Friday, June 23, 2017

Cedar Waxwings

When I moved to Eugene, Oregon, to go to college, I ran across a new bird that I had never seen before. Cedar Waxwings, which I thought to be one of the most beautiful birds I had ever seen. Cedar Waxwings came and went thru my aging to adulthood, but they never failed to impress me. Once we moved to the arid desert of La Paz, Mexico, these wonderful birds were no more. On my recent trip to Seattle to visit with my ailing mother-in-law, if found a small group, all be it, a shy group, of Cedar Waxwings. I was hand holding my camera, so the images were quite difficult to get, and they did not venture out of the brush much but I did manage to get a couple nice shots!







Thursday, June 15, 2017

Spotted Towhees for Mom

My Mother-in-law, Linda Shaw is going through a rough time right now with some serious health issues, so I am dedicating this posting to her. She has a favorite bird that frequents her back yard. So, here are a couple of Spotted Towhees. This is just for you Mom......I love you!













Thursday, June 8, 2017

Gila Woodpecker and her nest

I am going to send out several new posts getting everybody caught up on our travel and birds from the last 30 days! Despite injuries, family emergencies, and etc we have managed to find some great birds.. A few rare ones, a couple of lifers, ands some really fun photos!

Outside the small agricultural area of Aqua Caliente, I found this great Gila Woodpecker nest. It was flying back and forth with these translucent white seeds.. I have not been able to figure out what they are yet but is makes for a great photo!!







Wednesday, June 7, 2017

A new bird website

Hello all....sorry for the prolonged absence, but things are starting to settle down now. Despite all the activity in our lives, the one big news is that the web site for Focus On Feathers is finassllly (Well mostly) complete!! I still want to upgrade a few of the photos, but if you get a chance, take a look at let me know what you think.

FocusOnFeathers.com

Link to FOF website

Thanks everybody..

Tom

Sunday, May 7, 2017

I have a bad wing!

After our very nice visit to the Sierra De La Laguna Biosphere, and dinner, I woke up in the middle of the night, with some pretty intense pain in my right wrist. To make a long story short, I have no idea what I did, spent Sunday morning in the emergency room getting a cast, for torn\pulled\damaged ligaments in that wrist. I would like to point out that I am VERY right handed, so life has been just a whole lot harder than I could have ever thought. No driving, can barely type, working a computer mouse is a real challenge, and so far no photography!!


This is a shot of the valley floor from the ridge where we parked the truck. We hiked down in the valley to explore.

I did manage to see my first Baja Golden Eagles before all this injury stupidity started, along with a brand new Lifer for me!!  Cassin's Vireos, were found in a very old stand of Red Oaks above 2000 feet in the Biosphere. They hung around for me to get a few decent shots.







Once we are a little more healed up, we will head back to the Biosphere to continue our exploration!



Thursday, April 27, 2017

Weekend Road trip

Our drive up to Santa Rosalia this last weekend ended up with a nice surprise. Read about it on http://www.10000birds.com/owls-at-70-mph.htm

Thanks everybody!!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Well, dang it.....I got all those pictures and stories posted, when I realized I total forgot to talk about the more rare of the shorebirds that we get to see here on the Baja....the Wandering Tattler! This is one of the larger birds that are on the Pacific side of the Baja, but I rarely ever see more than one or two a year. I would love to photograph one in its breeding plumage, but unfortunately, they will have migrated north before we get to enjoy the strongly barred breast coloration that they acquire.

So, here is what they look like when we get to see them.





Saturday, April 22, 2017

Conquista Agraria inland birds

I have covered many of the birds that we find on the beach at Conquista Agraria, but the landscape changes pretty dramatically by just going a 100 yards inland. We trade white sand, and mollusk cover rocky points for cactus, thorny shrubs and short desert grasses.

One bird that could be considered a transition birds would be the Osprey. While is lives on the dry land side of things, it lives completely on fish, so much of time we see them, they are hovering above the water fishing, as it were. They then return to the desert, and their favorite cactus, in order to dine on fresh fish.





