Birding Around Home

I haven’t gotten out much these past few weeks.  All I’ve been doing is work, work, work….booorrriiinnngggg!!!   But that’s the price you pay sometimes to be self employed.

So I’ve had to satisfy myself with short outings in my yard and in the neighborhoods around me.  Poor Scarlett has been missing our long hikes.  These short walks just aren’t keeping her satisfied.  It’s tough burning off the energy of a not quite 1.5 year old german shepherd.  But thankfully she’s a sweet dog and makes the most of her time out.

The sunflowers are in full bloom now.  And I’ve noticed a lot of birds love them.  Most especially the Lesser Goldfinches.  They actually wait to breed until later in the summer so they can feed their young on the sunflower seeds.  I let several sunflowers germinate from the cast off seed from the feeders.  It’s fun to watch several of these tiny yellow birds feeding on the seed pods.  I’ve noticed they eat the leaves as well.

DSC_5171

Lesser Goldfinch

DSC_5110

Hard to get pics as they were flying from flower to flower

DSC_4996

They are adept at hanging upside down to get to the seeds

DSC_4910

Looks like this one had recently taken a bath

DSC_4885

Lesser Goldfinch – female

DSC_4497

Many other birds have been enjoying the sunflowers around my home.  I even noticed a hummingbird feeding at one.

DSC_4613

They avoid the bees!!

DSC_4689

Broad-Tailed Hummingbird

There is a meadow near my house that has a lot of wildflowers and sunflowers blooming right now.  One morning I drove over and parked my car so I could use it as a blind.  I was thrilled to see warblers working their way among the wildflowers.  Warblers are the most difficult bird for me to see and photograph.  Here’s an example of why…

DSC_4794

A camouflaged Wilson’s Warbler – you can just see the eye

I did manage to get a couple decent photos of the warblers about that morning.

DSC_4841

Wilson’s Warbler

DSC_4819

Wilson’s Warbler

DSC_5089

Orange-Crowned Warbler

DSC_4461

Virginia’s Warbler

DSC_4924

Yellow-Rumped Warbler

One morning I noticed a young Black-Headed Grosbeak stuck in my garden.  We were overrun with grass in the garden last summer.  So this year we covered the entire area with black plastic to kill all the seeds.  This young Grosbeak was trying to fly out of the fenced area but just hadn’t mastered the skill of flying yet.  I was afraid it would get too much exposure to hot sun on black plastic, so I caught it and put it in a nearby oak tree.  He seemed much happier.  Soon after I released him he started calling for his parents.

20160805_094251

Black-Headed Grosbeak juvenile.  I can never resist taking a close-up pic when I catch a bird!

20160805_094353

Safely in the oak tree now

A couple weeks later I saw the same bird.  I have noticed over the years that when I catch a young bird and release it, they have a lot less fear of me.  This guy was like that.  He lets me get real close now.  I had rescued a baby American Robin one summer and it followed me around the yard for weeks.

DSC_4744

Black-Headed Grosbeak – I’m glad to see it got its wings!

I have a flock of Bushtits that live around my home.  They have built their nest in our yard for several summers now.  I’ve never been able to find the active nest, but one year I saw an old nest.  They love the bark butter I put on my tree.

DSC_1403

Bushtits greedily eating the bark butter

DSC_4725

These guys are so tiny.  They are difficult to photograph as they are very quick!

A few other visitors to the feeders at my house.

DSC_4815

House Finch – female

DSC_4740

Juvenile Chipping Sparrow

DSC_4484

White-Breasted Nuthatch

DSC_4837

Mountain Chickadee

DSC_4844

House Finch – male

DSC_4964

Canyon Towhee

A little further afield from home there are some open meadows that attract a different variety of birds than I get at home.

DSC_5452

Northern Mockingbird – they still had two young ones begging for food

DSC_5414

Swainson’s Hawk – juvenile

DSC_5473

Turkey Vulture – I swear it has maggots stuck to its face.  And there was a very dead skunk odor too!  Eeeewwww!!!

DSC_5478

Shy American Kestrals

DSC_5482

Common Raven

DSC_4408

Curve-Billed Thrasher

DSC_0125

Swainson’s Hawk – juvenile

DSC_0115

Swainson’s Hawk – juvenile

One day I had to go to the office in Cedar Crest – just a few miles from home.  I had my camera with me (surprised?).  It was a very cool morning after a rainy night.  The birds were very active.  Most weren’t very cooperative for photos.  But I did get a good shot of a Blue Grosbeak.  And I saw a very puffy hummingbird!

DSC_5266

Blue Grosbeak – juvenile male getting adult plumage

DSC_5310

Broad-Tailed Hummingbird

DSC_5269

Broad-Tailed Hummingbird

In late June I wrote about a Cooper’s Hawk nesting in my yard.  I had taken some photos in Late July of the baby hawk.  But I had misplaced the photos.  I was very upset with myself thinking I had accidentally deleted them.  But happily I found those photos this morning! Though a little late, I thought you might enjoy seeing pics of this hawk.  It had left the nest but was hanging out in the trees nearby.  Not long after taking these photos, it was flying much better and was more difficult to see for photos.  But I did hear it call for its parent most every evening for several weeks.

DSC_9031

Juvenile Cooper’s Hawk

DSC_9035

Juvenile Cooper’s Hawk

While I’m writing this Scarlett has her head on my lap, looking at me with those big brown eyes, willing me to take her out for a walk.  So I guess that’s what I will do!

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 thoughts on “Birding Around Home

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s