Breakfast Time

Downy Woodpecker on Oak Gall
Willow Creek State Recreation Area, American River Parkway, Folsom, CA; AUG 2020

I am sharing images of birds and of an otter that are enjoying breakfast time. I watched as they worked hard to get their meal.

This year, I have had many opportunities to see animals hunt and eat. I am truly grateful to have had those opportunities and thankful that I only had to pull mine from a cupboard.

Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

Acorn Woodpecker
Mississippi Bar, American River Parkway, Orangevale, CA; AUG 2020
Female Belted Kingfisher
Mississippi Bar, American River Parkway, Orangevale, CA; JUL 2020
House Finch on Blue Elderberry
Mississippi Bar, American River Parkway, Orangevale, CA; JUL 2020
Juvenile American Robins
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; JUL 2020
Great Blue Heron with Prey
Mississippi Bar, American River Parkway, Orangevale, CA; JUL 2020
River Otter with Prey
Sailor Bar, American River Parkway, Fair Oaks, CA; AUG 2020

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

A Few California Landscapes

Old Barn
On Rt 20 Between Sacramento and Ft Bragg CA

Todays post contains some images from various spots around California.

Please click on caption to see images in higher resolution!

A Windy Autumn Day on Convict Lake
Convict Lake, CA; OCT 2019
Cherry Blossoms
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; MAR 2019
Sunrise on the American River
William Pond Park, Sacramento, CA. FEB 2016
Autumn at the edge of the Desert
Route 395, Near Rovana, CA; OCT 2019

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

Cute Chicks – Part 1

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) with Goslings
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; MAY 2020

I am presenting the first of 2 parts entitled Cute Chicks. This part will present some local waterfowl.

One of the images is entitled Huddled Sord of Baby Mallards. I learned that a group of Mallards in flight is called a flock or sometimes a flight. Mallards on the ground are called a SORD. If the name sounds weird, it is because it appears to have no other uses.

Female Mallard Duck (Anas platyrhynchos) with Ducklings
Mississippi Bar, American River Parkway, Orangevale, CA; MAY 2020
Mute Swans (Cygnus Olor) with Young
Mather Lake Regional Park, Sacramento, CA; JUN 2020
Wood Ducks (Aix sponsa) with Ducklings
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; MAY 2020
Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) with Young
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; MAY 2020
Huddled Sord of Baby Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos)
Sailor Bar, American River Parkway, Fair Oaks, CA; MAY 2020
Juvenile Canada Geese (Branta canadensis)
Mather Lake Regional Park, Sacramento, CA; JUN 2020

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

Egrets and Lizardicide

Great Egret (Ardea Alba)
Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, Davis, CA; MAY 2020

In this post, I am presenting 2 perspectives on the egret: the graceful, beautiful side and the visceral side.

A few weeks ago, we were at the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Refuge in Davis, CA. In one of the sloughs, there were perhaps a dozen Egrets, both Snowy Egrets and Great Egrets. It turned out to be a great day for capturing them in flight.

Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)
Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, Davis, CA; MAY 2020
Snowy Egrets (Egretta thula)
Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, Davis, CA; MAY 2020

The lizardicide, killing of a western fence lizard for food, happened at Effie Yeaw Nature Center. It was fascinating to watch. The actual capture was done in tall grass under the shade of a tree. After capture, the Great Egret made a short hop/flight out to the trail then prepared to devour his prey. The intrepid little lizard put up a strong fight but, in the end, it succumbed.

Stalking
Great Egret (Ardea Alba)
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; JUN 2020
The Lizard’s Gambit
Great Egret (Ardea Alba) with Western Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis)
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; JUN 2020
The Struggle
Positioning
The Swallow

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

Young Hawks

Adult and Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo virginianus)
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; MAY 2020

This spring, a pair of Red-shouldered Hawks gave birth to a pair of chicks at Effie Yeaw Nature Center in Sacramento. Hawk babies are often born at the center. What made this remarkable is they nested at a place where you could see them well enough to photograph them. Today, I am sharing some baby pictures.