Crested Cara cara's are a beautiful bird of prey, that while they have been known to eat a lizard, or mouse, tend to eat carrion more often then not. I guess they trade quality of the meal for ease of catching it.





When you move up into the brushy arroyos, that many of the birds gather in, both for protection, as well as increased food supply, then tend to get smaller as well. This one particular arroyo has been a real boom for me, with a larger number of species there.

I counted 26 California Quail one evening.



One of the most beautiful desert birds of all time, in my opinion, is the Green-tailed Towhee!  They tend to stay down in the thick brush, so to get a shot like this, I was absolutely thrilled!



There are always a lot of the tiny little California Gnatcatchers...




One of the biggest surprises for me was when this lovely little White-crowned Sparrow showed up!



There are several different desert sparrows, but this Savannah Sparrow could be called a transitional bird as well, as it was found up in the scrub, and then an hour later, down grabbing bugs along the rocky ocean shore!














Friday, April 21, 2017

Small peeps from the coast!

By now you know that we have been spending some of our quality bird time over with the migrating shorebirds, on the Pacific side of the Baja. I have covered some of the larger birds that we saw, so today I will cover the smaller birds, or "peeps" as they sometimes are referred to.

My all time favorite peep has to be the Snowy Plover. With the bird on the endangered, or threatened species list, depending on the location you find the birds in, it is always fun to see them, and get some nice photos.






We don't get to see Western Sandpipers over on the Sea of Cortez side very often, so it is fun to see this beautiful bird, even if it is pretty common through out the world



One of the more common peeps all over North America is the Semi-palmated Plover, but does not make them any less fun to photograph!




If you were to count the peeps on the Pacific Coast, I would have to think that the Sanderling would be a large number ahead of all the others! Here in Mexico is no different, as wee see flocks of 50 to 75 birds quite often.





For tomorrows blog, we will move a couple of hundred yards in shore and cover some of the desert birds that live close to water!






Thursday, April 20, 2017

Catching up...and some shorebirds

Ahh, I guess I could write in here all about the things that have been going on in our lives that have pulled me away from the blog, but you probably don't care! Suffice it to say, there are a lot of changes going on right now. The next adventure in Jeanne and my life is starting to take form. We have sold the Durango, and bought a new (to us) Ford 350 diesel 4x4. This is to haul the new 5th wheel that we are going to buy, more on that after this weekend. Our little desert trailer, Casa Poquita is now for sale, and soon the boat will be as well. We have found partners to take over the Marine Business, to be finalized about this time next year. So, then it will be all about the birds!!  I will begin doing guided bird tours full time, and in the off season, we will travel to where the birds are!

So now you know what I have been up too, but there still has been some time for finding a bird or two!! We have been over to the Pacific Coast side of the Baja several times as the shorebirds are migrating thru, and changing into their breeding plumages. This has become one of our favorite "beach" campsites!


There were pretty large numbers of Surfbirds.....




The Ruddy Turnstones were just starting to get their breed colors..




And the Black-bellied Plovers don't quite have the black bellies yet either!



Hopefully, things are starting to settle down a bit and I can go back to shooting birds (with a camera) and keep up with my writing!!





Thursday, March 16, 2017

A all new bird for this location.

For the first time ever, there was a Black-necked Stilt hanging around the city front-water area. It was on the little rock jetty that is in front of Tailhunters for the last several days. If you are in this area, make sure to stop by there, and see if it is still around.


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Laughing gulls, and friends

One of the black headed gulls from here on the Baja, is the Laughing Gull. They are just starting to get their shiny new black headed plumage back. There were a few down on the waterfront, so I was able to get a couple of decent images.

Here comes one now....


Touch down!



And a nice profile!



There was a visit from a few of the less common California Gulls...



And of course the ever present Yellow-footed Gulls.







Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Just gets no respect

The Turkey Vulture is with out a doubt one of the least respected birds of North America. It is not cute, colorful, have a great singing voice, and the fact that it eats a lot of dead stuff...well, you get the picture. Actually, now you will. While I agree they are not anything that would be in the running for a beauty contest, there is a striking attractiveness to them none the less.