Category Archives: Travel

Out of state or out of the country, I bird wherever I go.

A Study of Willets in First Light

I awoke before first light, threw a coat over my nightgown and headed out to the beach.  I wanted to catch that first liquid gold as it poured over the waves.  The sand was cold under my feet as I topped the dune.  As the light strengthened, I  saw birds sleeping at the surf line. I fell to my knees and crept forward.

I knee-walked across the sand, then fell flat on my belly.

The light brightened and the willets roused.

They looked around blinking sleepily in the light.  One yawned and stretched a leg and a wing. 

The freshening tide swamped the delicate feet of the Willets, bringing with it renewed energy.  The Willets now fully awake began probing the sand.

When the light turned from gold to silver, I lurched to my feet, cold, stiff and sand covered.  The Willets fluttered further down the beach. With a parting shot, I headed in with gold-dazzled eyes and the promise of coffee in the air.   

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Bird Photography Weekly

IMG_7243

I am on my way for yet another business trip. Alas, this one will not allow for any squeezed-in birding. I know I have been absent from my much-loved bird blog for a long while, but hang in there with me, this is my last trip of the year. 

Let me offer you a shot from my Arizona trip.  While in Madera Canyon at the Madera Kubo B&B (incredible birding mecca) I was able to drink my fill of this Hepatic Tanager.  Mmm, wait, that sounds sort of vampiric.  Let me re-phrase, I was able to stare at it for long periods.  Better perhaps, but not as poetic.  It sat in this tree for most of the afternoon, flitting from branch to branch but always in full camera view.  Gorgeous, isn’t it?

Check out the other great photos at Birdfreak’s Bird Photography Weekly

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Bird Photography Weekly

Roadrunner

Since I am going to be in Phoenix for business, I decided to take a few vacation days  to visit with some friends and go birding.  I have some target birds I hope to see, not the least among them are those pesky quails.  I will be going out with Melody Kehl again.  I’ll keep you posted.  In the meantime, here is a photo of a Roadrunner to tide you over.

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A Fast Escape

squirrel cuckoo

I jerked my head around and froze.

DANGER!

Alarm bells were going off in my head.  Thrashing sounds among the trees are never a good thing, regardless of where you might be on the planet. I was standing in the middle of the road, searching for what could have possibly made the sounds when the trees up ahead exploded with a Squirrel Cuckoo executing evasive maneuvers, twisting and turning between branches, with some sort of Forest-falcon in hot pursuit.  The cuckoo dove into a thick patch of leaves and disappeared. The pursuing bird flashed past the cuckoos hiding place.   I was scanning the trees looking for the Forest-falcon when the there was a tussle in the Cuckoo’s hidey hole.  Both birds dashed off again.

I never did ID the Falcon, but at 17-19 inches and with the crazy long spotted tail, the Squirrel Cuckoo was pretty hard to miss.

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Bird Photography Weekly

Snowy-bellied Hummingbird

The rain was falling in buckets, yet a tiny Snowy-bellied Hummingbird sat tenaciously on the top of a Heliconia.  He would make a foray out occasionally, but then return to his perch, point his bill to the sky and sit for long periods.  I stood on the deck pondering this then wandered out into the garden.  It turns out our long-suffering sprite had a terrific spot to wait out the elements.  Above his head and protecting him from at least some of the downpour was a large banana leaf.  What a smart cookie.

Here he is on a better day.

sbhu

I never saw him sit on that Heliconia again.

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Moonwalking Manakins

rc manakin

“Is this the one that does the moonwalk?”

I looked over at an older woman standing next to me and shrugged with a little head-shake. I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about. The only moonwalk I knew of was Michael Jackson’s. I tracked the cherry red head through the gloom and deep shadow. “I’m sure this is the one, ” she persisted.

Luckily the guide came up and overheard her. He knew exactly what she was talking about. Turns out it is an old and well-known video on YouTube. In case you are living in a bucket like me, here it is. You just have to love Manakins.  And dig those yellow thighs.

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Wordless Wednesday

bat at hummer feeder

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