Friday, November 30, 2007

More Salton Sea Pelicans

Here is another shot of the Pelicans at Salton Sea. It appears that a few Brown Pelicans were hanging out with the Whites on this day.

This photo and the previous one by Peter Schrock. You can see more of what he saw on his afternoon drive by going to his blog at <>. This gallery is dated 2007 11 30.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

White Pelicans at Salton Sea

The Salton Sea in southern California is not a popular destination for vacationers, but for those who value silence and wide spaces with birds in them, it's a good choice. My son was there recently and sent me this image of Pelicans being Pelicans.

Monday, November 26, 2007

European Starling feeding on grapes

I must confess that I am strongly prejudiced against European Starlings on this continent because of all the negatives that come with them. But when I make a determined effort to observe them dispassionately, I have to admit that they can sometimes be entertaining. I watched this one today sneaking up on some left-over grapes in my back yard, and the pattern of the fall plumage is actually quite striking, and so different from the iridescent summer plumage.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Townsend's Warbler, back view

The Townsend's Warbler was captured again today by my Wingscapes BirdCam while I was busy elsewhere. This time the back pattern is more visible, but... does the relative lack of streaking there indicate a female, or not?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Remembering C.S. Lewis on the 44th anniversary of his death

"You must have tasted, however briefly, the pure water from beyond the world before you can be distinctly conscious of the hot, salty tang of Nature's current. To treat her as God, or as Everything, is to lose the whole pith and pleasure of her. Come out, look back, and then you will see . . . this astonishing cataract of bears, babies, and bananas: this immoderate deluge of atoms, orchids, oranges, cancers, canaries, fleas, gases, tornadoes and toads. How could you ever have thought that this was the ultimate reality? How could you ever have thought that it was merely a stage-set for the moral drama of men and women? She is herself. Offer her neither worship nor contempt. Meet her and know her. If we are immortal, and if she is doomed (as the scientists tell us) to run down and die, we shall miss this half-shy and half-flamboyant creature, this ogress, this hoyden, this incorrigible fairy, this dumb witch. But the theologians tell us that she, like ourselves, is to be redeemed. The 'vanity' to which she was subjected was her disease, not her essence. She will be cured, but cured in character: not tamed (Heaven forbid) nor sterilised. We shall still be able to recognise our old enemy, friend, play-fellow and foster-mother, so perfected as to be not less, but more, herself. And that will be a merry meeting."

From *Miracles* by C.S. Lewis

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

November Darner

I still don't know much about dragonflies, but I'm quite sure this one is a member of the Darner group. In the late afternoon sunshine today he was actively patrolling his patch. It seems rather late in the season for him. He must have found some shelter from the recent rainy weather and the occasional frosty morning.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Laysan Albatross at Kilauea Light

This year (on my annual trip to Hawaii) I again had time for a short visit to the Kilauea Lighthouse on Kauai. I was able to watch the Laysan Albatross pair (both visible here) that had just recently returned to their nesting spot in this National Wildlife Refuge. The growing colony of this magnificant seabird along this coastline is one of the few "good news" stories about Hawaiian birds. Also, I found a Nene (Hawaii's state bird) on a nest under the shrubbery.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

At Kilauea Lighthouse on Kauai

Between events today I had time to drive up to the north shore of Kauai and visit one of my favorite places on the island -- the National Wildlife Refuge at Kilauea Lighthouse. The Wedge-tailed Shearwaters in their nesting burrows beside the path seemed quite unconcerned about the gawking humans standing nearby, but the Brazilian Cardinal had to be coaxed (with some "pishing" sounds) into perching in the open for a few seconds.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Black-crowned Night-Heron on Maui, Hawaii

Here I am in Hawaii again on my annual trip for work. I certainly can't complain about being sent to work in a place like this, and the abundance of natural beauty here makes almost any drive to or from a school pleasurable. However, speaking as a birder, there is always a little sadness mixed with the pleasure, because many of the bird species one sees here were introduced by humans, and the endemic species that have not already become extinct are very difficult to find in some of the remnant native forest. This is usually found far from the coastline up on the higher slopes of the volcanoes. But... birds are birds, and it was fun to watch the Black-crowned Night-Herons coming out in the fading afternoon light to stalk their dinner at Kanaha pond between the airport and my hotel in downtown Kahului on Maui.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

November day at the pool

My "Wingscapes" robot camera came through again today, recording two interesting visitors to the birdbath while I was elsewhere: a Bewick's Wren and a Townsend's Warbler.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Western Scrub-Jay scrubbing

Some creatures (like some people) just seem to be born with a "go-for-it" personality. No holding back.

I think the Western Scrub-Jay is one of those.