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Chris Llewellyn's "Birds Eye Views" – Page 461 – Birding, nature, wildlife, photos, books and blog

Gila Woodpecker

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The male Gila Woodpecker has a small red cap.  The female and juveniles look similar to the male but lack the red cap.  They all have prominent white wing patches visible in flight.

Gilas are hole nesters.  They peck holes in cardon cactus until the cavity is large enough to build a nest and lay three to five white eggs.  Lots of other birds and even Spiny-tailed Iguanas use these holes to seek protection and nest in.

We always know when these birds are around.  A familiar sight and sound in Baja Sur is Gila Woodpeckers flying from place to place squawking and churring and inspecting every nook and cranny.


Books on birds in Baja California Sur, Mexico

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If you are like me, scanning the internet for books on what interest me, which most are hard to find bird books or books on birds with great photography, you’ll see why author C.E. Llewellyn decided to write and publish his newly released Birds We See in Baja California Sur, Mexico.  It is full of colorful original photographs taken by us while in and around the East Cape of Baja California Sur, Mexico.  We visit the peaceful estero in San Jose del Cabo, the arroyos near Los Barriles, the back country in the biosphere reserves and interestingly enough, our own backyard!  The birds of Baja are some of the most colorful and interesting we see anywhere in the world.

We hope we are keeping this site interesting for you and you continue to visit ever so often.  We like sharing here and with the release of Birds We See in Baja California Sur, Mexico.  Pick up your copy of this quality book on birds in Baja today and get a copy for those hard to buy for people for a Christmas present too!  You will all love it!

A portion of any proceeds of Birds We See goes to ovarian cancer research at M.D. Anderson in Houston, TX who has been instrumental in extending my life.  Diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2005, I was given months to live.  Today, my last chemotherapy treatment was nearly 2 years ago and I am taking a daily pill to keep the cancer at bay.  We hope you will contribute also and in turn get a wonderful and lasting book on birds of Baja too!  You can order your copies by clicking on the “Books” link at the top of the page.  Enjoy!

Birds we see in Baja

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are also often found in other places in North America.  This Cactus Wren was photographed building a nest in a Cholla cactus at Red Rock Canyon, Arizona.  Many Baja residents know these birds very well.  Cactus Wrens are at home in the arid deserts of the south west as well as neighborhood gardens.  We all enjoy watching the these birds as they poke and prod every little nook and cranny looking for insects and seeds.


Cactus Wrens are the largest our wrens and can survive completely without standing water. 8″

Birding Winnebago style.


In October(2011) we ventured to some western states in our Winnebago. Debbie calls the coach the Kittybago. The deciding reason to buy the RV was to enable Chica(kitty) to come along with us birding,(or us to come along with her).Following are Photos of some of the features at Zion National Park, Utah.





Baja California Sur, Mexico

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is an astonishing place.  At a glance a person might think this harsh-looking land couldn’t sustain much wildlife.  Baja’s fauna is both diverse and fragile.  The birds are absolutely incredible!  Look closely at these photos and you will see a male Hooded Oriole below and a female to the right. They are taking turns feeding their chicks.  These birds chatter,whistle and warble throughout the day.


To see more photos of these and other beautiful birds visit: http://www.BirdsWeSee.com

The book  “Birds We See” in Baja California Sur, Mexico will make an unusual and thoughtfull gift for someone special.  Remember, together we can fight ovarian cancer and save lives.  A portion of the sales of this book will be donated to The MD Anderson Cancer Research Center.

Yellow-rumped Warblers

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are some our most numerous Warblers in Baja.  Breeding males are dull bluish above with black streaks.  Breast and sides black.  We see these birds in large, chirping flocks, usually near a source of fresh water.



I think this is an Audubon’s Morph Yellow-rumped Warbler. It was photographed in Idaho in Oct. 2011.


Great Christmas Gift

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Well, whoever said writing a book was easy didn’t market it! We’ve been trying to get Chris’ newly released birding book Birds We See, in Baja California Sur, Mexico out so people can take advantage of this great Christmas or anytime gift. Christmas is closing on us fast! This is a beautiful photographic piece of many birds seen in Baja California. We spend a lot of time in Los Barriles, on the East Cape of Baja and love the exotic wildlife and birds we see there. This bird book was written to share our passion of birding. Hopefully there will be more birding books to come but this first one is centered on the birds we see in the arroyos and estuaries and our backyard in Baja.

