Saturday, December 19, 2009

Wintering Pine Warbler @SantaAnaNWR

Today was the Christmas Bird
Count at Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge which is located on the border of Mexico. Though small by National Refuge size at about 2,000 acres, approximately 400 bird species have been seen there. Named for the pine trees that are their usual habitat, this bird was foraging in some mixed tree species.
This Pine Warbler flitted in mid canopy about 60-80 feet above the ground and I took these pics-habndheld- from a distance of about 50-75 feet. With reduced lighting in the trees, the pics came out fairly dark but not good enough to lighten them more. SeEtta

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Last but not least pics of N.Jacana

I really liked the views of the yellow bill that extends up towards it's crown. The chestnut colored feathers on it's back and coverts is most attractive. SeEtta

Flight pics of N. Jacana

It was cloudy when I photographed this jacana and I am afraid that this ate up the color of the actually quite attractive yellow flight feathers causing them to look whitish in my pics. (this is not a result of editing).
The bird flew several times as it moved around the shallow lake to forage in the vegetation.
I was quite impressed by the long length of it's toes which are shown well in both middle pics.
SeEtta

Rare N. Jacana In Texas

I am now down in Texas for some birding and for temperatures nicer than th 16 below, followed by 10 below, followed by 6 below zero we had in Canon City last week. I had been following reports of a Northern Jacana that has been regularly seen in Choke Canyon State Park since early November.
I didn't get to the park until early afternoon as it had been raining in San Antonio. A couple from Oklahoma found the bird on the far side of 75 Acre Lake. The husband was shooting pics with his 850 mm super telephoto lens and I was shooting with my combination (400 mm lens, 1.4 mm lens extender with an additional 1.6 multiplier since my camera is not full framed which gives me an effective lens a little over 850 mm).
We got lucky--the jacana, which had been foraging actively several hundred feet away, flew in so we could photograph it from as close as 70 or so feet away (which is a real big help, especially since my image stabilization and automatic focus do not work when I use my lens extender). More pics in next two posts. SeEtta

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Risks to polar bears from a warming climate

Watch this informative video featuring a scientist, who is has extensively studied polar bears in the field, discussing the risks that face polar bears as our climate continues to warm. Dr. Derocher's "field research focuses on polar bears in the Canadian Arctic and the polar bears of Hudson Bay. He has also worked with polar bears in Svalbard, Norway, through the Norwegian Polar Institute. Over the course of 20 years of studying polar bears, Dr. Derocher’s research has focused on the limiting and regulating factors of polar bear populations including habitat use, harvest effects, and predator-prey relationships." SeEtta

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

More Red-naped pics

The top pic shows off the head pattern found on male Red-naped Sapsuckers--this one has a good patch of red on it's nape, red crown showing a little, bright red throat (distinctive of males), black and white facial stripes, frame around throat incomplete.
In included the middle pic as I rarely get such a good shot of the crown which is quite red on this bird.
And though the bottom pic shows off the red feathers on the bird's nape, I included it because it shows off the back pattern with 2 well-defined rows of white feathers that are also field marks for distinguishing Red-naped from Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers. SeEtta

And the Abbey's Red-naped Sapsucker

Now that I have posted pics of male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker at Centennial Park as well as the female Williamson's and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker at the Abbey, these are pics of the last sapsucker I found--a male Red-naped sharing the pine trees that are favored by all of these sapsucker species when they winter in Canon City. I really like pics in which I catch a glimpse of a bird's tongue like in the top pic here.
I noted in the last post on the female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker that they have fully framed throats while Red-naped Sapsucker's do not. This bird has a better developed frame than most Red-naped that I have seen, but the top 3 pics show that the frame is incomplete where the section bordering the face meets the section bordering the breast. The second pic also shows well the bright red throat feathers on this male.
I uploaded the bottom pic to show off the upper tail coverts and tail feathers that are not often shown in pics of sapsuckers. More pics in the next post. SeEtta

Monday, December 14, 2009

Canon City's female YB Sapsucker

This is the female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker I found at the Abbey in Canon City, CO last week. I found her the same day I found a male Red-naped Sapsucker also at the Abbey. Though I didn't see the female Williamson's Sapsucker that day, it has been seen by others since these newcomers have arrived.
Young male Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers can have throats that are mostly white but with a small amount of red so it is important to view the throat area fully as I did with these sapsucker.
These pics show from various angles the completely framed throats that is distinctive of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers. SeEtta

Octopus using coconut shells

This is too cool--this species of octopus has learned to use coconut shells discarded into the water by people--and they take them when they move about. SeEtta