Monday, May 28, 2012

Canyon Wren

Canyon Wrens are one of my all-time favorite birds.  I just love their song and curious nature as they probe around rock faces and other hidden areas.  They are also a bit funny-looking.  Luckily we have some that live around our house, and I hear and see them frequently.  They are, however, very difficult to photograph as they rarely sit still!  I was very lucky the other day as one alit for a short time as I was standing with the scope at ready.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Kites At Lake Los Carneros

After having such a good time watching a White-Tailed Kite eat its lunch here last week, I decided to return for a repeat performance.  It was even better this time, although the light was not quite as good so it was tougher to get crisp photos.  The youngters were out of the nest and about, at least 3 or 4 of them.  They can be told from the  adults as they have brown around their necks, where the adults have white.  They are about the size of the adults, but not yet hunting.  An adult will return with a rodent typically a vole) in its talons.  A youngster will fly up to meet the parent, who then makes a midair rodent transfer - very cool.  After one such transfer, the juvenile with the rodent joined two siblings in a tree and had breakfast.  A good outing!

Lake Los Carneros

Went on an outing to one of the interesting birding sites in our area, Lake Los Carneros in Goleta.  It did not disappoint, there was plenty of things to watch.  So much so that I only made it halfway around the lake before it was time to go.

This American Kestrel was nice and cooperative, sitting still and posing nicely for me.

Out on the lake the Ruddy Ducks were showing their breeding colors to nice effect.

 There are usually a few California Thrashers to be seen and heard, today was no exception.

The real highlight of the day was the White-tailed Kite.  Although generally scarce, these birds live and breed here so they are usually present.  I was lucky enough to see this one arriving with a rodent (vole, probably) held firmly in talons.  It landed nearby and proceeded to have a feast!

Around Home Latley

Here are some shots of recent visitors this spring.

Some Juncos do stay for the entire year.  Lately they have been singing up a storm as they perch on top of a tree, shrub, or antenna.

Some Ash-throated Flycatchers, shown below,  have arrived for the season.

The ever-present House Wrens.  They have a nest under our eaves and can be heard calling most any time of the day.

Bushtits are usually seen in groups flitting quickly through the treetops - in short, nearly impossible to photograph.  Luckily one morning I caught this little one coming to our birdbatch.


Early in the morning the warblers and their allies like to poke around in the oak trees on the estern side of the house.  They are fun to watch, but usually a glimpse is about all that can be seen, and the lighting is horrible for the camera. 

I got lucky with this Warbling Viero, which stayed still long enough for a photo.

My first ever Warbler photo! A Towshend's Warbler.

The Oak Titmouse can also be tough to photograph, as they are constantly in motion.  This one was kind enough to sit still for a moment.

Band-Tailed Pigeon.  Large, loud, and not a graceful flyer.

Hooded Orioles

It has been a good year here for Hooded Orioles.  They have been coming quite frequently to our feeder, and providing some nice photo opportunites.  As is often the case with birds, the males are spectacularly beautiful, the females more subdued in color.