Meet the Jays

Meet the Jays

Today is another bright sunny day… unfortunately, I’ve got things to do since I didn’t do any work yesterday… so I’m not going birding today. 😦

I did see a few birds in the yard, but nothing new… I did see a Blue Jay, that’s when I realized that I don’t have any photos of a Blue Jay! And even after seeing one today I still don’t have a photo… he flew away too quickly.

Originally this year I was going to try to find new lifers to add to my list, but since I’m not able to go birding too far away (still staying safe), I have a new mission. Now I am going to try to get a photo of a Blue Jay!

Here are some photos that I do have of other Jays…

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This is a Steller’s Jay, they are found on the west coast of Canada south into Central America.

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Here is the Green Jay, in the US they can only be found in the southernmost part of Texas! They are also in Mexico and in the tropics.

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This is the California Sccsrub-Jay, they can be found along the west coast of the US and south into Mexico.

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This is the Florida Scrub-Jay, they can only be found in Florida, USA. These birds are endangered! There are only about 4,000 pairs left, this is a 90% reduction from their original population! The main reason for the reduction is that they live in oak scrub which is naturally maintained by occasional fires, but since florida has fire prevention programs, there are less fires creating their habitat, thus less areas for them to live.

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And lastly, this is the Island Scrub-Jay, they live only on the Santa Cruz Island off the coast of Southern California. Since the island is sooooo small there are only 2,300 of these birds today! Notice the tags on its legs, they are keeping a close study on these birds to make sure that they continue to survive on the island!

Happy Birding… remember to stay healthy and stay safe!

A Few Birds I Saw…

A Few Birds I Saw…

At the wildlife refuge I found a few other birds happily singing their songs…

As I was walking near a small pond, I heard a bird mimicking other bird’s songs and singing over and over again. I thought that it was a Northern Mockingbird, so I really wasn’t too excited about spotting it. 

I continued to walk along the edge of the pond, getting closer and closer to the bird. Finally, I was at the end of the path, so I looked around for the singing bird and to my surprise it wasn’t a Mockingbird at all!

Can you guess what it was? I’ll give you a hint; it also mimics.

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It’s the Brown Thrasher! I’ve been fooled by them before, I always assume it’s a Mockingbird! They will forage mostly on the ground, they use their bill to flip over leaves to look for insects. Sometimes they will eat berries and nuts, they pound on acorns with their bill to open them up!

This next bird I hardly ever saw before this 2020 crap year… now I see it every time that I go to the wildlife refuge. Try and guess which bird species this is, I’ll give you a hint; they weren’t too imaginative when they named it…

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If you guessed the Black-and-white Warbler, you’re correct! Originally they called this bird the Black-and-white Creeper, because similar to the nuthatches and creepers, it will climb around tree trunks and limbs foraging for insects. Other warblers do not forage like this at all!

It never forages up very high in the trees and their nest are low too, often on the ground!

Remember to stay healthy and stay safe!

Nice to Get Outside!

Nice to Get Outside!

Finally, today was a nice sunny day. No rain!!! And it wasn’t even that hot, so today was a great day to go birding…

We headed out early in the morning to the wildlife refuge. Of course, we were prepared to social distance, with our masks and gloves in the car. We only saw a couple of other cars and no one was anywhere near us…

I did manage to get 2 more bird species to add to my list for the year. 🙂

I didn’t get any photos of them, but I did manage to find a few other birds around.

Here is one that I found in the swamp. If you want to try to guess what it is, they are found from central US east to the coast and also along the west coast of the US, then south into Mexico and Central America. Have fun guessing…

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It’s the Green Heron. In the winter these birds can migrate as far south as South America. This bird forages along the water’s edge by standing very still looking for fish. They have been known to sometimes drop feathers or small twigs as “bait” into the water to attract fish.

This next one is a photo of one of my favorite birds. I love their song! They breed in eastern Canada south to northern Florida. Guess what it is…

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It’s the Wood Thrush! They will winter in the tropics. Unfortunately, their population has been declining due to the forests getting smaller and more easily penetrated by the cowbirds. They find the Wood Thrush nests and lay eggs in them. The Wood Thrush end up raising more cowbirds than their own young!

