Just About a Wrap on Vacation Birds

As promised previously, I’m cranking through the remaining photo shots from last year’s vacation.  This year’s vacation is closing fast and since we are headed to a state I’ve never been, the assumption is the shutters will be snapping non-stop.  I have already picked up that region’s field guide and perusing it from time to time in order to set my wildlife checklist.  Last year almost all the animals on the list were checked off, with the exception of the Wolf and Mountain Goat.  Time is short today so I better get to this set of birds.  The first image is of a Chickadee that is fairly common both around my house and apparently out there.

I mainly added this picture because I liked how the little one was tucked inside the evergreen branches.  The field guide actually claims this is a Mountain Chickadee, but to be honest it looks exactly like the ones outside my window as I type this blog.  It does say the habitat is coniferous forests.  Based on this photo, they nailed it.  Wow, as I looked out the window to verify with a chickadee on my feeder, I spotted a raccoon holding onto a branch above my feeder and paw over paw pulling up my bird feeder over the squirrel baffle.  Please hold while I deal with this evil spawn.  …….  the problem is solved.  Geesh, it’s 5:44pm in the afternoon, they are definitely getting bolder.

The next set of photos is from a small pond we stopped at because it had a ton of creatures flying out and diving under a bridge next to the road.  They were flying so fast I couldn’t really tell what they were, so I decided to get out and try to figure it out.  The first consideration of bats were thrown out pretty quick due to the coloring, which led to some type of swallow.  Although I clipped this one, it did show the coloring pattern that led to the identification.  Nothing like trying to look through the viewer and try to get one of these bullets in your field of shot.

I was in the process of putting the lens cap back on the camera and closing up shop when all of a sudden one of the swallows fell completely out of the sky and landed on the water.  Finding this odd, I ended up taking the cap back off in order to use the zoom to get a better view of the scene.  There the bird remained motionless just floating on the water for what must have been at least 3 minutes.

The assumption was it was dead for what reason remained a mystery.  Eventually the little guy stirred a bit and began to come to life.  Slowly it started to beat the wings to build up momentum to escape the water.

Likely due to the extra weight from the wet wings, it was quite a struggle before it was able to gain flight again.  This shot is actually one of my favorites as it was taken just a split second after reaching freedom.

I am hoping it is just a shadow, but the shot actually looks like it might have left some blood where it landed.  Based on the amount of birds flying around at break neck speeds, the odds are it collided with another swallow and lost consciousness for a little bit.  It looked fine as it gained altitude, but eventually I lost it in the swirling mass so best wishes.

Please hit the jump to see the rest of the set.

The Dark-eyed Junco has made its appearance previously on the blog.  As mentioned in that post, it is definitely well adapted to its surroundings making it very difficult to see.  This one was nearly impossible, until I was able to triangulate on some of its chirps.  Based on the look in it’s eye, it saw me a lot sooner than I located it.

Here’s a new one to the blog.  I was walking the paths around Mammoth Springs when this bird caught my eye.  Without a guide, I wasn’t sure what it was but looked interesting enough to take a few shots.  Who am I kidding, it doesn’t have to really be unique before my itchy shutter finger starts pressing away at a bird.

The uniqueness of the markings made this an extremely easy identification.  This readers is a Killdeer.  A pretty fast runner/walker on land, but not sure what it was looking for.  The guide left off what it eats, but it definitely didn’t seem to be interested in anything on the ground.

I do like the composition of this particular shot.  The logs and greenery nicely bracket the bird.   One surprising thing was how colorful it was in flight.  Apparently the orange feathers tuck nicely under the gray back tails.  Interesting field guide note.  This bird will feign a broken wing to distract intruders.

Another new bird to the blog is this Northern Waterthrush.  As with the Junco, this bird was hard to find at first due to the close coloring with its habitat.  It does have a distinctive chirp … wit wit, sweet sweet, chew chew.  That would be the guide’s description, not mine.

Let me bring it in a bit for you.  This is a swamp and waterside bird and I just remembered it was taken at the same site as the cliff swallows above.

Ah, the old standby, the Robin.  One of the most common larger birds in our neck of the woods and based on our observations, pretty abundant out there as well.  I figured I would throw this one in since there seemed to be an under theme to this set of adaptation to habitat.  As with some of the other birds above, the Robin actually hides quite nicely among the grays of dead branches.  The orange belly tends to give it away, but from the back it combines with the scenery quite well.

Lastly, a favorite of the blog in a unique setting.  Usually when we have come upon a Sandhill Crane, it is either walking around in the woods, or trying to give me a heart attack.  In contrast, this one was actually sitting it its nest by the side of a fairly large stream.  The weeds made it difficult to get the focus, but it was a unique position I hadn’t taken before.

That sums it up for this particular post.  There is one more bird set to go and hopefully I’ll be able to finish off the vacation shots with a collection of water themed images.  To do the latter I need to look into some photo hosting sites first.  Thanks for sticking with me through this and hope you enjoyed at least some of the pictures.

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