Sunday, January 29, 2006

Trumpeter Swan

On my way to Newport yesterday I stopped to see some of the Trumpeter Swans that spend the winter in the Willamette Valley. In the photo there are four, with three of the smaller Tundra Swans in the foreground. Knowing that the Trumpeter appeared to be headed for extinction only a few decades ago adds extra significance to the experience of watching these magnificent birds with the 9 1/2 ft. wingspan.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Marbled Godwit

Marbled Godwit is not a common species in Oregon, so this one was a welcome sight today at Newport in Lincoln Co.


I made a long-overdue daytrip to Newport on the Oregon coast today. Between rain showers I enjoyed good looks at several species I don't see often, including a flock of Brant resting on the beach near the OSU Marine Science Center. A Marbled Godwit was sharing the space with them.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Say's Phoebe

The Say's Phoebe (Sayornis saya), doesn't seem to be quite as much at home around people as the Black Phoebe. However, this one was also in densely populated Orange Co., California, in early January, but the residential backyard where it was hawking insects overlooked a brushy slope along upper Newport Bay.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Black Phoebe

Certainly one of my favorite species, the Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans) is impossible to overlook in S. California. And could any bird anywhere make itself more welcome in the neighborhood? No doubt it was just my imagination, but this one almost seemed to enjoy coming close enough so that my two-year-old grandson could look him in the eye and say, "Phoebe."

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Snowy Egret

This is a deceptively tranquil scene from my visit to southern California two weeks ago. On the sunny morning when I photographed this Snowy Egret in the marshes of Upper Newport Bay there was a constant roar of commuter traffic in the background and airplanes taking off from John Wayne airport. I'm not sure I could ever get used to the incongruity of the situation, but the presence of the birds there certainly made the surrounding chaos less oppressive.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

A Glaucous Gull is so unusual in my neighborhood that I tried to photograph the one I saw today, even though it was about 1/4 mile away. Hundreds of other gulls (including many Glaucous-winged, Herring, Mew, and even a Western or two) were in the same flooded field. The pure white primaries made this bird conspicuous, even though they don't show well in the photo.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Townsend's Warbler

It's not unusual to see Townsend's Warblers in western Oregon in winter, but this year there seems to be a winter invasion that is more typical of northern finches or owls. I haven't heard any explanation for it so far, but if I were to guess, I would say it's because of the bumper crop of spiders we had here last spring and summer, or perhaps climate change has made it unnecessary for them to go to Costa Rica for the winter.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Black-necked Stilt

Black-necked Stilts at the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary near Irvine, California, resting and feeding... and resting.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Anna's Hummingbird

How many Anna's Hummingbirds are there in Orange Co., California? Lots. During the week I was there, when I was not inside a car or building, there seemed to be always one or more nearby.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Greater Yellowlegs

A sight like this on a January morning in southern California is pretty good compensation for the stress of navigating through the concrete jungle to get there. These Greater Yellowlegs are spending their winter holidays in the marshes of Upper Newport Bay in Orange County.