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Category Archives: birds

The western larch trees, sometimes called tamarack, provide homes for Williamson’s Sapsuckers and other birds. The male and female appear quite different and there was a time when they were classified as two separate species. I found a nest just below our campsite and was able to photograph the two birds coming and going as they fed their young. It was a long ways up in the tree and I had to sit down and lean back to get these images and wait patiently while they foraged for insects in between feedings. If you scroll through the photos you will get a good idea of the two different plumages of the male and female. And at the end are a few other birds.

There were lots of loons and they will get a separate post.

After our big trip to Alaska, I got pretty far behind on my photos around here so yes, I am catching up. Here are a few pretty migratory birds I have seen on our hillside.

Remember the Great Horned Owls from this post? I continued to visit them, not too frequently, but often enough to follow the progress of the nest. I was up there on May 11 and 23 and June 6. Three days later all of the owls were gone – mom, dad and the youngster. I don’t think the little one had any flight feathers so I don’t think it survived. On the 6th, there was someone camped in front of the nest and also the adjacent vacation cabin had a LOT of guests. Maybe it was disturbance? Maybe the owlet died of natural causes and the parents left? Maybe they could not feed it enough although I think it looked healthy. Maybe mouse poison or pesticide use? I’ll never know. Hopefully they will return next year and try again.

This time the fellow didn’t have a girl grouse to follow around. I saw him as the girls and I walked on the road and I wandered over to see what he was doing and he gave me an enticing ‘come hither’ look and so I did. He must have been excited because he went right into his Dusky Grouse display attitude, puffing up his eyebrows and air sacs and making the deep booming noise that must drive girl grouse wild. Not me, although I do find it interesting.

I think by now, most of the girl grouse (grouses?) are on nests so this fellow might be out of luck. And when I look at these pictures as compared to the ones from last week, he seems like a different bird. Note that the eyebrows are nowhere near as bushy.

These two Great Horned Owls kept us awake earlier in the spring with their hooting back and forth in the wee hours of the morning. Now that they’ve settled down to raise a family, they are much quieter. I imagine they are busy hunting, probably just one at a time these days. I think the eggs have hatched and the mom stays on or near the nest all the time while the dad stands guard in a nearby tree during the day. It will be fun to watch the little ones grow up!

 

 

 

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