Not too long after my first #featheredfriday post comes my first #featheredfriends post, the new tag @melinda010100 has introduced! This will be a short post, because I did a double back shift this morning at 7am after getting off work at 1130pm last night and am super duper tired.
I haven't had half the opportunities or time to bird this year as I did last year, which is ironic because last year I was working full-time before quitting to study birds and ecology - I was birding more as a full-time therapist than I am now as a full-time ecology student. So last week I stole away from my homework for an hour to go to some local ponds that are a popular spot for wintering ducks. Here are just a couple of the birds I observed:
Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) or SNEGs, as I refer to them in my head (great egrets are GREGs - habit from my time volunteering at the wildlife center - sometimes their ABA code names are just more catchy than their common names)
At one point I heard a distant commotion of angry cawing and looked up to catch some American crows (Corvus brachyrynch0s) mobbing a red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) overhead. They were quite far away and traveling pretty quickly, but I somehow managed to catch a few frames that weren't completely blurry!
I have seen crows mob red-tails many times, with my favorite time involving a very bored and unimpressed red-tail perching patiently on a light post as a couple of crows swooped back and forth, screaming their alarm calls to gather more of their crew to accost the buteo. There are a good number of bird species which will mob hawks, like the acorn woodpeckers I saw chasing one about a month ago - their clown faces and ridiculous calls chasing one of our most intimidating hawk species really made a funny scene I wish I had my camera for.
And last, but not least, my favorite little diving ducks, the buffleheads.
Bucephala albeola, my wittle bufflewuffleheads. I love these tiny ducks, but they are skittish at the ponds and tend to stay much further away from the edges, so it is often hard to get good looks at the male's beautiful iridescent plumage, let alone get decent photos. I also love how the females just have a small patch of white blush on their round cheeks - it is SO CUTE.
That's all I have for tonight! I can't wait for classes to end and to have a couple of weeks where I can go back out to the ponds and some other of my favorite birding areas. Until then, I am doing what I can (which includes pressing my face up against the breakroom window at work during my 15 minute breaks watching the Bewick's wrens hopping around in the dirt, or standing in the back of the building between the dumpsters and security vehicles watching bushtits bounce around in the hedges on my lunch).