Friday, March 06, 2015

California Days

Northern Harrier
It's been a great time in San Diego so far. Lots of great raptors - I especially love Harriers.
White-tailed Kite
and raptors I'll never see in Kentucky.
Ridgway's Rail
A Clapper Rail on the endangered species list came out for a bath.
Heerman's Gull
Who in the world was Heerman? His gull has a white head and orange bill.
Rufous Hummingbird
San Diego is full of Anna's Hummingbirds, that look dark headed until they turn just right in the sun and shine in shades of purple and red I can't even describe. But this Rufous Hummer is bright orange all over!
Acorn Woodpecker
A trip to the mountains was cold, windy and snowy, but these little woodpeckers look like clowns, and fly everywhere! They live in groups with an alpha female who lays the eggs, while the others in her group work to feed everyone.
Acorn Woodpecker larder tree
Best known for its habit of hoarding acorns, the birds drill small holes in a dead snag, then harvest acorns in fall and store them in these holes, to be eaten during winter. Such a "granary tree" may be used for generations and may be riddled with up to 50,000 holes. Nesting is a group activity, with several adults (up to 12 or more) taking part in incubating the eggs and feeding the young in a single nest.
Mountain Chickadee
Pygmy Nuthatch
 Of course, most of the birds at the shore are big enough to see, even though they are mostly the same color. In the mountains, many birds are really really small, and love to zip from one branch to another before you can focus on them.
Spotted Towhee
Stellar Jay
Nuttall's Woodpecker
But then some of the bigger birds - woodpeckers and jay - show up.
But this Rock Bird was the biggest that we saw all day!

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