Friday’s Feathered Friends- Rock Wren in Red Rocks Park

Copyright ©2021 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Hi! He-Man and I are home from a trip to the Denver, CO area for a wedding and vacation.

I haven’t uploaded too many images from the week yet, but here’s a little Rock Wren I spied while hiking in Red Rocks Park on the Red Rocks Trail. It was hunting for breakfast in a fenced off maintenance area just off the trail.

Rock Wren

Our last night there we had a lovely sunset …the first one all week actually. I grabbed a quick shot through our hotel room’s window.

Sunset

Then I went down stairs to make an image of the courtyard with an evening blue sky and clouds behind it. I hoped for more sunset color but, it was too cloudy.

We had a great time, and visited several beautiful parks which I’ll be sharing images of soon.

I’ll be catching up with laundry, mail, and your blogs. What have I missed?

Happy Friday and week-end everyone!

Fuji X-T3| Fujinon 100-400mm & 16-80mm| PS CC 22.5.0

more to come…

Whatever Weds. Red-tailed Hawk Immature

Copyright ©2021 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Red-tailed Hawks are the most common hawk in North America and certainly the one I see most often. While birding with the birding group a few weeks ago another lady and I veered away from the group a few minutes to check out another path and saw this Red-tail perched with its back to us. It stayed for a good bit then turned and flew right over our heads. That’s when I got this shot. It’s probably a 1st year since it doesn’t have its red tail feathers yet.

Fun Facts- gleaned from allaboutbirds.org

  • The Red-tailed Hawk has a thrilling, raspy scream that sounds exactly like a raptor should sound. At least, that’s what Hollywood directors seem to think. Whenever a hawk or eagle appears onscreen, no matter what species, the shrill cry on the soundtrack is almost always a Red-tailed Hawk.
  • Birds are amazingly adapted for life in the air. The Red-tailed Hawk is one of the largest birds you’ll see in North America, yet even the biggest females weigh in at only about 3 pounds. A similar-sized small dog might weigh 10 times that.
  • The “Harlan’s Hawk” breeds in Alaska and northwestern Canada, and winters on the southern Great Plains. This very dark form of the Red-tailed Hawk has a marbled white, brown, and gray tail instead of a red one. It’s so distinctive that it was once considered a separate species, until ornithologists discovered many individuals that were intermediate between Harlan’s and more typical Red-tailed Hawks.
  • Courting Red-tailed Hawks put on a display in which they soar in wide circles at a great height. The male dives steeply, then shoots up again at an angle nearly as steep. After several of these swoops he approaches the female from above, extends his legs, and touches her briefly. Sometimes, the pair grab onto one other, clasp talons, and plummet in spirals toward the ground before pulling away.
  • Red-tailed Hawks have been seen hunting as a pair, guarding opposite sides of the same tree to catch tree squirrels.
  • The oldest known wild Red-tailed Hawk was at least 30 years, 8 months old when it was found in Michigan in 2011, the same state where it had been banded in 1981.

The Scrub Jays here mimic the Red-tail Hawk’s call and has been fooling me a lot lately! I’ve been listening to calls so I’m not so easily fooled next time. Ha!!😂

After the group broke up I headed east in search of another bird, but had no joy finding it but, the river was pretty. I saw a few mallards, and Yellow-rumped Warblers and people so headed home for lunch.

Truckee River Bend

The image of the Red-tail looks so bad here on WordPress! I’m beyond frustrated with this happening all the time. I haven’t changed the way I process and resize my images in a decade so it must be WordPress! I need a tutorial! Any help or pointers would be greatly appreciated.

My images look fine and the way I want them to on flickr. Here’s the link to the same image of the Red-tail. https://www.flickr.com/photos/dmzajac2004/51529739409/in/dateposted/

See what I mean? I’m really not happy with WordPress at the moment! Any ideas for a not savvy computer person to fix it?

Fuji X-T3| Fujinon 100-400mm| PS CC 22.5| iPhone 7Plus

more to come…

Wordless Weds. Little Red Squirrel-I think!

