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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Birds and deer

Yesterday and today have been perfect at the oasis so I've spent more time there than I normally do. In these two days I've identified 47 species of birds, and counting. And that's with my worn out binoculars and poor vision. I'm sure there are more species present.

And in case you think all there is at the oasis are birds, here are some Mule Deer drinking early this morning. The deer seem totally oblivious to the fact that the concrete spillway they're standing on goes straight down into nine feet of water. They probably couldn't care less since they know they won't fall in.



Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Alpine Chihuahuan Ravens

Today was quite windy so I mostly stayed indoors. I was surprised to see three ravens* perched on the utility wires behind the house. I don't remember ever seeing three together like that before, so even though I had sent my 400mm lens in for repair, I took photos of them with my 300mm lens. If there was any doubt as to their identity, the last photo dispels that, with the white neck skin clearly showing through during a gust of wind.





* I knew a group of crows was called a murder of crows, but I was surprise to learn that a group of ravens is called an unkindness of ravens.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Costa's Hummingbird

Rarely do I get a Costa's at the oasis, and I don't have one now, but a friend about ten miles south of me has one that appears to be the same adult female that was banded there last October. We're going to try to recapture it this year. (It stayed until mid-February of this year.)

Costa's are a Texas review species and all sightings need to be documented and submitted to the Texas Birds Records Committee. There are only 20-30 documented reports of Costa's in Texas, three of which are from the oasis.

On these photos there appear to be pin feathers around the face area denoting molt in progress. She also seems to have a couple of purple gorget feathers, which is typical, but I didn't have enough time to try to capture their color with my camera. Hopefully, she'll stay around into February again and I can remedy that.




Friday, October 15, 2010

Anna's Hummingbirds are back

This individual was probably here last year too, as he's banded. We're going to try to recapture him next week and see who he is. I'll keep you updated.


Update: We did recapture him and he was banded last year here at the oasis.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Peregrine Falcon sighting today

I heard what sounded like a Peregrine dive. Shortly thereafter, I located the bird and grabbed my camera. It appears to be an Anatum variation. I don't remember seeing that type here before. It's been many years since Peregrines nested here, due, I guess, to their declining numbers. It would be great if they nest here next year. This individual seems to have been successful in its dive because I see some type of rodent in its clutches. Sorry about the bad photos but at the long distance I felt lucky to have gotten anything. Click to enlarge.




Saturday, October 9, 2010

Quail and hummers

I had decided to put a cage over my tray seed feeder to deter doves because I have so many of them, but then I discovered the Scaled Quail are now flying up to the feeder's 5 foot height and feeding on it, so I'm not going to do that after all. It would keep quail out too. This photo was taken in the soft late afternoon light. Normally this species would not look so rosy.


It seems all the Lucifers have migrated except for this young male. I'm so going to miss hummingbirds if none over-winter this year. A few Anna's have finally trickled in so maybe a couple of them will stay around until spring.

Lucifer Hummingbird

Sunday, October 3, 2010

October birds

September flew past with me having very little time to photograph anything. Today I managed to shoot a couple of photos. Here is the only hummingbird I saw. I believe it's a juvenile male Black-chinned, and he seems to be preening. Click on the second photo to see the purple gorget feather better.



And I got this distant shot of a Nashville Warbler.