I hope that you are able to get out safely and enjoy the outdoors. Remember to stay healthy and stay safe!

Happy Saturday! Here Comes The Rain Again…

Happy Saturday! Here Comes The Rain Again…

Hurray it’s Saturday! Do you have any big plans? Stay healthy!

I don’t have any plans, just the same as every other day… today started out cloudy and humid, so of course it rained…(after I put grass seed down, which probably got washed away for the second time) 😦

I’m still waiting for the sun… someday soon I’ll be going off birding again 🙂

Until then, I watch live webcams around the world that show feeders or nests of different birds, this way I can still feel like I’m getting out there…

You can see Peregrine Falcons if you go to:

http://www.nhaudubon.org/conservation-2/peregrine-web-cam/

There you will see the Falcon’s nest high up in a ledge of a building, with 4 hatchlings in the nest…

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I found this Peregrine resting on a beach in Southern California. He didn’t seem too worried about me, he just kept an eye on me, but never bothered to fly off…

You can also go to: 

http://tucsonaudubon.org/go-birding/tucson-audubons-paton-center-for-hummingbirds/

This site has 3 webcams, one has a nesting box of a pair of Western Screech Owls. The Owls had laid a few eggs, but threw some out of the nest when they didn’t hatch. There are 2 eggs remaining, but too much time has gone by, so they won’t hatch either.

Another webcam is set up to watch the hummingbird feeder. Here is a Violet-crowned Hummingbird that I saw there a few years ago.

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They also have a camera in the yard that shows several feeders all together. I found these Lesser Goldfinches when I was there. Too bad I can’t count the species that I see live on the web, but that’s not how it works, but they’re still fun to watch…

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Those are the ones that I check out regularly, but there are many many more out there. Do you have a favorite? Let me know what bird cams you’ve seen and I’ll share with everyone so we can all enjoy them. Thanks!

Remember to stay healthy and stay safe!

Still Raining…

Still Raining…

Today it was cloudy and humid with a chance of storms for the whole day, until late afternoon when the skies opened up and it just started raining heavily!

Cloudy days make birding difficult, since it’s hard to see the true bird colors, sometimes all you can make out is a silhouette of the bird!

So, again today I did not do any birding… actually I didn’t do much of anything. I had one of those quarantine funk days, where I have no energy or ambition… hopefully tomorrow will be a better day!

I thought I would show you a couple of birds from the past that you can try to guess what they are…

I’m going to show you two bird photos, you can try to guess what species each of them are. Also, try to guess what these two birds have in common… 

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The first photo is of the Greater Roadrunner. They can be found in the southwestern US and southward into Mexico.

The second photo is that of the Pileated Woodpecker. Did you guess them correctly? What do you think they have in common… well they are both very big birds, but that’s not it…

They both were inspiration for cartoon characters… the Roadrunner was the “Road Runner” character in the Looney Tunes cartoons with Wile E. Coyote.

The Pileated Woodpecker was the “Woody Woodpecker” character in the Walter Lantz Studio cartoons.

Remember to stay healthy and stay safe!

Rain, Rain, go Away…

Rain, Rain, go Away…

Let me tell you, it’s not easy birding when it is raining all the time! I’ve had a lot of rain over the last few days and it looks like it will continue for forever! Actually, it will probably end in about 4 more days!!!

I know that the rain is good for the plants and my green beans are thrilled, but enough is enough…I’m beginning to wonder if I should be building an ark!

Needless to say, I haven’t been out birding in a few days, so I thought I would just show you some of the photos that I’ve taken in the past…

If you want to guess the birds, just wait to scroll down past the photo to find out what it is. This bird can be found in the US from Colorado south into Texas.

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Did you guess the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher? It looks like a slim delicate bird, but don’t let it fool you, they will attack larger birds without hesitation if they come near their nest!

So how did you do? Here is another bird to try your luck at… This bird is found from southern Canada south into Mexico and can also be found in the Galapagos in the winter.

