Archive for the ‘Bird Habitats’ Category

Two Mockingbirds and a Merlin (female) at Amber Ridge in the Morning

This morning, I was walking around Amber Ridge when I heard raucous bird calls. As I drew closer to the source of the sound, I saw that it was being made by two mockingbirds. They were squawking and flying up in the air and then back into their tall, green tree. I drew close to the tree, to find out what was irritating them, and saw a placid Merlin (female) perched on a high branch whom they were trying to scare off. The Merlin’s banded tail and distinct, brown chest streaking, facial patterning, and size (11-12″ apx) and wingspan (shorter than a larger hawk) made the ID.

June seems late for a nesting pair of mockingbirds, and the Merlin (Merlin columbarius) is supposedly here in SoCal mainly between mid-October and March. Yet here was this drama unfolding at the top of the tree:  plain as day. Although the mockingbirds were not initially successful, my interest in the Merlin, demonstrated by a curious stare as I drew closer, prompted the small raptor to take flight … and the two mockingbirds chased it across the sky!

 

loud, shrill mockingbirds

defending a tall, green tree

the Merlin takes flight!

jb

Screen Shot 2019-06-15 at 7.24.03 PM

Male and Female Merlin

p.s. The drama was re-enacted again this morning, Sunday, 7/16/2019. This time, when the mockingbirds chased off the Merlin, she let out an almost four-second long series of 10-12 sharp chips as she flew. Her banded tail spread was spread out in flight and clearly visible. A striking combination of sight and sound! So the ID of the Merlin was confirmed again today.

Advertisements

Birds of Safari West

Today I visited Safari West in Santa Rosa, where I had the pleasure of seeing more than 30 different species of bird from Africa and around the world, including:

  • African Lesser Flamingo, African Spoonbill, American Flamingo, Black Swan, Blue-Crowned Pigeon, Cape Thick-Knee, Cattle Egret, Demoiselle Crane, East African Crowned Crane, Fischer’s Lovebird, Greater African Flamingo, Green Turaco, Hamerkop, Helmeted Guinea Fowl, Laughing Kookaburra, Pied Imperial Pigeon, Purple Swamphen, Ostrich, Rainbow Lorikeet, Red Junglefowl (rooster!), Sacred Ibis, Scarlet Ibis, Silvery-Cheeked Hornbill, Spur-winged Lapwing, Taveta Golden Weaver, Trumpeter Hornbill, Waldrapp Ibis, White-Bellied Stork (also called Abdim’s Stork), White-Faced Whistling Duck, White Stork, & Wood Duck

 

20190605_091200

Flamingoes

 

Scarlet Ibis

Screen Shot 2019-06-05 at 11.13.28 PM

Hammerkop & Sacred Ibis

Screen Shot 2019-06-05 at 11.17.26 PM

Waldrapp Ibis & White-Bellied Crane

20190605_092505

Damoiselle Crane

photocollage_20196519559547

Jane Beal,
bird-photographer

 

 

Phainopepla

Today I saw a male Phainopepla, dashing through the air from one tree to the next across Harvard Avenue in Claremont. The white wing patches, which are only visible in flight, made it easy to identify. So striking!

Photo credit: John Swartz

Chestnut-Backed Chickadee

Screen Shot 2019-03-22 at 6.43.01 AM

Seen at Omi’s front-yard feeders:

Anna’s hummingbird (male & female)
Chestnut-Backed Chickadee
Dark-Eyed Juncos
House Finches (male & female)
Nuttall’s woodpecker

 

Red Whiskered Bulbuls at the Huntington Library and Gardens

Calliope Hummingbird

calliopehummingbird(female)

Calliope Hummingbirds breed in the willow thickets of coniferous woodlands in the San Gabriel Mountains between May and August, but at least one came down to the foothills near Amber Ridge this morning:  a female with a vividly spotted throat and a distinctive Calliope chitter — compared to Cornell’s Online Birding Lab recordings — sounds like no other SoCal hummer!

(Did you know that Calliope is the muse of eloquence and epic poetry?)

Band-Tailed Pigeon

screen shot 2019-01-13 at 8.12.24 am