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Chris Llewellyn's "Birds Eye Views" – Page 2 – Birding, nature, wildlife, photos, books and blog
 

What a great Baja birding day!

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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

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-

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.

California Gull, 1st winter

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.

Glaucous-winged Gull, 1st winter

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!

Elegant Tern

And a Black-bellied Plover.  It’ll get a black tummy closer to breeding time-

Black-bellied plover

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.

Merlin

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.

Lesser Goldfinch

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).

Black-necked Stilt

And a Greater Yellowlegs.  A bird named for it’s legs, of course.

Greater Yellowlegs

I can’t say goodbye today without showing off a nice photo of a family of Long-billed Dowitchers.

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

Please don’t forget to “like us” if you do.

 

Baja birders are back!

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We’re getting emails from all over the world asking “where are the blogs”.  Well, to put it simply Debbie and I were in a car that was struck from behind on a highway while in the states.  Injuries have kept me quiet for a while but all will be good.  We’ve been hanging close to the casa so I decided to shoot some birds and make a post.  Here goes…

This morning, not having to move more than 12 feet to find subjects, I photographed some locals starting with a noisy Verdin.  This is an adult bird, the juvies are mostly all brown in color.               

Verdin

Baja Spring is already starting for the birds.  Days are getting longer and our birds are starting to  get nesty.  Birds are molting and coloring up fast.  Check out this House Finch.  I watch as Mr. and Mrs. Finch check out possible nest sites.  Sometimes I need to cover the house lamps so they won’t try to build a nest inside.  These Finches come in all sorts of different colors depending on their diets.

House Finch

All I have to do is turn around to see another bird.  Just below where I’m standing is our endemic (lives only here) Gray Thrasher.  These melodic singers are opportunistic feeders, eating fruit, berries, seeds, insects, whatever.  

Gray Thrasher

We have several Costa’s Hummingbirds that visit our feeders.  Following is a pic of a male that is molting.  

Costa’s Hummingbird

Soon, the molting bird will look more like this…

Costa’s Hummingbird

                                                                                       Looking over by the thistle feeder I see a little flock of Lesser Goldfinches.  There is a male on a high perch watching me from over his shoulder.  This guy is almost in full color.

Lesser Goldfinch

Maybe the wind will lay down in a day or two so I can do some desert quading or laguning. Have a great day from Chris and Debbie!

This Baja birder says “he’s back!”

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Yes, maybe some of you remember from a post a few years ago when my darling Debbie was stalked by a big cat out at the LaGoons?  Well, the cat is still there (or back if he ever left).  We were birding the La Ribera Lagoons the other day.  As usual, Debbie went this way and I went that way.  I was checking out some Common Gallinules when I got this strong feeling something/someone was watching me.  I hoisted my binos up from the neck harness and scanned the shores of the brackish waters.  Lookie there!  There’s that bobcat, or whatever cat it is, staring at me from across  the pond.  No doubt, the same cat.  Same deformed eye.  I took a photo and looked again and it was gone.  A little creepy but nice looking animal.

LaRibera Lagoon cat
LaRibera Lagoon cat

The creeks, moans and wales of the Common Moorhen or Gallinule as “they” now call them, to me, give marshy waters the mysterious moods they inspire.  Not really a duck as they have no webbed feet.

Common Gallinule
Common Gallinule

The American Coot, a waterbird of lakes and ponds most everywhere, act as watch-dogs of the marsh.  Always on the lookout, Coots purr and then squeal loudly when perceived danger approaches.

American Coot
American Coot

Birders are always looking up, often rewarded by sites few will ever witness.  Like this silent, gliding Great blue Heron.

Great blue Heron
Great blue Heron

Or the breath-taking moment one can experience catching a glimpse of a Reddish Egret floating by in a silent moment.

Reddish Egret
Reddish Egret

Scattering away from my forward motion, an early-migrant speeds away suspiciously as I move along the shore-line.  Such a delicate-looking sandpiper that may have flown here from the far reaches of Alaska.  This is a Semi-palmated Plover.

Semi-palmated Sandpiper
Semi-palmated Plover

As we get ready to leave for the day, once again looking up at the sky we see, a Snowy Egret cruising by as if to show off it’s golden slippers.

Snowy Egret
Snowy Egret

Just a reminder that our book, “Birds We See” in Baja is now available for purchase at Chao Pescao Tackle shop, just down the block from Freddie’s repair on the East drag for Los Barriles.  Happy Birding from Chris and Debbie!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rare birds we have seen in Baja.

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Over the years, Debbie and I have had the pleasure of photographing a number of birds that are considered rare to see in Baja Sur.  Following are shots of a few of these-

Cackling Goose-Aleutian
Cackling Goose-Aleutian

This bird was with a flock of 6 that flew over me while I walked along the lagoons in La Ribera.  Way out of their normal range, they landed and quickly drank water and rested.  I didn’t want to hassle  them so I took a few photos and left them alone.  Ebird flagged these geese as very rare and seemed very pleased to get my report.

We belong to the American Birding Society.  A few years ago I was unsure of a hummingbird that hung around our feeders for a few days.  It was molting and pretty worn so it was hard for me to I.D.  After submitting the photo to Cornel University, someone there identified the hummer as a Ruby-throated.  They said it was the FIRST documented R.T. Hummingbird for Baja Sur.  Here’s one of the shots I took-

Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Last year, again walking the shores near the La Ribera Lagoons I spotted a bird I new didn’t belong there.  This is a Pacific Loon.  Maybe common up north, like Santa Cruz, California but ebird says rare for here.

Pacific Loon
Pacific Loon

I was out in the brush trying to call a Cape Pygmy Owl in hopes of getting a photograph to post when I hear a musical call I didn’t recognize.  I look up into a palm to see a bird that I had seen before back east but never photographed.  After submitting the shot to eBird, they replied that this was also a rare bird for Baja Sur., with no photographs of one taken here before. (that they knew of).  This is a Yellow-throated Warbler-

Yellow-throated Warbler
Yellow-throated Warbler

The San Lucan Robin is seen in the higher elevations of Baja Sur.  This photo was taken near the beach and made this a rare bird sighting for the area.  At the time I thought it may have come down out of the mountains because of the drought we were experiencing.

