Tag Archives: Birding

~Nature

~October, 2017, Grand Canyon, South Rim

The Grand Canyon is one of the seven natural wonders of the world, along with Mount Everest in Nepal, Victoria Falls in Zambia/Zimbabwe, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the Northern Lights, Paricutin Volcano in Mexico and Harbor of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. The Canyon attracts 4.5 million visitors from all over the world annually.

The Grand Canyon is home to 70 species of mammals, 250 species of birds, 25 species of reptiles and five species of amphibians.

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Grand Canyon, South Rim, as we walk east.

Howard and I walked about five to six miles each day while visiting the Grand Canyon. We preferred the east end of the South Rim Trail. The longer we walked the trail, the fewer people we encountered. The terrain was different going east in that it was more forested.  I loved this area. A perfect environment for birds and wildlife.

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Taken in an area east of Mather Point.

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You can’t imagine my delight when I downloaded the photo below. I haven’t seen this bird in years. It is a Red Crossbill. If you zoom in on the photo take a look at its bill.

Red Crossbill
Red Crossbill

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Elk (looks like a first year)
Elk (looks like a first year)

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Junco, Gray-headed
Junco, Gray-headed

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Howard and I were walking along the South Rim Trail near the El Tower Hotel and spotted this Green-tailed Towhee looking for food – scratch, scratch, scratch! They are beautiful and fun to watch.

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Green-tailed Towhee

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One evening we were walking the trails around the RV park. There were lots of Western Bluebirds in the area. In fact, I tried to get a photo of them drinking from a faucet, but someone walked by and they flew. This Western Bluebird, in the photo below flew before I could manually focus on her, but I like the photo.

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Western Bluebird

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Ravens:

I never get bored watching these intelligent birds.  I truly believe this Raven was mimicking a barking dog. I heard a dog barking for several minutes before I heard the Raven. I remember thinking, “what in the heck is making that noise”.

Singning
Barking? Note the wedge-shaped tail. This is how you can ID the Raven.

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He looks happy with himself!

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This Raven was sitting high up in a tree and “talking” away. I saw a young girl, about 11 years old with her phone, trying to get a photo of him. She was shooting into the sun and through a lot of branches. I walked over to the tree and called her to some stand where I was standing. I was happy to see her excitement in seeing this bird. I hope her photos came out okay!

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Soaring
Soaring

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There are approximately 200 species of trees and shrubs in Grand Canyon National Park. Most of these are found in the higher elevations of the park, on the South and North rims. Some of the tree species include the white fir, Engleman spruce, blue spruce, Douglas fir, corkbark fir, ponderosa pine, Utah juniper, alligator juniper, Colorado pinyon, quaking aspen, Fremont cottonwood, Gambel oak, and Arizona walnut.

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Birds I observed at the Grand Canyon, South Rim. I was very surprised at the number of birds there were in the area.

`Northern Flicker Red-shafted

`Hairy Woodpecker

`Scrub Jay

`Pinyon Jay

`Stellar’s Jay

`Common Raven

`Mountain Chickadee

`White-breasted Nuthatch

`Red-breasted Nuthatch

`Pygmy Nuthatch

`Western Bluebird

`American Robin

`Green-tailed Towhee

`Spotted Towhee

`Juncos

`White-crowned Sparrow

`Red Crossbill

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Howard had a fun time taking panoramic photos with his iPhone.

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Howard checking out his panoramic photos!
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This header photo is one of Howard’s gorgeous panoramic photos!

~Taking the time to enjoy nature~

 

~Birds: A pretty little American Goldfinch

~Loveland, Colorado, August, 2017

While sitting outside with my camera, this little girl flew into the yard. She perched at the top of a dead branch in the apple tree, then dropped down to a lower branch. Sad to say, but she found a worm nest in the tree.

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American Goldfinch (female)

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“What have I found here?”

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“Anything in there I can eat?”

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“Yes”

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“Yummy”

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“Okay, take my photo so I can be on my way.”

 

Well that was fun, having my camera ready when an unexpected visitor arrived. Now we need to get rid of the worm nest.

Happy Birding!

 

 

~Birding in Texas, Ladder-backed Woodpecker

South Llano River State Park, Junction, TX, March and April, 2017

Time for me to get back to sharing the birds I observed, this past winter, while traveling in Texas.

If you have been visiting this blog you know that one of our favorite places to stay is South Llano River State Park in Junction, TX. South Llano River State Park draws birding enthusiasts from all over the country, offering four bird blinds for observation. If interested please visit their web-site here, South Llano River State Park.

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Ladder-backed Woodpecker (female), 03/06/2117

This Ladder-backed Woodpecker would shyly makes its way into the bird blind staying along the perimeter and in the surrounding trees. It would eat for a few minutes, always in the same location. She habitually stayed alert for any signs of danger.

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Same location on 03/07/2017

I believe these photos are my first of this woodpecker.

 

Site 34, South Llano State Park

Happy Birding!

 

~Birding in Texas, Snowy Egrets

High Island, Texas, Smith Oaks Rookery, April, 2017

Could the Snowy Egret be my favorite Egret. Possibly! They are beautiful with long white plumes on their head and neck. Their facial color, during breeding, is mostly yellow. And, they have bright yellow feet! They are fun to watch being both silly and elegant. Their babies began to fly after 20 days and their life span is at least 16 years.

Snowy Egret
oOo
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Watching

I didn’t notice a lot of them, perhaps I was focused on the Great Egret babies.

Snowy Egret fishing
Snowy Egret fishing

 

Happy Birding!

~Birding in Texas, Roseate Spoonbills

High Island, Texas, Smith Oats Rookery, April, 2017

Roseate Spoonbill
Roseate Spoonbill

The Egrets were ahead of the Spoonbills in nesting and raising chicks. They were still gathering sticks to add to their nests, sitting on the nests to hatch more chicks, and hunting for food to feed the chicks they had. Not sure how many chicks are hatched during a breeding season, but probably not very many of them make it to adults. 😦

The Spoonbills were chasing each other, mating, and vocal. Howard captured the sounds at this amazing place, which I will share in a future post.

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A pair
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oOo
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oOo
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Sweet
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A funny photo, mirror images!
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Hunting
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Bird Hotel

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It would have been a treat to see Spoonbill chicks!

~Birding in Texas, Little Fuzzy Heads

High Island, Texas, Smith Oak Rookery, April, 2017

Very excited to see babies in the nests; a first for us.

Great Egret Baby
A very young chick
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Notice the different sizes of the chicks.
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“How can I feed you if you are going to hold my beak?”
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A lovely Egret family.

Happy Birding!

Shared this with Eileen at Viewing Nature with Eileen