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Category Archives: birds

I saw most of these from my kayak. Except the last three. I struggled with the first one, the gray bird that appeared to be sitting on a nest but my friend quickly ID’ed it. I’m sure you will too! Then there was the constantly calling flycatcher which is probably more gray in normal light but the evening sun gave it a very warm tone. And then the zebra striped baby. Some ducks of various ages. Then there was another, very elegant, flycatcher. And then three forest birds. The last one had the most interesting call. I would not have guessed it but my friend recognized it and was able to locate it in the dappled forest. I have so much to learn!

Last week I got to see a Merlin family actively hunting dragonflies around a small lake. There were at least three birds and some, most likely the youngsters, were very vocal. That made them easy to spot. When I was there earlier in the summer, I thought there might be a nest in the area. I mostly photographed them from my boat near dusk and in the early morning as they perched on snags waiting for the unsuspecting dragonflies. It made for challenging conditions.

My Sibley field guide says this about Merlins: “Uncommon in open habitats. Nests in trees in forests with open areas. Solitary. Pugnacious; often harasses much larger birds. An active and energetic hunter; spots prey from perch or during low fast flight, closes with incredible speed, and attacks with abrupt turns, often from below. Feeds almost entirely on small birds; also takes dragonflies in midair.” It’s a pretty good description of the birds I observed.

More from my recent photo dump. The Mountain Bluebird was in the mountains. The first Bald Eagle was at a lake, photographed at dusk from a boat. The Turkey Vulture, Western Bluebird feeding young and the last Bald Eagle are from here at home.

From our recent camping trip.

Song Sparrows. Yellow-headed Blackbird. Mountain Bluebird with food for a nest full of little ones. Elegant Black Tern. Ring-necked Duck.

Whether dog walking, paddling my boat or sitting around camp, I enjoy watching and listening for birds. Sometimes they are only heard and not seen and I don’t always know the songs or calls but I keep trying to remember them. Maybe that’s a good thing for an aging brain?

From the tiniest Yellow Warbler to the fearsome Bald Eagle, they are all interesting. I am especially happy with the image of the Ring-necked Ducks. You can actually see the ring, if you look close, on the male. And the spotted goose is probably a leucistic Canada Goose. The Song Sparrow and the Yellow Warblers sang from morning til evening, but not quite as persistently as the American Robins. I frequently heard the Spotted Sandpipers call as they flew along the lake’s edge. They are fun to watch as they bob their tail up and down when they are searching for food.

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