Friday, September 30, 2016

Birds on a Wire: Ferruginous Hawk

Back to the series on Birds on a Wire, we come to the Ferruginous Hawk.

The beautiful Ferruginous Hawk unfortunately is "Threatened." Estimates suggest less than 4,000 pairs left in the US.

It is found on prairies, deserts, and open ranges, hunting in wide open spaces either from a lone tree,  soaring high in the sky, or even on the ground by prairie dog burrows.  

Their diet includes rabbits, squirrels, prairie dogs, with the occasional reptile or bird.

Here is a photo taken at Santa Cruz Flats in Arizona:

Juvenile Ferruginous Hawk

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge

After wandering around Arivaca Cienegas, I headed over to the main "campus" of Buenos Aires NWR. I was hoping to find some Pronghorn, but with 117,500 acres it is not always in the cards. However, I did find a few things to photograph. One was an Ornate Box Turtle. This is an endangered  turtle and well protected by the State of Arizona. So it was a nice find. Also a Scaled Quail posed for me -- as did a nice Western Kingbird:

Ornate Box Turtle

Female Scaled Quail

Western Kingbird

Monday, September 26, 2016

Arivaca Cienegas: Yellow Billed Cuckoo

Had a chance to go to Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge (all parts) a couple of days ago. First stop was Arivaca Cienegas. I was there by 7:00 am and found it very birdie!!  In fact, so much so that it was difficult to focus in on a particular bird in order to get that "perfect" photo. Lots of warblers: Orange Crowned, MacGillivray's, Wilson's, and Lucy's.

But the find of the morning was a pair of Yellow Billed Cuckoos. They were quite active so I didn't get many good photos, but I did manage a couple of nice ones. Here is one of those:

Yellow Billed Cuckoo

Saturday, September 24, 2016

More from Sweetwater Wetlands

In addition to the Juvenile Peregrine Falcons, there was a nice Ladder-backed Woodpecker that allowed me to get quite close:

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Juvenile Peregrine Falcons at Sweetwater Wetlands

A quick trip over to Sweetwater Wetlands was not quite as productive as I had hoped. It may be that I just didn't get there early enough (arrived and 9:45). And it was hot -- 97 degrees hot. However, I did come away with some nice photos of three Juvenile Peregrine Falcons. I did not see either adult. Here are a couple of those photos:

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Birds on a Wire: Cassin's Kingbird

Southern Arizona has four Kingbird species: Cassin's, Thick Billed, Tropical, and Western. Here a Cassin's Kingbird sits a a wire awaiting an insect to snatch:

Cassin's Kingbird

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Birds on a Wire: Broad Billed Hummingbird

Around nectar feeders, hummingbirds use nearby wire to sit and rest primarily. Sometimes they will clean their bill on the wire, but it is less often that the wire is a perch to catch insects passing by.

Here are two photos of Broad Billed Hummers at rest:

Male Broad Billed Hummingbird

Male Broad Billed Hummingbird

In the last photo a Male Broad Billed Hummer about to land on the wire -- already occupied by a Female Anna's Hummer:

Male Broad Billed Hummingbird and Female Anna's Hummingbird

Friday, September 16, 2016

Birds on a Wire: Brewers Blackbird

One of my favorite "early" photos (from 1990 or so). It doesn't have the detail that my 51 megapixel camera (of today) has, but I like the composition, color, and the way the bird has his head tilted and tail fanned.

The photo was taken in Glacier National Park, Montana.

Brewers Blackbird

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Birds on a Wire: Blue Throated Hummingbird

The Blue Throated Hummingbird drinks nectar and eats flying insects and spiders. Typically they hawk insects catching them in mid-air while flying or by striking out from perches:

Blue Throated Hummingbird

Monday, September 12, 2016

Birds on a Wire: Blue Grosbeak

Blue Grosbeaks feed mostly on hard bodied insects including grasshoppers, beetles, cicadas, and crickets. As such they may forage in trees and shrubs or on the ground. (They will also feed on seeds). Occasionally, though they will sally out for flying insects from a perch. And a wire is as good a perch as any:

Blue Grosbeak

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Birds on a Wire: Black Phoebe

The Black Phoebe is most often found along streams or ponds. It perches on branches waiting for an insect to fly by and then strikes out to capture it. If there is a wire near the water it provides the perfect perch:

Black Phoebe

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Birds on a Wire: Black Headed Grosbeak

Sitting on a wire gives birds a great view and a perch to bolt out and catch an insect flying by. But it also provides a perch to just rest. 

The Black Headed Grosbeak is more often engaged in trees looking for seeds and hard bodied insects. Yet, occasionally it too finds a wire to perch on -- sometimes resting and sometimes waiting for a butterfly to pass by.

Black Headed Grosbeak

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Birds on a Wire: Barn Swallow

Perching birds love those telephone poles, fences, and fence posts. And often you can get an "unobstructed" view with the potential for a good photo. Of course, lighting can be a problem, but we  take what we are given and give thanks for the opportunity.

Swallows are particularly fond of wires. Gives them a clear view of their food. Here are a few photos taken over the past year or so of some Barn Swallows:

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Birds on a Wire: American Kestrel

Beginning to regain my strength (from five days in the hospital) I'm back home and anxious to get out into the wilderness. I have been experiencing (what I call) NDS -- Nature Deficiency Syndrome. 

In the meantime, I'll do a quick series I'm titling "Birds on a Wire," starting alphabetically with the American Kestrel: