Last Birding Trip of 2017

During the last week of December, I was able to take a trip to Bosque del Apache.  I try to visit there every December as that’s when the winter bird count is pretty high.

I left well before sunrise.  As I was driving down, I started getting into thicker and thicker fog.  At one point I had to slow down to 40 mph on a 75 mph interstate.

It was difficult to bird first thing due to the thick fog, so I took a few scenic shots.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Boardwalk through the marsh

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A lone American Coot walking through the marsh area

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Quite solitude

I was pleased to see a beautiful coyote in his handsome winter coat.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Beautiful coyote among the hoarfrost

Fortunately, the fog cleared up once the sun rose and I was able to start hunting for birds.

I first noticed a Great Blue Heron grooming.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Great Blue Heron

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Great Blue Heron

There were lots of raptors about.  Most of them seemed reluctant to move from their morning perch.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Northern Harrier

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Cooper’s Hawk

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

American Kestral

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Northern Harrier

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

American Bald Eagles

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Red-Tailed Hawk

I started driving around the ponds to see what waterfowl was about.  I happened to notice two Northern Harriers squabbling.  They were quite a ways away but I managed to capture a pic.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Northern Harriers fighting

I was surprised to find that there really wasn’t very many waterfowl about.  I had to really search the ponds to find any.  Not sure where they were all hiding.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Bufflehead – male

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Northern Pintail

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Bufflehead – female

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Pied-Billed Grebe

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ring-Necked Duck

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Northern Shoveler

Of course there were lots of Snow Geese about.  But every time I made it around the circle to see them, they were flying.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Snow Geese

I always hear there are wading birds that winter at the refuge, but I rarely see them.  But on this day I saw three Lesser Yellowlegs feeding in the shallows of a pond.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Lesser Yellowlegs

I saw a few songbirds about that day.   There were a couple of rare sightings for the area, but I never saw them.  Drat!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Song Sparrow

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Gambel’s Quail

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Marsh Wren

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

White-Winged Dove

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

House Finch

One of my favorite sightings of the day was a Crissal Thrasher singing his little heart out atop a bush.  Surprisingly he let me get pretty close singing the whole time.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Crissal Thrasher

I sat and watched a roadrunner look for lunch.  They are always entertaining.  He hunted for awhile before he noticed me watching.  I took this pic the moment he realized he wasn’t alone.  🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Greater Roadrunner

My last sighting of the day was a grebe off in the distance.  When I zoomed in and took a pic, I was delighted to see it was a Clark’s Grebe.  These are considered a rare sighting for the area, so that was a real treat.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Clark’s Grebe

I left around noon and decided to drive a different route home.  I took the Quebradas Scenic Route home.  I had heard a lot about this road.  But to be honest I couldn’t really see why it was considered so beautiful.  But there was one place on the road I found very picturesque, so I got out a took a pic.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Quebradas Scenic Route

Just before leaving that highway, I came across some deer feeding in the fields.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mule Deer

I still had some light left in the day, so I stopped in at the Bernardo Refuge.  The Sandhill Cranes seem to prefer this area over Bosque del Apache.

I got there near sunset, and all the cranes were coming in to the pond to drink.  It was a beautiful sight seeing and hearing the cranes flying overhead in the soft light of sunset.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sandhill Cranes

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sandhill Cranes

While photographing the cranes, I happened to notice the Super Moon had risen.  It was big and blue!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Super Moon

I had a wonderful day birding.  It had been quite some time since I had been able to take a whole day to bird.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Just beautiful…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

While hiking the trails, a train came through.  🙂

 

Christmas Birding

The weather here in New Mexico has been very mild for wintertime.  So I took advantage of the nice day and went birding yesterday.  I haven’t had much chance to bird lately, so it was a real treat to have a whole day to visit several places and get some fun bird sightings.

My first stop was to visit the Rio Grande Nature Center for their Saturday morning bird walk.  When you go on their guided tours, you get taken into places of the park you normally can’t visit.  So it’s always a treat to go behind the scenes.