San Lucan Robin
San Lucan Robin

Black Brant are another bird that is rarely seen in Baja Sur.  Last year I was able to get this distant photograph of one flying off the lagoons.  Beautiful bird.

Black Brant
Black Brant

There are a few more rare birds we’ve photographed here in Baja Sur but I’m going to end today’s post with this unusual bird I shot north of La Ribera.  Check it out!  A Groove-billed Ani.  I’m deeply sorry but I forget the name of the man that saw this bird and emailed me so I could go for a look.  You know who you are, THANK YOU.

Groove-billed Ani
Groove-billed Ani

That’s all for today, Happy Birding from Chris and Debbie and don’t forget to like us.

 

 

Chris and Debbie are here for more Baja birds!

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These Baja birders just got back from a 3 month, 8,000 mile RV trip birding the Western U.S.  That was great fun, adding 59 new birds to our photo-list, but now it’s that time of year to focus on our birding adventures in Baja Sur.

As soon as we arrived at our casa, I started cleaning and setting out our bird feeders.  From what I can see in our yard, birds are everywhere!  It really pleases me to see that the population is looking so healthy.  A Ladder-backed Woodpecker squeaks as he watches me set out the hummer-feeders.

After the poor numbers of birds we were seeing the past 3 or 4 years, it’s great to see all the birds that we used to see in our yard are back.  Even before the hummers show up, a Verdin comes by for a drink.  This bird has not molted to adult plumage yet.

The orioles are here as well, both Scott’s and Hooded.

Another one of my little buddies (my son thinks I’m weird to call birds “little buddies”) comes flitting around the Tuli-pan tree looking for a treat.  Busy-as-a-bee, an Orange-crowned Warbler checks things out.

There’s even a Gila Woodpecker at the feeder already!  Gilas are expert at cracking open sun flower seeds all the time squawking with pleasure.

Ah-ha, the hummers are showing up.  Wow!  4 or 5 Costa’s and 3 or 4 Xantus’s (at least).

Okay, sorry but thats all for now.  Gotta’ go put out all the little “fires” that start when we are away.  Bye for not,  Happy Birding from Chris and Debbie!  Don’t forget to “like” us.

 

Birds we see in Mission, Texas.

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My darling Debbie and I spent some time in the Mission, Texas area birding the World Birding Centers.  We have 704 birds in our Western Hemisphere collection and we’re looking for more to add.  Most of our days used searching for new birds were cloudy, some thunderstorms, hot and humid. Just the way I like it, but not so much Debbie.  One of the new birds we found by cruising an abandoned subdivision that was mostly a field.  I saw something small move away from being run over by our jeeps tire.  Of course I stop and when I see a bird I’m going “oh my ***!, Oh my ***! there’s a Chuck Will’s Widow!   Grab the camera out of the back seat and I fire away.  Turns out, the bird is a Common Nighthawk and not a Chucky, but still a great bird and nice shots-

Common Nighthawk
Common Nighthawk

We “high five” for a job well done and move on.  On our way back to the R.V., Debbie spots a beauty near the side of the road in front of a grassy field.  We already have the Western Meadowlark in our portfolio so this is a bird new to us, the Eastern Meadowlark.  These birds are being shy but, from a distance, Debbie collects this nice photo.

Eastern Meadowlark
Eastern Meadowlark

The next day, we make for the Butterfly Farm.  Debbie checked out bird reports on-line for the area and found we may get lucky hunting some new guys.  We were very pleased to find Northern Bobwhite-

Northern Bobwhite
Northern Bobwhite

And even found, all on our own, an Eastern Screech Owl.  This bird looks like it’s eyes are closed but actually, it’s squinting.   Moving left to right, it followed my every move.

Eastern Screech-Owl
Eastern Screech-Owl

Also, at the Butterfly farm we found this White-tipped Dove-

White-tipped Dove
White-tipped Dove

I forgot to mention some birds we photo-captured on our way to Mission.  Wherever we stopped for a night or two, Debbie scoped out the place for birds we may be looking for.  She found the Rosy-Faced Lovebirds had been spotted near a pond and we found them.  Lucky birders we are!

Rosy-faced Lovebird
Rosy-faced Lovebird

Other birds we saw were this Couch’s Kingbird.  Pretty much have to come to Southern Texas to see this one-

Couch's Kingbird
Couch’s Kingbird

And this Red-crowned Parrot.

Red-crowned Parot
Red-crowned Parrot

This bird has an attitude, don’t you think?  Curve-billed Thrasher-

Curve-billed Thrasher
Curve-billed Thrasher

Last but not least for today is this Golden-fronted Woodpecker.

Golden-fronted Woodpecker
Golden-fronted Woodpecker

We’ve birded 4 or 5  of the World Birding Centers in Texas so far, of which there are nine and we have only scratched the surface in 2 weeks, birding nearly every day.  There is so much to see in Texas.  It has to be one of my favorite states, the people, the wildlife, the thunderstorms at night…’til next time, Happy Birding from Chris and Debbie—don’t forget to like us.

These Baja birders visit Chiapas, Mx.

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My darling Debbie and I birded Chiapas (the southern-most state in Mexico) for about 10 days in February.  We flew from San Jose, Baja Sur to Mexico City, overnighted and continued on to Pelenque, Chiapas the next day.  We were met there by Brock Huffman and company  (Chiapas Birding Adventures) for a birding adventure we will never forget.  Our highly qualified birding guides always went out of their way to ensure our comfort and safety.  And by-the-way, there was never a question or feeling that we were in any way un-safe.  The people of Chiapas are friendly, shy and curious.  Most of the time, the weather was very cloudy so many photos we took are not as crisp as usual.   In what little time we had, we birded many different habitats from sea-level to 7,000 feet or so.  The artificial goal I set of photographing  50 new birds was achieved and actually surpassed by 2.  Yep, 52 birds new to our cameras.  Today, I’ll show you a few shots we took of Trogons and Kingfishers.

