Bird Brain Chronicles, Bird pics and story

And the Fog Lifted

Just a note before I get into today’s version of #BirdBrainChronicles: As I was setting this post up,I checked to see how the pictures were fitting together. I wasn’t happy. I need to find a bettwer way to line up the pictures. Until I do, please forgive the wonky formatting.

The day began with fog. We’ve had a lot of that lately…I wonder if God has a trip to London in mind for me. Just kidding of course…maybe. We had fog until about 9:00, and when I got paged to go to the church and sign checks (which I should have done yesterday) I headed over there.

Sandhill Cranes
Sandhill cranes

We usually drive by Middlecoff Park when we go to church, it avoids some of the busier areas of traffic. Today was no different. Only today, I saw these two beautiful sandhill cranes, feeding in the grass right by the road. The two cranes at the park though, just kept eating as I drove up and didn’t bat an eye, so far as I could tell, when I rolled down the window to take pictures. I took the two together and then isolated one of them. I should add that when I downloaded these pics to my computer, I lept for joy because they weren’t blurry. The two flying cranes were later, but I wanted to keep all these pics together

 

 

 

Sandhill Crane
Sandhill Crane
Sandhill Crane
Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Cranes flying

Sandhill Cranes flying

 

After I signed the checks at church, I headed to the Oso Bay Wetlands Preserve & Learning Center because it’s a wonderful place to look for birds. Today, it seemed like the overall bird population was down, but I still had a great time walking and looking at the beauty of the area. Of course, starting the day with the Sandhills already had made the day successful, but the scenery along the walk and the birds I did see added to the enjoyment. Walking into the sun, the plants were filled with water drops from the fog. I started off taking a few pictures of the drops. They looked like God had given the plants diamond necklaces to glitz up the place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wait, what’s that I see in that last picture? A cardinal’s hiding in the brush. My limited photography skills don’t always capture the beauty I see, especially with birds hidden in the midst of branches and brush, but seeing this cardinal brought a smile to my face.

Cardinal

I love Cardinals, well, except for the St. Louis variety, and this was the first one I’ve seen this year. Then, I got a few better cardinal pics. The picture of the female came after I went to the overlook, but I wanted all the Cardinals together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cardinal
Cardinal
Female Cardinal
Female cardinal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ruby crowned kinglet
ruby crowned kinglet

I experienced my lack of expertise in identifying birds today with the next few birds. One, I only knew because I had seen other people identify similar birds as ruby-crowned kinglets. (I still haven’t ever seen the ruby crown displayed!) They’re small, and this one was flitting around the branches. I never got a good look from him, this is the best of the lot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

These next two were hard to identify because they were backlit by the sun, and it was hard to see the colorations, but the duck looking one appears to be a Northern Pintail and the other one a Lesser Yellowlegs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And this one, I thought at first was a brown thrasher, but it doesn’t look like it after research. The song was beautiful, but I didn’t record it. Do you know what it is?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I began walking back to the car, I heard the honking of the sandhill cranes, and that’s when I snapped the pic of them flying. I saw a number of mocking birds, and explained what kind of bird ockingbirds are to a young child coming out of the learning center with his family. He said that he wished that they ate bugs, and I told him that they do…lots of bugs.

Bird Brain Chronicles, Bird pics and story

January 4 – Along Oso Creek

Today I revisited a walk that I took last Saturday with William Mays who wrote a book that included pictures he took along this walkway: The View From Oso Creek. While I didn’t remember all the pathways he took me on, I remembered enough and had a good day. Last Saturday, the only exciting capture was this Anhinga. The rest of the day we saw nothing. Today was much better, as was the weather!

 

 

Today when I went to the same area, I startled a pair of Tri-Colored Herons (I believe) and they took off before I could get any pics, except of them flying away. I started walking a little bit down river to see if I could spy anything along the way, but saw a couple of people sitting right where I wanted to go. They were either fishing or enjoying each other’s company, and i didn’t want to intrude. So, I headed back up the hill. As I headed up the hill, I started hearing some bird singing merrily at the top of his lungs. I walked as quietly as I could to avoid spooking him. I needn’t have worried. I did scan the area, making sure he wasn’t in one of the bushes, and then I saw him, at the top of a tall tree. When I first saw him, I took a long distance picture. It wasn’t very clear, but you could tell he had caught an insect and was chowing down. I had a different idea as to what kind of bird it was, but I was set straight.

 

 

This is a Couch’s Kingbird. I took numerous pictures of him. I was proud of the way that I caught his eye. One of the ways I judge my own pictures is how well you can see the eyes. On most of these, the eyes were sharp and clear. Interestingly, I’m in a Photo a Day challenge and today’s challenge was “Yellow.” I used this picture!

 

After getting my fill of pics of this bird (I had lots) I turned and saw this bird off at a distance. I took the long distance shot just in case I didn’t get anything else, hoping I’d be able to identify it later in Photoshop. I approached her cautiously, but without too much worry because she was so far away. Then, she took off. While this picture is a bit fuzzy, it’s her flying away. I was a bit disappointed.

 

 

My disappointment turned to smiles though when I realized that she had been answering the call of her potential mate. I didn’t get too close because they looked like they were still feeling each other out, but the bird on the left is the same Couch’s Kingbird you saw earlier.

 

 

 

Then, I headed towards the area I had been looking forward to since I decided to take this route. We had seen an owl there on Saturday, as it flew through the brush and Mr. Mays had noted that he had taken lots of owl pics there. I haven’t seen many owls in real life and I definitely hadn’t taken any pictures of them. I was anticipating a great owl shot. Alas, there were none. I think I found the reason though. 

This is the rare and dangerous Wild Plastic Flamingo. She was sitting in the trees guarding her territory. She can sit that way, motionless for hours, ready to strike at a moment’s notice. This was not a tame domesticated plastic flamingo. This was a wild one. When threatened, they can destroy dinosaurs! I plan on going back in the future, but will show extra caution when approaching this area.

While walking a little farther on, I saw a Mockingbird less than five feet from me. She stared at me with an attitude, wondering who let me walk in her area but she let me take numerous pictures. (I think it was 6 for $5.00.) Her beak seems to have a malformation. You can’t see it in this photo, but her top beak is two times as long as her bottom beak.

 

I saw another Couch’s Kingbird a little later. Mr. Mays had told me that the insect eaters will sit on the tree where I saw the Kingbird, zip out after the insect, and return to the tree to munch their lunch. I’ll probably get better pics later in the year. I also aw a beautiful egret flying around there. Again, I’ll have plenty of egret pics later, so I’m not gonna add them now. Later I walked down to an area that has a flat sandy area and was surprised by two sandhill cranes! I had just talked to a couple who was asking about this pair of birds that I thought were pelicans. Was I ever wrong! When I saw these cranes, I realized she saw them flying around. They are such beautiful birds! I’ll sign off tonight with that picture. It was wonderful to get out in nice weather with the sun shining.