Our recent trip to Texas was mostly about migrating warblers, but it was also interesting to see all the wading birds- herons, egrets, ibises and spoonbills. I particularly liked these tall birds perched awkwardly in branches out of the water.
We spent 9 days in Texas starting on April 20, 2019. The purpose of the trip was to experience landfall of some of the billions of migratory birds that have crossed long distances over the Gulf of Mexico to reach North America. Many of these birds will make their way into norther Canada.
The Chuck-will’s-widow was an unexpected find. We heard it was at Boy Scout Woods in High Island, Texas on our last day. I asked one of the volunteers at the entrance if she knew where I could find this bird. She did better than that and got up and said follow me! My lucky day because trying to find one of these in dense forest on your own is nearly impossible because of this birds’ wonderful camouflage.
The name comes from the sound it makes, an incessant “Chuck-will’s-widow”
‘K is for Kestrel’ is part of ‘Alphabet Soup - art inspired by letters of the alphabet’
May 2nd - 20th, 2019, at Studio Gallery,1641 Pacific Ave., San Francisco, CA.
The Blue-gray Gnatcher is a common bird in Central-Coastal California in the summer. It flits around in the brush wagging and lifting its tail which startles insects causing them to fly to become a tasty morsel for this bird. This photo is of a male because of the blue “V” on its forehead.
If lucky, you will encounter these birds nest building. They gather caterpillar and spider silk and use it to fasten fragments of lichens into a small thimble which becomes the nest. The nest looks like a bump on a tree’s branch and it’s impossible to know if it’s a nest unless you see an adult fly onto it.
The jays in California aren’t anywhere near as colorful as those in the tropics but I do enjoy watching our sassy Steller’s Jays. This painting was completed in 2016 and was used is for the cover of a book of poetry.
Want to talk Gaudy? Talk about the Green Jay. This bird has a bizarre mix of colors: green, black, blue and yellow. I have encountered this species twice, once in Mexico and once in Southern Texas. I was unable to get what I consider great photos because the bird was either glued to a suet feeder or in the case of this photo, it stayed in the protective shade of vegetation. They have a well-developed family structure that cooperate to improved reproductive success. More information on this species can be found at: https://birdsna.org/Species-Account/bna/species/grnjay/introduction
Flocks of Orange-fronted Parakeets visited our fig tree every morning in Sayulita, Mexico, as we were eating breakfast on our veranda which was covered in bougainvillea.
Hummers are always interesting to watch. Some of them can be extremely aggressive and will viciously defend a feeding station from other hummingbirds.
This is the Plain-capped Starthroat Hummingbird who seemed to give way to the more aggressive Cinnamon Hummingbirds who were also in the area.
One of the more strikingly colored orioles I have encountered. Every time we saw this species it looked like a flame in a tree. They are especially bright and beautiful when the sun is low. Mostly they were shy, but this fellow was grooming and did not seem to mind me getting close.
There is nothing like coming up on this little bird. We were walking down a road with dry grass and barbed wire fence. Out of nowhere, a blue gem catches the eye - even with its flashy colors, it just barely catches the eye.
We have just returned fro four days birding in Western Mexico. Our first day was spent in De lo Marcos and the river mouth there was teaming with birds.
Wilson’s Warblers arrive in the summer in California and it is a treat to find the first to appear.
A warbler with a lemon-yellow face that is common in the Northeast United States and Southeast Canada in the northern summer. In the summer it feeds mostly on caterpillars in coniferous and deciduous forests. This species spends the northern winter in tropical America where it eats the buds of the cecropia tree.
We have seen this species in Northern Ohio as it makes its way across the lakes to northern forests in Canada.
Photo taken at Magee Marsh, 2018.
This is a page from my birding journal from last May at Magee Marsh in Northern Ohio. Lots of birds and lots of warblers and lots of inspiration for paintings!
This painting was inspired by yellow warblers feasting on wild cherries here in California in the late summer.
The sweet song of the Yellow Warbler always puts a smile on my face as it sings “sweet, sweet, I am so sweet”. The rich buttery yellow with the reddish streaks indicate a male Yellow Warbler in the photos. Females and immatures are not as bright and lack the rich reddish streaking on the breast. The plain face with a piercing black eye is a characteristic of this species.
These photos were taken at Magee Marsh, Ohio in 2018
I found my first ever Nashville Warbler in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Yosemite National Park. Floy and I were hiking a steep trail and we saw a little bird flitting around in a nearby tree. I was taken aback by this little beauty with a yellow-olive belly, a gray head and a distinct, complete eye ring. There is a sliver of a breeding population of this species that is found on the Sierra Nevada Mountains and up into Oregon, Washington and Southern British Columbia, but most of the breeding activity occurs in Southeastern Canada and the Northeastern United States.
This photo was taken in the Edinburg Scenic Wetland Park in Texas.
Yellow-rumped Warblers seem to be everywhere right now although they will be leaving soon for the summer.
The Palm Warbler occurs mostly east of the Rocky Mountains and breeds almost exclusively in Northern Canada. Some members of this species will spend winters along the west coast of the United States, however, most overwinter in the Southeastern United States and down into the Caribbean and Yucatan. The winter Palm Warbler, like most other warblers is drab brown, but the yellow under-tail area gives them away along with their habit of wagging their tail up and down as they forage on the ground. They are brave for warblers. In Florida a winter bird came up and pecked on my shoe.
The photo shows an adult heading for the breeding grounds. Photo taken in May 2018 at Magee Marsh, Ohio.
This was a painting I did last year after our trip to the Merced National Wildlife Refuge.