Monday, May 31, 2010

American Avocet-Camas County, Idaho

Saw my first American Avocet, at least since I've been trying to find and identify birds, a couple of days ago. It was at the Camas Prairie Centennial Marsh, in the central region of southern Idaho. I was actually there to see if the camas lilies were blooming yet, but there were very few just beginning to bloom. I guess I'll have to go back in a few weeks. Yay!

This Avocet is wearing its breeding plumage. They don't have the rusty red color in the winter or when they are not breeding. It's pretty cool the way they dress to impress! LOL

I don't know much about these long legged birds, but I think they are quite pretty. According to the "Birds of Idaho Field Guide", they sweep their bills back and forth to find insects in the mud in shallow water. They migrate to Mexico and they nest in southern Idaho. They are also one of the few long-legged shore birds in Idaho.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

How cute is this?

This cute little owl is a juvenile short-eared owl. Since I'm new to birding and am not really confident with some ID's, a birder friend helped me ID it.

We were driving home and saw this little guy by the side of the road and partially in it. We slowed and he flew and landed right in the middle of the road in front of us. The sun was just about down and I still had my polarizing filter on my lens causing a further loss of light, so it's a bit blurry. It was also taken through the windshield so that adds to the lack of clarity, but at least I got a photo that was good enough for ID purposes. He looked so lonely, I hope his family was close by. I'm not sure how old it is, but it is a young one.

This is the first time I've seen a SE owl in the wild, so it was quite exciting! I will add it to my life list. I've not gotten so in to birding that I'm competing with my lists; they are just for my own enjoyment and purposes at this point. My kids already jokingly or maybe not so jokingly call me the "Crazy Bird Lady". Oh well, they could be calling me worse, I suppose. haha Maybe I'm still more of a bird-watcher than a birder. Maybe one of you true birders can help me out with that one. :D

Falcon Cam Update-chicks have hatched!

I've been lagging a bit on the falcon updates. I've been too busy schooling my daughter, and watching and shooting birds to be on the computer much lately. Here's a quote from the Boise, Idaho Peregrine Falconcam website,

5/25/10: "Hatching has begun! Two chicks could be seen in the nest early this morning. The tiny birds are covered with white downy feathers. They are unable to regulate their body temperatures for up to two weeks, so they will stay under the adults for warmth. See our Facebook page for pictures of the chicks."

These birds are so gorgeous and it's such a great privilege to be able to view into this nest and watch what goes on and see the chicks. Fun stuff! Make sure you tune in to see the chicks and maybe even see an egg hatch!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Backyard Birds in the Rain

Today was an unusually rainy, cool day for this time of the year, in my neck of the woods. The birds didn't seem to mind too much, though. They were going about their winging, fledging, feeding, flitting, and generally seemed to be enjoying the spring rain. I thought I'd share a few of the photos I took today.
A young dove, on my patio.

These newly fledged house finches enjoyed hanging out on and around the feeding station.

A young female goldfinch endured the rain falling on her head.

More finches on the feeding station.

A male goldfinch awaits his turn at the feeder.

Mourning dove, hanging out on the trellis.

This Eurasian Collared Dove found a lovely perch in one of the trees.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Free Wallpaper Download-Broken Fence

I know there are no birds in this image, but I just love old barns, old structures and old fences, so I decided to offer this fence image as my latest free wallpaper download. This image was taken in Gem County, Idaho.

By downloading this file, you are agreeing to certain license usage terms. If you do not agree to the terms, please do NOT download the file.

If you would like to use this image as your computer background,
Please CLICK HERE and follow download instructions. Please also leave a comment.

*If you know someone who would like this download, use the share button; please DO NOT send them the file yourself.


Friday, May 14, 2010

New visitor, Lazuli Bunting

This little beauty is a Lazuli Bunting. I'm not even sure just how to pronounce it, but it was another first time guest in my yard this spring. He was soon followed by several others and visited on a daily basis. I assume they were just passing through since I haven't seen them in the past couple of days now. I'm still so new to birding and this migration thing, that I don't know if we aren't offering the right food now or if they were just fueling up to finish their trip. Which ever the case, I hope they return at sometime in the future. Their coloring is so pretty and it's only the second bird with blue that's visited my yard, the other being the brewer's blackbird. Until next time...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Snake River Birds of Prey Festival

Last year I attended a wonderful event! It's the Snake River Birds of Prey Festival, and it's coming up again! It will be held May 14-16 in Kuna, Idaho. It offers tours, lectures, and children's activities.

The lectures are very interesting and informative. There are falconers on site with live raptors as part of some of the lectures and in the vending hall. You can view them up close and ask questions about them.

I went on one of the tours last year. It was the Burrowing Owl Tour and it was an awesome experience! Below is one of the pictures of the owlets, just over a week old, I took on that tour. Click here to see more of the photos and read about my experience.

This year I plan to attend again, and I hope you will, too! Next year I will probably be a vendor there, but in the meantime, you may purchase my photography as fine art prints, framed or unframed, as well as greeting cards.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

"New First-time Visitors"

I've had some new visitors to my backyard recently. One, pictured below, is the Brewer's Blackbird. He and a female showed up recently. I love the beautiful coloring of this male. The metallic-like sheen of the colors in the sun are amazing! The variety & creativity of God is so astounding, & I am always delighted when a new one shows up in my yard.

I think this guy knew it,too! He must have seen his reflection in the sliding, glass doors, because he came right up to it until he was too close for my camera to focus, with the lens I had on it at the time, and appeared to be quite taken with his own good looks, or perhaps mine. haha

After a nice long look, he turned and strutted away as if to say, "Oh yeah, I'm lookin' good!" Too funny!

I haven't seen them in the past couple of days, so they may have been just passing through. From what I've read, they usually hang out with a group of other blackbirds of their kind or even with red-winged blackbirds, but perhaps this changes in the spring when they pair up. If you know, maybe you can enlighten me. Thanks.
Another recent first is the White-crowned Sparrow. These guys are just plain cute, especially with they're in my deeper grass and you just see their little heads popping up and being lit by the sun. (no pix of that, yet) At first I noticed only one or two, but in subsequent days we've had as many as 6 or more at a time.

They seem to arrive in the trees and then land down on and around the rocks of our island, over to the pond and all through the grass. They also like to feed on the deck, under the hanging feeder and get what drops to the ground from the finches feeding above.

When you open up your yard up to feeding birds, you just never know what might show up. Until next time...

To see more of my backyard visitors, click here.


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