Wordless Wednesday 49/52 Sandhill Cranes: Adults and Juvenile

Copyright ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Sandhill Crane Adult

Sandhill Cranes Adult and Juvenile

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm @500mm| Hoodman Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…

Wordless Wednesday 41/52 Fall Color

Copyright ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Yellow Warbler-Female

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm| SanDisk Digital Film| PS CC 2017

more to come…

A Good Day Birding

Copyright © 2015 Deborah M. Zajac  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I was able to get out to do a little birding this week, and it started out on a great note. When I stepped out my front door

this American Robin was in the uppermost branches of the Ginko Tree in my front yard. I took that as a good omen!

American Robin

Once at the pond I had a good walk-about, and found a couple types of Grebes, and many other wintering birds along with the regulars. Here are several I observed.  I have many more I’ll be sharing in the coming days.

Pied-billed Grebe Adult Winter

Pied-billed Grebe Adult Winter

Eared Grebe Winter

Eared Grebe Adult Winter

Hooded Grebe Adult Winter? I’m not positive what type of Grebe this is. Can anyone ID it for me?

Horned Grebe

Black-necked Stilt

Black-necked Stilt

Greater Scaup

Greater Scaup

Nikon D700| AF-S Nikkor 300mm f4| Tripod & Hand-held| Lexar Professional Digital Film

More to come…

Sandhill Cranes are Arriving!

Copyright © 2013 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

I’ve been looking forward to this week-end for a month. It’s that time of year when the Sandhill Cranes return for the Winter Migration. A friend of mine (Judi) has been posting Sandhill Cranes from Merced Wildlife Refuge in the Pacific Flyway this past week which really excited me. She reported that they were less skittish, and were a  bit closer to the “Auto-Route” we take to see them. I’ve been wanting a really good close up of a Sandhill Crane for years. This report gave me hope that this might be my year.

Yesterday, my friend Rainey and I went over to the Refuge and had a wonderful time. We called Judi and met her at the Refuge. We were not disappointed. The weather was California perfect; sunny, warm, and with a slight breeze. The Cranes were closer than I’d ever seen them.

Sandhill CraneThey are so beautiful with their Red Heart shaped face, and wonderful plumage.

We drove the “Auto-route” several times in the late morning and early afternoon.

We even saw a family group with a juvenile. It’s the little one in front without a red face.

Sandhill CranesThen we went to lunch at an” old-time” family drive-in Burger Joint called H&M in Merced. They say they’re famous for their seasoned fries which are delicious, but their Guacamole Burger is just as good. The Avocado Burger is my next favorite burger on the menu. After a diet busting lunch we went back to the Refuge for another drive around before heading home.

On this last trip around the refuge we saw groups of Sandhill Cranes flying in for the night.

Sandhill CranesToday,  Rainey, Dali, and I went up north to Lodi to the Sandhill Crane Festival and found the weather completely different from yesterday.   Overnight our warm Indian Summer changed to Fall; it was cold, and so windy the top soil was blowing so thick visibility was only 10-20 feet! We didn’t see too many Cranes and those we saw were pretty far back in the fields near the Levees or in the taller rows of mowed corn for protection.

Sandhill CranesWe did see other birds of note: a Belted Kingfisher ( still my nemesis I’m afraid), Dali got the Kingfisher shot today. We also saw Lesser Sandpipers, and a Snipe shown below so, the day wasn’t a total loss.

SnipeIt was a great birding week-end with friends. I’m looking forward to going back to both Wildlife Refuges this winter.

Nikon D300s| Nikkor AF-S 80-400mm G



Northern Harrier on the Hunt

Copyright © 2012 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

This Harrier was just one of many great birds I saw when I got out for a day of birding recently. The Harriers were flying low over the ponds, and marshes all day long. Whenever they were near, or overhead the Snow Geese, White-Fronted Geese, Ibis, and Coots would take to the sky. The noise was amazing to hear.
Late in the afternoon  we saw a Harrier chasing a Snow Goose, the goose dived into the marsh grass with the Harrier in hot pursuit! We waited with anticipation to see if the Harrier would come up with the Goose. He did not! That was one lucky goose.

Northern Harrior on the Hunt                                                                 Nikon D300s| Nikkor 80-200 @ 200 + Tamron 1.4x TC| f8| 1/800 sec| ISO 500| Hand-held and shot from the car window

There must have been a Harrier nearby to create this stir-up

White Fronted Geese

Snow geese in retreat…

Snow Geese in Flight

a couple of Greater White-fronted Geese enjoying the pond,

Greater White-fronted Geese