Friday’s Feathered Friends-Yellow Warbler

Copyright ©2021 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Isn’t he cheerful? This was the second time I’ve ever seen this bird. There are more than 50 species of Warblers but few are as brilliant yellow as he is. The females aren’t as bright and lack the rich chestnut streaking, but do have the black eyes, and warm yellow tones.

Yellow Warbler

Fun Facts:

  • In addition to the migratory form of the Yellow Warbler that breeds in North America, several other resident forms can be found in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. Males in these populations can have chestnut caps or even chestnut covering the entire head.
  • The nests of the Yellow Warbler are frequently parasitized by the Brown-headed Cowbird. The warbler often builds a new nest directly on top of the parasitized one, sometimes resulting in nests with up to six tiers.
  • Life can be dangerous for a small bird. Yellow Warblers have occasionally been found caught in the strands of an orb weaver spider’s web.
  • The oldest-known Yellow Warbler was a female, and was at least 11 years old when she was recaught and rereleased during banding operations in New York.~allaboutbirds.org

Sunday we drove over the mountains to go visit Baby Girl, The Handsome Surveyor, and the boys. Along the way we stopped at Maiden’s Grave pullout to view the horrible smoke plume from the Caldor Fire burning in the El Dorado National forest.

View from Maiden’s Grave, SR 88, CA.

All through the forest we kept seeing these signs- Every campground, and park is closed. 😭

Forest Closed Sign

The reports on the fire are somewhat better today. They’re allowing some residents to return their homes in South Lake Tahoe, and the cooler temperatures, and less wind in the week-end forecast is promising and should help the firefighters with the fight.

The smoke is still in the unhealthy range here, but the sun is trying to burn through it today so I’m feeling a wee bit more positive today on the fire front.

We haven’t any week-end plans since we’ve been gone a lot these last two weeks visiting our kids and grandkids. What about you any plans? Whatever your plans I hope you have a good week-end!

Fuji X-T3| Fuji 100-400mm| and iPhone 7Plus| 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 Wednesday-Profile of an American Robin

Copyright ©2021 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

AA

Fuji X-T3| Fujinon 100-400mm @400mm| PS CC 22.4.1

more to come…

Friday’s Feathered Friends-Northern Harrier

Copyright ©2021 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Several weeks ago He-Man was up for exploring so I took him to some of my birding spots that he hasn’t been to yet. While driving into one area I spotted a Northern Harrier on the ground in an irrigation ditch and as soon as we parked I took off to try to get a photo of it. It remained still and let me take a series of images of it. I wondered if it had a meal in that pile of weeds/grass?

Sitting Northern Harrier Male;

Afterwards I caught up with He-Man and while we were picking our way through a field avoiding the muddiest spots he spotted another one sitting in the field. WOOT!

Later on I spied her flying and on the lookout for a meal.

Look at this wing span! She’s ready to pounce! She came up empty and flew out of my range and view onto a new hunting ground no doubt across the pond.

Cool facts:

Male Northern Harriers can have up to 5 mates at once though most only have two. The males provides the food, and the females take care of incubating the eggs and brood the chicks.

Northern Harriers are the most owl like of the hawks, but they are not related to owls. They rely on their hearing and vision to find prey. They have a disk shaped face the looks and functions like an owls with stiff facial feathers that direct sound to their ears.

Juvenile males have pale greenish-yellow eyes, while juvenile females have dark chocolate brown eyes. The eye color of both sexes changes gradually to lemon yellow by adulthood. I didn’t know that!

They eat small mammals and small birds but have been known to take down ducks and rabbits.

The oldest known Northern Harrier on record was a Female at least 15 years, 4 months old when she was captured and released in 2001 by a bird bander in Quebec. She had been banded in New Jersey in 1986.

Cool facts gleaned from allaboutbirds.org

The Harriers were the most exciting sighting at this location soon we were on our way to find a meal ourselves then call it day and head home.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, keep safe and warm!

Fuji X-T3| Fuji 100-400mm| PS CC 22.2

more to come…

Friday’s Feathered Friends-Nesting

Copyright ©2020 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I’ve been doing a lot of birding lately and I’ve come across some nesting birds.

The first one is a Great Horned Owl nesting in a broken branch of a big tree near the river.  I call her Sleepy Eyes.

Great Horned Owl Nesting

Not too far from her is a nesting goose. She too is nesting on a broken branch. I worry about her because I never see the mate nearby and I wonder if she’s eating? I sure hope so!  She’s usually tucked into the wood there so if you didn’t know to look you’d miss her. On this day she felt like sunning her face.

Goose Nesting

This next nest has been empty all winter and the other day while driving to my birding location I spotted the top of a head and pulled over to see who moved in.  A Hawk!

I don’t know what kind of a hawk, but guess a Red-tail since they’re most populous of the hawks here.

Hawk in the Nest

I’ll be keeping an eye on them hoping for chicks soon!

We’re supposed to hit 80 degrees on Saturday! I think Winter may have let go here.

I hope you’re all doing well, and have a nice week-end!

 

Fuji X-T3| Fujinon 100-400mm| SanDisk Digital Film| PS CC 21.1.1

more to come…

Friday’s Feathered Friends-MT. Chickadee

Copyright ©2020 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Two more images from my time with the Chickadees.

Mountain Chickadee

Look at this one taking two seeds at a time! I love it! I didn’t realize it had taken two until I uploaded my images.  Moutain Chickadee

I didn’t crop it in too much so you can see the environment we snowshoed into to see and feed these birds.  It was pretty cool being out here almost alone for a good bit. As the morning wore on though more and more snowshoers started coming up the mountain. We spent an hour and a half feeding the Chickadees then headed down to venture to other places to see what we could find. I’ll share those finds in future posts.

I hope you all have a good week-end!

Fuji X-T3| Fujinon XF 100-400mm  LM OIS| PS CC 21.0.3

more to come…

 

 

 

Whatever Weds.

Copyright ©2019 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

We’re settling into our new home. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel of boxes!

Sunday I went out with a local birding expert and guide for a morning of birding.

It was so much fun and a great birdy day with so many bird highlights. We saw a pair Great-horned Owls, some Owlets, a Barn Owl, Bald Eagles, lots of Red-wing Blackbirds, Yellow-headed Blackbirds, sparrows, Turkey Vultures, and a pilot practicing aerial loops, swoops, and dives!

I’ll share just two images today though.

A pair of Kestrels in a tree with breakfast. I didn’t notice the prey until I uploaded my images.  I’ve never seen a pair together before so this was a real treat for me.

American Kestrel Pair with Prey

and from my backyard, there are flocks of Yellow-headed Blackbirds enjoying the trees and my feeder.  I never saw these in Silicon Valley. I love their vivid heads and lovely white pattern on their wings.  I’m not sure if these are year-round birds or just spending Spring here. I’ll soon find out!

Yellow-headed Blackbirds

Yesterday the cabinets for the laundry room arrived so the contractor is going to open those boxes up and see what we got. I have to select and order my counter top still, and I think he’s going to paint He-Man’s closet. He textured the new framing for it yesterday.  I’ve been taking photos of the project at each step. I’ll share those later.

I hope your week has been going well and continues to go well through the week-end!

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6 top image and 300mm f/4 bottom image| Hoodman Steel Digital Film| PS CC 2019

more to come…