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Saturday, May 09, 2009

And now for a little birding

Bright and early (ish) on Saturday, Don arrived - here for a weekend of sun, fun and birds, birds, more birds. We decided to head out to Stanislaus County and Del Puerto Canyon Road.

♫ Nazareth your famous son, should have stayed a great unknown, like his father carving wood, he'd have...♪♫

DAMN IT!

Anyway, Del Puerto is a narrow, windy road that wends its way from Patterson/Hwy 5, west to Sunnyvale - or thereabouts. What's great about the road is it's like a mini-Canyon with just the birds, birds & more birds we wanted to see.

Our first stop was to the Owl Arms Condos.

This is the distance from which all the owl/red-tail photos below were taken

And who, who, whooooo .... you may ask, lives in the Owl Arms Condos?
The Great-horned Owl Family - Parent with two chicks in this 'family' room


Look into the dark baby birdie bedroom and you'll a third fuzzy owl chick

And there are the other neighbors too, like Ms. Red-tail Hawk who lives only three doors over from the Owl family.

The show-off - she paid extra for that vaulted ceiling

Now here is the big point of the day. Normally I use my 100-400mm Canon lens set up for birdie photos. But on this day, once again I tried using my Kowa spotting scope paired up with my little Powershot Canon for a few digiscope shots. To my amazement, I had the best luck with my digiscoping ever! All the birdie photos above were taken with my digiscope and they came out spectacularly sharp with no black halo (vignetting) at all. Now, if only I can puzzle out how I accomplished the no halo look.
We made several other stops along Del Puerto Road. Don found several birds for his annual birding list. We found a Califoria Thrasher, here via digiscoping:

A California Thrasher, who thinks 'SQWAWWW' is a song




Singing Rock Wren atop a pine bough, high up on a hill

Of the day's semi-failures was that I was unable, for the life of me, to get any good digiscopes of a beautiful little purple-chinned Costa's Hummingbird. The Costas are really desert hummers and Del Puerto is about as far north as they usual get.

The Costa's having a go at wild Tabacco tree flowers


You can see the purple on this bird's gorget (bib). Not the best photo but oh well

There was time for some wildflowers like this Dense Owl's Clover... Owl's Clover? I didn't make that up.

Owl's Clover


I love the yellow & lavendar of these penstemon flowers

So now you're thinking I don't like birds anymore? As if.

Where do you go at day's end to find birds? Bird Road of course.


And What's on Bird Road? A Cassin's Kingbird of course

♫ Tables chairs and oaken chests, would have suited Jesus best...♪♫

Give me strength...

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