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avian visitor

May 1st, 2011 No comments

Barn Owl – Arroyo Grande, CA 5/1/11

Larry was working in the yard when he found several pellets from a hearty meal below the palm tree.  When he grabbed the binos, he saw this little guy staring back at him sleepily.  He very cordially and patiently allowed us to take several photos!  The other palm tree resident, our yearly Hooded Orioles, weren’t quite so pleased with his presence.

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Golden Eagle!!!

September 7th, 2009 No comments

IMG_0767sOn a Sunday drive through See Canyon / Prefumo Canyon in the Bubba truck, we were watching some Normans (young calves) and their moms lazying around a pasture when we heard what we thought was a hawk overhead.   It looked like a really really big hawk and I snapped a few photos in mega-zoom mode, knowing they wouldn’t be good but maybe good enough to see more detail than the naked eye.   On the images, we saw significant white spots on the undersides of the wings, white detail on the tail and a darn big bird.  More photos later, I wondered – hmmm a juvenile Golden Eagle maybe?  I’d have to check the Hawks from Every Angle – How to Identify Raptors in Flight (Jerry Liguiori) book when we got home.   We continued to “chase” the soaring hunter over the crest of the ridge and back (as much as a Bubba truck is able to “chase” a raptor) and did catch several more photos of him (her?) in the sky and lower to the ground.   Eventually we lost the majestic bird and continued on down the Prefumo Canyon side to San Luis Obispo.

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Examination of pictures (a few of the least blurry ones here) convinces me this was a young Golden Eagle.

California Thrashers

May 10th, 2009 No comments

I saw a pair of California Thrashers on my walk (in “suburban” Arroyo Grande) today!  I don’t think I’ve seen this species around our neighborhood before so it was a neat surprise – kind of like a karmic gift for getting off my butt and exercising.  😉

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Christmas Yard Birds

December 23rd, 2008 No comments

A Tufted Titmouse surprised me today with a visit to the tree in our side yard, along with a Yellow-Rumped Warbler and the Black Phoebe who has made our neighborhood his home for the past year or so. Nobody sat still long enough for more than a short view in the binos, much less a picture.

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Chuck-will’s-widow

May 2nd, 2007 Comments off

Chuck-will's-widow While in North Carolina with Larry’s parents, I heard my first Chuck-will’s-widow calling as we arrived late in the evening. I was pretty sure of the ID but did verify it with Cornell’s web site All About Birds.

Add another to my life list!

Otherwise, so many birds and no binos! 🙁 I did manage to ID a pair of Flickers and a Tufted Titmouse this evening, and earlier a male Cardinal, several Blue Jays, Mourning Doves and the ever-present Mockingbird. I’ve heard other birds that I don’t know too. I wish I’d brought my binoculars.

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New Yard Birds!

May 18th, 2006 Comments off

Yesterday we had two new yard bird species… a bright, happy Rufous-Sided Towhee was singing loudly in the top of one tree, and a small flock of lovely Cedar Waxwings graced those same branches for about 15 minutes before being on their way. Larry had seen the Waxwings the night before, and I had hoped they’d return for me, which they did!

Our resident California Towhee (aka “Peeper”) is currently teaching his/her young to fly; the little tyke made about a 20′ effort this morning before work, as I watched from the house. I suspect if he’s practiced all day, he’ll be in Santa Barbara county by the time I get home! 😉

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Back to California

April 17th, 2006 Comments off

Well, I am home after a week back east in Maryland visiting family. I had a wonderful time, Nate was down from New York and we all had a fantastic week. Nate and I took a side trip to Blackwater Wildlife Refuge, near Cambridge, MD and saw three adult Bald Eagles, several Osprey (including young on two nests), Cardinals, a Hairy Woodpecker, Tufted Titmouse, Great Blue Herons, Egrets, many Canada Geese, and Carolina Chickadees just to name some. This was just on a leisurely drive through with a short exploration walk! Photos will be up soon. In Salisbury, we saw a Great Horned Owl at 3 pm in the afternoon! Also, two life birds for me: a Wood Thrush and Laughing Gulls.

Then it was back home to California to the lush, green hills and beautiful flowers after nearly a month of rain here.

Selasphorus visitor

April 2nd, 2006 Comments off

Allen's or Rufous Hummingbird

Today at the feeders, were two new hummingbirds {left}, smaller than our gregarious Anna’s that usually dominate the nectar bottles. They were hard to get a good look, but eventually I had enough of a look to make sure it was a Selasphorus (Rufous or Allen’s). What a nice treat!

And… Joe {right} (and we assume, Josephine) the Hooded Orioles are back for nest-building. I had put out an oriole feeder and Joe found it within a few days and was visiting it, although he’s very skittish still.

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Holidays

December 26th, 2005 Comments off

Eagle Optics Raven 78 mm 20x-60x What a nice Christmas. Thanks to Santa, I no longer have to feel like the red-headed stepchild when I go on birding field trips, as I now have my very own scope and tripod! Woo Hoo! I didn’t think I’d been that good this year! 😉

And FINALLY I can put pictures up in the gallery of the hand-crafted wood pens I made as gifts this year, too. Pen Album

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Birding Estero Bluffs

November 20th, 2005 Comments off

Maggie Smith, Neill Cowles, Tom Edell and I birded the length of Estero Bluffs just north of Cayucos on Sunday in search of the elusive Harlequin Duck. It was not to be found, however we did manage to find 55 other species; 15 of which were new birds for me (bold). The species found, minus the narrative this time, are:

White-tailed Kite, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon (adult & juvenile), Northern Harrier, American Kestrel, Red-tailed Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk.

Savannah Sparrow, American Pipit, Black Phoebe, Says Phoebe, Western Meadowlark pair, Brewer’s Blackbird pair, Belted Kingfisher (male), Starlings, House Finch, Tree Swallow.

Brown Pelican, Brandt’s Cormorant, Double-crested Cormorant, Pelagic Cormorant, Black Oystercatcher, Black Turnstone, Ruddy Turnstone, Long-billed Curlew, Spotted Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Surfbird, Sanderling, Willet, Black-bellied Plover, Snowy Plover, Semi-palmated Plover, Royal Tern, Mew Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Bonaparte’s Gull, Western Gull, Heermann’s Gull, Snowy Egret, Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Red-throated Loon, Common Loon, Surf Scoters (male & female), Red-breasted Merganser, Eared Grebe, Western Grebe, Brant, American Coot, Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead.

There were also lots of Monarch butterflies and Harbor Seals. It was a beautiful morning, with a warm sun and wonderful, cool, off-shore breeze. Thanks to Maggie, Neill and Tom for making this a very rewarding and fun learning experience.

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