Sunday, April 30, 2006

Silvery Blue

This is the upperside view of the Silvery Blue in the previous photo. He usually positioned himself with his back toward the sun, but I never saw his wings open completely.

Silvery Blue (underside)

Today I spent some time at a muddy spot enjoying my first close butterfly encounter of the season. I believe this is a Silvery Blue, a new species for my short but growing list. If my i.d. is incorrect, I will be very happy to be corrected.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Violet-green Swallow in for the night

This evening I watched the female Violet-green Swallow settle down for the night in the nestbox, the first time I have seen her do so this year. A few more grass stems have been brought in to join the single downy feather as the beginning pieces of the nest.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Violet-green Swallow's feather day

The quality of this photo is poor, but the significance of the moment earned it a place on the blog. The female Violet-green Swallow brought in the first piece of nesting material today -- a feather. The same thing happened last year, but then no other feathers were brought in until the nest was almost complete. It appears to be symbolic, and her behavior seemed almost ritualistic.

Red-crested Cardinal

Last week as I was perched on Makapuu Head, the easternmost point of Oahu, I was watching seabirds such as Sooty Tern, Great Frigatebird, and Wedge-tailed Shearwater. In such a location I was not expecting this visit by a pair of Red-crested Cardinals, an introduced species from South America.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Nene, at Kilauea

Getting back to my conversation with Sarah about Hawaii... Last November I visited the Kilauea lighthouse on Kauai, and found a Nene grazing on the lawn. If I'm mistaken in thinking that this is the state bird, I hope Sarah will correct me.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Today, as yesterday, the female Violet-green Swallow brought in an insect (beetle?) and dropped it on the floor of the nestbox. It can be seen in front of her in this photo.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Today as I was watching the action inside the Violet-green Swallows' nestbox, I saw a repeat of something I observed last year on May 1: The female swallow brought in a live insect (which appears to be a beetle) and released it. She soon left the nestbox, and when the beetle headed for the exit, too, I ran outside with my camera and took this shot of the head end before it went back into the box. The body is about 1/4 inch wide by 3/8 in. long. If anyone can tell me what kind it is, please let me know. I haven't been able to find it again, but it may still be inside.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Yellow-fronted Canary

The Yellow-fronted Canary is one of many species introduced to Hawaii, in this case having been brought from Africa. For me it's never completely satisfying to see a bird outside of it's natural setting, even though like this canary it might be very attractive. Somehow the park along Waikiki Beach doesn't seem like an appropriate place for a bird that should be hunting for seeds in the open woodlands of Kenya.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Red-tailed Tropicbird

I enjoyed some time "sea watching" yesterday on my free day in Hawaii. By chance a small group of Red-tailed Tropicbirds came close enough to give me some good looks, and this one took a good look at me as it cruised along the cliffs of eastern Oahu. That long tail seems to be useful as a rudder as the bird maneuvers in the strong, gusty wind, but does anyone really know what purpose the red color serves?

Monday, April 17, 2006

Red-footed Booby in flight

Tomorrow I'm off to Hawaii for a few days. I'm hoping that during the few hours I will have available for birding I might see a few seabirds like this Red-footed Booby that I saw on my last trip there.

Violet and green

To answer the question in Sarah's comment (under the previous photo) I am posting this photo from last year. Here you can just see a bit of the violet color on the upper part of the tail between the folded wings. I'm glad you enjoy my blog, and the birds, Sarah.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

It's a rainy spring day here in Oregon's Willamette Valley, and for a while this morning the female Violet-green Swallow came inside and crouched in a corner of the nestbox. At times she was apparently sleeping, with her bill tucked into the feathers on her back. Then at about 9:30 she departed, even though the rain was still falling outside.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Violet-green Swallow nestbox

A special day! The Violet-green Swallows came back to the nestbox where I've installed a new and better camera. The male and female were inside together for a few minutes, and seemed very much at home. The female appeared to be already shaping an imaginary nest cup in the same corner she used last year.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Sunny, warm spring days make everyone want to go outside, including this Ladybug Beetle that was climbing up my office window today. I hope he and his friends find the aphids before they find my wife's rose garden.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Chestnut-backed Chickadee

I've often noticed, during the spring pruning season, that birds seem to approach me more freely when I'm up in a tree than when I'm standing on the ground. Today I took both camera and clippers when I climbed my apple tree. It wasn't long until this Chestnut-backed Chickadee showed up to inspect my work.