Saturday, May 22, 2010

Chestnut-backed Chickadee and California Towhee

 Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Chestnut-backed Chickadee

I stopped at Coyote Point Recreation Area in San Mateo, California on the way to the San Francisco airport. For me, the highlight was seeing a Chestnut-backed Chickadee particularly because I didn't know there were Chestnut-backed Chickadees. I also saw my first California Towhee, but I prefer the spotted or eastern towhees.

California Towhee
California Towhee

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Magnolia Warbler

 

 

Not only was it a warbler morning, but it continued to be a very warbler day in our backyard. Chris had the good fortune of being able to watch them all day, but Mike has the birding camera on a different project so these pictures were taken with our original birding camera. The lighting got better, of course, as the day went on, so Chris kept trying for something better than the previous magnolia warbler post. The American Redstarts stayed around the whole day, and Chris also saw a female Blackburnian Warbler around 2 p.m. Overall, a great day of backyard birding!

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A Warbler Morning!

 


We could hear the birds singing at 6 am, and Chris is getting better at detecting some of the warbler songs and calls. This morning, although we could not photograph them all as they move so quickly, we had the following warblers: Canada, Magnolia, Chestnut-sided, American Redstart (male and female), and a Black and White or possibly a Blackpoll. We are seeing a warbler that doesn't look quite so zebra like as the Black and White does, but it doesn't look exactly like a Blackpoll either. We also had a lovely Red-eyed Vireo stop by. For Chris, the thrill of the morning was seeing the male redstart enjoy the waterfall she found on Craig's list. The sound of the trickling water is said to attract birds that don't come to feeders, and if that's what attracted the redstart to the yard, it was worth every penny and every bruise she got lugging it home.



 


A chestnut-sided warbler singing up a storm for us.

 


This picture of the magnolia warbler is not up to our usual standards (Chris was the photographer.) We know it's blurry, but it's so amazing to us that we can find these warblers in our yard this year that we had to post. Hopefully, it will encourage others to take a look at what might be in their own backyards.

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Great Crested Flycatcher

Chris got this nice photo of the Great Crested Flycatcher.

The spring migration is really in force at our house now. We also saw a blackpoll warbler (but no good photo, yet). We saw a cedar waxwing high in the trees and two thrushes in the garden.

The orioles have begun to build a nest a week earlier than last year.   The male oriole is often very territorial chasing other birds away, but he sat on the same branch about a foot away from a cedar waxwing for a good minute.

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Black and White Warbler (female)

Black and White Warbler

Here's a nice shot from Garret that we overlooked last week.

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Catbird and Titmouse

Catbird 
A pair of gray catbirds have been frequenting our yard. They are eating the jelly we put out for the orioles and one even drank the nectar. Here one has landed on an orange. The catbird has been making a wide variety of calls. It's the bird that sounds like a crying baby at times and has a wonderful song other times. Chris has two nicknames for the catbirds, jelly heads or silly singers.

titmouse  
This tufted titmouse is enjoying the peanut feeder.

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Brown-headed Cowbird

Brown-headed Cowbird


While out looking for warblers, we got this photo of a cowbird. Larger birds that stay still on the ground are much easier to photograph than small birds that fly around in the treetops.

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