Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Geese, Swans, Pelicans, and Cormorants: Part IV

There are seven species of Cormorants in the US. Here I have three: Pelagic, Neotropic, and Double-crested.

The Pelagic Cormorant can be found along the rocky cliffs along the Pacific Coast from Alaska to Mexico. Nests on sheer cliffs and forages in ocean near those rocky shores. More often solitary than other cormorants.

Pelagic Cormorant taken near Leadbetter State Park, Washington Coast

The Neotropic Cormorant has a very small range which includes the Gulf Coast of Texas and Mexico as well as the Gulf of California. It is occasionally found in Southeast Arizona.

Neotropic Cormorant taken at Reid Park, Arizona

Neotropic Cormorant taken at Sweetwater Wetlands, Arizona

The most widespread of the Cormorants is the Double-crested which can be found throughout must of the US, including the interior:

Double-crested Cormorant taken at Lakeside Park, Arizona

Double-crested Cormorant taken at Kennedy Park, Arizona

Double-crested Cormorant taken at Fort Lowell Park, Arizona

Double-crested Cormorant taken at Sweetwater Wetlands, Arizona

Double-crested Cormorant taken at Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge, California

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Geese, Swans, Pelicans, and Cormorants: Part III

One of my favorite Limericks is about the Pelican:

A curious bird is the Pelican,
His beak can hold more than his Beli-can.
He can take in his beak
Enough food for a weak;
And I'm darned if I know how the Heli-can

There are two Pelicans in the United States, the American White Pelican, and the Brown Pelican. The Brown is more often found on the Atlantic, Southern Pacific, and Gulf Coasts. Its preferred habitat is salt bays, beaches, and ocean, mostly over shallow waters.

Taken from Imperial Beach, Pacific Coast near San Diego

Taken at Lakeside Park in Tucson

Taken at Imperial National Wildlife Refuge, Arizona
Taken at Lakeside Park in Tucson
Taken at Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge, California

The American White Pelican is one of the largest birds in the US with a wingspan of over 9 feet. It also can weigh over 16 pounds. Unlike the Brown Pelican, it breeds in the interior of North America and winters along the Gulf and Southern Pacific Coasts. Its preferred habitat is lakes, marshes, and salt bays. 
Take in Yellowstone National Park

Taken at Fig Lagoon, California

Taken at Amado Water Treatment Plant, Arizona
Take at Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge, Wyoming

Friday, December 6, 2019

Geese, Swans, Pelicans, and Cormorants: Part II

On to the Swans. The only two swans in the Western US and Canada are the Trumpeter and Tundra. Very similar in plumage, the Tundra is the smaller and with a smaller neck. The Trumpeter breeds in Alaska while the Tundra breeds in Alaska and the northernmost parts of Canada.

Tundra Swan
Tundra Swan
Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter Swan

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Geese, Swans, Pelicans, and Cormorants: Part I

The next few posts will cover geese, swans, pelicans, and cormorants. First up, Geese:

Brant over the Puget Sound in Washington

Canada Goose on Lake Washington, Washington

Canada Goose Nesting in British Columbia

Canada Goose on Campbell Lake, British Columbia

Ross's Goose at Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, Washington

Snow Goose at Bosque del Apache, New Mexico

Snow Goose on Fir Island, Washington (Mount Baker in Background)

Snow Goose in Arizona

White-fronted Goose with Tundra Swans on Tule Lake, Northern California

White-fronted Goose with Snow Goose, Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon

White-fronted Goose in Arizona

White-fronted Goose, again Arizona

Monday, December 2, 2019

Flycatchers: Part VIII

Lastly, a few somewhat easier to identify flycatchers.

Greater Peewee

Northern Beardless Tyrannulet

Olive Sided Flycatcher

Western Wood Peewee

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Flycatchers: Part VII

Now we come to flycatchers (that like some of the sparrows) are difficult to accurately identify -- especially if you don't get great looks. Even with photos it can be challenging. There is slight color variation even among the same species, older birds can look drab or worn.

Certainly birdsong helps if you have the ear for it. 





Pacific Slope


Thursday, November 28, 2019

Flycatchers: Part VI

Two of the rarer flycatchers to are the Tufted Flycatcher and the Buff-breasted Flycatcher.

First, the Tufted Flycatcher. Less than 10 records in the United States, split between Southwest Texas and Southeast Arizona. (Ramsey and Carr Canyon in the Huachuca Mountains). It is the smallest flycatcher in North America and has been nesting here for the past three years.

Tufted Flycatcher

Second, the Buff-breasted Flycatcher found only in Southeast Arizona (Mount Lemmon in the Catalina Mountains).

Buff-breasted Flycatcher
Buff-breasted Flycatcher

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Flycatchers: Part V

Two of the larger flycatchers are also very striking in appearance: the Scissor-tailed and Sulphur-bellied.

The Scissor-tail Flycatcher has a limited range of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, with rare visits to Arizona. Its preferred habitat is open fields and prairies with scattered trees or fence posts (for perching).

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
The Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher has a smaller range, limited to just Southeast Arizona in the US. It's preferred habitat is mountain canyons, especially those with Sycamore Trees. It often nests in the cavities of those Sycamores. Normally solitary or in pairs. They can be pretty noisy when in pairs.

Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Flycatchers: Part IV

The Vermillion Flycatcher is conspicuously different than other flycatchers because of its brilliant red body and crown separately by a black mask.

Its range is very small in the US, limited to Southeast Arizona and Southwest Texas. Although its range is small it is more commonly found within that range.

It forages by perching on an exposed tree branch, post, or rail, sallying out to capture flying insects. It sometimes hovers a few feet off the ground and diving for small insects in the grasses.

Vermillion Flycatcher Male

Vermillion Flycatcher Female

Vermillion Flycatcher Juvenile