Mountain Trogan
Mountain Trogon

If you have ever tried to photograph Trogons in their natural habitat (not in a zoo), you will probably appreciate these shots even more.  Trogons can be extremely shy and DO NOT like to pose for photos.  Seems like almost every time I think I’m close enough to take a pic of one, its still too far away in the shadows of the trees they like to hide in.

Violaceous Trogon
Violaceous Trogon

In general, Trogons like to land on a branch and slowly scan the area for insects.  One would think they are not paying any attention so sneak up just a little more to take that shot, right?  No, one step too many and flush!!!!!!!they are gone.

Black-headed Trogon
Black-headed Trogon

This Black-headed Trogon was the only one we/I saw the entire trip.  Debbie sat-out the boat ride I was on to capture kingfishers where I spotted this bird about 500 yards away.  That distance and a rocking boat lead to a somewhat fuzzy photograph.  If I only had more time.

Amazon Kingfisher
Amazon Kingfisher

If you follow our blogs you might remember a photo of an Amazon Kingfisher I shot in Oxaoca.  That shot was taken from 1/4 mile away and not very good but it was the only one we ever saw so this one at fifty feet is certainly an up-grade, even though the day was very cloudy.  Check out the size of it’s bill compared to the head.

Ringed Kingfisher
Ringed Kingfisher

Our boat captain really knew the birds on the river.  He knew exactly where to find this Ringed Kingfisher, a bird I told him I really wanted to photograph.  What a beauty!

Pygmy Kingfisher
Pygmy Kingfisher

I had no idea I would be seeing so many different kingfishers types on this tiny river.  Jokingly, I mentioned to the captain while we were launching the boat that “there may be a little something extra for you” if we find a Pygmy Kingfisher.  I didn’t think he understood a word I said because he just smiled.   While we were moving along, suddenly the boat stops near a brush pile.  The captain starts pshishing, pssh, pssh…And suddenly, out of a thicket flys a Pygmy Kingfisher!  Before I can shoot, it flys back in.  I’m whispering no.no.no…he’s gone.  The captain winks at me and psshes some more.  This time I’m ready and take the shot and before he’s gone again.  “Let’s go”, I say, I don’t like stressing birds.  500 pesos for the very happy captain.  I think it made him proud of his expertise.

I’ll leave today with photos of a Sungrebe, (how lucky am I?)

Sungrebe
Sungrebe

and a Mangrove Swallow, both taken on the river.

Mangrove Swallow
Mangrove Swallow

Happy Birding from Chris and Debbie.  Don’t forget to like us, if you do.

Baja birders visit Rancho Encinalito.

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After hearing about our experience with a grumpy (to say the least) rancher up San Antonio Road a few weeks ago, our new friends Scott and Kathleen, invited us up to their paradise, Rancho Encinalito, which is also near San Antonio Rd.  Scott and Kathleen live off-the-grid in a home they built with great attention to detail.   An extreme get-a-way with a pond, garden, orchard and lots of land.  They let us know that the person that was rude to us was NOT the norm for that area.  Enough said, now about the birds—

Have you ever seen one of these Hummingbirds before?  Of course you have.  This is a Costa’s Hummingbird.  How many are you seeing around your feeders this year?  Only a few, at best probably.  We saw a few on our way up to the ranch, none at their feeders, just like at our casa.  Well, we have one or two.  We used to have ten or twenty.  I hope their low numbers is just because there is lots of feed for them out in the countryside due to a few late rains.

Costa's Hummingbird
Costa’s Hummingbird

We saw a Zone-tailed Hawk perched like a guard watching over the entry gate.

Zone-tailed hawk
Zone-tailed hawk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And out on the flats, the low land near the entry to San Antonio, a cardon cactus supports a handsome Harris’s Hawk.  Not many of these boys around this year either.

Harris's Hawk
Harris’s Hawk

On our walk into the ranch, the brush was full of birds like this Black-headed Grosbeak.

Black-headed Grosbeak
Black-headed Grosbeak

And lots of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Pacific-Slope Flycatchers were a common sight.

Pacific-slpoe Flycatcher
Pacific-slpoe Flycatcher

We even saw a Gilded Flicker.

Gilded Flicker
Gilded Flicker

Again, my darling Debbie and I would like to thank Scott and Kathleen for their honest-hospitality and we wish them good fortunes.  Happy Birding from Chris and Debbie!

What a day can bring for these Baja birders.

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My darling Debbie and I took a ride in the car up San Antonio road the other day.  This road turns south off the highway at the bridge “Agua Blanca”, maybe 5 or 10 miles east of San Bartolo.  The road runs through the Sierra de Laguna Biosphere.  Birds are everywhere.  Large flocks of Brewer’s Sparrows, Clay-colored Sparrows, Lark Sparrows and Morning Doves were all over the place.  Debbie was taking photos of a Red-tailed Hawk when it landed not far from us.  We could see it had twigs in it’s bill for nest building when all of a sudden—

Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk

the hawk sees something that freezes it like ice and then w-h-a-m-m-o!  It pounces on a nearby branch.  Watching in quiet amazement, we can see the bird drop the twigs and clutch at something all in one motion.  Check out Debbie’s photos.  The Red-tail caught a snake, looks to me like a gopher snake (Debbie noticed the tail hanging down, bottom right), and starts eating the critter right before our eyes.

Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk

Yum-Yumm

Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk

After all that excitement, I need to rest up a bit.  We stop at one of our favorite places, an arroyo at Km 23 or so, (has a large biosphere sign in the middle of it).  Debbie isn’t up for a long hike today so she stays near the rig while off I go.  I do keep close enough to keep an eye, or ears, on her (remember the Bob Cat attack?).  Often, I like to do a little bird calling using my ipod which is loaded with bird calls.  Setting up with the sun to my back, I hang the little wireless speaker on a branch. In a perfect world, the birds will land nearby and pose for a brief photo-op in the sunlight.  I start with a Western screech Owl call and later change to a Black-capped Gnatcatcher.  Other birds like to join gnatcatchers to mob owls.  The idea is to chase the owl away.  I hear a bird in the bushes BEHIND me, in the shadows.  Not great for photography because of the low-light, but it’s close enough to shoot this pretty Lincoln’s Sparrow.  Good bird for Baja Sur (meaning “not seen very often ((by me anyway)).

Lincoln's Sparrow
Lincoln’s Sparrow

And then a bright patch of yellow catches my eye.  Oooooo… a Wilson’s Warbler, nice—

Wilson's Warbler
Wilson’s Warbler

I’m day-dazing a little bit and for a moment, I think I’m back in Oregon.  That’s because there’s a bird calling, this sound like a zipper with a cold that I often hear in our backyard back home and never heard here on the East Cape before.  Take a look at what came to join the gnatcatchers— a Spotted Towhee.  Now how cool is that?—

Spotted Towhee
Spotted Towhee

Next, a fidgeting Cassin’s Vireo is hopping around in the background.  This little bird often goes unnoticed  due to it’s size and ultra-shy manners.

Cassin's Vireo
Cassin’s Vireo

Across from me on my right, back aways from the speaker sits a Yellow-rumped Warbler. You can see why they are called yellow rumped and they seem to be enjoying the abundance of prey the lush habitat affords.  This is the “Audubon’s” variety, I can tell by the very yellow throat, wich would be more white in the “Myrtle”  Yellow-rumped Warbler.

Yellow-rumped Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler

A seldom seen Warbling Vireo joins the show embarrassing the other birds  with it’s singing-

Warbling Vireo
Warbling Vireo

As we say good-bye, we watch an Acorn Woodpecker thats’ obviously enjoying the day.  The Oak Trees that grow at this altitude provide acorns that many animals depend on.  These nuts are stored in leks to help some birds get through the winters.

Acorn Woodpecker
Acorn Woodpecker

“till next time, buen dia from Chris and Debbie and by all means-like us on facebook.  It helps us alot.

Baja birders find this interesting!

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Off to the lagoons with my sweetheart we go.  I’m thinking there must have been a lot of people out here over the weekend as there are few birds to be seen and tire tracks all over the beach.  I do see a small flock of ducks fly in with a plop (some duck species glide on top of the water to a smooth landing and some just go PLOP!)  I recognize these daphy’s as Lesser Scaups.  I see a few Lessers here every year but there is one duck that stands out in the bunch.  It’s a Greater Scaup!  Actually flagged by eBird as a Rare bird here.  I get so excited that if I had any hair, I’m sure it would be standing straight up!  I’m very lucky to get a comparison shot for the two ducks.  Click on this link for more info on Scaups.

Greater(left) and Lesser Scaups
Greater(left) and Lesser Scaups

I move on so as not to make the birds nervous.  I saw what looked like a piece of trash on one of the islands earlier and now it’s gone.  I take a look with my binoculars and “while I’ll be!”, just off to the right I can see a goose-like bird paddling through some water-weeds.  I guess that was the “trash” I saw.   This is another lucky day for me.  Besides having darling Debbie making it out to bird with me I see another rare bird.  Now, I saw a flock of these guys here a month or two ago but now there’s a single Brant and it flies away as soon as I see it.  I get one or two quick shots.

Brant
Brant

Moving along through the muck that is the border of the lagoon, I see a white “thing” in a bush across the water.  Binos up…how cool!!  A Black-crowned night Heron.  The bird looks like a little white piece of paper in the brush.  Steady the camera on the mono-pod.  Its got  it’s eyes closed.  Thats not good for a photo-op so I meow like a kitten.  The sound works and it opens it’s eyes, I fire away.  Not a bad photo for about one hundred yards away.

Black-crowned night Heron
Black-crowned night Heron

Back at home Debbie and I are going over a few shots she took.  She always has the eye for composition in her photos.  Here’s a female Lesser Scaup cruising the calms…

Lesser Scaup, female
Lesser Scaup, female

And the shot-of-the-day!!!  A Great-blue Heron watching us watching him.  WOW!!!

Great-blue Heron
Great-blue Heron

Okay, everybody have a great day from Chris and Debbie.

Let’s Go Birding, chemo style

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September, 2015

Should I laugh? Should I cry? I didn’t know which. The true experience of mixed emotion slaps me right in the face, hard.

“Do you want to go birding?” my wonderful husband Chris asks. It used to be a simple “yes!” and we grabbed our gear, made sure Kitty was set and took off. Since I’m back in chemotherapy, it’s a different story.

As of this writing, I am a 10 1/2 year survivor of stage IV ovarian cancer. We are a month into a clinical trial with a new drug (trametinib) and I am having all kinds of side effects that we are trying to control while still maintaining a sense of normalcy in our lives. For us, birding is a normalcy. So…let’s go birding, chemo style.

After saying “yes!”, I start getting ready. Make sure I take all my drugs on time and in the right order. Shower with tepid water as no hot water is allowed and blot dry. We don’t want to irritate the rash and blisters any more. The rash is like a really bad case of the zits. Brush my teeth but not too hard to irritate my gums. Apply anti biotic topical cream on the rash on my face, neck chest and upper back, then face cream, then healing cream then sun screen.  And most of all, be sure and brush your teeth before applying creams or you have to do it all again. Then lotion on the rest of the body as the trial drug dries out all of my skin. I don’t have a small body…

I’m tired out by this time so have to stop and take a rest. I sit down and Chris lovingly covers my big toe blisters on both feet with triple antibiotic ointment and gauze so they don’t become infected.  

After resting a bit, I start again. My hiking shoes won’t fit because of the edema in both legs so flip flops it is. They don’t do so well in the blackberry bushes but I’ll be careful. Good thing we covered the toe blisters.  Chris helps me and we carefully put on a rash guard long sleeved top so as not to wipe off all the lotions or you have to reapply them, and a floppy hat to protect the rash on my head, face, neck, shoulders, chest and upper back.

Sun screen is the worst for your optics as it eats away at the rubber.  I have to apply sun screen to all uncovered skin…which means my hands as well, especially since I have blisters on them too.  So..I have to be very careful and TRY and not get any sunscreen on my optics!!!!  Yeah, right. Maybe my spendy Leica’s will last as long as I do.

Both hands in the “U” area between my index fingers and thumbs are covered in blisters so…I double the sunscreen on them, all the time wondering…how the heck am I going to carry my mono pod with my camera on it, which is hard for me to do in the first place let alone carry it without getting any sunscreen on everything!!  I must look into some kind of UV protective gloves.

After an hour and a half of getting lathered in creams and lotions and getting dressed, we get my bag, water, fanny pack, camera, mono pod, binoculars, hat, iPHONE and pink bean (for calling the birds)…and we are ready to go! So much for the early birds!

We chose to do the clinical trial in Santa Cruz, CA out of several hundred locations in the U.S. as it was geographically favorable to us than any other. When driving back and forth from the RV Park to my doctor appointments in town, we had seen a sump that looks like it had a lot of bird activity. The sump is located on a produce farm and is fenced and gated. We pull into the outlet where the farm sells their produce along with fresh baked pies (yum) to ask for permission to bird the sump. The owner is gracious and allows us to do so.

We park at the highest end of the sump. I ask Chris to back in so I can sit in the Jeep if I get tired and still be able to photograph and use my “bins”. The bank is steep and only enough room for me to stand outside the Jeep on either side.

Chris grabs his gear and takes off to the far side of the sump. We are hoping to get a photo of the Virginia Rail today. I peer down into the tule bushes that surround the open water.  There are several Mallards and coots and I see a Black Phoebe hawking insects over the water.  Other than that, it’s pretty quiet.  

We had shot Sora the day before, until my hands got so frozen from the cold north wind I couldn’t move my fingers any more and Chris took me home. With no protection, the wind howls through this open red and green terrain of strawberry fields and it’s cold, even in September. Of course, we’ve also noticed that I am constantly cold since I’ve began my fifth go at chemotherapy.

I see Chris down at the other end of the swamp.  Looks like he’s just shooting away.  Lucky guy’s probably in a flock of Virginia Rail’s.  He’ll be back with the award winning photo of one before I snap my first photo since it takes me ½ hour to get everything set up without getting any sunscreen on anything and keep everything from blowing away, sync the bluetooth between my pink bean and my iPHONE and get the call going….ahhhh…finally…now, all I need to do is get that “just right” photo.

I get out of the JEEP, strap on my binoculars and fanny pack over my heavy fleece jacket and add my floppy hat. I get my mono pod adjusted to the right height, camera settings adjusted, lens fully extended to 400mm, AF, and focus on the tule bushes where I figure the Rails are hiding.

My binoculars that I’m reluctant to touch are now dangling from my chest, my floppy hat is fastened down securely, my pink bean audio device is dangling from my fanny pack mid waist and synced with my iPHONE. I open up my trusty birding app, select “Virginia Rail”, tap “sounds” and start calling for the Virginia Rail, ready for action.    

And then it hits me. All of a sudden, out of nowhere..the BIG “D”. Another side effect of the chemo. I won’t describe what happened then altho I contemplated long and hard about it as oh boy, was it a scene. The passing traffic probably had a few laughs over it. Twenty minutes later and several Wet Ones, I get back in the car and waited for my wonderful Chris. An hour later, he came rambling back to the JEEP, no Virginia Rail but he had a big smile on his face.

Should I laugh? Should I cry? I choose to keep laughing and keep looking for the Virginia Rail.

Virginia Rail
Virginia Rail

Just another birding adventure from Birds We See. Happy birding from Chris and Debbie.

1/21/2016  I am doing much better controlling my chemotherapy and we are happy to report my condition remains “stable”.  Eleven years ago on January 14, 2005, they gave me 5 months to live.  Hang in there fellow survivors!

Birds We See around the water in Baja Sur.

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Manual told me the other day (and he’s lived here all of his life), that all the birds on the shore look the same to him.  “The big ones are older and the little ones are babies”.  I asked him to watch for our next blog.  Maybe he will look a little closer, next time.

How often have I heard something like “ugly as a Coot!”, especially from duck hunters, which I used to be.  Me, myself, I don’t see anything “ugly” in this photo my darling Debbie took.

American Coots
American Coots

 

 

Sometimes I’ll be walking along the sandy beach without a bird in sight.  I’ll take a look behind me and, as if by magic, a flock of Snowy Plovers will appear.  These tiny, little birds blend in with the color of the sand so well they are easily overlooked.

Snowy Plover
Snowy Plover

Snowy plovers are small shorebirds that dash in and out of waves at the beach. While it looks like they are playing, these chunky little white birds are actually chasing after a meal of small insects and crustaceans.

Manual, if you are reading this blog, please pay attention.  The Snowy Plover is not a baby of the following bird just because it’s smaller.

The Tri-colored Heron visits local shores, especially estuaries in Baja Sur from time to time.

Tri-colored Heron
Tri-colored Heron

The tricolored heron wades in the water in search of prey. Most of its diet is made up of fish, but it also will eat amphibians, insects and crustaceans.  Not to be confused with the Little Blue Heron-

Little Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron

A small, dark heron colored in blues and purples, the Little Blue Heron is a common but inconspicuous resident of marshes and estuaries in the Southeast and sometimes visits Baja Sur. They stalk shallow waters for small fish and amphibians, using a quiet, methodical approach that can make these gorgeous herons surprisingly easy to overlook at first glance. Little Blue Herons build stick nests in trees alongside other colonial waterbirds. In the U.S., their populations have been in a gradual decline since the mid-twentieth century.  How sad!

