I had an interesting encounter with a pair of Red-shouldered Hawks. As I was walking a trail, I heard a Red-shouldered hawk call. I found it on a low branch about 50 yards away. I set up to photograph the bird when I heard another call and a second one arrived. I got their picture and then continued as they mated right in front of me. This was truly a wonderful experience. I thanked them before I left.
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If anyone would like a copy of almost any picture in my library, for educational or research use, please contact me and I will happily share a digital copy with you.
Its spring and male birds are displaying their most beautiful plumage and serenading with their most beautiful calls. To me, none is more beautiful than the Red-winged Blackbird. I’ve included a link to a video which I am sharing, not because I want you to see it but because I want you listen to it. It is from my favorite spring nesting spot; my favorite because of the song of these birds.
I am featuring one of my favorite little birds, the American Bushtit (Psaltriparus Minimus). At about 4 ½ inches long and weighing in at about 0.2 Ounces, these energetic little birds are fun to watch. They are, however, a challenge to photograph; they never sit still. They perch for a few seconds looking for insects or spiders then are off to the next branch. I guess if I were snack size, I probably would not stay in one place very long either.
These birds are found in the mountainous areas of the western US and Mexico. But we also see them year-round in the Sacramento area. We have the Pacific sub-group in our area. There is also an Interior or Black-eared variety in other areas; according to Sibley, they are more common in Texas and Mexico. I’ve never seen one.
As you are walking, look for them. Small flocks will move from tree to tree while foraging. While on the tree, they flit from branch to branch at a frenetic pace making them fun to watch. The male has a black eye while the female has a yellow eye.
Information gleaned from Cornell Labs, All About Birds and Wikipedia.
 The Sibley Guide to Birds, Second Edition. Copyright 2014 by David Allen Sibley.
We visited the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area in Davis, CA. Like many of the wildlife refuges in the Sacramento Valley, it is agricultural land where rice is grown. The fields are flooded over the winter to help decompose the stubble before planting the next spring. Waterfowl and shorebirds migrate to these wetlands to feed over the winter.
Here are a few examples.
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The Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) is a common gull throughout North America. During breeding season, they live in Canada and far Northern United States while in Non-breeding season they live along the coastal regions of the United States. Here in California’s central valley, we see them during the Salmon and Steelhead run where they migrate to feed on the plentiful supply of fish carcasses.
I had the privilege of photographing a small flock of them along the American River a few weeks ago.
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