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.
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! 🌼💗
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.
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.
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.
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.
I’ve been doing some projects from the book by Wendy Tait- Watercolor Flowers. This is project #2 Roses.
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!
Late in January, I heard there was a Red-necked Grebe in Lake Tahoe and it’s a bird I’ve never seen so wanting to get out of the house between storms He-Man and I drove over there for a walk-about and see what we could see. No grebe anywhere, but I did see a small group of Common Mergansers, and one that didn’t look quite like the others, but looked like a Merganser. I made some images and when I got home uploaded the images and discovered to my delight the one in the group that was a little different was a Red-breasted Merganser Male. A new bird for me, and Lifer number one for 2021!
They weren’t doing much of anything when I saw the group. I think it was a bit early and they were still waking up. 😀
My neighbor and I have begun taking our cameras on our walks because we’re seeing more and more of the Spring migrating birds passing though. Last week on a longer walk to another neighborhood we spotted this guy eating those Russian Olives. Don’t they look like pearls?
They are the smallest of the Thrashers and love the sagebrush of the western states. We’re on the western edge of its breeding territory. They mimic other birds while they sing. I didn’t hear this one singing though.
I was surprised to see this one up in tree! They usually are hanging around the sagebrush and will hide in it.
I hope you all have a great weekend, and if you’re watching the game I hope your team wins.
I told you I would show you the beautiful Vermilion Flycatcher that I went to see in Maxwell, CA a few week ago, and today is the day! He’s a year round resident of Mexico and South America. He does come north to So. Texas and So. California for breeding season, and has been seen in the states along the gulf coast states. How this one found his way up here in Central Calif. is a mystery, but it’s been returning for 5 winters now. He’s rare there.
Isn’t he pretty?
Fuji X-T3 w/ Fuji 100-400mm lens @400mm
Almost two weeks ago He-Man went up to Washoe Co. the next county over to go on a bike ride and I went with him not to ride, but to bird while he rode and guess who I saw? The White-headed Woodpecker! This is a male. I only saw this species for the first time last year so I still do a happy dance when I see one.
This one was so busy foraging he didn’t care about me too much. Once in awhile he did check me out.
Fuji X-T3| Fuji 100-400mm @400mm
Sunday two neighbors and I went for our walk and we decided to go further than the mailbox and go up the hill and come home the back way where we saw Mountain Bluebirds foraging in the Russian Olive trees. The Olives are like little nuts that they seem to really like.
I saw this species for the first time last Spring, but didn’t have my camera with me but, by the time I raced home on foot to get the camera and return to the spot I saw one it was gone. I am so glad I had a camera with me on Sunday! Mountain Bluebird Male–
It’s been a good birdy couple of weeks that has been waylaid by weather. We’ve had snow! I won’t be out birding for a few days.
I hope you all have a lovely weekend, stay healthy, and safe.
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:
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!
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.
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!