The Solitary Sandpiper is not a “baby” of the big birds either.  I haven’t seen many of these sandpipers here so it’s always a pleasant surprise to come across one.

Solitary Sandpiper
Solitary Sandpiper

Almost all sandpipers migrate in flocks and nest on the ground, but the Solitary Sandpiper breaks both rules. In migration, as its name implies, it is usually encountered alone, along the bank of some shady creek. If approached, it bobs nervously, then flies away with sharp whistled cries. In summer in the northern spruce bogs, rather than nesting on the wet ground, the Solitary Sandpiper lays its eggs in old songbird nests placed high in trees.

The Snowy Egret, a strikingly-beautiful bird, was probably saved from extinction by the Audubon Society.  In the early 1900’s, these birds were killed in great numbers for their feathers.  As I understand it, the Society lobbied congress for a moratorium on the taking of these creatures and their numbers have recovered.

Snowy Egret
Snowy Egret

Snowy Egrets wade in shallow water to spear fish and other small aquatic animals. While they may employ a sit-and-wait technique to capture their food, sometimes they are much more animated, running back and forth through the water with their wings spread, chasing their prey.

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s blog—Happy Birding from Chris and Debbie    and…If you like us, then like us on facebook.

 

Baja birders don’t have to go far-

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Don’t have to go to far to find something special, something really cool to see, almost any day.  Had a few hours open so I took a ride up the Buenos Aires Arroyo yesterday.  I’m still searching for that very special Western Screech Owl I heard last week by our casa.   Stop by a very brushy area where I can find some shade.  I have a wire-less speaker to set-up away from me so I can have some control of the settings.  The owl only has to call a few moments and I’m surprised to see an absolutely beautiful Lazuli Bunting.

Lazuli Bunting
Lazuli Bunting

The Bunting takes a quick look and leaves.  Then I see a bird wagging it’s tail up and down just above where I placed the speaker.  That “tail action” tells me this is some kind of flycatcher.  Through the lens of the camera I’m pleased to see a Pacific-slope Flycatcher.  Notice the bi-colored bill and the tear-drop eye ring.

Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Pacific-slope Flycatcher

I’ve already stopped the calling but the Orange-crowned Warblers are still jumping all around the place.

Orange-crowned Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler

I can hear a Canyon Wren calling from, where else, up the canyon.  Click on the link and you can hear it’s awesome call.  I call twice and it flies over near the speaker to see what’s up.

Canyon Wren
Canyon Wren

Goes to show that if you have just a few minutes of free time, there’s a lot to see.  Just grab the binos and go!

Happy Birding from Chris and Debbie!

 

These Baja Birders and a few small birds.

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My darling Debbie and I took advantage of a windless morning yesterday and took the quads up back, behind the casa a mile or so.  I check the oil, gas and air-pressure in the machines—all good. “Grab the binos and the canteens and let’s go!”.

First thing we see is an adult, male American Kestrel or “Sparrow Hawk” as some call them.  That slate -blue color on it’s head and wings is a give-a-way, distinguishing male from female.  Also, the female’s head appears to be smaller and round-looking.  Check him out-

American Kestrel
American Kestrel

We pull up to some tall brush where we can get some shade to do some “calling”.  Looking around, not a bird in sight.  I turn the Western-screech Owl call on for a little bit, then stop.  “right over there, Debbie” but I can see she’s already frozen-with-her-camera pointing at a Gray Flycatcher.  Notice the fairly long, bi-colored bill?

Gray Flycatcather
Gray Flycatcather

I call for a few more seconds and I hear a bird moving in.  That call!, not unlike the wheezing of a heavy smoker after a jog.   These birds flick their tails constantly as they feed on tiny insects in the brush—California Gnatcatcher.

California Gnatcatcher
California Gnatcatcher

Not to be confused with the more common Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  one of which also flew in to see what the racket was all-about.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

I leave the call off.  Its important to remember that calling birds can upset their daily routines and defense mechanisms, some say.  No need to call more anyway because now, where there were no birds visible when we got here, birds are mobbing us!  We see a Yellow-rumped Warbler.

Yellow-rumped Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler

And a Brewer’s Sparrow that looks like it’s having a bad hair day.

Brewer's Sparrow
Brewer’s Sparrow

An Ash-throated Flycatcather flies by with a call that sounds to me like a “coach’s” whistle.

Ash-throated Flycatcher
Ash-throated Flycatcher

I see a Butcher-bird, (Loggerhead Shrike) and can’t resist taking this back-lit photo-

Loggerhead Shrike
Loggerhead Shrike

Now I can’t resist the sight of our hammock staring at me so that’s it for today.  From Chris and Debbie—-Happy Birding                  please don’t forget to like us!

 

 

 

Baja Birder at the San Bartolo Arroyo.

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Took a short quad ride up the arroyo to see what birds might be hiding out in the desert scrub.  I parked the rig under a bush for shade and looked around.  Not a thing in sight, so I decided to do a little calling.  I’ve heard a Western Screech-Owl calling at night from time to time and that’s the call I played on my ipod.  Right off, 4 or 5 Ash-throated Flycatchers flew in to challenge the owl.

Ash-throated Flycatcher
Ash-throated Flycatcher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I stop the call for a while so as not to bug the birds too much and then I see a curious Black-throated Sparrow.

Black-throated Sparrow
Black-throated Sparrow

After a bit, I start up the quad and move on.  The birds are getting a little agitated, I think. They’re wiping their beaks on branches like they want to bite someone.   At the new spot I use a call of a Black-capped Gnatcatcher.  We don’t have any of these birds here but I’ve found other birds like the call.  Here comes a Brewer’s Sparrow.

Brewer's Sparrow
Brewer’s Sparrow

And right along side of it is a House Finch.  Where’s that call coming from?  Pretty bird!