The early morning temperatures were in the mid 20s, so it was definitely a cold start.  The ducks didn’t seem very happy about standing on the ice instead of swimming in the water.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mallards and Wood Ducks

A Black-Crowned Night Heron was hiding in the bushes nearby.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Black-Crowned Night Heron

On the main pond there were a few ducks enjoying the area that hadn’t frozen over.  It was a treat to see a Hooded Merganser male.  Even though they are common in our area during the winter, you just don’t see them that often.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hooded Merganser

Along with the Hooded Merganser there were a few other visitors.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ruddy Ducks in the Foreground and a Canvasback female in the back

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

American Coot on the left and a Pied-Billed Grebe on the right

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Pied-Billed Grebe

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mallard

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Canada Geese

We saw a few other birds along our walk, but for the most part it was quiet.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A variety of blackbirds

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sandhill Crane

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sandhill Crane

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Western Bluebird

After the guided tour, I walked around the park a little more to see what might be visiting the feeders.  There was a nice variety of birds enjoying the free meal.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Spotted Towhee

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Red-Winged Blackbird female

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

White-Crowned Sparrow

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

White-Crowned Sparrow

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Downy Woodpecker

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Bewick’s Wren

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

White-Throated Sparrow

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Black-Capped Chickadee

I walked down to the Rio Grande to see what might be hanging out at the river.  Over the past few years Albuquerque has had a flock of Ring-Billed Seagulls hanging out on the sand bars of the Rio Grande near Alameda Street.  This year those sand bars got flooded over by the river.  I had wondered where the seagulls had moved to since their usual spot was too deep for them.  I was excited to see they had found a new area behind the nature center.  I scanned the flock to see if there were any other breeds visiting the flock, but I didn’t see any this time.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ring-Billed Gulls

While photographing the flock, a fly fisherman came down to fish the area.  I managed to get a decent pic of him casting his line.  It’s hard to see, but I still liked the photo.

20171216_131619

Before leaving the nature center, I was lucky enough to see 3 Greater Roadrunners around the parking area.  They are so used to people, that I swear they pose for the camera.  Of course, I took about 500 pics of just the roadrunners.  🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Greater Roadrunner

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Posing so nicely for me

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Got a peek of those gorgeous purple feathers of the crest

From there I visited Los Poblanos Open Space.  I had hoped to see the Western Screech Owls occupying the nesting boxes.  But sadly none of them poked their heads out while I was there.  But I found a few other treasures while hiking around the fields.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Say’s Phoebe

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Western Meadowlark

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Black Phoebe that managed to find a bug in the cold weather

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Song Sparrow

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A leucistic American Goldfinch

My favorite sightings of that visit was seeing both a male and female American Kestral.  Such beautiful, small birds of prey.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

American Kestral male

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

American Kestral female

My third stop was to find the American Dipper that has been spotted in the drainage ditch along the Rio Grande.  Though they are a common bird in our state, they are rarely seen in Albuquerque.  They prefer fast flowing streams where they can dip and dive in the rapids looking for food.  The Rio Grande in the Albuquerque area is mostly a wide, placid river.  But there are a few spots in the year-round flowing drainage ditches that have man-made rapids coming out of culverts.

After walking a little ways along the ditch, I was thrilled to see the dipper bobbing along the water’s edge.  He didn’t seem concerned to have an audience.  It was a real treat watching him feeding in and around the water’s edge.  Needless to say, I took another 500 photos of this bird.  LOL!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

American Dipper

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

American Dipper swimming

There were a few other visitors there along the ditch that I enjoyed watching as well.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Black Phoebe

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Yellow-Rumped Warbler

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ruby-Crowned Kinglet

Overall, I had a great day going from one birding spot to another.  Scarlett had a great time walking all the trails with me.

20171223_114634

20171223_114648

A lovely old cottonwood tree

Summer Birds and Other Goodies

With my several trips this year and busy work, I haven’t had time to blog as often as I would have liked to.  So I thought I would combine several sightings over the summer into one post. Now that fall is officially here, many of these birds are gone or will be gone soon.

During the summer I went on several day hikes within a couple hours of Albuquerque.  Partly to see something new in scenery and partly to see some birds I don’t normally see around home.

One hike that was new for me was the Cave Creek hike in the Pecos Wilderness.  It’s about a 5-mile round trip hike to some caves that were created by water eroding through limestone.  It was a beautiful hike in thick forest along a creek.  Of course, Scarlett enjoyed the water immensely!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So much fun at the water crossings!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Lovely stream to hike along.

The caves were very interesting.  There were several that were big enough to walk inside of.  I didn’t go very far in as it got dark quickly and I wasn’t sure how deep the water got.  But lots of fun to explore.  Scarlett was curious about the caves as well.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Unique caves created by water erosion.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Scarlett exploring a smaller cave.

On this hike I saw a flock of Dusky Grouse.  This is pretty much the only grouse specie New Mexico has.  I’ve only seen this bird a few times of the past 20 years and never very close.  But I was lucky on this hike.  When I startled them, they flew into a nearby pine and sat very still – which was perfect for a great photo.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Dusky Grouse

Another day I ventured to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains next to Santa Fe.  It was a very cloudy day and the birds were few, but I managed to get a few nice sightings.  A favorite – Green Tailed Towhee – came close to check me out so I was able to see his colors nicely.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Green Tailed Towhee

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Williamson’s Sapsucker – Juvenile

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Dark-Eyed Junco

One of the highlights of this hike was seeing lots of mushrooms.  I’ve seen photos of the red and white polka dot mushrooms, but never have seen one in person.  It was a real treat seeing and photographing them.  🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Poisonous mushroom – but so pretty!

