I found my last official nest today, a White-headed. Yesterday we backpacked into a site and surveyed under some very windy conditions today. It was along the PCT and it was beautiful, pictures to come. But for now, the usual random assortment...
This female Kestrel was not as pleased about the discovery of her nest by me as I was.
Though Brown Creepers really do blend in well with their common foraging substrate, their constant high-pitched calls are hard to miss.
Western Wood-Pewee. Most commonly heard in the background of recording of every other western songbird.
While checking old nests yesterday I managed to find a Lewis's Woodpecker nests as well as a Northern Pygmy Owl occupying and old Black-backed nest. At first glimpse of the cavity I was only able to see a yellow eye. I knew it was an owl but needed a better look, so I backed off a bit and started to whistle at it, coaxing its head out for a good look. No camera though, I am a failure.
Despite trouble nest searching earlier this week, I did find six today (two WHWO, a BBWO, a HAWO, a WEBL and a MOBL).
My camera does not make it out into the field with me too often as I'm not always privy to the site conditions before heading out, but I was really wanting it today. This is from a few days ago, but I had a male Black-backed feeding young about 10 meters away from me today...
In the last week or two nest searching has become increasing difficult. Likely as a result of the low amount of snow in the area this winter and spring the birds are fledging earlier than expected. As a result, I've spent up to an hour searching for a nest, only to discover that food carried by adults is going directly to the gaping mouths of baby birds that have already left their cozy little holes. Curses.
Juncos are nesting in huge numbers this year (on the ground, per usual), hopefully making up for last year when snow covered the ground in some areas well into July.
Insane mouthful of worms for the young.
A fat-lipped junco, fresh out of the nest. These guys still trip me up for a second when I first see them...then I look at the tail.
Hairy Woodpeckers have noticeably been the most commonly fledged nests thus far, making finding an actually nest nearly impossible. The nice thing about working in burns is that it makes it very easy to tell an adult Hairy from a freshly fledged bird. The young have a crisp clean white to them, whereas the adults white is covered in soot.
This guy is ready to go!
This is a crappy photo, but it shows the result of about an hour of searching for a Western Bluebird nest...a needy fledgling.
It might be better if you just ignore this photo entirely, but it is the fruits of my labor for the day. Though I did find two Hairy families, happy barfing into each others mouths out of the nest, I was glad to actually find some babies where they belonged. But I only had my binoculars and a point and shoot.
Two Pileated Woodpecker nestlings, noisily demanding their next meal.
With only a couple more days of nest searching left I'm hoping to complete my list of species' nests found by adding Red-breasted Sapsucker and Lewis's Woodpecker to it, but I just don't see it happening. So far I've found nests for: Western Bluebird, Mountain Bluebird, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, White-headed Woodpecker, Black-backed Woodpecker, Wiliamson's Sapsucker, Pileated Woodpecker, and American Kestrel. I've also happened upon nests for Mountain Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, White-breasted Nuthatch and Northern Flying Squirrel, all of which we don't care about for the purposes of our project.
Today is another rain/data day, bringing me to the big city (Quincy), where a post is possible!
Last week I camped and point counted with Mr. Lipp in the northern regions of Lassen National Forest. We caught fish and got ripped to shreds by manzanita, so there were ups and downs to the week, but it was especially nice for me to switch things up by helping out with their project, getting to see slightly different birds and habitat for the week.
Mountain Quail are spectacular. Though they do not shout "CHICAGO" like their Cali Quail relatives, they sure can belt out a good "Quork!"
Barn Swallows were nesting under this bridge, which was over a creek full of highly uninterested trout.
There were SO MANY butterflies everywhere we went. We must have hit hundreds with our truck, as they seem to gravitate toward moist surfaces...like these sandals.
This year the Juncos here are actually able to nest, as compared to last year, when there were still multiple feet of snow at many of our sites.