House Finch
House Finch

As I’m heading home, I see up ahead, a bird I can’t I.D.  Hmmmm.  Well I’ll be…. It’s a Lark Bunting.  Never saw this bird in Baja before…

Lark Bunting
Lark Bunting

When I was leaving the lagoons a few days ago, I saw a Common Loon.  I’ve seen these birds up north quit a bit but when I checked the ABA (American Birding Association, which we are members of) records, I found this bird to be listed as “rare” in Baja Sur.

Common Loon
Common Loon

That’s it for today, from Chris and Debbie—Happy Birding!!!!!!

Another day for this Baja Birder at La Ribera lagoons.

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This amazing day began, as I walked the lagoons, with spotting a strange bird swimming with a bunch of American Coots.  In a way,  looking similar to a coot ( is related), this bird took off before I could be sure what it was.  I did get a photo and checking review, I could see this was a Common Gallinule.  Maybe not so “common” at this estuary as I’d never seen one here before.  And Swimming with coots? weird!

Common Gallinule
Common Gallinule

And then I turn my attention to the surf-line.  Some very high tides have been inundating the pools with salt water.  Out over the breakers I see some sea-birds.  A smallish bird was flying near some Caspian Terns.  Hmmm?  Black bill, head partially covered in black feathers, long pointy wings?  I know what it is not, but I don’t know what it is.  I have to check this out when I get home.  To make a long story short, the forum agreed with me that this is a Common Tern.  Rated as “rare”  in Baja Sur and endangered in many of the areas where it is in range.

Common Tern
Common Tern

All I have to do is turn around and there, in the bushes is a sparrow-looking bird.  Very white belly covered with dripping chocolate,  I’m puzzled?  Cropping the photo I took, I can see a little bit of yellow on the forehead.  This is a Savannah Sparrow, probably a “Beldings” sub-species.  NEVER saw one that looked like this before.

Beldings Savannah Sparrow
Beldings Savannah Sparrow

Nearby, I see a small flock of sparrows.  At this distance, I’m thinking they’re just fairly common Chipping Sparrows.  I take a shot to view later.  When I get home, I’m surprised to see that this is a Clay-colored Sparrow.  Surprised because I don’t see these vary often.

Clay-colored Sparrow
Clay-colored Sparrow

I walk down the road to see what I could see.  To my left, I hear some birds making a commotion.  A little dark but I take a shot anyway.  Ahh…A Yellow Warbler.

Yellow Warbler
Yellow Warbler

On my way out, there’s something on top of a tree ahead.  As if to say good-bye, a Loggerhead Shrike (sometimes called Butcherbirds for the way they impale their prey on cactus spines or barbed wire) poses for a photo.  Handsome bird.

Loggerhead Shrike
Loggerhead Shrike

Merry Christmas from Chris and Debbie, happy birding and don’t forget to “like” us.

Baja birders at high altitudes.

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High up in the Sierra de Laguna mountains of Baja Sur.

The Biosphere
The Biosphere

The trail at the bottom of this mountain, we would find out later, was just the beginning of our 3 day, 2 night outing.  Debbie couldn’t make this hike.  She really doesn’t like sleeping on the ground, so it’s up to me and our best friends Bill, Bill and Jane to climb the rugged Baja mountains in search of vistas and, for me especially, birds.  We worked switchbacks back and fourth, higher and higher for miles.  The treck began at an elevation somewhere around 1500 hundred feet and I think Bill and Jane ( no stopping this couple!) made it to 5500 feet or so.  Our guide is the best!  Edgardo, bajasierradventures.com, is patient, knowledgeable and made sure we lacked for nothing.  The mule handlers, Catharino (the man of the mountains) and Alexandro sang by the camp-fire at night and even tried to hunt down a wild pig for us. Me, well, I pooped out with an injured knee after 7 or 8 hours traveling the slopes and had to stay at the base camp the second day.  My best buddy Bill stayed there with me the second day to keep me company while Bill and Jane traveled on.  Some bird photos include this Black-throated gray Warbler I saw near the camp—

Black-throated Gray Warbler
Black-throated Gray Warbler

Maybe it was meant to be, but staying at the base camp had it’s own rewards.  The camp-site area itself is on a river-like stream way more than a bubbling brook.  A small roar from the fast, cascading water was just noisy enough to make us raise our voices a bit while talking.  When exploring Bill found a quiet canyon nearby, I took the opportunity to call some birds.  First to show up was a colony of Acorn Woodpeckers.  With their clown-faces and antics, we watched as one fetched an acorn from an Encino Tree (Oak), placed it with the pointy end inward in one of the holes in the lek and pounded it with gusto.

Acorn Woodpecker
Acorn Woodpecker

I’m using a Northern Pygmy Owl call.  This often attracts all different types of birds.  Next to show up are several Western Tanagers.  Here’s a male trying to look his best!

Western Tanager
Western Tanager

When I switch to a Cape Pygmy Owl call,  a mid-low tone hoo——hooo——-hoo, right away, in the distance, I hear an owl call back.  Bill!…come over here!  Look up there.  We both see one owl that has landed 50 feet up in a nearby tree.  As we watch, it’s mate joins her (he is smaller) and gives her an owl-kiss.  How cool is that?!

Cape pygmy Owls
Cape pygmy Owls
Cape-pygmy Owls
Cape-pygmy Owls

We leave the owls to themselves and Bill decides to do a little carving on his walking stick.

Bill Barbour
Bill Barbour

Me?  I take my camera and go sit on a rock.  I turn on my bird call with the sound of a Black-capped Gnatcatcher. This call attracts many species of birds.  To my utter amazement, a bird flies and lands up-side down on a palm a hundred feet away.  What the heck?  My binos show me that this is a White-breasted Nuthatch.  Turns out, this is the only place in Baja where these birds have been seen, amazing!  How lucky!

White-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch

Following are a few shots— At the trail head,

Left to right, Edgardo, Jane and Bill Perry, Bill Barbour
Left to right, Edgardo, Jane and Bill Perry, Bill Barbour

By the base camp.  Yes, the water is cold.