Aspen Vista is a beautiful hike at about 8,000 feet above sea level.  As you know Scarlett loves water.   But she also loves culverts.  She’s always looking inside them to see what might be hiding.  On this hike, she found a culvert that was big enough to run through and it had water flowing through it.  Bonus!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Scarlett having a blast!

I walked along the Rio Grande several times.  Most of the colorful summer birds love the Bosque.  It’s so much fun looking for and photographing these beauties!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Blue Grosbeak

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Summer Tanager

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Neotropic Cormorant

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Downy Woodpecker

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Great Blue Heron

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Say’s Phoebe

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Broad-Tailed Hummingbird enjoying the summer mimosa blooms!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

House Sparrow

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

House Finch – partial orange morph

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Orange-Crowned Warbler

One day while hiking along the river, I came across a Cooper’s Hawk enjoying breakfast.  You could tell it had caught a songbird by the foot hanging out of it’s beak.  Poor thing….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Songbird for breakfast anyone???

While reviewing my photos, I realized I had captured a lifer bird on one of my outings along the river.  I love it when that happens!  In this case, I had mistaken it for a Summer Tanager.  But when I reviewed the photo more closely, I realized it was a Hepatic Tanager.  Yay!!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hepatic Tanager

Of course, Scarlett always enjoys a visit to the river!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Look at that big grin on Scarlett’s face!

One day I took a drive out to Stanley.  I hadn’t been there for quite some time.  I saw a lot of the usual residents there.  I never tire seeing a Western Meadowlark or the many hawks that live there.  🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Cliff Swallow

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Red-Tailed Hawk (juvenile) – I love the coloring of this particular bird

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Western Meadowlark

Around home I’ve had several new birds visit my yard this summer.  It’s so exciting to see something new show up.  I hope they find me again next year!  Some were easy to photograph, while others were very elusive.  The birds I was unable to photograph but saw were Yellow-Headed Blackbird, Brown-Headed Blackbird, Northern Saw-Whet Owl, and Green-Tailed Towhee.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Pygmy Nuthatch

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Curve-Billed Thrasher

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I love their orange eyes.

Along with the new birds I’ve seen this year, I’ve had plenty of the resident birds stopping by the feeders and bird baths.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Western Bluebird

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Yellow-Rumped Warbler

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A very shy Ladderback Woodpecker (hence the blurry photo)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Wilson’s Warbler – coming to enjoy my bird bath

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hairy Woodpecker

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mountain Chickadee

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Holding down a sunflower seed to extract its goodness.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Bushtit

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Lesser Goldfinch

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Black-Headed Grosbeak

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Juniper Titmouse

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Virginia’s Warbler

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Rufous Hummingbird

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Bewick’s Wren

This summer New Mexico saw several forest fires in the Jemez Mountains.  Because of this, a lot of the bird life has migrated south to new habitats.  This summer we saw a large number of Lewis’s Woodpeckers in the greater Albuquerque area.  We normally don’t see them here, so it was a real treat to see one only a couple miles from my house.  It seemed to prefer this telephone pole as it was sighted there often.  And it didn’t like the squirrel using its pole.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Lewis’s Woodpecker

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Get off my pole!!!

I drove down to the Monzano Mountains a couple weeks ago hoping to see the fall colors starting in 4th of July Canyon.  Though the colors still haven’t begun, I did get to see several birds.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Steller’s Jay – so beautiful!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Red-Tailed Hawks

I saw a Brown Creeper – always a delight.  They are very difficult to see against the bark and they move quickly.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Brown Creeper

Plus I got a lifer!  A Golden-Crowned Kinglet.  I’ve been looking for this bird for several years and just happened upon it on this trail.  Yay!  This guy was way up in the canopy shadows and moving so fast!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Golden-Crowned Kinglet

Among the many bird sightings I had over the summer, I came across some other interesting things.  I thought you might enjoy seeing them.  🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Cool bee on a beautiful summer sunflower

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ahhhhhhhh……

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Southwestern Fence Lizard

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hoary Comma

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Aphrodite Fritillary

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Police Car Moth

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Western Tailed-Blue

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I love the colors on this dragonfly

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This beetle “hisses” when you touch it.  A unique defense!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Great Plains Skink (juvenile).  This guy was so cool!!!  I love the markings on the face.  This skink will turn plain brown all over as an adult. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Painted Lady

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Can you see the walking stick expertly hiding

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Marine Blue

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Common Side-Blotched Lizard

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Jackrabbit

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hawks Aloft Photo Shoot

This past weekend I attended an annual photo shoot presented by Hawks Aloft – a local bird of prey rescue group.  I was excited to attend and see these beautiful birds up close and personal.  They had brought 11 birds for us to photograph – several of which I had never seen before except in books.  So I was thrilled I was able to get a nice view of these magnificent birds.

