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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Saturday Morning Birding

Swooping Redtail

Birder buddy Don was in town so we went on a nice morning birding trip in my neck o' the woods. I drove through the same area only a few days ago and the stars of that drive were Tundra Swans. I spotted a couple of their hiding places where they and some assorted other waterfowl, such as American Widgeons, Canvasback and such paddled about. It was fun getting to show off those spots to Don. This morning there was also a quite far off flock of White Pelicans - too far for any photos.

First Horned Lark of the Year

For today's stars it was all about the Raptors. Simultaneously we spotted two different raptors, of which mine was a buteo type hawk far off on a hillside. Don however spotted the first Prairie Falcon I've seen in eons! He got it in his spotting scope and I used my iPhone to digiscope it. I managed 4 quick shots before the falcon took off. Don's scope is a bit smudged, but the shot came out fairly good when I consider how far away the bird was, how small it was in the scope and what a pain it is to get the view in the iPhone. In the shot below the bird had its head turned to show off its profile. The whole shot is smudged but I'm still thrilled to have any shot of such as cool bird as a Prairie Falcon.

Prairie Falcon through my iPhone looking through Don's scope

Prettied up but still smoodgie

The second, but no less exciting bird of the day was also spotted out the car window by Don; a Ferruginous Hawk, that was hunting over the open pastures along Meiss Road. I had my binoculars on it as it swung by over head, then it occurred to me - try for a photo! By the time I got my camera up it was in the distance, but oh well - better than a sharp stick in the eye. This particular Ferruginous was very white on the entire underside. Unfortunately none of that can be seen in this photo.

This quarter-of-a-mile away shot doesn't do justice for
the white undercarriage of this Ferrugenous Hawk

The male Northern Harrier below had us pretty excited when we spotted it just off road in a pasture, eating something tasty. A female (brown) Northern Harrier flew over the male, but he just picked up his lunch and dragged it off. No sharing, get your own damn mouse!

Male Northern Harrier having his breakfast

Female Harrier flew overhead, "Oh yooo hooo!

You ain't workin' yer female whiles on me!

Git yer own danged mouse!

This young buck was hanging around Twin Cities Road a few miles from Rancho Seco. He was a pretty boy!

Who was a pretty boy? Who's pretty?

Aw shucks M'am... I ain't all that purdy!"

For the morning's birding we did pretty well. We both saw our first Lewis's Woodpeckers for the year - none of which were close enough to photograph, but the year is still young! All together we saw 44 species, that is, 44 varieties of winged marvels.

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