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marg

US birding update in the California desert

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Eighteen days after hatching the first one has made it out of the nest, first photo. Comes back to the nest. The other one is trying its wings but has not yet flown. Maybe today.

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Today was the day...both of the young are flying. Will do the bobcat later.

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a first sighting here for me today....a brown pelican. It is in one of the lakes on the golf course which is out in the desert.

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a different camera and two better photos...American Kestrel and Green Heron. Both are year round residents.

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a new sighting...a juvenile red tail hawk in the tree not far from the nest.

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Correction....the last photo is a female Coopers Hawk. The nest is high up in a tree and there are two young ones in it. She is very protective and when under the tree, she will dive over the top of your head. These hawks are smaller than the Red Tail Hawks and will eat small birds. Interesting as there are remains of birds nearby. This area is where Red Tail Hawks are often sighted so it is unusual to have this nest where it is.

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more birds...doves. The larger White-Winged Dove is a summer resident. The Mourning Dove is here all year, often having three broods a summer. The Cooper's Hawks feed on these birds.

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Birding here at this time of the year is quiet. But, we had a first sighting last week....an adult and a juvenile Elegant Tern. They breed in the Gulf of California and in the San Diego area in the habitat of lagoons and beaches. They were at a lake out on the golf course!

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@@marg there is a good article in the SD Union-Tribune about our local hawks. Eric got picture of a Cooper's Hawk eating a small bird with a murder of crows harrassing him/her. I will try to get him to post it - I am hopeless at photos. Did you know the females are 30% bigger than the males.?

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We have Cooper's Hawks here and we see them dining on smaller birds. Thanks!

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another first sighting here today. I was out walking this afternoon on a service road that goes along part of the golf course. I had been told that there had been eagle sightings. I saw a large bird perched in a palm tree. When I got home, I gathered the camera gear and headed back out. It was next to a golf course lake, it swooped down to get a fish and flew to the other side. I did find it but it was not an eagle but an osprey. What are these shore birds doing here in the desert?!

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It's time for a spring/summer update in the desert. In March the Great-tailed Grackles and the White-winged Doves arrived for the summer. They have already gone elsewhere. We are in a severe drought and it is unusual that we are not having more sightings and sounds around here. Early summer we had Mallard ducklings and coveys of Gambel's Quail. We also had a Cooper's Hawk nest with one successful offspring. Now our most frequent sightings are Great Blue, Green and Black-crowned Night Herons. A sad first was a Gilded Flicker that flew into one of our windows. I watched it down on the patio for about thirty minutes and it finally flew away. Phew. A few photos..... ducklings, quail and flicker.

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And for the GW...meep meep

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We have lived here for fourteen years and it seems that each year I have a first sighting. Today I received an e-mail from our golf course supt. saying that there were two unidentified birds out in a lake on the golf course. I gathered my cameras, jumped into the golf cart and went in search of them. Ibis! I could not believe it. There are two white-faced ibis HERE in the desert. It is almost like being in Africa!

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It's time for an update. I sometimes feel that we are living in an aviary. Birds are singing in the morning. They go over the house creating shadows that make you look up to see what is flying by. The Great-tailed Grackles have returned and are in and out of the palm trees and into golf carts snatching anything to eat. A Red-tailed Hawk nest has been built nearby and this morning when i went by an adult was sitting up in it. Last spring in the same area there was a nest with a successful hatch. Unfortunately the ravens got into the nest and killed the chick. In another area there was a successful Cooper's Hawk hatch. The cactus are blooming and the hummingbirds and orioles are visitors in our yard. This morning for the first time I was able to get a couple of photos of Hooded Orioles. It is a great time of the year here in the desert.

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~ @@marg

 

How have I overlooked this thread?

There are so many terrific bird images here!

White-faced ibises in the desert ?!?!?!

I had no idea that there were any ibis species in the United States until seeing your photo, above. (I'm no birder)

The osprey, the terns, the baby hummingbirds, the roadrunner with a very beautiful cat.

I've never even heard of hooded orioles before, let alone seen them.

The tall yellow flower spikes they're perched on look vaguely familiar.

They remind me of flowers I've seen blooming in the Succulent Garden of the National Museum of Kenya in Nairobi.

The colors in your photos are so nice. The variety of species is wonderful to see.

I couldn't help but think of how lovely the actual natural world is compared to the spurious “virtual world” inhabited by the minds of many in the younger generation.

As I haven't visited the Southern California desert for about three decades, seeing the birds in this thread was a welcome ray of sunshine.

Thank you so much for having posted these nice images over the years. They deserve to be enjoyed by many others.

Tom K.

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@@marg I can't believe I missed this thread all the way from 2013. So this morning I have made up for lost time.

 

Your photos are amazing, I particularly like the shots of the Costa Hummingbird chicks, and the Road runners,

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@@Tom Kellie...thanks! The yellow blossoms that the Hooded Orioles like are from aloes. I can never get close to the birds outside, so I was sitting inside waiting for a visit. Every day I pretend that I am on a game drive, binos and camera ready.....all in preparation of another trip to Africa!

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@@Treepol..another thanks! It is really interesting to be an amateur twitcher here.

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another first sighting here. I love to go after dinner in the golf cart with my camera out on the golf course. Sometimes I just sit, listen and wait. A week ago I was going by a lake I thought that I was back in Africa. What was a pair of Black-winged Stilts doing here?! I have not seen them again. Right now it is too hot to be outside. The forecast for today is 121. That's hotter than Bagdad.

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@@marg, I missed this too, appreciate it being bumped again. Why aren't you doing the "Big Year"? you have so many lovely birds in your area. Its a great way to show the rest of us whats in your patch. That Roadrunner is pretty unique, something a lot of us would like to see I imagine, and the Hummingbirds, one day Im going on a "Hummingbird holiday" as Ive not seen them so far.

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It's time for an update before the year ends. We have a lake out on the golf course where I find year round residents and as well as first time visitors. This last summer we had a return visit from a White-faced Ibis. In the area is always a Great Blue Heron and many Killdeer. I was surprised when I first saw Killdeer here as we had them up in the Northwest. They lay their eggs on the ground. Up north on the beach tucked between logs. Here the nests are on the ground in the rocks.

There was also a small flock of Gadwalls, dabbling ducks...another first. But, the biggest surprise was an American White Pelican!

 

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Not long ago we had Double-crested Cormorants frequenting several lakes. One was covered with plant life. I worried that it might not be able to fly but the next time I spotted it there was less green on its back. Sometimes I do not even have to leave the house....a Rock Pigeon with bands on its legs. I had to contact the man at the newspaper to find out about it. With the bands it is a trained homing pigeon and owned by someone. It was just out for a fly and stopped in our yard. Another first!

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still on a roll..... and still birding from our yard. Northern Mockingbird, year round and plentiful. It sings at night as well as in the day time during nesting season. And, the little Verdin. We often have nests in the trees in our yard in the springtime.

 

Out of the yard and back onto the golf course. In the summer I always take a camera with me... I might be a better golfer if I were not always looking for birds. This is my favorite photo of the year.. a Vermilion Flycatcher.

 

Now must get ready to take Pop-Tarts to Singapore!

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Posted (edited)

And the pop tarts are safe in the home and waiting to be tasted tomorrow! Thank you for flying the pop tarts over And it was so lovely to meet you both @@marg.

 

This thread should be more prominent! Ive missed it for years but you are so lucky to have such prolific birdlife in your backyard. Some gorgeous photos but favourites are of the road runner and its face-off with your cat!

Edited by Kitsafari

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