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February 2017 – Chris Llewellyn's "Birds Eye Views"
The weather is looking stormy today so I thought I’d pull up some photos of estuary birds to take a look at. We all know the golden slippers and dark beaks of the Snowy Egret sets it apart from the Great Egret, which has black legs and a yellowish bill.
I have wonderful memories of sitting in the sand watching and photographing Reddish Egrets as they chase baitfish all around the shallows. Beautiful birds they are!
Black-crowned Night Herons occasionally make an appearance here. Unlike the Reddish Egrets, they tend to forage with less enthusiasm and are often spotted sitting in trees.
What a lucky pair Debbie and I are to be able to walk or even drive a short distance to see birds like the colorful Green Heron.
And Little Blue Herons.
Plus Tri-colored Herons that, like Reddish Egrets, put on quit a show running around, chasing little fishes to feed on.
We’ve even seen a Yellow-crowned Night Heron once in a while.
Probably considered the king of Herons most people see, The Great Blue Heron is a magnificent bird. Sooo graceful!
Over on the mainland they are a few herons that don’t seem to be too big on Baja. Like the Bare-throated tiger Heron, an out-standing bird we shot on one of our birding trips.
Just looked up and out the window to see a whale breaching. Gotta go watch so, catch you later! Happy Birding from Chris and Debbie………like us if you do.
Birded some of the west-side of the lagoons today. Very quiet. Judging from the amount of the trash left on the beach, there were a lot of people out here over the week-end (errrrh!!!). How can people be like this. I could hear some Yellowthroats in the brush ahead. The Common or the critically endangered Belding’s Yellowthroat (I hope). I can’t tell them apart when they are just making their contact “buzzing” sound. I see it! Yes, a Belding’s.
I’m walking along the edge of the brackish water watching a Reddish Egret chasing fish around. It stops when it sees me and poses for a photograph.
I hear a splash and swing my camera to the right just in time to catch this Blue-winged Teal taking off making a bunch of noisy squawks.
I lower the camera but up it comes again (this is work!) when I see a beautiful Cinnamon Teal.
Keeping an eye out for that sneaky bobcat that lives around here somewhere I follow a cattle trail into the brush. Right away I get smacked in the face by a thorn bush and now I’m bleeding (can bobcats smell blood). Ignoring the wound, I move in the direction of a raucous being create in the bushes ahead. I see little birds so I pissssh a few times. (remember? put your lips together and say pish–pisssh quietly) Here comes a Gray Vireo to challenge me. Its looking me all over to see where the bird that’s pisshing is, ignoring me all together. The Vireo stays in the shadows but I take a pic and it turns out okay.
A ways behind but acting just as curious as the vireo is another bird that responds to pisshing. An Orange-crowned Warbler.
The last bird for today is a Cassin’s Kingbird. There are 4 or 6 of these birds hawking insects. The weather is kind of hazy so the lighting isn’t real good today but it’s great being out and about.
Have a great day from Chris and Debbie and HAPPY BIRDING!!!
Drove down to La Ribera today. The weather was so nice, just a breeze, warm and kosey. Ran into some other people on a guided birding trip and the leader asked me if “I’d seen anything special today”. Told him I was just getting started and wished them good luck. They headed off this way and I that-a-way. Never saw them again. After gazing at a passing Brown Pelican
I realized my reading glasses were missing from their normal perch (hanging on my neck). I hadn’t walked very far so to avoid getting THAT look from Debbie I get when I lose something, I retraced my steps. Well, I found them and as I stood up after retrieving my little friends I noticed what looked like a piece of black plastic trash bag hanging in a leafless bush 50 feet away. No big deal, accept that my mind told me it wasn’t there a moment ago. Up comes the 100X400 Canon camera lens and to my delightful surprise, I see a Groove-billed Ani. A rare sighting in Baja Sur. I shoot a few frames for proof and get to work figuring the best way to get closer without scaring off the birds and get a better photograph. I like to get as close as I can to my subjects without causing harm. For whatever reason, maybe a raptor nearby, all the birds were anxious today and this Ani was watching me closely. To better my chances, I played an Ani love call on my phone and right away 2 more Groovies popped up out of the brush to the left. Without delay, I scoot closer and get a few pics before they fly off. Okay, okay, there are a few sticks in the way but all considered, not a bad shot. Groove-billed Ani-
Now I’m happy as a spring lamb. I wanted to share my discovery with the group of birders I ran into but they were out of sight, so I mosey along. There was a large flock of gulls warming the sand up ahead of me. All but one looked like they had hatched out of the same nest. These are 1st winter California Gulls.
The one bird that didn’t fit in was a 1st winter Glaucous-winged Gull. That’s cool because it is a first for me. Gulls are especially hard to I.D. in the winter because their plumage is so bland.
I’m still excited thinking about the Ani when I look towards the lapping surf to see two different seabirds. A Royal Tern tip-toeing away while keeping an eye on me like I’m some sort of threat, oh come-on!
And a Black-bellied Plover. It’ll get a black tummy closer to breeding time-
Now I see why the birds are so nervous. Speeding by like a feathered rocket, there goes a Merlin. I know, not a great shot but I wanted to show off this raptor’s colors. This is a small but fearless member of the falcon family.
Speaking of color, check out this Lesser Goldfinch. These tiny seedeaters (mostly) cling together in noisy little flocks. You may have seen them at your bird feeder.
Getting back to the water, off in the distance are a few shorebirds. I see a Black-necked Stilt (you can see where it gets it’s name).
And a Greater Yellowlegs. A bird named for it’s legs, of course.
I can’t say goodbye today without showing off a nice photo of a family of Long-billed Dowitchers.
Debbie and I hope you all have a chance to get out and do some birding, where ever you are. Have a great day, Happy Birding from Chris and Debbie