Monday, March 20, 2017

Happy First Day of Spring!

It was a gloomy Monday this morning but the flowers in my backyard were cheerful to see.  I decided to celebrate the First Day of Spring with a some photos of the flowers in my backyard. Looking forward to all the bird visitors and the spring migration.

I wish I could send you a bottle of the scent from the flowers of my orange tree. Its fragrance is heavenly!
I spot a Red-shouldered Hawk in my neighbor's star pine.

As I walk out to the front yard to get a better look at the hawk, I spot a couple of European Starlings. They are eating the ripe fruits on the date palm.

Back to my backward.

As I was taking a shot of the purple freesias, a young Anna's Hummingbird lands on a fragile avocado branch.

What a cutie. Even though it has been an overcast morning, a visit by a hummer always brings me joy!
Happy First Day of Spring everyone!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Hanging on by a Talon

It's been a while since I visited a nice birding area near Penasquitos Creek off of Flintkote Ave in Sorrento Valley, San Diego. This area is nice for birding but really a hard place to get close-up bird photos. 

Every hummingbird that I spot is looked at carefully just to make sure it is not one of the rare visitors that are sometimes spotted in this area. I believe this one is one of our native Anna's Hummingbirds sitting in this dead bush. He has been defending his territory and flying courtship flights.

This tall lean dead bush is also appealing to another bird that is common in this area. A Bewick's Wren flies into the bare brush.

The wren just wants this brush to sing his song but the hummer is not pleased about his territory being invaded by the wren.

As the wren sings away and his call echos through the canyons, the hummer becomes very agitated, he buzzes and challenges the wren.
The hummer chatters and chatters demanding that the wren leave this bush. This bush has been claimed by the Anna's Hummingbird and the wren needs to find his own perch.

The Wren is too busy singing his heart out to be distracted by an agitated hummer.
The hummer becomes more vocal and now is scolding the wren to leave immediately!  A few more buzzing and aggressive flights by the hummer.

The wren keeps singing his beautiful song.

The male hummingbird is getting more upset with the intruder wren and relentlessly scolds from a nearby perch. Soon after this photo, the wren decided he had enough agitation from the hummer and flew off. It's always interesting to see how aggressive these little hummingbirds can be when protecting their territory. They will even bully other species of birds off their favorite perches.

As I walk towards the Park Ranger's house, I notice lots of beautiful cactus flowers in bloom. It really feels like springtime already.
Several Common Ravens soar overhead. You can easily identify the difference between a raven and a crow by the shape of the tail. Ravens often soar but crows never do...

The trail is located at the base of a huge canyon that is located east of the Torrey Pines Nature Reserve. As I search the sky for movement, I spot a young Red-tailed Hawk flying over the highest ridge.

The young hawk flies down and back up over the ridge.

He comes up over the ridge again but appears to be on a mission, going straight for a target.

By the time I looked in the direction of the young hawk's flight, he was already engaged in a wild altercation with a full grown Red-tailed Hawk.They had locked talons with their powerful wings outstretched in a display of strength.
The older hawk appears to be pulling the youngster down and reaching up to bite the youngster's leg.

For a moment it appears they have both spun out of control and are free-falling with wings flapping.
Oh, but they are still connected... hanging on by a talon! What a wild and exciting thing to observe.
The mature Red-tailed Hawk (on top) appears to be the aggressor. His talon is locked around the youngsters and appears to not let him go!

Feathers fly and there is a wild moment of body slamming and confusion.  What in the world is going on with talons and wings in all directions!

The youngster (on the right) appears to want to fly away but the adult hawk is still hanging on by a talon.

More twirls and displays of powerful flying by both hawks.
Finally the adult (now on top) lets the youngster free and the aerial show comes to an abrupt end as each flies off in the opposite direction.

The mature hawk (right) heads north and the youngster (lower left) heads south.

The mature Red-tailed Hawk is still flying aggressively with both talons down. The youngster looks as though he has had enough and just wants to leave.

I barely catch a shot of the adult as he flies by.

The young hawk soars up and does a few tight circles before he disappears to the south.
One last shot of the young hawk as he soars off to find his own piece of territory. Wishing him luck, it's time for me to head for home.

Have a great week everyone!