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…

Wordless Weds. Elegant Clarkia

Copyright ©2021 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Elegant Clarkia-Wildflower Carson Spur Eastern Sierras

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

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…

Wordless Weds. Ranger’s Button

Copyright ©2021 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

High Sierra Wildflower Ranger’s Button

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

more to come…

Whatever Weds. Butterflies

Copyright ©2021 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

A friend came up for the week-end and we birded, and admired wildflowers, and hiked. He-Man even joined us on the longest hike which was just over 6 miles, and we climbed 640ft in the Eastern Sierras.

We also had the pleasure of seeing several butterflies. Here are two.

I think this is a Fritillary maybe a Meadow Fritillary? If you know what it is I’d love to know for sure.

Fritillary? Wildflower?

This one I was able to identify as the Western White Butterfly.

Western White Butterfly

This one is a first for me!

The wildflowers in the high country are in full bloom and gorgeous, and I’ve picked up a few new to me birds! I’ll be sharing those in future posts…after I have nailed down their identities. I’m still not quite certain on two of them.

Merlin my bird app isn’t giving me a definitive answer so, I’m still trying to figure them out.

The smoke here seems to get better, then it gets worse. The Tamarack Fire is still burning and when I last checked it was still 0% contained and the winds in the afternoon have been very gusty not helping the fire crews at. all!

I am hopeful that fire crews will be able to get it under control sooner rather than later.

That’s about it from here. I hope your week is going well.

Fuji X-T3| Fuji 100-400mm| PS CC 22.4.2

more to come…

Friday’s Feathered Friends-Warbling Vireo

Copyright ©2021 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Continuing on with the newest “lifers” that I’ve picked up this year I present Lifer N° 2 for 2021…the Warbling Vireo.

I confess I would have missed this bird had I not been out with a local birding group. The leader for that day’s outing recognized its song, and I started peering into the foliage and spotted something flitting around. Hoping for it come out in the open for peek I waited, and waited. Finally a brief look!!

Then just as quickly it flew to another bush behind a branch and began singing its morning song.

These are the only decent images I was able to get of it, but I’m happy to have them!

They have a large range in the United States, but breed here in the Summer months.

Since this little one is singing in the last image I thought I’d try to add a sound file so you can hear one of its songs. Nuts! The link didn’t embed the sound file.

Clicking the link will open a new window with the recording of the Western Warbling Vireo

https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/110999

Fun Facts: Gleaned from allaboutbirds.org

  • Warbling Vireos have a good name—the males sing a fast, up-and-down, rollicking song that suits the word “warbling.” The early twentieth century ornithologist William Dawson described the song this way: “fresh as apples and as sweet as apple blossoms comes that dear, homely song from the willows.” The highly variable song usually ends on a high note, leading the birder Pete Dunne to describe it as sounding “like a happy drunk making a conversational point at a party.”
  • Across their wide range, Warbling Vireos differ from one population to another in several characteristics, including overall size, bill shape, plumage coloring, molt patterns, wintering areas, and vocalizations. The differences are significant enough to lead ornithologists to recognize six separate subspecies of Warbling Vireo, and at one time divided them into two species.
  • Brown-headed Cowbirds frequently deposit their own eggs in the nests of Warbling Vireos. In some instances, the vireo pair incubates the alien egg and raises the young cowbird until it fledges. Female vireos in some eastern populations, however, tend to puncture and eject interlopers’ eggs.
  • Researchers speculate that Warbling Vireo song is at least partially learned rather than hard-wired. They base this supposition in part on observations of one individual whose song more closely resembled that of a Red-eyed Vireo than that of its parents. The garbled song, they concluded, probably resulted from a flawed learning process during the bird’s development.
  • The longest-lived Warbling Vireo on record—a male that was originally banded in July 1966—was at least 13 years, 1 month old when it was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in California.

I hope you enjoyed seeing these Warbling Vireo images today, and I hope your Friday is going well, and you have a lovely week-end and I wish an early Happy Father’s Day to all the Dad’s in the US!

Fuji X-T3| Fuji 100-400mm| PS CC 22.4.2

more to come…