a couple of years. It was good to get out and really stretch our legs.  Mind you, I feel so out of shape since having the flu and not doing much hiking since. I’m glad I made the loop up and down! I had doubts about being able to make it up to the second trail-head to make the loop. A couple of spots are steep. On two of the hikes I had some elevation gain which I like.  I like uphill for the first leg…more payoff for the exertion, and the reward is the downhill on the way back.  However, what I find is that there is uphill on both ends! I’m usually tired by the time I reach the upper elevation, and it’s work to get up those uphills on the way back.  I’m always so thankful I completed the hike, and if I carried my Garmin tracker seeing the stats always makes those uphills on the way back more rewarding.  I was tired and needed some extra Yoga stretches to ward off being really sore Wednesday, but I kept thinking “maybe I’ll get my groove back, and hike a couple times a week again.”

One can hope! 🙂

I hope you all are having a good week!

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

more to come…

 

 

 

 

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Wild Weds. 18/52 Great Horned Owls

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Saturday some friends and I met up to go look for the Owls again.

The Owlets were out of the nest and high up in the foliage with Mom. I didn’t get any shots of them, but both the Male, and Female Adults gave us great looks.

When we first arrived in the park Gordon from https://undiscoverdimagesamongstus.wordpress.com/

was there already and had spotted the Male Adult Great Horned Owl in a tree opposite the nesting tree. Fortunately he was on a branch in the open, but it was well shaded.

He hooted off and on to the Mrs. and the chicks which was really neat to hear. I’m pretty sure he’s hooting in this image b/c his white chest feathers are prominent. When he was quiet it was just a line across his chest.

Great Horned Owl Male

Several hours later the Female flew out of the nesting tree to a huge Eucalyptus tree across from the nesting tree, and out in the open so we had a great look at her.  I’m sure she was able to keep an eye on the chicks from there.  It was evening by then and the sun was sinking lower, and getting more golden.

The light was so lovely on her. Isn’t she pretty!

Great Horned Owl Female

Here are just a handful of the Owl watchers that passed through to look at the owls.

In front row all in black is Gordon, then our friend Anna who you can barely see next to him, and our friend Brian the last one in the front row.  Myself and Dali were still taking images of the Female while these photographers, and birders were looking for the Owlets.  (This image I made with my iPhone 7 Plus.)

Owl Watching Golden Gate Park

It was another good birding day despite me not getting a good look at the owlets this time.

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm| PSCC 2018

more to come…

Wordless Weds. 16/52 Western Meadowlark

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

HELLO!  I’ve missed you guys!  I’ve been MIA for what seems an age.  I caught the flu on the 5th and am finally out of bed and back in the land of the living!

It’ll be a few more days before I’m back to normal strength, and the Doc says the cough is going to linger for a week more or so, but I’m as happy as this Meadowlark singing its song.  I could break out in my own kind of Happy to be over the flu song, but the cough…and my voice is a bit hoarse, so I’ll spare you. 🙂

These two images are from earlier in the year. I can’t wait to get out with my camera. It’s missed me. 🙂

Western Meadowlark Male Singing

Western Meadowlark Male poser

How are you guys? Holding up and faring a far sight better than I’ve been I hope. I’ll be catching with your blogs soon!

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

more to come…

Wild Weds. 12/52 Duck, Duck, Goose!

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

A couple of weeks ago when I shared the Snow Leopard  images here 

I mentioned that my friend and I went birding before we visited Sacramento Zoo. We went to Sacramento, CA to find special ducks, and geese.  The Ducks were some of the most colorful ducks here in the States.  Wood Ducks, and a Mandarin Duck which I’ll save for another post, and a new Goose for me the African Goose.

There were a couple pairs of Woods Ducks, and quite a few African Geese making the day very successful.

Wood Ducks can be found here all year long, but we see them mostly in Spring.  They have sharp, strong claws that allow them to climb branches. They will nest in boxes if they’re provided, but if not they’ll nest in holes in  trees.  The Wood Duck is the only North American duck that regularly produces two broods in one year.  The Wood Duck is considered one of the prettiest of all waterfowl.

Wood Duck Male

Wood Duck Male

Wood Duck Female- She’s looking up at a nesting box that the Wood Ducks kept taking turns flying up to.  They’re paired up now so brooding is on their minds no doubt. 🙂

Wood Duck Female

Wood Duck pair-  I was focused on the male, and shooting at f/8, but the female isn’t as sharp as I would have liked her to be.  What do you think he’s talking about? Traffic on the pond? Or how beautiful she is? Or how wonderful he is at nesting, and fathering chicks? 🙂

Wood Duck Pair

The African Goose- Isn’t really from Africa they think it’s really from China and related to the Swan Goose from China.  It’s most distinguishing feature is its knob on its bill/face front.

I’d never seen this Goose before. We don’t have many knobbed fronted birds here, but it’s a beauty.  It’s not listed in either of my Bird books for North America so, I turned to Wikipedia for information about it. See below the images.

This one might be a mix of white and brown because of the orange in its knob, or maybe it’s breeding colors? IDK? 🙂

African Goose in the Pond

Several came out of the pond to forage on the lawn. I liked the way this one stopped foraging to give me “the look”.   I didn’t get any closer.  🙂

African Goose

Here’s an image of what I think is a male African Goose. It was HUGE, and you can see the Dewlap (the hanging bit under the chin) that is mentioned below as a distinguishing feature.

