|Loon Lake at the top of Ice House Road, Eldorado National Forest|
I was pretty excited, because I had a new toy to try out. I purchased a little gizmo that was meant for attaching an iPhone to binoculars for photo taking. In practice at home, I realized the gizmo was useless with any binoculars; no way you can hold the binocs still, and even if you could, the iPhone kept sliding ensuring crap photos. The good news is, when attached to my Kowa spotting scope, the gizmo worked wonders. So I was able to take my first 'experimental' photos with the gizmo and I was wildly happy with the results.
|Taken by my iPhone 5, digiscoped with Kowa TSN-824 spotting scope|
|Hoovering Anna's Hummingbird fussing at a Rufous Hummingbird|
There were three species of hummers using the feeders, most being Anna's Hummingbirds, two Rufous hummingbirds, and one lone Black-chinned hummer which I didn't manage to get a photos.
We spent maybe an hour with the hummers before heading up hill. We stopped at what Don and I both know as the White-headed Woodpecker spot, where on past visits we've also seen Evening Grosbeaks and heard Mountain Quail. Today we were skunked - very few birds, and then, they were only seen in brief glimpses.
|A tree-top youngster - a Townsend's Solitaire|
|Digiscoped with iPhone & Kowa Spotting Scope|
We headed back toward Fair Oaks, but decided it would be worth it to head out to Michigan Bar Road and Meiss Road. Don was hoping for a Vesper Sparrow, as seen the last time he was on Meiss, but today there was nothing of note on either road. But, when we'd given up hope, we were on one of the worse roads I know of - it bumps along between pastures before joining up with Sunrise Blvd. There, up at the top of a Telephone was the second Prairie Falcon of the day. The little falcon was just digging into it's lunch, which I believe it had only just caught before we arrived.
|Prairie Falcon enjoying a birdie snack - this shot was|
Taken with my iPhone gizmo on my shaky Zeiss binoculars (40X10)
|This shot was taken just under this fearless bird, with my Canon 100-400 lens|
The following day we did some more birding, taking advantage of free & legal access to Folsom Lake. There I put up my usual whining the mile walk necessary to hike to reach he lake from where we could park. Still I ventured to walk a ways into the dry but nevertheless magestic California oak/grassland. Our main target was Yellow-breasted Chats, those gigantic warblers I haven't viewed in decades. *sigh* the Chats were a no-show. After a while, I retreated to the car while Don headed out to bird by himself. After a half hour or so, my cell phone rang.
Don: There's a Northern Pygmy Owl!
Hyper excited Claire: WHERE! WHERE?
Don: Hang on I'll call back!
As happens, Don spotted the owl because of a flurry of smaller birds that were mobbing it. It is always a treat to find furious and fluttery little feathered furies, doing their best to drive off owls that outweigh them by more than a bit. In this case, Don said there were numerous Anna's Hummingbirds trying to put out the owl's eyes and lots of Oak Titmouses, and such. Unfortunately the little birds did succeed in driving off the owl soon after Don called me. Oh well! We've seen Northern Pygmy Owls before, my last time being during a trip to the Mendocino Lost Coast.
So the weekend ended with a great annual bird for Don. One doesn't enjoy a viewing of Northern Pygmy Owls just any old year.
Here's a parting prezzie: Video of the Ice House Road Hummers, with a bit of music so you needn't hear my rattling about in the background. It's a bit long, but kind of restful; enjoy!