Birding in Baja California Sur, Mexico is not always just about “the birds”. Debbie and mom were busy with this and that this morning so I went on a little birding adventure by myself. A little too cloudy for great shots but I took the camera anyway. We all know it’s weather by the minute around here. It could clear up at any moment.
Walking down the road at a feverish clip (yah right) I notice a chipmunk, actually a White-tailed Antelope Squirrel, (courtesy correction by The bajabirder) sitting on a rock chewing on something. Click, click. Cute little guy. Then his buddy pops up staring at me. Okay, I’m bugging them so I move on. Every few steps I take a look back to see this second one following me. I stop, he stops and looks in the other direction. Ten more steps and I look back again. I stop, he stops and looks away but I see he’s a little closer now. I don’t know what his problem is so I’m outta there. When I get home, I download photos of the day at take a closer look. That first squirrel was chewing on a snake skin. Looks like the scales of a rattle snake! Squirrels in baja are a different breed. I’m just glad his buddy didn’t get hold of my leg. I could just see the headlines; “skinny birder slain by ferocious Antelope Squirrel”. There goes tourism.
He’s so cute. You never know what you’re gonna see when birding. I even saw some birds. Down near the water’s edge I spy a little diving bird. Grebe, I thinking right off. I sneak down a little closer every time it dives. Yes, it’s an Eared Grebe. The only photo we have of this bird is distant and dark so I’m keen to do better. Over, under and through the rocks I go. Cannon clicking away. Digital photography is so fun. Take all the shots you want, almost free.
There are 21 species of these loon-like birds, seven occur in North America. Unlike other Grebes that feed mostly on small fishes, Eared Grebes feed mainly on aquatic insects and crustaceans. Grebes have the interesting ability to “sink out of sight” to hide from danger; sometimes with just their heads or even just their nostrils above the water. These birds have lobed toes and nest in large colonies. To me, their voice sounds like a short, soft whistle. Some say a nesting colony sounds like a marsh full of frogs chirping.