Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Recent Birds

 I can't help but notice the birds wherever I go.  I figure the time I put into learning birds will serve me my whole life--even if I become sedentary when I'm old, I will still be able to look out the window and see what birds come by and imagine where they've come from. Above are some sandhill cranes in a meadow on the ranch. The reddish coloring comes from food they've eaten in iron-rich mud. Makes me wonder where they've been eating!

The kestrels are back in the yard this year. Last year they raised several young in one of our trees. Here's hoping they will again.

 While on our patio one morning, Desert Girl and I saw several new birds. First came this bird, which at first glance I thought was a vireo. After consulting the birding book, now I think it's a ruby-crowned kinglet. They spend their summers high up the mountain in the forests, so I was quite surprised to see it. But it is migration season, which is the season of surprises!

I heard this bird's chatter before I saw it: a Bullock's oriole. We have at least one nesting pair in the yard. They make a lot of noise and have really cool nests that hang from the branches and incorporate bailing twine, something we have a lot of around here. I love their flashes of bright color.

This is another common denizen of the yard--the yellow-rumped warbler. I think they probably have a nest in one of our trees, but I haven't found it yet.

If I want to see some water birds, I drive a few miles to a reservoir. On this particular day, a large flock of American white pelicans was hanging out.

With them was a group of gulls (California gulls?).

The contrast of the mountains and the desert and the water made for a nice photo.

Some mallards flew by.

A double-crested cormorant, another migratory bird, hung out on some rocks next to the water.

At the south end of the reservoir I found a mixed flock of ducks, including buffleheads, northern shovelers, and ring-necked ducks.

A group of coots appeared to be waiting as the ducks arrived.

On a nearby wetland, some American avocets took flight.

We're up to 33 backyard birds, with the addition last night of a hummingbird (species not known, but likely broad-tailed). We are definitely going to surpass last year's total of 34! Desert Boy doesn't seem super interested, but Desert Girl is quite interested. They learn so fast, I wish I had their capacity!

Hope you see some cool birds today.

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