Copyright ©2021 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The cutest little thing just popped up and started munching. Birding in the Carson Range 2021

Fuji X-T3| Fuji 100-400mm| PS CC 22.5

more to come…

Sunspots

Copyright ©2021 Deborah M. Zajac ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Have you heard about the huge sunspots that are facing Earth now? It’s been some years since there’s been some HUGE ones…big enough to fit Jupiter in them HUGE! I got excited and thought I’d dig out my solar filter and photograph the Sun since I haven’t in a long time.

I made this image September 9th in the morning just a little after the sun crested the mountains.

Sun on September 9, 2021

The biggest sunspot is AR2866, and the other big one one above it is AR2868. There are couple of little ones there too.

The big sunspots can produce big flares or CME’s – Coronal Mass Ejections so the space folks will be watching for those. CME’s can weaken the magnetosphere and they can produce blackouts. Hopefully that doesn’t happen.

It’s been some time since we could see so many sunspots on the Sun and that was at the tail end of Cycle 24 back in 2017. I find it so fascinating and thought I’d share my image with you in case you do too.

Have a lovely week-end everyone!

Fuji X-T3| Fuji 100-400mm @400mm| Orion Solar filter| PS CC 22.5

more to come…

Friday Feathered Friends-Cassin’s Finch

Copyright ©2021 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Back in July I saw this beauty, he was my 7th Lifer for the year!

Cassin’s Finch-Male

They live in the mountains of western North America. I am really surprised that it took me so long to spot one, but it did.

Fun Facts: gleaned from allaboutbirds.org

The Cassin’s Finch was first collected on an 1850s expedition to the southwestern mountains by the Pacific Railroad Survey. The eminent ornithologist John Cassin, who created illustrations for the survey, called the pink-tinged finch the “greatest bird in the lot.” Cassin asked his friend and colleague Spencer Baird to name the new species after him.

Male Cassin’s Finches have red crown feathers thanks to carotenoid pigments, which they acquire when they swallow colorful foods like the orange berries of firethorn plants.

Male Cassin’s Finches remain brownish and look like females during their first breeding season. During this time they sing, and this may give the false impression that both sexes sing. These young males may group into “bachelor flocks” during that first breeding season.

The Cassin’s Finch is an accomplished mimic, often adding the calls of other species into its own songs.

The Cassin’s Finch breeds semicolonially, with nests on average 80 feet apart. Nests are sometimes as close as 3 feet apart—this usually causes a fight between males until one of the pair gives up. If the first nest is substantially earlier than the other, however, such close nesting may be tolerated.

The Cassin’s Finch craves salt, and is often found visiting mineral deposits on the ground.

The oldest recorded Cassin’s Finch was a male, and at least seven years old when he was recaptured and released during banding operations in Oregon in 1979. He had been banded in the same state in 1974. ~ allaboutbirds.com

We’re still dealing with a lot of smoke from the two biggest fires in California.

As I type this on Thursday our AQI is bad, but not as awful as it was on Monday when we flew into Reno on our way home from visiting Big Baby Boy, and the Dark Haired Beauty. Monday the AQI was a whopping 398!

I saw the pilots on the way out of the plane and said, “I sure am glad you were able to see to land, because I couldn’t see a thing!” One of the pilots replied, ” We had one eye opened and hoped for the best.” 🤣😜

I’m glad it was the good eye!

He-Man said he was thinking about the scene in the movie Airplane. Flying on instruments LOL!!

I hope you all have a great week-end!!

Fuji X-T3| Fujinon 100-400mm| PS CC 22.5.0

more to come…

A Dragon, Damsels, and a Sphinx

Copyright ©2021 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Dragonfly
Damselflies ❤
White-lined Sphinx

It was the first time I’ve seen the White-Lined Sphinx. Some people call it the Hummingbird Moth because it looks and acts like a Hummingbird. It was so cool seeing it fly and hover over these flowers feeding.

Hum, I don’t know what’s happening but my images look soft in WP lately. Sigh. Any ideas?

I had company last week-end then we went over the mountains to see the boys, Baby Girl, and The Handsome Surveyor for a couple of days so I am behind, but I’ll catch up with you in a tick!

I hope you all have a wonderful week-end!

Fuji X-T3| Fujinon 100-400mm| PS CC 22.4.3

more to come…