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It’s the Great Blue Heron. This one was sunning himself along with some turtles on a log. They are the largest heron in North America. You usually can find them standing very still along the water’s edge hunting for fish. 

They do eat mostly fish, but I’ve seen them eat a snake! See the photo below (if you want to see it eating a snake, but if you don’t like snakes, you may want to skip it)…

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I did warn you…

Hope its sunny where you are! Remember to stay healthy and stay safe!!!

226 And Still Birding…

226 And Still Birding…

I was able to get out and bird this week! I ended up back at the same wildlife refuge that we’ve been to a few times this spring. This time though, we had had a lot of rain and so there were several areas that we couldn’t get to, because the streams had overflowed…

I made sure to wear long pants, even though it was in the 80s (I didn’t want to end up with another tick)…

I found 2 new bird species that I hadn’t gotten yet this year. One was the Swainson’s Warbler, they breed mostly in the southeastern US.

The other bird I saw was the cutie in the photo below. You can try to guess what bird it is… 

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It’s the Kentucky Warbler. They are found in the eastern US. This Warbler actually spends most of its time on the ground, foraging by flipping over dead leaves looking for insects.

Hope you’re all staying healthy and safe!

Who Might This Be???

Who Might This Be???

It’s that time again… are you ready to try to guess which bird species I will be showing you???

I’ll try to find a difficult one for you, but this time I’ll give you a couple of hints…

This bird usually doesn’t get any higher up in the US beyond Southern Texas and Southern California. It can be found throughout Mexico and Central and South America.

Try to guess just which bird this is… remember don’t scroll down past the photo until you make a guess…

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Did you guess the Vermilion Flycatcher? This beautiful flycatcher is so colorful, quiet different from most other Flycatchers, which are pretty dull.

Have you been guessing the birds, have you guessed correctly? I hope you are enjoying the photos…

Remember to stay healthy and stay safe!

Watch Out For Ticks!

Watch Out For Ticks!

As I was hiking around in the wildlife refuge the other day, I thought about ticks as I went through some areas of tall grass. I usually stay away from the grassy areas, because I know that is where the ticks like to stay and get onto people.

I made sure to do my tick check when I got back to the car, but I was wearing shorts since it was hot and I obviously didn’t do a good enough check! I found a tick about 24 hours later…

It was a small deer tick (the kind that carries Lyme Disease)… We got the tick off/out of me, did a better tick check, then started to worry about what to do next…

Being proactive, one would go to the doctors and see what they think, but there is NOOOO way I want to go to the doctor’s office or clinic during this crazy virus! Luckily, I have teledoc, I am able to call a doctor and get their opinion of the situation…

The doctor suggested one dose of antibiotics and to watch for the red target ring, hopefully that won’t show up.

Unfortunately, I did have to go to the drive through window at the pharmacy to pick up the medicine. I had my mask on with my gloves (inside my car). I get to the pharmacy and they open up this big window, they have no mask or gloves on!!! Am I living in a different world than them? Do they know something different than I do? Are we not in the middle of a pandemic???

I just called the store manager and found out that they believe that wearing gloves could cross contaminate the different orders, but they were all supposed to be wearing masks! She said that she would check into it, but no on in the pharmacy was wearing a mask!!!!

Needless to say, I was a bit nervous taking the pills that they had given me, on the one hand I can stop Lyme Disease, but on the other hand I could potentially catch the virus! I closed my eyes and swallowed the pills…

So, the moral of the story is if you are able to go birding, stay away from the tall grasses! Also, during this crazy time, we should all try extra hard to stay safe so we don’t have to go places where we potentially could get exposed…

I would show you a photo of a tick so you know what to keep a look out for, but I’m really not a fan, so instead I’ll show a photo of a bird…

If you want you can try to guess what this bird species is, take a guess then scroll past the photo to find out what it is…

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Did you guess the Gray Catbird? They are pretty plain, with a rust area on his backside. This bird is very vocal, with lots of sounds, often meowing like a cat. Sometimes they will even mimic other birds. They will spend most of the time down in the shrubs foraging for insects by flipping leaves over with its bill.

Remember to stay healthy and safe!