Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Wild Bird Wednesday - Tucker Wildlife Center

I'm on a mission to take the new camera to all the places where I've seen amazing birds...but come away with terrible photos.  Of course, the camera arrived just as we had several weekends in a row of unseasonably late rain - which is good considering we are in a drought - but left me chomping at the bit to go out and play.  Finally, on Sunday, there was a brief break so Ryan and I headed up to the Tucker Wildlife Center in Modjeska Canyon.
 
I was on a mission to improve on at least two things from my past visits - hummingbirds and woodpeckers.  On my last visit there, I had seen woodpeckers for the first time ever and was so frustrated that they were high up on a telephone pole where my little point and shoot 16x zoom was just totally outmatched.
 

 
 
First, though, we headed to the "Bird Porch" to check out who was filling up on seeds.  Found a new bird - Band-Tailed Pigeons.  We have Rock Pigeons everywhere, of course, but had never seen this type of pigeon before.  Bright yellow beak and a patch of lime green iridescence on the back of the neck...pretty cool (even if it is a pigeon). 


 
 
I was able to get my hummingbird fix, too!  Didn't quite get the wing action frozen but still just can't get enough of these tiny jewels.  I'm not an id expert yet, but I believe this is a female or juvenile Anna's hummingbird.
 

 
 
This one is the male Anna's - their heads look dark at certain angles, but when the sun catches them just right, the whole head is fluorescent pink!
 

 
 
Female/juvenile again.

 
 
Of course, the Western Scrub Jays were out in force!

 
 
There had to be at least twenty of them (last time I was there we saw ONE) all chasing each other around the birdy buffet.
 

 
 
And occasionally stopping to pose... 


 
 
...before making off with a treat.
 

 
 
This is my favorite photo...that is not a mirror.  I have a whole series of these two birds mimicking each other's movements.  So funny! 


 
 
Some of the trails were blocked off because of the rain the night before, but as we discovered that and turned around to head back...I spotted this California Quail!  I had heard from an instructor at a recent wildlife photography class that these quail are had to capture on film - very skittish and move quickly.
 

 
 
Fortunately, because we were on a bridge and behind a tree...this one didn't know we were there so I snapped shots as fast as I could. 


 
 
Did I mention this is our official State Bird?  You'd think it would be the Golden Eagle (since we are the "Golden State") but no...we picked this funny little bird with the weird hairdo.
 

 
 
And...it just realized I was there...and off it went in a flash!



 
 
Of course...there are other animals around besides just birds.  Lots of gray tree squirrels getting fat on the bird seed. 


 
 
Turtles coming out to warm up now that the rain is over with.
 
 
 
 
Just before we were going to leave...another new bird for me!  This is a Black-headed Grosbeak.  First found him on this fence... 


 
 
...and then he hopped over to a feeder for some munchies.  I was so glad he delayed our departure because...
 
 
 
 
...the Acorn Woodpecker showed up right after that!
 

 
 
The Cornell site refers to them as "wide-eyed clowns" and that is an apt description!
 
 So, hummingbirds...check.  Woodpecker...check.  And I got some quail, pigeons and a grosbeak, too.  All in all, quite a successful outing!




KJ

17 comments:

Chris Rohrer said...

Most excellent birds! You captured two that are VERY hard to get on camera. The Band-tailed Pigeons are a bit shy for the camera so to have one on a feeder was very nice! The second is the CA Quail. I have only heard these birds but never seen them. To get close ups like that is pretty spectacular! Congrats and I think you did very well on this journey:)

Karen said...

Wow, you sure saw a lot of birds. Great shots, love the grosbeak.

Adam Jones said...

That's a new pigeon for me. Love all your pictures.

TexWisGirl said...

loved all your shots! beautiful birds, every one of them! like your other critters, too. :)

eileeninmd said...

Wow, these are all awesome birds and wonderful photos. Congrats on your new camera and the life bird. I love the Woodpecker and the Grosbeak!

mick said...

A great series of photos. The Hummingbirds are the star for me too.

Kristi Bowman said...

Woohoo, you're kicking this birding thing!! It took me forever to get a California Quail on film! Acorn Woodpeckers are one of my favorites, very pretty and such characters!

bailey-road.com said...

Beautiful captures of a great variety of birds. The Band-tailed Pigeon is really pretty. Good job getting the quail shots before he saw you! I like the turtle and squirrel shots too.

Carletta said...

A very successful journey indeed! Your scrub jays aren't as large as our Blue Jays and marked quite differently. A very nice series!

Margaret Adamson said...

Fabulous series of wonderful birds. Must have been great fun to watch them all.

EG CameraGirl said...

I love seeing all the Western birds. I have never heard of a Band-Tailed Pigeon before!

Sharon Wagner said...

So many critters!

NatureFootstep said...

such beautiful birds you have around. Must be fun when your camera is now at work. Love the little hummers :)

Marie C said...

You had wonderful success! I loved seeing your awesome photos...the scrub jays were my favorite!

Chandra Eswaran said...

Hi there,
Many of the birds in your post are new to me and so, so much more fun to look at them. The photos are great!
I see something that resembles the woodpecker in our backyard, but not sure if it is the same species as the one you have posted.
Thank you for visiting my site.
Have a Wonderful Day!
Peace :)

Creative Haven said...

Those are great photos - love the quail, such a cute feather head!

Neil said...

Great time out.