Thursday, May 16, 2019

Beautiful Hooded Oriole Will Brighten Your Day!

It's raining in California but even when the sky is gray, a visit from a beautiful Hooded Oriole brings a little golden sunshine. A fun look at the male Hooded Oriole taking a morning bath at my fountain. Hope these shots of him brighten your day!

I have been glimpsing a bright yellow/gold color streaking in and out of my yard. As soon as I am spotted, the flighty male Hooded Oriole flies away. Sometimes I only hear his calls. Today as I sip my coffee and share my breakfast with my rat terrier, I spot the beautiful Hooded Oriole perched on my plumeria tree located near the birdbath/fountain. LOL, time to grab my camera! Here is my first shot of the gorgeous golden yellow male Hooded Oriole.
Hooded Oriole, Icterus cucullatus measures 8 inches long with a wingspan of 10.5 inches. He looks at the cute little cement fountain. 

And... Here he is landing on the outer rim. He is still a little unsure and looks towards my sliding glass door. 

He ventures into the water up to his belly and proceeds to take a vigorous bath.

Adorable look.

Watching this bird enjoying my fountain really made me smile. Every time I see this beautiful bird, it takes my breath away. His appearance brings with him a ray of golden sunlight on a cloudy California day!  

Have a happy week everyone. 

Saturday, May 11, 2019

The Wonderful Ospreys of Del Mar, Part 2

The Wonderful Ospreys of Del Mar, Part 2 starts with my quick jog following after the male Osprey with the catch of the day to the Osprey's nest site. I spot one fledgling in the nest and mom on the lookout post next to the nest. The male is spotted on his favorite utility pole about 100 ft north east of the nest eating the tasty Yellowfin Croaker.

Mom and Dad Ospreys have done a great job raising the youngsters. They both have fledged and are looking healthy and alert.  My first look at the nest as I spot one fledgling.

First flight usually occur at about 51 to 54 days after hatching. The only major predators are Great Horned Owls, Golden Eagles, and Bald Eagles. They are able to take nestlings and adults. Raccoons can also threaten the nest.  The nest in Del Mar has a large metal band around the pole holding the nest to prevent rats and raccoons from accessing the nest.

The youngster on the nest decides to take flight. This photo really shows the white feather tips (fish scale pattern) on his wing feathers typical of a young Osprey.

Mom is still on her lookout pole next to the nest.

Dad is busy feasting on his catch of the day. LOL, the fish must have tasted too good to take it immediately to the nest.
Dad Osprey really enjoying his catch.

The fledgling from the nest flies to a small utility pole near Dad. Mom Osprey joins the fledgling. She is shown perched at the top of the pole.

I walk up closer to dad Osprey and take a close-up of him enjoying his meal.

The fledgling decides to come back to the nest.

Beautiful wings.

Nice landing.

He decides to go for a short loop.

Heading back to the nest.

Back to the nest.

Here comes dad osprey to the nest with lunch.

He flies by very close to where I am standing... full frame!

Makes a loop right before the nest. He appears to be showing that he has food for the youngsters. He is coaxing the other fledgling that is not in the nest to fly back to the nest. The other fledgling is perched on a post about 300ft east of the nest. She may have a little confidence problem and dad is trying to entice her to fly back to the nest with a nice piece of juicy fish lunch. It is just a guess that the fledgling on the east pole is a female.

Close-up of the beautiful talons.  The surface is rough for a more secure grip of the fish. The outer talons are flexible and can rotate forward. They can carry a prey with three toes forward and one back or with two toes forward and two back for a more secure carry of the prey.

Back to the nest.

The fish is claimed by the fledgling at the nest.

Dad watches as the youngster takes his prize.

Dad osprey on our right keeps an eye on the youngster and stays on the nest for protection from intruders.

Wow, I didn't see the second fledgling flying towards the nest but I managed to capture her landing. Look at the huge wings!  I believe this one to be a female just because she appears so large.


What a gorgeous youngster!

She moves forward towards the other youngster and goes in for the steal. Dad stays out of the way.

She has taken the fish away from her nest mate. Dad keeps alert to his surroundings.

Here comes mom osprey to the nest.
She heads for her lookout post. You can see the top of dad osprey's head at the bottom left of this photo. He is watching her fly in.

Beautiful approach.



Female Ospreys are larger than the males. like many raptors. Females can be up to 30 percent larger than males.

Even though dad osprey (shown on the right) has had a large amount of this tasty fish, he still looks at the youngster taking a large bite with a look that says, " I could go for more of that fish".

Cherishing every yummy bite.

It's time to head for home and I get a last shot of the other nestling that got his meal stolen by his sister and is looking a little sleepy. He will rest up and I'm sure he will be testing his wings again soon.

A Great Egret flies over us . A beautiful sight with the light coming through its wings.
A Double-crested Cormorant also flies over. It's been a super birding day with friends watching the wonderful Ospreys of Del Mar and we hope to come back soon.
Happy Mother's Day!  Have a safe and fun weekend everyone.