Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas Day 2010

Enjoying a wonderful Christmas Day and reflecting on the fantastic birding and photography I experienced in 2010. It was great fun and very rewarding... and looking forward to a super 2011!

While in the Honduras this fall, I took this photo of a beautiful SCARLET MACAW... and with some Adobe Photoshop fun!


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Roatan Island, Honduras Birding

October 19, 2010

As part of a Western Caribbean cruise, I birded the Island of Roatan, Honduras, which is located in Central America, east and south of the Mexico's Yucatan peninsula. I was met at the dock by a private guide whom I had arranged via the internet... and the weather cooperated with sunny skies and pleasant temperatures.

Roatan Island, Honduras
Roatan is a lovely place, very green and tropical as expected, and the birding was excellent.

Here are some photo highlights from Roatan, Honduras.

Scarlet Macaw

Scarlet Macaw

Green-breasted Mango

Canivet's Emerald

Cattle Egret over Blue Caribbean Sea

Yellow-throated Warbler

Gray Hawk

Golden-fronted Woodpecker

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Southeastern Arizona Birding

August 1-10, 2010

I spent a glorious 10+ days birding and photographing in southeastern Arizona with Borderland Tours, and everyone had a fantastic experience. View the complete SLIDESHOW for highlights!

Starting in Tucson, I birded in Saguaro National Park, Sweetwater Wetlands, then south to Madera Canyon in the Santa Rita Mountains, Rio Rico (just a few miles north of the Mexico border in extreme southern Arizona), Patagonia, Sierra Vista, Miller Canyon, Ash Canyon, Ramsey Canyon in the Huachuca Mountains, then east St. David, to Whitewater Draw Wildlife Refuge, then to the extreme southeast corner of Arizona & New Mexico, along Stateline Road to Portal, Arizona at the base of the Chiricahua Mountains, Cave Creek Canyon, Barfoot Junction, and eventually back north and west to Lake Cochise in Wilcox and then back to Tucson.

Here are a few highlights... see the full Arizona SLIDESHOW for more!

Berylline Hummingbird

Broad-billed Hummingbird

Red-faced Warbler

Blue Grosbeak

White-eared Hummingbird

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Yosemite National Park - Birding & Sightseeing

June 12, 2010

What a glorious Saturday in Yosemite National Park!

Yosemite Valley panoramic from Tunnel View

I spent the day birding with the Fresno Audubon Society field trip; walking several of the trails along the Merced River in Yosemite Valley, lunch while birding the Foresta Road area (very successful), and then I drove to the upper elevations (7000-8000 feet) along Glacier Point Road.

Yosemite Falls from the Valley floor

Ash-throated Flycatcher

Warbling Vireo

House Wren

Nashville Warbler (note banding on leg)

Mountain Chickadee

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Bell's Vireo - Bayfront Park; Menlo Park, California

This afternoon, Barbi & I finally got a chance to drive up to Bayfront Park in Menlo Park, California to look for the Bell's Vireo... and there it was, right where everyone had said it would... signing away continuously!

It was elusive and not often visible... yet singing all the time... but occasionally this shy but noisy vireo would appear out in the open for a few moments before disappearing into the thick green leaves.
The sighting made for a great day and a new LIFE BIRD for both of us! Thanks to the Peninsula-Birding listing on Yahoo Groups!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Del Puerto Canyon - Stanislaus County

May 1, 2010

I spent a perfect Spring Saturday with the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society field trip to Del Puerto Canyon Road and San Antonio Valley Road in Stanislaus County.

Highlights included COSTA'S HUMMINGBIRD, GREAT HORNED OWL nestlings, a quick PRAIRIE FALCON fly-by (during which I was lucky enough to get an in-focus pix).









The fields and roadsides offered splendid views of colorful wildflowers... gorgeous pastels among the green fields. Wonderful sights!

SPRING WILD FLOWERS in San Antonio Valley

Monday, April 12, 2010

Lost Lake - San Joaquin River; Fresno County

March 20, 2010.

While in the Fresno, California area... I spent some time birding along the San Joaquin River in the Lost Lake Recreation Area, just below Millerton Lake and Friant Dam. The river moves very slowly here, and there is plenty of easy access to the shore.

Wood Ducks (male & female)

Common Merganser (female)

Snowy Egret along San Joaquin River

In addition to the San Joaquin River wildlife, the area also offers excellent habitat for song birds and forest birds. I was able to photograph a TREE SWALLOWS near their nest in a dead tree... which provided a great opportunity to get this flight shot.

Tree Swallow taking off in flight

Black Phoebe

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sierra National Forest - Shaver Lake

March 19, 2010.
I spent the day birding in the higher elevations in the Sierra National Forest, northeast of Fresno, California, in the area of Shaver Lake. This area is around 5,400 feet elevation, and there was still plenty of snow on the ground. It was a perfect, clear skies day, with the temperature of 60 degrees F.
The density of the birds at this elevation is much less when compared to the valleys. There would be long stretches of park area where no bird was seen nor heard. However, the most common bird I did find was the MOUNTAIN CHICKADEE, with well over a dozen seen in this campground.
Also, surprisingly active was the RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, with at least three different pairs working the branches, and also very vocal.
And finally, there were a few DARK-EYED JUNCOs dashing in the snow between bushes. All in all... it was a great trip into the beautiful Sierra National Forest!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Panoche Valley Birding - San Benito County

I really enjoyed the Santa Clara Valley Audubon's birding field trip to Panoche Valley, California on Saturday, January 9th. The morning drive was very foggy so I left early, and just south of Hollister on California Highway 25, the fog cleared and the early morning sky was ablaze in color!
Fiery Dawn along California Hwy 25 on way to Panoche Valley

This birding location is one of my favorite SCVAS field trips, and long-time leader Clay Kempf knew all the best places to find the birds. The highlight for me personally was to finally see MOUNTAIN PLOVERS in the Panoche Valley... after 5 years of trying!

We all saw a flock of 85 Mountain Plovers flying fast east of Panoche Road in the southern edge of Panoche Valley. The flock stayed far away from the road, at least 500 yards away. I had my 500mm telephoto lens with the 1.4x teleconverter... for 700mm equivalent... and I was able to get several photos of the flock in flight. (CLICK photo to view larger size)

85 Mountain Plovers on flight - Panoche Valley

Mountain Plovers in Panoche Valley

Other highlights of the trip were MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD, RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROW, LARK SPARROW, SAVANNAH SPARROW, AMERICAN PIPIT, and many of the usual species.

Lark Sparrow

The big miss for me is still the CHUKAR... which I have never ever seen in Panoche Valley... after now 5 years of trying. I have been told it does exist...! Really???

A SLIDESHOW of many more photos from this Panoche Valley field trip is available on my Blog Page and my BirdingPix website. Enjoy!