The first image is one of the adults at the nest. I do not know if it is the male or female. I don’t know how to tell them apart, except that the female is usually larger. After that image we entered the period of stay-at-home, so I missed a few weeks of photographing the nest. When I returned the nest appeared empty. But, as I watched, I could see a small crest of white down peeking above the rim of the nest. On my next weekly visit, there was no activity at the nest. But, the next week, I saw an adult and 2 babies; one beginning to have feathers, the other still in down.  The following week, the older of the 2 had more well-developed feathers and was branching, i.e. climbing out on nearby branches. The smaller had its first feathers also. An adult was perched on a nearby snag calling out and the older baby was returning the call.

In the past 2 weeks, there has been no activity in the nest. Both babies should have been large enough to see even if sleeping. In fact, they should have both been branching. I am hoping that at least the older one has fledged but I don’t know. I will probably never know the outcome.

Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

Adult Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo virginianus) at Nest
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; MAR 2020

First Week That I Saw Babies

Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo virginianus)
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; MAY 2020
Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo virginianus)
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; MAY 2020
Adult and Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo virginianus)
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; MAY 2020
Adult and Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo virginianus)
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; MAY 2020
Adult and Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo virginianus)
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; MAY 2020
Adult and Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo virginianus)
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; MAY 2020

Second Week I saw Babies

Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo virginianus)
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; MAY 2020
Adult Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo virginianus) Calling to Young
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; MAY 2020

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

Local Birds – Special Time

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) with Goslings
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; MAY 2020

In the past 2 weeks, I have been able to get back to some of my familiar trails along the American River. It was a great time to get out because there are baby birds and there are males in their breeding plumage, all of which make this time of year special.

Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

Snowy Egret (Egretta Thula)
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; MAY 2020
Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) with Ducklings
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; MAY 2020
Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps)
Sailor Bar, American R
iver Parkway, Fair Oaks, CA; MAY 2020
Female Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; MAY 2020
Male Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; MAY 2020
Green Heron (Butorides virescens)
Sailor Bar, American River Parkway, Fair Oaks, CA; MAY 2020
Wood Ducks (Aix sponsa)
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; MAY 2020

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) on Mangrove
J N “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge; FEB 2020

The Snowy Egret is an elegant bird with bright white plumage, black beak and legs and bright yellow feet. When it displays its long, curved plumage, it is gorgeous. They can be found, year around, along the coastal waters of the US, Mexico, and the Caribbean. But its migration and breeding periods takes it into much of the interior of the US.

Like other egrets and herons, they nest high in trees, in colonies, with other similar birds. They forage on frogs, worms, crustaceans, and insects. I find watching Egrets and Herons stalk fascinating.

The Snowy Egret is noticeably smaller than its cousin the great egret; the one that is tall and has a yellow beak. When you see an egret, look closely; it might be a Snowy or, it might be a Great.

In this set, I mixed a few pictures from our recent trip to Florida as well as some I have taken locally.

Note: Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; MAR 2020
Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) with Prey
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; SEP 2019
Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)
Sanibel Island, FL; FEB 2020
Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)
Sanibel Island, FL; FEB 2020
Snowy Egret (egretta thula)
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Carmichael, CA; MAR 2019

Please visit my website, www.earthwatcher.us to see my collection of landscapes and wildlife.

These and other images are available to purchase by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

Raptors

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)
Wm Pond Park, Sacramento, CA; Mar 2019

Here are a few raptors, birds of prey, I’ve photographed over the past year.

The Red-shouldered and Red-tailed Hawks are members of the Buteo family. They forage in more open areas and prefer small rodents. The Goshawk and Sharp-shinned Hawks are members of the Acipiter family. They are built to forage in in forested areas and prefer birds. The Merlin is a small falcon. Though they have there preferences, they’ll eat whatever they can catch.

Note: Please click on caption to see these images at higher resolution.

Northern Goshawk (Acipiter Gentilis)
Owens River Road, Lee Vining, CA; OCT 2019
Merlin (Falco columbarius)
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; OCT 2019
Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus)
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramneto, CA; OCT 2019
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) on Nest
Battle Mountain, NV; MAY 2019
Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; JUL 2019
Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) – P2
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Carmichael, CA; OCT 2019
Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)
Hawk swooped down over my shoulder, picked-up a rodent and carried it to this tree. Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Carmichael, CA; OCT 2019
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)
Wm Pond Park, Sacramento, CA; Mar 2019

These and other images are available to purchase on my website: www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

A Year in the Life of Deer

Black-Tailed Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus) Buck;
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; DEC 2015

The Black-tailed Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus) are found on the western Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains, Southwestern United States and the West Coast of North America.

