Thursday, December 12, 2019

A Rainy Day in December

The good news for all of us that live in Southern California is that we have had many days of rain. But it is really not easy to go birding when it is pouring rain. Having a view of a beautiful little male Allen's Hummingbird from my back porch makes a dark rainy day a little bit brighter. 

Here are some photos of the male Allen's Hummingbird loving the rain.

The storm has passed and now the clouds are disappearing and the sun is starting to shine.

Loving the warmth of the sun.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Wish I Could Climb a Tree (a Retro-blog)

This blog is dedicated to a wonderful birder and photographer and friend Al Butler. Al passed away on November 1, 2019. He was one of the first photographers that I met at the San Elijo Lagoon when I started birding. He made every day at the lagoon a fun day and encouraged me as I got into bigger better cameras and lens. Here is a retro-blog of one of the many fun days birding at the lagoon with Al Butler. Thank you Al for all the great birding days at the lagoon. You will be dearly missed.


Retro-blog... Wish I Could Climb a Tree
I got an early start today to the lagoon while the sky was still slightly gray and the temperature was still cool. I was going to get a few more photos of the two juvenile Green Herons before they leave the duck pond area to explore the rest of their world. Al Butler had sent a beautiful photo yesterday of a juvenile Green Heron with small prey in his beak! It was proof that they are now foraging for themselves! What a great ending to our "nest watch" and all the days we all worried for these two awesome youngsters.

Arriving at the duck pond, I was delighted to see Al Butler already there looking for the Green Herons. He had spotted one on a branch and also had seen a juvenile Clapper Rail in the duck pond. I looked up at the branch and saw that there were now two juvenile Greens perched together. But all the plants and the cattail reeds were making a good clear shot impossible. I saw a tree that would be perfect if I could only climb it to get a better shot! But Al pointed his finger at me and said, "Jo, you better not climb that tree!"  LOL, come to find out that he got a super clear shot of the Green Heron juveniles because he climbed the tree! However he got quite scraped up and told me I better not blog about it. (Photo below of Al saying, "Do not climb that tree") So this blog was a way I could tease Al without telling anyone that he was the one that climbed the tree for the perfect clear shot! We all laughed about it and this is just one of the fun and happy times we all had with Al Butler.

If I could climb that tree, I could get a clear shot of the whole duck pond!!! But no, I did not climb that tree. So all I got was a shot of the two juvenile Green Herons with lots of reeds between my camera and the birds. But as you can see they are doing well.

I saw this adult Black-crowned Night-Heron taking a drink. I have to admit the water today was really stinky at the duck pond!   LOL... I guess the birds don't mind the smell!

Night-Herons hunt very early in the morning or very late in the evening. You can usually see them resting and sleeping during the day.

The juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron was nearby just relaxing.

A Snowy Egret came by and landed but didn't chase off the juvenile night heron like it usually does when the adult is not around. It took a drink of water and flew off. 

I decided to call it a day because the sky cleared and it got really hot and all the birds disappeared. They have gone into hiding in the shade

Thank you Al for your kindness and wisdom and a great sense of humor.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving Day 2019

November has been a fun month with lots of birds in the yard. Most of my time is dedicated to training and keeping my new puppy out of mischief. But we have a beautiful time for bonding every morning as we go birding together in my garden. She is by my side usually being very good. I search my neighbors' Schefflera tree located next to my garden to see if I can find some interesting bird subjects.

This is our resident Northern Mockingbird finding breakfast at the Schefflera tree. 

He has got himself a berry from the tree.

A young looking Allen's Hummingbird shows up on my persimmon branch.

Lots of hummer babies around this year.

First warbler to appear on the Melaleuca tree is the Yellow-rumped Warbler.

A sweet close-up of an Allen's Hummingbird hovering nearby.

I wanted to show you a shot of a Yellow-rumped Warbler getting a honeybee.

He is reaching for something...

Wow, he has a honey bee. Sorry it is not very clear but I wanted to share this with you . I have never seen this before.
He looks fine after the encounter.

Goes back to foraging for bugs again.

Look who just showed up at this wonderful bug-infested tree. A Townsend's Warbler! It appears that he has himself a juicy white fly.

Or maybe a mealy bug... I can't tell.
Now this is a big bug for sure.

Gulping it down.


He spots something and he launches off the leaf.

This is what warblers do!

They flutter in place as they pick off the bugs.

My goodness! My first sighting of a Black-throated Gray Warbler this year!

Black-throated Gray Warbler, Esophagi nigrescens measures 5 inches long with a wingspan of 7.75 inches.

He just stayed long enough for these shots and was chased off by a Yellow-rumped Warbler! Only the males have the dark gray throat.

LOL, this guy did not want to share any of the bugs .

Looking at my Guava tree I spot an Allen's Hummingbird that is just getting his new chin feathers. Look at all those pin feathers!

Looks like it would be a little itchy.

He is adorable!

I am really getting to love this Townsend's Warbler and he loves my kale plant.

I got distracted by a cute pair of Lesser Goldfinch landing on my little cottage solar fountain. It's located only a few feet away from my kale plant.
Back to my kale plant and to see what the Townsend's is up to .

A nice look at the markings on his back.

Hi !

What a beauty.


Cute pose.

Look who landed on the persimmon tree next to the kale! He is a handsome Allen's Hummingbird. There is a feeder nearby and it appears he has just got himself a good sip.

Checking me out as he hears my camera clicking away.

A young Yellow-rumped Warbler stops by on the kale plant.

A beautiful youngster.

I am so pleased to see these warblers visiting my garden. They are great for natural bug control.

A few shots of the flowers that are in bloom.
Last of my ginger flower.

Double delight is always a showstopper!

All my Azaleas are full of buds. They will provide lots of color through the winter.
Last of my plumeria bloom.

Love my roses.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! If you are traveling, please stay safe.