The Red-Shouldered Hawk

Red-shouldered hawks seem to have increased their range over my lifetime. This is an observation and may or may not be true. They are most often seen in riparian areas. They are very vocal and their call is loud.

They are a member of the Buteo family of raptors and their wings appear a bit stubby, apparently to help them fly through trees and brush while pursuing their prey.

Here are a couple of my best red-shouldered hawk photos. These pictures are of the same hawk, that flew to a pond where I was standing with camera in hand.

 

Tri-Colored Black Bird

The tri-colored blackbird is a species that is in decline. Lack of habitat is the basis for most declines. I’ve heard that there are ongoing efforts to reverse the trend, but I don’t know if they are effective.

Here’s a link: https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/tricolored-blackbird

On a few occasions I’ve had a chance to photograph them. Here are two photos of tri-colored and another photo of a red-winged blackbird. They are very similar in appearance.

Here is a red-winged black bird.

blackbird 6 CCSF pond 6-7-12

Ranch Photos in late February

Drove out to the ranch last Saturday to do some cleanup around the yard. Took photos on the way in and the way out. Here are a few of them. Click on them to read the captions.

 

 

Lola and the Bald Eagle

 

When the bald eagle (above) attempted to steal a ground squirrel from the golden eagle in the second and third photos, it became an aerial battle.

Yesterday, I feared I’d be seeing another, more personal battle – over a teal that I had just shot. As my retriever, Lola, approached the downed bird, my hunting partner, Tom Billingsley, uttered the words, “Bald eagle,” as he looked upward.

Sure enough a bald eagle had just passed overhead flying in Lola’s direction. It was an eagle we had seen many times in the past. As the bird dropped lower and circled Lola with the dead green-wing teal,  I felt some trepidation.

My next thought was that Lola would probably just give the bird up, but what if she didn’t? I was thinking about firing a shot into the air to scare the eagle away.

Then a pair of teal flew past and I fired at the birds twice. One of them seemed to be wounded and the eagle immediately took up the chase, leaving Lola to retrieve the dead bird that lay in the water at her feet.

IMG_0022 Lola teal by Joe

Photo by Joe DiDonato

 

I was happy to have my dog back unharmed.

No kidding.

Flickers on Bush Hog

About four or five years ago I was sitting in my deer stand about 12 feet off the ground when a flicker landed on the oak tree next to me about 25 or 30 feet away. He was gorgeous.

Flickers are common, but elusive to the lens.

It was my first opportunity to take some serious flicker photos. When I got home and checked them out, they were tremendous.

For some reason, I misplaced those photos and I’ve never figured out how, but they are gone forever.

The wind was blowing hard a few Sundays ago while working on my Airstream trailer. It was the same wind that started the now famous Napa and Santa Rosa fires.

Birds were greatly affected by the wind. A pair of pheasants walked by me without giving me a look. Then this pair of flickers landed on an old piece of farm equipment.

It was an opportunity too good to pass up. It’s not a great photo, but it is my best flicker photo. I’ll keep trying to do better, but for now – here it is.

flickers on bushhog DSC_0032[1]

Flickers on a bush hog.

Mayberry Wading Birds

Mayberry Farms is not what it once was. There was a day when we had a duck club with about 150-200 acres of shallow-flooded seasonal marsh. At times we had mud flats covered with dowitchers, stilts and avocets.

When the shallow ponds were converted to deep perenial ponds, the shore birds disappeared from our hunting territory. But occasionally they return to wade the shallow water in the fields adjacent to Mayberry.

Here are a few that were present on Sunday.

There were a few other birds around as well.

 

Notice from The North American Bird Banding Program

Received this notice today. Thought it worthy of re-publishing it here.

“Bird banding is important for studying the movement, survival and behavior of birds. About 60 million birds representing hundreds of species have been banded in North America since 1904. About 4 million bands have been recovered and reported.

Data from banded birds are used in monitoring populations, setting hunting regulations, restoring endangered species, studying effects of environmental contaminants, and addressing such issues as Avian Influenza, bird hazards at airports, and crop depredations. Results from banding studies support national and international bird conservation programs such as Partners in Flight, the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, and Wetlands for the Americas.

The North American Bird Banding Program is under the general direction of the U.S. Geological Survey and the Canadian Wildlife Service. Cooperators include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Mexico’s National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity and Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources; other federal, state and provincial conservation agencies; universities; amateur ornithologists; bird observatories; nature centers; nongovernmental organizations such as Ducks Unlimited and the National Audubon Society; environmental consulting firms and other private sector businesses. However, the most important partner in this cooperative venture is you, the person who voluntarily reported a recovered band. Thank you for your help.

U.S. Geological Survey
Canadian Wildlife Service

Please Report Bands at
http://www.reportband.gov
or
call 1-800-327-BAND”