By the base-camp
By the base-camp

This hike is not for people that are expecting a walk-in-the-park.  It is tough, no doubt.  I’m chomping at the bit to do it again!   This time, at least 5 days.  Too much marching and not enough “stop and look” time.  I will go again.  Up to the lagoons (pasture now), and maybe more.  This area is so untouched.  “till next time—-Happy Birding from Chris and Debbie

 

My Baja birding buddy, J.B. emailed a shot

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of a bird he’d seen south of La Ribera.  He thought it might be a Grove-billed Ani.  He had seen them in Costa Rica but they sure don’t belong here in Baja Sur!  So, following his directions, I found the area where he saw the bird a few days earlier.  It was early in the morning.  The wind was already blowing so hard I could hardly stand, so I was discouraged, but I had to look around.  I found a Northern Mockingbird ducking the wind.

Northern Mockingbird
Northern Mockingbird

Just looking ahead a bit, deep in the brush I see a Bell’s Vireo.  Very hard bird for me to get close to.

Bell's Vireo
Bell’s Vireo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A little American Kestrel holds on for dear life while he wonders what the heck I’m up to.

American Kestrel
American Kestrel

And then I see something out of the ordinary ahead.  I think, “could it be?” and raise my binos.  Sure enough, I see a Groove-billed Ani in Baja Sur.  I’ve photographed this bird before so there’s no doubt about it.  Take a look-

Groove-billed Ani
Groove-billed Ani

Again, thanks Jim for the tip, it’s always appreciated!  Have a great day and Happy Birding from Chris&Debbie—Don’t forget to like us.

 

 

The wind won’t stop blowing but I’ve got to do some Baja birding!

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Birding is pretty tough when the weather is windy and cloudy.  I decided to check out the LaGoons today, just had to get out of the casa.  Am I ever glad I did because I found one more bird that is way out of it’s range.  The Surf Scoter (click on the link), doesn’t belong this far south.  Another pat-on-the-back for Oly!

Surf Scoter
Surf Scoter

 

Moving along, I’m heading towards a flock of sandpipers hunkered down from the wind when I see another bird I don’t remember seeing here before.  This is a Black-bellied Plover.  As you can see, while this plover is not really out of range, it isn’t very common here either.

Black-bellied Plover
Black-bellied Plover

This bird was very suspicious of me, so I keep my distance and walk down the beach to where I had seen the other sandpipers.  I see a mixed bag of birds moving quickly away from me.  Here’s a good comparison shot of, left to right, a Western Sandpiper(dark legs), Least Sandpiper(yellowish legs) and a Semipalmated Plover.

Western Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper and Semipalmated Plover
Western Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper and Semipalmated Plover

A flock of Blue-winged Teal fly by with the sun casting bad light (for photographing) behind them.

Blue-winged Teal
Blue-winged Teal

And an Elegant Tern pleases my eyes as it flies nearly overhead.

Elegant Tern
Elegant Tern

I find a turtle nest that was laid during the night.  The ATVs have almost driven over it so I dig up some big sticks out of the brush to put around it.  Maybe this will discourage people from riding over the nest.  As you can see from this picture, the nests are almost impossible to see.

Turtle nest
Turtle nest

I wasn’t going to post the following photo, but my friends urged me to do so.  Obviously, turtles have a lot of issues facing their existence.  When I was pulling sticks out of the brush to mark the nest I found the following: a dead turtle someone had wired a harness around probably to drag behind a boat or drag on the beach (see the scuffs on it’s back) to, maybe their car and then left it behind.  This was no accident!  This is fencing-type wire carefully wrapped around the shell.  How sad.

Turtle _

 

 

I’m in deep thought as a Western Gull watches me leave the lagoons once more.  Bye, bye for now. Chris & Debbie

Western Gull
Western Gull

We did it! Baja’s “Big 6”.

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Baja has it’s own “Big 6” when referring to birds.  Just a day ago, Debbie and I completed our mission to photograph all 6 birds endemic to Baja Sur. After stopping while driving up the San Antonio road, using my iPod, I tried calling a certain bird we’ve been trying to shoot for forever.  This time, like never before, it actually flew to us and landed on a small tree nearby.  No good!  We’re facing right into the sun!  Debbie, the birding pro she is, whistled like an owl which kept the bird close as it flew across the road into good light.  It kept looking away so I meowed like a kitten and it gave me this look! #1 on our list…The Cape Pygmy Owl.

Cape Pygmy Owl
Cape Pygmy Owl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2 is a bird very few people ever see, mostly because the only place in the world it lives is high up in the Sierra de Laguna Mts.  Debbie wasn’t up for the hike at the time I had to go to get this bird, but with the help of my friend, Luis, I got him.  Here’s it’s picture, The Baird’s Junco…

Baird's Junco
Baird’s Junco

The next bird on the list was a little easier to capture.  Always a joy to hear singing and watching looking for things to eat around the casa. With little teepees on it’s chest, #3, The Gray Thrasher…

Gray Thrasher
Gray Thrasher

A bird we photographed that was forced down from higher elevations during a drought a few years ago makes the # 4 spot on our list of endemic birds of Baja, The San Lucas Robin…

San Lucas Robin
San Lucas Robin

The bird that helps define the absolute beauty of Baja California Sur, Mexico.  At #5…The Xantus’s Hummingbird.

Xantus's Hummingbird
Xantus’s Hummingbird

Sadly, the last bird to make our list complete is one that may not be around for long.  At least we have photos to prove that we actually lived to see it before it becomes extinct. Developing wetlands, like new marinas, has left this bird with only a few recognized hectors of habitat to live on.  #6, The Beldings Yellowthroat…

Belding's Yellowthroat
Belding’s Yellowthroat

Now, after completing this photographic journey to shoot all the endemics of Baja Sur, I have to wonder whats’ next?  ” Whats’ next ” is whatever happens the next time Debbie and I pick up our cameras.  Always something new to shoot.  “til next time, Happy Birding from Chris and Debbie.