They did a wonderful job setting up natural perches for the birds.  We met up in an open area at Academy School.  This gave us a nice background for our photos.  I took a lot of pics and had a great time.  Here are some of my favorites of each bird.

The first bird I photographed was a Flammulated Owl.  To be honest I’ve never heard of this owl before even though they spend their summers right here in New Mexico.  This owl is very tiny (6-7 inches in length) and was so adorable.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Flammulated Owl – Red Phase

 

Then I got to see a Mexican Spotted Owl.  There have been visitors in New Mexico from time to time – though I’ve missed seeing them every time.  Beautiful bird! Sadly this bird is in the “near threatened” category due to loss of habitat.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mexican Spotted Owl

Then I got to see a Prairie Falcon close up.  Lovely markings on this bird.  I’ve seen them a few times in the wild but was never able to get a very good photo. Not so this day!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Prairie Falcon

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Prairie Falcon

Another owl was brought out – a Barn Owl.  I have seen this bird many times in the wild and have always admired its beautiful plumage.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Barn Owl

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Barn Owl – I love the coloration of the feathers on their wings

Next came the Merlins.  They had one in the Prairie coloration and another in the Black.  Both beautiful but that black morph was just stunning!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Merlin – Prairie Morph

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Merlin – Black Morph

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Merlin – black morph

A gorgeous rufous morph of a Red-Tailed Hawk was presented.  Beautiful!  This bird has been a rescue for a long time.  He was very relaxed during the entire event and stayed out the longest of all the birds.  He seemed to enjoy the attention.  He even spread out his wings several times after getting a long mist bath.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Red-Tailed Hawk – rufous morph

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So majestic!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My most favorite photo of the day

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here you can see that gorgeous red tail

A dark morph Swainson’s Hawk was next.  I see these birds in great numbers not far from my house.  Even so, seeing one up close was wonderful.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Swainson’s Hawk – dark morph

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Swainson’s Hawk

A Long-Eared Owl was brought out.  I’ve only seen this bird once in the wild.  It was sitting on a nest deep in the shade of a large tree.  So needless to say, I didn’t get a great look at it.  Such a beautiful owl to see in the sunlight.  Gorgeous coloring.  It’s very similar to a Great Horned Owl.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Long-Eared Owl

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Long-Eared Owl

Then to my surprise and delight, they brought out a Harlan’s Hawk.  I have heard of this hawk but have never seen one in person.  They are a much more rare sub-species of the Red-Tailed Hawk.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Harlan’s Hawk – you can see some red in the tail

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Harlan’s Hawk – such a beautiful coloration

A Great Horned Owl was next, but he was a newer rescue and wasn’t very comfortable in front of us.  He didn’t stay out long, but I managed to get a nice photo before he was taken back to his crate to relax.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Great Horned Owl

Lastly was a Northern Saw-Whet Owl.  I was so excited to hear they had one for us to see.  This year was the first time I’d ever seen one ever and it was visiting my chicken coop for the mice.  I tried in vain several times to get a photo, but that owl was too clever and always knew when I was coming.  So to finally get a picture of one was so wonderful.  I love how it has a giant head with big yellow eyes and a little body.  This is another tiny owl (7-8.5 inches in length).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Northern Saw-Whet Owl – another favorite photo of the day

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I love the big yellow eyes

I took a few shots of the staff working with the birds.  Everyone was so nice and did a wonderful job handling these birds.  They were very attentive and made sure the birds were never stressed.  Several of the birds, like the Red-Tailed Hawk, were used to people admiring them.  But a few were very new to the experience.  But all the birds did great and the utmost care was taken to keep them comfortable.  It was a very hot afternoon and the birds were heating up.  So the staff misted them often to cool them down.  You could tell by their behavior they enjoyed it a lot!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So adorable – you can really see how little this guy is with the handler’s hand in the photo.  She was trying to get him to look toward us but he was very concerned about the other large birds nearby.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Letting the Red-Tailed Hawk spread his wings

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Enjoying a cooling mist bath given by “Uncle Larry”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

You can see the care love she has for this Merlin.  How wonderful for her that she gets to spend time with these amazing animals.

What a wonderful afternoon photographing beautiful birds of prey!  It doesn’t get much better than that for weekend fun!