Deer are ungulates, meaning they are hooved. They are also ruminants which means they eat and send their food to the rumen; one of its stomachs. Later, it regurgitates the cud (food) from its rumen, chews it and sends it to its other stomach to digest. Male deer, like moose and elk, have antlers. Antlers are made of bone which are shed and regrown each year. (Animals like sheep, goats, cattle, and antelope have horns. Horns are made of bone covered with keratin which are permanent; not shed and regrown.) The prongs on an antler are referred to as points; a 6 point buck has 3 prongs on each antler.

Male deer are called bucks, female deer are called doe and the babies are called fawns. During most of the year, deer segregate themselves by sex; bucks in groups and doe, along with their young, in separate groups.

Each year, deer go through a reproductive cycle that begins with the “rut”[i]. The rut is the time when male deer fight for the right to breed with a harem of females and concludes with impregnated doe. As the rut commences and bucks have regrown their antlers, the bucks attempt to form a harem. One buck may challenge another for the right to breed with a harem. Bucks will lock antlers and push and fight until one is pushed backwards and loses the challenge. It is a dangerous time for bucks; they can become permanently injured. The ultimate winner breeds with the females as they enter estrus. Gestation is about 200 days.

In mid-to-late winter, the bucks drop their antlers. When the antlers regrow, they are covered with a furry skin commonly called velvet. When the antlers have completed their growth, the velvet dries and causes irritation for the bucks. The bucks rub their antlers against a tree to remove the velvet.

About the time autumn begins, when the fawns have grown and the bucks’ antlers have regrown, the rut begins again.

Note: Please click on caption to see images at higher resolution.

Black-Tailed Mule Deer Doe;
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; FEB 2019
Pregnant Black-tailed Mule Deer;
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; JUN 2019
Black-tailed Mule Deer Fawn;
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; JUL 2019
Black-tailed Mule Deer Nursing Her Fawn;
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; JUN 2019
Black-tailed Mule Deer Buck After Losing Antlers;
Buck was limping. Other bucks still had antlers. It is possible antlers were lost in combat.
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; MAR 2019


Black-tailed Mule Deer Buck with Antlers in Velvet;
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; JUN 2019
Black-tailed Mule Deer Buck; Antlers with Velvet Partially Rubbed-off;
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; SEP 2019
Bucks With Antlers Grown and Polished; the Year Begins Anew ;
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; OCT 2019

These and other images are available to purchase on my website: www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

[1] Information obtained from: https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Regions/6/Deer/Natural-History

Orioles and Waxwings

Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) -P1
Willow Creek Recreation Area, American River Parkway, Folsom, CA; SEP 2019

Over the course of the current year, I have been busily photographing many birds; so many that I have gotten behind in my posts. Over the next few months I’ll do my best to catch up, interspersed with some other interesting aspects of nature such as the golden leaves of the aspens along the eastern sierra. In this post, I’ll start with sharing some birds that I find especially beautiful.

The Bullock’s Oriole (Icterus bullockii) is found in the western part of North America. They like open areas near trees where they can find caterpillars, fruit and nectar.

The Hooded Oriole (Icterus cucullatus) is found in the southwestern United States. However, in breeding season they reside in western California also. They live in more open areas, and especially like palm trees. They like fruit, nectar and the sugar water in hummingbird feeders.

The Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorumlives) can be found across much of the United States. They are social birds that flock together in trees. Their preferred diet is fruit and berries but sometimes practice the aerobatics of flycatchers chasing insects. Waxwings get their name from a waxy substance they secrete from their wingtips.

Here in the Sacramento area, we see the waxwings in the winter and the orioles in the summer.


Hooded Oriole (Icterus cucullatus)
Lake Natomas, American River Parkway, Orangevale, CA; MAY 2019
Female Bullock’s Oriole (Icterus bullockii)
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; JUN 2019
Bullock’s Oriole (Icterus bullockii)
Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sacramento, CA; JUN 2019
Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) -P2
Willow Creek Area, American River Parkway, Folsom, CA; SEP 2019

These and other images are available to purchase on my website: www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.