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.

 

Ferruginous Hawk

For a while I’ve been seeing a ferruginous hawk along ranch road and I’ve been hoping to take a good photograph of the hawk. A few days ago I took some photographs of a ferruginous hawk on my way to the ranch. I’m not sure if it was the same hawk, but it probably was.

The ferruginous hawks belong to the broad wing family and are buteosĀ  as are the red-tailed hawks and red-shouldered hawks. They hunt from the air or from perches and they glide in the thermals along with the eagles and vultures.

These photographs are not great, but they will clearly show the marking of a light morph ferruginous hawk.

For comparison, here are a couple red-tailed hawk photos.

In California habitats red-tailed hawks are usually the most common large raptor.

Song of a Western Thrasher

While hiking on one of my regular trails I came upon a western thrasher calling from the top of an oak tree about 100 yards away. In the calm of the morning, his calling seemed very close and the recording is good.

The western thrasher’s call is very unique and identifiable after you’ve heard one. They are secretive and spend most of their time in the chaparral, but expose themselves while singing. They are drab in color and about the size of a scrub jay. Their long downward turning beak gives them away.

Call of the Phainopepla

The phainopepla is a impressive black bird of the chaparral and it can be found in the East Bay Area during springtime.

While walking a trail that passes at the base of Cresta Blanca, I observed a bird that, at first glance, I thought was a black phoebe. However, the bird’s call made me think again.

The crest, named Cresta Banca (white crest) can be seen from Arroyo Road as one passes the Veteran's Hospital.

The crest, named Cresta Banca (white crest) can be seen from Arroyo Road as one passes the Veteran’s Hospital.

I waited and watched until the bird perched in an oak only 30 feet from where I stood. I realized that it was a phainopepla, a migrant that I have seen only a few times before, always in springtime.

The bird was calling continuously and soon I realized that there was actually a pair of them. I decided to make a video/audio recording with my Iphone.

Here’s the recording.

http://youtu.be/06QM2lt97QI

 

 

The Hairy Woodpecker

While hiking in springtime, I come across the hairy woodpecker often. It is easy to find them in the spring as they are often making their call, which is not really a call, it’s the sound of the bird beating its beak against hard wood.

Yesterday I came upon a hairy woodpecker doing his thing and I had my iPad mini with me. So I may a brief video to share. Here is the link. If you go to full screen mode, you’ll see him, but hearing him is the important part. One you’ve heard him, you’ll hear him again.

When I get a chance, I’ll add a close-up photo, but I can’t find one in my files. Funny how I see some birds a million times, but don’t take a photo.

The Acorn Woodpecker

The noisiest woodpecker around, the acorn woodpecker never seems to stop squawking.

While sitting in my tree stand during archery season, a couple acorn woodpeckers kept me entertained while perching within a few feet of me. Here are some of the better photos taken.

These woodpeckers are very animated.

These woodpeckers are very animated.

Their backs are coal black, making them somewhat difficult as subjects.

Their backs are coal black, making them somewhat difficult as subjects.

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This one flew into the sunlight and landed for a drink at the pond.

This one flew into the sunlight and landed for a drink at the pond.

 

These birds are very entertaining. They are by far the most common woodpeckers on our ranch.