Monday, December 22, 2014

Number 10 Birding Moment of 2014

California Towhee finds a seed
Today we begin my annual countdown to January 1st with my top ten birding moments of the year. I will mentally sort through all the bird sightings and experiences of 2014 and come up with the ten most memorable moments.
My number 10 birding moment of 2014 was in the morning of June 2nd in Sacramento, California. I was walking along a path in a neighborhood park and saw a small, inconspicuous brown bird scratching in the dry grass. When I got a closer look, I could see it was a California Towhee--a new life bird! Now, there is nothing too special about a California Towhee. They are a drab, grayish brown that blends in well with the dried foliage in which it spends most of its time. However, any time I see a new bird it is a big deal to me. Spotting a California Towhee, and watching it search for seeds in a sparse patch of weeds was my number ten birding moment of the year. 

California Towhee swallows a seed

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Pierre CBC 2014

Immature female Sharp-shinned Hawk
Yesterday was the 45th annual Pierre Christmas Bird Count.  I was assigned a different area than in past years, and spent the day driving on country roads through grasslands and farm fields.
Raptors were the birds of the day. I saw four Bald Eagles, a Golden Eagle, four Rough-Legged Hawks, two Ferruginous Hawks, a Red-tailed Hawk, a Northern Harrier, two Cooper's Hawks, and a Sharp-shinned Hawk. Pictured here are the little Sharp-shinned Hawk and one of the Ferruginous Hawks.

Ferruginous Hawk

Saturday, June 21, 2014

California Dreaming: Part 7

Red-masked Parakeets
I am not one to get too excited about introduced, non-native bird species. I am much more thrilled to see birds that are living right where their ancestors have always lived. However, I was kind of looking forward to seeing the flock of Red-masked Parakeets that were made famous by the book, The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill. Earlier this month when I was in San Francisco I found the parakeets and was able to photograph several of these colorful birds.

Three Red-masked Parakeets

These parakeets are quite noisy, and I would get quite tired of their incessant screeching if a flock lived in my neighborhood. So, I think I will continue living in South Dakota I will just enjoy the exotic wild parrots of telegraph hill on my next visit to San Francisco.

Red-masked Parakeets in a palm tree