Sunday, July 16, 2017

Hot Fun On A Summer Day



There was no question of where to go photographing today! I had to head down to my favorite place to check on the mergansers, the avocets, the cooper's hawks and the 
swainson's hawks too.

So with coffee and some breakfast packed up, I was in the car at 5am and driving down to Lakewood.

I was hoping the cooper's hawks were out of the nest but still close by. Yup! I saw all three youngsters. Two were in the dead tree and one was perched high in one of the spruce trees.






A western kingbird flew into the same tree and the young cooper was pretty excited.....


Yes, these hawks eat small birds but not today.......



I went looking for the avocets but there was no sign of them. Damn, my guess is the chicks didn't make it and the parents moved on......

I did see this cute spotted sandpiper......



And here's a cormorant family....



I continued on and watched this great blue heron do some fishing. Not sure what he/she caught but I'm sure it was yummy!



Yes! Last time I was here, I only saw one female wood duck. Today I spotted two females and a few ducklings!


Here's a couple of the wood duck kids.



Here's a male mallard in eclipse plumage. After breeding season the males molt and lose the ability to fly for a few weeks. You can see the green is starting to come back.....



After enjoying the wood ducks, I went looking for the swainson's. And there was Mrs. Swainson enjoying the beautiful morning.......


I heard a familiar sound of the western kingbird! There seems to be a bumper crop of these guys this year!


There also seems to be quite a few young kingfishers this year. I saw them everywhere but especially at the back pond. 






I spent quite a long time attempting to get pics of them hitting the water to grab a fish. This was the best I got, so more practice is needed.......





I doubled back to check on the wood ducks and this downy wood pecker showed up....



Here's the youngsters.....



 
And here are the two momma wood ducks.........




I decided to walk back to check on the cooper's hawks. On the way I spotted this young kestrel.....



Wow! I noticed something I had never noticed before. Eye color! This first pic is not good quality but check out the red eye color.

And this youngster has light green eye color. So I did some research and learned that they go through a few eye colors on the way to being an adult. Red is the normal color for the adult, so the youngster with the light red eye is reaching maturity a bit sooner than the other cooper.....cool!


Next I headed over to the main gazebo and the barn swallow nests were everywhere! I attempted to get some pics but no luck. Then I remembered I had a flash on my camera and got this!



I headed back to see the wood ducks by walking along the south end of the big pond. There were so many young barn swallows.......







There are at least five types of swallows around here but all I saw was the barn swallows.
Finally a lone tree swallow was spotted hanging with the barn swallows......



So I got back to the wood duck area and met up with Neal and Rich. Both are avid birders and fun to chat with.
Neal mentioned he saw a black crown night heron just down the trail, so I went looking for him.
Oh! He was on the other side of the water way but I was able to get a few pics of him enjoying some lovely frog!




The turtles made an appearance....


Here's a frog that wasn't breakfast.......





So I had looked for the hooded merganser youngsters on the back pond but had no luck. But when I chatted with the guys, Rich said he had just seen them. So I hustled back there and there they were! Wow! They are just about full size already! There were five youngsters last time I was here and now there are four. Pretty good as there is a high attrition rate among ducklings......



While watching the ducks, I heard some commotion and saw one of the swainson's hawks was getting bombarded by some kingbirds.....









 Finally after lots of preening, they snuggled together and took a nap.......





  

Whew! It was getting hot and I realized I'd been photographing for four hours...sweet! Time flies when you're having fun!

So I headed back towards the car. But along the way, a chickadee posed for me.....


And thanks to Neal for pointing out this mourning dove nest. I would have never spotted him. The male sits on the nest during the day and the female does the night shift.....cool!



Of course I had to check on the cooper's one last time. Along the way I spotted another young kestrel.....


The young cooper's were not close by but I did spot one of the parents. I think it was dad....


Well, it was such an amazing morning! It was well worth getting up super early for such a fun day! Thanks for reading!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Short But Sweet










I wanted to go out photographing and I wanted to go hiking with Hazel dog. She is such a good dog that I can combine my two loves! Any time I stop to photograph something she just lays down and waits for me.....so damn cute! I don't have to tell her to lay down or sit, she just does it......

I decided to get out as early as possible because it was supposed to be around 96' today. So the earlier we got out, the cooler it would be. We got to the boulder valley ranch loop at 5:30am...early!

I heard the yellow breasted chat, the bullock's orioles and the chickadees singing but they were all in the the thick brush along the trail.

Finally I spotted this young eastern kingbird.....




some beautiful flowers....



Hazel and I headed down to the pond for some swimming and then doubled back up the hill.
Yes! I spotted one of the western kingbirds flying away from their nest. I never would have seen that nest as it is tucked in nicely.




The kingbird that was on the nest flew off and came back with breakfast...yum! Mom/dad fed the youngsters in the nest. They were too small for me to see them so I'll be back soon to check on them.





We were almost back to the trailhead and finally a bullock's oriole posed for me......



And this house finch was enjoying some breakfast too!




Hazel and I had a fun time. She got to go swimming and I got to do a bit of photographing. We were home by 8am for breakfast, coffee and to watch the tour de France!

Thanks for reading!