M.D. Anderson in Houston, TX helped save my life when cancer tried to take it. Thus, a portion of all sales from Birds We See, in Baja California Sur, Mexico goes to them for ovarian cancer research. Again, this is truly a wonderful Christmas gift for children, elderly people, loved one or a friend. Order your Christmas gifts today or get one for yourself! Go to http://www.BirdsWeSee.com

Western Meadowlarks

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are robin-sized birds, streaked brown above, yellow below with a bold V on the breast.


These wonderful songsters, with rich flute-like voices fill meadows, plains and prairies with a jumble of gurgling notes.

Working on avatars

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We are working on getting our avatars, of course they are bird shots we have taken in our travels to Africa and Baja California Sur, MX. I chose the Lilac Breasted Roller that we were fortunate enough to see whilst traveling in Botswana and South Africa.

Taken near Sandibe Lodge, Botswana, Africa

Here is some information on this magnificently colored bird: Appearance
The average size of the Lilac Breasted Roller is 14.5 inches. The washed green head is large, the neck is short, the greenish yellow legs are rather short and the feet are small. The beak is strong, arched and hooked-tipped. The tail is narrow and of medium length. The back and scapulars are brown. The shoulder of the wing, outer webs of the flight feathers and the rump are all violet. The bases of the primaries and their coverts are pale greenish blue and the outer tail feathers are elongated and blackish. The chin is whitish, shading to rich lilac of the breast. The underparts are greenish blue. The bill is black and the eyes are brown. It has large wings and strong flight.

The Lilac Breasted Roller feeds on grasshoppers, beetles, occasionally lizards, crabs, and small amphibians. They take prey from the ground.

They make unlined nests in natural tree holes or in termite hills. Sometimes they take over woodpecker’s or kingfisher’s nest holes. They lay 2-4 white eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for 22-24 days. At 19 days the chicks are fully feathered and grayish brown.

Rollers get their name from their impressive courtship flight, a fast, shallow dive from considerable elevation with a rolling or fast rocking motion, accompanied by loud raucous calls.

All rollers appear to be monogamous and highly territorial. The Lilac Breasted Roller will perch on a dead tree, surveying the area for prey. One typical aspect of its behavior is that it also preys on animals fleeing from bush fires. It is a swift flier, indulging in acrobatics during the breeding season. They actually breed ‘on the wing’. They live in pairs or small groups, but are often seen alone.

Their call is a loud harsh squawk, ‘zaaak’. They are partly migratory, but in some areas they are sedentary. To feed they swoop down from an elevated perch next to their prey and eat it on the ground or return to a perch where they batter it before swallowing it whole. They are territorial, also defending temporarily small feeding territories; hence individuals are regularly spaced along roads. They drive off many species from near their nest hole, even after breeding.

Grasslands, open woods and regions where palm trees grow singly.

Where they are found
The species ranges more or less continuously throughout eastern and southern Africa from the Red Sea coasts of Ethiopia and northwest Somalia to the Angola coast and northern South Africa. Lilac Breasted Rollers inhabit acacia country with well spaced trees, rolling bushy game lands, riverside areas and cultivated land, but they do not associate with human habitation.

Latin name
Coracias caudata.

The legend of Face Rock

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Many, many years ago, the legend begins, Chief Siskiyou from the far mountains traveled with his family and other clansmen to the coast to trade goods with the four tribes who lived by the sea they called Wecoma.

In his honor, the four chiefs planned the greatest feast in all memory. They roasted bear,salmon, elk, and deer. Huge quantities of clams and mussels were steamed. Cedar back trays were filled with honey and red and blue huckleberries.

It was feared that Seatka, the evil spirit who lived in the sea, might cause trouble for the people and their guests. Armed warriors stood guard on the high bluffs.

The sea enchanted Princess Ewauna, the beautiful daughter of Chief Siskiyou. After the feast, when the people were sleeping, she slipped away from camp, carrying a basket with her cat and kittens nestled inside, and followed by her faithful dog.

The moon was full and the Wecoma ran silver. Ewuana, who did not fear Seatka, swam in the sea, farther and farther from shore. The dog barked a warning but it was too late.

The evil Seatka had captured the beautiful princess. The dog carrying the basket of kittens swam to his mistress and buried his teeth in the hand of Seatka.

Howling, he shook off the dog and threw the cats into the sea. Seatka tried to make Ewauna look into his eyes, but she refused to look away from the great, round moon.

