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Tag Archives: mountain bluebird

Common Redpoll in The Land of Enchantment

Spent Valentine’s Weekend in Santa Fe, New Mexico so we took advantage of the fact a Common Redpoll had been visiting a local resident’s feeders since December 22nd.

Thanks to the generousity of Bo Olcott and his wife, we were able to visit their property and see and photograph the Redpoll with relative ease. It was a snowy and blustery 15F when we arrived but the Redpoll was perched in a tree right above the feeders.

Common Redpoll
Common Redpoll

Not too far the down the road, we encountered one of the largest flocks I’ve ever seen of Mountain Bluebirds, Eastern Bluebirds, Townsend’s Solitaires and Cedar Waxwings! It was quite a sight and I was surprisingly able to get some of my best Mountain Bluebird photos yet. Still working on better Eastern Bluebird shots – for some reason I can never get close to them!

Mountain Bluebird
Mountain Bluebird

Some of the most beautiful country in New Mexico. It’s my favorite state in the Lower 48, and you can see why:

 

Posted by on February 13, 2012 in Photography Adventures

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Santa Fe, NM

It was chilly and blustery, albeit sunny, in northern New Mexico this weekend. On Saturday afternoon we visited the Randall Davey Audubon Center just outside of Santa Fe. There were several Townsend’s Solitaires flying around the parking lot as we pulled up. Many of the other regular stuff, such as Black-capped Chickadee, Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon and Pink-sided), etc.

Townsend's Solitaire
Townsend’s Solitaire

On Sunday we decided to make the 2.5 hour trek northward to Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge which was only 25 or so miles from the Colorado border. Within a few moments I immediately found a Northern Shrike. Lots of other winter raptor specialties included Ferruginous Hawk, Golden Eagle along with 2 adult Bald Eagles and 1 juvenile. And I must say, at least 200+ Mountain Bluebirds!! I guess this is *THE* place and time to go if you want to see them.

Northern Shrike
Northern Shrike

Golden Eagle
Golden Eagle

Golden Eagle
Golden Eagle

Northern Harrier
Northern Harrier

Ferruginous Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk

Mountain Bluebird
Mountain Bluebird

Mountain Bluebird
Mountain Bluebird

 

Posted by on February 16, 2009 in Photography Adventures

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Rough-legged Hawk….no.

Since I was visiting the in-laws out in Beaumont over the holidays, I decided to take a quick peek at the San Jacinto Wildlife Area to see what raptors the cold winter air had brought in. It was pretty dismal with just a few Kestrel’s here and there but after about 30 min I saw a raptor way off in the distance perched on a post in the middle of a field. I first noticed the nice black tail-band so the first thing that popped in my head was Rough-legged Hawk. I snapped a few pictures slowly working my way closer to it. I was so concentrated on trying to get the best pictures possible I didn’t really stop and take the time to actually ID the bird… After looking at the photos later I now realize it was simply a juvenile Ferruginous Hawk (and quite obvious too).


Ferruginous Hawk (juv)
Ferruginous Hawk (juv)

On the way out from SJWA I had a flock of about 50 Mountain Bluebirds, a very cooperative Cassin’s Kingbird and lots of Savannah Sparrows perched along the fenceline.


Mountain Bluebird
Mountain Bluebird

Cassin's Kingbird
Cassin’s Kingbird

Savannah Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow

 

Posted by on December 29, 2008 in Photography Adventures

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White Mountains, Mammoth Lakes, Mono Lake, Bodie and Yosemite

I’ve been dying to get out and actually photograph something and fortunately this past weekend took us to Mammoth Lakes for their annual Jazz Jubilee. And…being in the Sierras meant I had to take advantage of some of the great birding areas!

On the way up, we took a quick detour to the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in the White Mountains. Got some dynamite photos of Mountain Bluebird. I wasn’t so fortunate with my Clark’s Nutcracker photos though and along the way we found a Violet-green Swallow nest. On the way out of the park I managed to spot a male and female American Kestrel perching next to each other.


Mountain Bluebird
Mountain Bluebird

Mountain Bluebird
Mountain Bluebird

Violet-green Swallow
Violet-green Swallow

Clark's Nutcracker
Clark’s Nutcracker

American Kestrel
American Kestrel

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest
Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest
Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

The following morning I birded nearby Sherwin Creek of Mammoth Lakes, CA. Highlight of the day was definitely a Western Tanager family. I first found the female that was clearly not happy with my presence and continually made an alarm call as I photographed her. The male flew in from time to time and after I photographed them for 10-15 minutes I finally found the young Western Tanager that had just fledged. You can still see some down feathers and the tail feather had not grown in yet.


Western Tanager (m)
Western Tanager (m)

Western Tanager (f)
Western Tanager (f)

Western Tanager (i)
Western Tanager (i)

Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel
Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel

The rest of Saturday was speant enjoying the jazz and piano music at the Mammoth Jazz Jubilee. We woke up early Sunday morning and headed to South Mono Lake where I photographed Violet-green Swallows and California Gulls. I had hoped for Wilson’s Phalarope but no such luck this time.


Violet-green Swallow
Violet-green Swallow

Violet-green Swallow
Violet-green Swallow

California Gull
California Gull

California Ground Squirrel
California Ground Squirrel

Mono Lake Tufas
Mono Lake Tufas

Mono Lake Tufas
Mono Lake Tufas

Mono Lake Tufas
Mono Lake Tufas

After our quick little jaunt out to Mono Lake we sprinted up to the Bodie Ghost Town north of Lee Vining to look for Sage Grouse and ended up being quite fortunate to find a group of 7.


Greater Sage-grouse
Greater Sage-grouse

Greater Sage-grouse
Greater Sage-grouse

Greater Sage-grouse
Greater Sage-grouse

Bodie Ghost Town
Bodie Ghost Town

Bodie Ghost Town
Bodie Ghost Town

Bodie Ghost Town
Bodie Ghost Town

After Bodie we headed into Yosemite Natl Park via Tioga Pass in hopes of Great Gray Owl and Black-backed Woodpecker. Although we didn’t find either I did manage to get better shots of Lincoln’s Sparrow.


Lincoln's Sparrow
Lincoln’s Sparrow

Belding's Ground Squirrel
Belding’s Ground Squirrel

Yosemite Natl Park
Yosemite Natl Park

Yosemite Natl Park
Yosemite Natl Park

Yosemite Natl Park
Yosemite Natl Park

Yosemite Natl Park
Yosemite Natl Park

 

Posted by on July 14, 2008 in Photography Adventures

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