African Goose Male

The African Goose is a breed of goose. The African goose breed most likely originated in China, despite the name. They may possibly be related to the wild swan goose a smaller species of goose, just like their close cousin the Chinese goose. Though they share some similar characteristics (such as colour variations), the two can be distinguished by the African’s larger dewlap and different knob shape. African geese are also quite a bit heavier than Chinese, and are better known for their docile temperaments. Also, they are known to lay far fewer eggs than Chinese geese, 25-40 eggs per year for the African goose vs. 40-65, or, in extreme cases, up to 200 eggs per year for Chinese geese.

Two origin theories persist for the fowl: the first purporting that Africans are the result of crosses of swan geese and Chinese, while the other asserts that they are pure derivations of the swan goose, and their unique traits are simply the result of selective breeding. Whichever the case, it has existed as a distinct breed since at least the middle of the nineteenth century, and was admitted to the American Poultry Association‘s Standard of Perfectionin 1874.

Ganders often have a higher pitched call than the geese, and are taller, while the females are shorter and stockier, with larger keels or lobes.

African geese appear in three color varieties: Brown, Buff and White. Browns have black bills and knobs, and plumage with irregular shades, from a very light to dark brown. Whites have all-white plumage and orange bills and knobs.” ~https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_goose

 

It was an outstanding morning at the pond seeing these and several other species.

I hope your week is going well, and it’s easy going til Friday!

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

more to come…

 

Wild Wednesday 8/52 Hawk

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

While out birding in Central Valley last month I saw lots of Red-tailed Hawks. This one was happy to pose for me. 🙂 At least I think this one is a Red-tailed Hawk.

Hawk

Red-tailed Hawks are quite common here. Their habitat is wide open fields. They like to perch in trees along fields, fence posts, and telephone poles.

Their Behavior- from All About Birds:

“You’ll most likely see Red-tailed Hawks soaring in wide circles high over a field. When flapping, their wing beats are heavy. In high winds they may face into the wind and hover without flapping, eyes fixed on the ground. They attack in a slow, controlled dive with legs outstretched – much different from a falcon’s stoop.”~allaboutbirds.org

They’re so common here I almost take them for granted. I’m always hoping to spy other types of Hawks instead of them, but when there are none about I’m so happy they’re here.

Sunday, I planned to go out to do some photography at the coast, but the wind was blowing 20-25 mph, and it was cold and gray, so I stayed in and watched Season 1 of Monk. Guess who found Streampix? 🙂 I hadn’t ever watched that show before, but I really like it. I’ll be watching every season til I am caught up. Yep, I’m hooked. 🙂

Recently I’ve also binged watched Vikings, and Camelot.  Those are two more T.V. shows I’m now Jonesing for the next season to begin already!

I’m currently reading A Dead Guy at the Summerhouse by Marian Allen who I discovered here on WordPress via Thursday Doors. You can find her here.  She writes Sci-fi stuff too. Yeah, she’s right up my street. 🙂 Check her out if you enjoy reading these genres too.

So, what are birds are seeing in your neighborhood, what are watching and reading right now?

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm| Hoodman Digital Film

more to come…

Wild Wednesday 4/52 White-tailed Kite

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

A friend and I went birding Saturday at two Wildlife Refuges. We reversed the order we normally do these two refuges and I’m glad we did. It was pretty birdy at Merced Wildlife National Refuge, but I’m going to share with you the last bird I photographed for the day at San Luis National Wildlife Refuge.

And, what a bird to end the day on! It’s my favorite raptor.

White-tailed Kite

It’s a medium sized raptor and likes open grasslands, and savannas.  It hovers while hunting for prey, and have big amber/red eyes. Here’s some information about their hunting behavior from allaboutbirds.com

While hunting, the White-tailed Kite characteristically hovers up to 80 feet off the ground and then drops straight down onto prey items. This ability to hold a stationary position in midair without flapping is accomplished by facing into the wind, and is so characteristic of these birds that it has come to be called kiting. White-tailed Kites also perform ritualized courtship displays in which a male offers prey to a female prior to egg laying. In an often spectacular aerial exchange, the female flies up to meet the male, turns upside-down, and grasps the prey.“`allaboutbirds.com

I think they’re the prettiest of the raptors.  If I could be a bird this is the one I’d be. 🙂

You’ll find them up and down Western to Central California, Oregon, Mexico, Central and South America.

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm@500mm| 1/640s| ISO 500| cropped| Hoodman Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…

 

 

 

Wild Weds. 2/52 Wild Ones at Home

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

It rained this week! I’m not complaining we need it, so when He-Man and I went for a hike on Saturday we went late morning to let it dry out a bit, and get warmer. We kept to the paved streets in the nearby hills b/c I did not want to trod uphill and down in the mud on the trails.  We walked just over 2 miles and gained about 600ft in elevation.  It felt like a workout.

FWIW: If I’m hiking or stretching my legs with a hike I’d rather go uphill for a bigger pay off verses a longer, flat walk.  Since it was late morning there wasn’t any wildlife; the birds, deer, coyotes, and wild turkey were all napping I guess.  Not a bad place to be on a late Saturday morning though. 🙂

Sunday it rained all day. Like me all the wildlife was hunkered down somewhere cozy, warm, and dry.

So, it’s to my archives we go.

Here are a few wild ones that visit my backyard bushes and feeders taken last year.

hum… something Squirrely (sp?) is going on here…

Bird Feeder Raider

Yep! This one found the one feeder he/she can get in to!

Squirrel at Bird Feeder

Then there’s the fence sitters.

Morning Dove

California Towhee

The top bird is a Mourning Dove…which I’m thinking was born in the hanging basket on my patio, or their Mother.  The bottom bird is a California Towhee. I can’t tell if it’s the male of female.

 

I hope you’re all having a wonderful week and staying warm!

Nikon D700| Nikkor 200-500mm| Hoodman Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…