When her father awoke, he raised the alarm. Everyone rushed to the shore of Wecoma. There they saw the lovely face of Princess Ewauna gazing skyward. Her dog was on the beach howling for the princess, and the cat and kittens were in the sea. In time, they all turned to stone, frozen forever, as they were that long ago dawn.

This photo was taken in Bandon, Oregon. A terrific location for birding. It’s interesting to see the same bird species in Bandon that we find in Los Barriles, Baja Sur. The Black-headed Grosbeak’ populations appear to be very healthy this year, both north and south. Interesting fact; Black-headed Grosbeaks are one of the few birds that can feed on the poisonous Monarch butterfly. 8″ http://BirdsWeSee.com


Sunrise at Palmas de Cortez

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is a beautiful thing. What a way to start the day!
Brown Pelicans are some of the most entertaining seabirds to observe. These stalky birds glide in long lines always taking advantage of the wind’s currents. Diving in the sea, Brown Pelicans, (White pelicans don’t dive much), open their large pouches and scoop up to 3 gallons of water, hopefully full of fishes such as sardinas, to feed on.
Being exclusively coastal, Brown pelicans are very sensitive to pollution, starvation, fishing lines and nets. After the banning of pesticides such as DDT, which causes their egg shells to thin, Brown Pelicans seem to be making a comeback. http://www.BirdsWeSee.com

Work in progress

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Hi everyone,

We are working on this website so please be patient with us. It’s something that we are working on together so we are kind of stumbling through and trying to get a feel of what exactly it is we want to do! We do know that we want to share our photos, travels and bird knowledge with you. Thanks for visiting our birds we see site and we hope you enjoy our bird information and photos we bring to you. Don’t forget, you can order Chris’ just released book, Birds We See in Baja California Sur, Mexico. It’s a great read and the photos are phenomenal. He’s done a terrific job with it. It makes a great Christmas gift for anyone, a great children’s book, a great coffee table book for your friends or a nice and lasting gift in place of flowers for that special someone. And don’t forget Christmas gifts! This bird book is a great all around gift. Purchase today at http://www.BirdsWeSee.com

The Common Murre

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This is a crow-sized diving bird of the mainland coasts. They breed in the Arctic and Sub-Arctic coasts south to central California on the pacific side and on the east coast to the Gulf of Saint lawrence.
Nesting on high cliffs the young plunge 50 to 100 feet down to the water first diving and later flying off with their parents. Even though only one egg is laid each year the common Murre’s population seems to remain stable. Oil spills being their biggest threat.

Eurasian Collard Doves

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A native species of Asia and Europe recently introduced to North America. First imported to the Bahamas in the 1980s and making their way to Florida soon there after, Eurasian Collard Doves have spread all over N.America Like with the European Starling, Baja Sur resisted these invaders until just recently. Some say they occupy a habitat niche not used by other doves (wherever that could be) but like the Starlings, it seems they are here to stay.
Visit http://www.BirdsWeSee.com to view Videos of a great gift book about some of the birds of Baja Sur. “Birds We See” in Baja California Sur, Mexico. Please remember, the author(me) is donating a portion of the book’s sales to ovarian cancer research.

August 05, 2011 Birds we see

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female Northern Cardinal
Along with my lovely wife Debbie, I live in Los Barriles, East Cape, Baja California Sur, Mexico half of the year. Birds are our thing. I am, as we speak, publishing a soon to be marketed book entitled “Birds We See” Subtitled: in Baja California Sur, Mexico. Our web site is BirdsWeSee.com. To purchase this book go to www.xlibris.com/bookstore or call 888-795-4274. My plan for this blog is to share our original photos of birds we see in the arroyos, estuaries, deserts, sea shores and back-yard feeders in Baja Sur along with a little descriptive info that birders may find interesting. The bird for today is The Northern Cardinal.

Northern Cardinals rebounded in population here on the East Cape after having their numbers hammered by Hurricane John in 2006. The mostly non-migratory Northern Cardinals are once again back on duty with all the other birds entertaining us with song and beauty. They are also feeding on the insects that bugged us day and night for a couple of years after John. These are the state bird of 7 U.S. states, more than any other bird. Female Cardinals can be distinguished from similar looking female Pyrrhuloxias by the shape of their bills. The Pyrrhuloxia’s being more parrot-like. Northern Cardinals are about 8″ long and feed on seeds, berries and insects.

female Pyrrhuloxia: