Friday, August 31, 2012

California Quail

I hadn't been to Fernhill Wetlands since May 28 before this past Sunday. Reports have been that Clean Water Services has been draining Fernhill Lake providing some extensive habitat for shorebirds. While this is certainly true, most of the shorebirds were well out of range of my lens.  The best shorebird species I saw where five Red-necked Phalaropes.
Oddly enough, my closest encounter with a bird that day was this female California Quail. I saw it perched atop this cyclone fence from quite a distance, not realizing what it was until I moved in closer.
It seemed oddly tolerant of me as California Quails typically scurry off into the tall grasses when seen. It just sat there and watched me as I slowly moved in closer. It wasn't until a large covey of Quail that had been laying low all around me startled that it finally began to show any concern. Soon there were Quail scampering everywhere.

I assumed it was a juvenile since it was so calm and appeared a bit small.

But looking at these images, it appears to have fairly worn feathers, especially in its tail region. That leads me to believe that this is an adult female. Let me know if you disagree.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Black-hooded Parakeet

Back in February I made the first of four trips to King Gillette Ranch in Calabasas, CA to install an energy efficient lighting system in the newly renovated Anthony C. Beilenson Visitor Center It's nestled west of north LA at the base of the Santa Monica Mountains.
Each morning I arrived, I was greeted by these noisy Black-hooded Parakeets perched high in the surrounding trees.  I didn't have much time to take pictures of them, but managed to get these before I left and I haven't seen them during any subsequent visits.
Though not currently listed by the ABA (unless added fairly recently, it missed out by one vote in 2006), it is estimated that there are approximately 300 breeding in the wild in California in and around this area.  There are larger populations in Florida.
Black-hooded Parakeets are native from southwestern Brazil to northern Argentina and the South American Classification Committee of the AOU and the International Ornithologists’ Union are now favoring the name Nanday Parakeet.  

Monday, August 6, 2012

Rock Wren

I've been wanting to go to Smith Rock State Park for some time. I've been there before, years ago, when my kids were young and before I renewed my birding hobby.  
Birding Oregon lists some potential life birds for me there and it didn't take long for me find some on an early Sunday morning back on July 22nd.  After my first sightings of White-throated Swifts at the top of the cliffs, I came across this Rock Wren. It was flitting among some rocks near a small grove of pines. There was a large boulder along the trail there setting at a fork in the trail which lead up to the cliffs providing access for rock climbers. I decided to use this boulder as a make shift blind and snapped the picture above while positioned there. 

The wren slowly made its way around to the back side of the boulder and, as I waited, it eventually popped its head up on the opposite side of the rock.  There I was, with this Rock Wren almost too close to take a picture. We stared at each other for a bit (I love these situations!) and then it scurried across the top of the rock and perched on a pine branch a little further from me.

This was actually a good thing as I was better able to get good pictures of it.  The sun angle wasn't ideal, but I'm not going to complain. :-)
I saw several Rock Wrens as I made my way around the River Trail, but these were by far the best views I got that day.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Cassin's Finch

During the early part of my last trip to Timberline Lodge on July 1st, I spent a fair amount of time shooting Cassin's Finches. They were out in large numbers in the grove of trees northeast of the lodge.
I noticed an area on the east side of the grove that was especially active, so I decided to sit just outside where the morning sunlight would be good. It didn't take long before a few finches started showing up and pretty much ignored me.
The finch above perched so close to me that I had to back off my zoom a little (not something I do very often).  The light was great, the bird was great, resulting in a nice photo.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Blue-winged Teal

I'm going to try to get back in the swing of posting.  Even though I haven't posted much lately, I have been out taking pictures of birds like normal and am pretty backed up with post processing.
Back on June 9th, I found this male Blue-winged Teal at South Quigley Lake on the auto tour of RNWR.  A few days later I saw a male and female in a pond along the Kiwa trail.