May 03 2015

What Hawk is This?

Published by under Birds,Wildlife

Swainson's Hawk

Whoa!  What’s that bird sitting on the post alongside the road?  Seldom will a bird stay perched next to a roadway when you stop to take it’s picture. This guy stayed put for several pictures and remained there after I left.

The light spot above the bill and the dark bib on the breast tells me that it is a Swainson’s Hawk.  In flight the leading half of the outstretched wings is light colored and the trailing half is shaded dark.  Earlier in the day I observed another such individual in a nest located in a tree by a busy restaurant next to a highway.  I guess that this apecies can get used to being near people if they don’t feel threatened.

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Apr 28 2015

Butcher Bird

Published by under Birds,Wildlife

Loggerhead Shrike

This is a bird that nonbirders seldom notice. The Loggerhead Shrike is a robin-sized bird of prey. It hunts small mammals, birds and insects. It gets it nickname Butcher Bird by sometimes impaling its victom on a thorn, sharp twig or barbed wire storeing it for a future meal.

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Mar 28 2015

Cassin’s Finch

Published by under Birds,Wildlife

Cassin's Finch

Spring is rounding the corner. I am seeing a few birds that have been absent all winter. For the last few days I have had a couple of these brightly colored male Cassin’s Finches and one in female plumage at the feeder.

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Mar 15 2015

Winter Shelter

Published by under Animals,Miscellaneous,Snow,Wildlife

Rodent nest (1)

Snow piled up under the eaves of the house this winter. Warm weather melted all of the snow in the yard except for this drift next to the house. The center melted away exposing this rodent nest. Some species of rodent had built itself a nice warm place to spend the winter.

I am wondering how this nest could have been built beneath the hard packed snow. I suppose that a cavern seven or eight inches in diameter was excavated and long grasses hauled in through tiny tunnels. This is in an area that I kept grass short with a lawn mower during the summer. I never cease to be amazed at the structures these creatures build.

Rodent nest (2)

 

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Mar 09 2015

Boise Train Depot

Published by under Buildings,Miscellaneous,Scenery

Boise Train Depot under Full Moon (1)

At first I didn’t like this shot but the more I looked at it the better it seemed. The scene was crisp and sharp under the bright moonlight. The brightly lit subjects are small in this photo. With the camera exposure set on automatic the shutter was open for several seconds. With the large surounding  area dark the light is over exposed. The camera was handheld so edges are not sharp. To me it looks like a faded painting from out of the distant past.

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Feb 07 2015

Spring Is Here?

Published by under Flowers,Miscellaneous,Plants

Snowdrop

I ventured outside today and strolled by the flower garden. This is only five days after Ground Hog day. To my amazement there in the weeds and grass left over from last fall was this beautiful SnowDrop. I hastely removed most of the unwanted vegetation and broke out the camera. What will be next?

 

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Jan 22 2015

How Many?

Published by under Birds,Wildlife

 

Juncos
I look out at a flock of birds feeding in the yard. How many are there? My first impression is twenty, no thirty. I begin counting, then something spooks them and they fly up into the tree. I would never know except that I had snapped a photo. Actually there are more than sixty juncos in this picture. Having taken a photo I could enlarge the scene and systematically make a count. If the flock is large and the birds are moving about, snap the shutter.

By the way, notice how these juncos do not crowd each other. They tend to keep at least a peck apart.

 

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Jan 03 2015

Varied Thrush

Published by under Birds,Miscellaneous,Wildlife

Varied Thrush

This morning I looked out of the kitchen window and was surprized to see this infrequent visitor. This is a Varied Thrush Ixoreus naevius. I see this species about once every four or five years in my yard. Never do I see them this far south except at winter time. Probably a few of them may nest around Cascade reservoir. One summer, many years ago, I happened to visit the panhandle of north Idaho. This was in the thrush’s nesting period and there was an abundance of these birds flying about uttering their territorial and mating calls in a relatively small area.

Arthur Cleveland Bent in his “Life Histories of North American Thrushes, Kinglets, and their Allies”  recounts an incident in October 1906 when there were hundreds of Varied Thrush flying high overhead migrating south for the winter. Many present day birders would pay a premium to witness such a sight.

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Dec 27 2014

Christmas Visitors

Published by under Birds,Miscellaneous,Snow,Wildlife

Dark-eyed Junco (2)

On this fine Christmas day I looked out of the kitchen window and saw a host of Dark-eyed Juncos dining on my Holiday offering. This was just after a snow storm and the birds were hungry. Other birds to arrive this day were Black-capped Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch and a lone Northern Flicker.

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Dec 08 2014

Wooly Bear

Published by under Insects,Wildlife

Imagine my surprise when I stepped out onto the lawn this afternoon and encountered this little creature. After all, this is the 8th of December and most critters of this type have been in their winter quarters for some time. This species is known as Isabella Tiger Moth Pyrrharctia isabella commonly called Wooly Bear. They hibernate over winter. Special chemicals in their system protect them should they freeze. According to folklore the narrow orange band around the middle indicates a severe winter ahead. A broad band would have indicated a mild winter. Broad band, narrow band, mild weather, severe winter, I think this little guy should have been in his bed weeks ago.

Wooly bear (1)

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