Ash-Throated Flycatcher

My good friend and photographer, Joe DiDonato, shared a couple of his bird photos the other day. He gave me permission to post them here. They are nice photos of an ash-throated fly catcher.

DSC07332 Joes ash-throated flycatcher

DSC07334 Joes ash-throated flycatcher

You can see more of Joe’s work on facebook. Here’s a link.

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.

Mayberry, March 2011


White front geese greeted me on the way to Mayberry. I recall seeing them at this same small pond during March of previous years – one of their last hangouts before they head north. (Click to enlarge photo.)

White-front geese near Antioch Bridge.

Another common site on the way to Mayberry in late winter is goats grazing on the levees. This levee maintainance is a necessary evil.

Levee goats 3-14-11.

Maybe the goats are early enough that the cover can recoup in time for pheasant nesting season. The levee is the only part of the property that has suitable cover for nesting.

Here's something new at Mayberry, Canada geese. Maybe they'll hang around to nest, if they can find a bush to hide behind.

 The weather was not good for photography, so I drove around the levees hoping to find something encouraging. A kildeer posed for me.

Kildeer are something else that's new.

I imagine we’ll have kildeer for a year or two, until the habitat matures. Then they look for another site with no cover.

A look at the neighboring pasture, brought back memories of the days when we had seasonal marsh.

A look at the Mayberry ponds was discouraging.

Mayberry’s ponds held a few ducks in the remaining shallow spots, but most of the ponds were deep and void of waterfowl use.

A flock of snows passed by and then a larger flock of white-fronts lifted off to the west and passed overhead.

These geese made a lot of noise.

The specs came by even closer.

White-front geese at Sherman Island

Waterfowl was evident all around, but mostly not using Mayberry.

A few sprig were using the shallowest portion of the ponds. As the skies lightened, I got a pretty good photo of one passing by.

Pintail drake over Mayberry.

Light conditions were very poor for photography of birds in flight, but the sun did come out to illuminate this pintail.

A few attempts to photograph the goldeneyes of Mayberry slough resulted in one pretty good shot.

The goldeneye live on the slough, but seldom travel over the ponds.

It’s almost time for the goldeneye to depart northward. They’ll be back again next Thanksgiving.

Cliff swallows are ever present at Mayberry.

Cliff swallows are tough to photograph in flight.

Antioch Bridge view from Mayberry.

I suppose the swallows make their nests on the bridge.

Along the Sacramento River bank, I photographed this snowy egret. He showed well on a gray day.

Snowy egret hunting.

He lifted off and the photo in flight came out pretty well too.

Things will improve at Mayberry as the habitat matures. It’s interesting to see how wildlife use changes with the habitat.

Not Just a Stellar Jay

Like most of us, I’ve seen a few Stellar Jays. However, I’ve never before noticed that there is more than one model of Stellar jay. There’s the Pacific race and also a Rocky Mountain race.

As I sat and ate a sandwhich at Bryce Canyon National Park, a Stellar jay landed next to me and I took a few close ups. The jays on our ranch are not nearly as willing to be photographed as the jays at National Parks.

The jay at the top is from Bryce Canyon.

Now here’s a photo of a Stellar jay taken on our California ranch.

The Pacific race has slightly different markings and the eye markings are light blue and nearly invisible. Not so with the Rocky mountain version which has white eye marks that are quite visible and a coloring more similar to an (Eastern) blue jay.

The Ruby-crowned Kinglet

I’ve admired the ruby-crowned kinglet for some time. I recall the first time I ever saw the ruby crown. I was elk hunting and sat watching a kinglet zip around in the willows along a very small stream in Idaho. The kinglet flew down to a rock on the water’s edge only a few feet from me and while standing in the sun it began to take a bath. All at once, it flared its ruby crown and I was dazzled by its beauty. I’ve seldom seen the crown as the bird doesn’t seem to display during routine activity. I imagine the male does display during courtship, but I’ve never witnessed that event.

Here are a few photos of a ruby crowned kinglet taken on the south rim of the Grand Canyon during a recent trip. In order to come up with about a dozen decent photos I took about one hundred shots – many of my attempts produced complete misses as the birds zipped around as flycatchers do.