Birding in California

Hi, loyal ‘blog readers!

We just spent 3 weeks in southern California, visiting friends and family, and enjoying the nice, warm weather.  About every other day, I went for a walk around the area we were staying in, usually about 4 miles.  I saw lots of birds, and even got to add 4 new birds to my life list.  The photos below don’t represent all the species I saw.  I saw a total of 50 species while in California – I know this because I reported them to e-bird.

In the empty lot next door to where we stayed, there was a pair of Red-Tailed Hawks nesting in a big tree.  The pair hung out together every day, sunning themselves together, building their nest, even playing together in the air.  The best example of this last, is one of the hawks landing gently on the back of the other in mid-air.  They weren’t fighting, or mating – just playing.

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There were dozens and dozens of Bushtits in the area, eating berries off the trees.

IMG_2110a_bushtit_1.1Here’s a nice, beefy California Towhee.  They are giant Sparrows, kind of plain-looking.

IMG_2123a_California_Towhee_1.1Allen’s Hummingbird, cute and rust-colored.

IMG_2131a_Allens_hummingbird_1.1Northern Mockingbird (I think this is a young one).

IMG_2152a_Northern_Mockingbird_1.1This Great Egret was continually around the neighborhood, landing on rooftops.  I’m not sure what he was doing in this area, as there is no water, and they are usually around bodies of water.

IMG_1934aI went to the Los Angeles County Arboretum on January 19th, and had a great time, despite the fact that it rained on me pretty much the whole time I was there.  Here I am, being rained on.

20160119_150733aWhile I was there, I saw one of the four birds new to my life list:  A fancy, schmancy Mandarin Duck.

IMG_2500a_Mandarin_DuckThis here birdie is a Common Yellowthroat, although it’s hard to tell from the picture, due to the fact that this thing would NOT hold still.

IMG_2564a_Common_YellowthroatBefore this trip, I had no idea that Cedar Waxwings lived in southern California.  I thought they were much more of a cold climate bird.  I saw them almost everywhere I went on this trip.

IMG_2668a_Cedar_WaxwingsHere is the jewel of my birding experiences on this vacation (seen during a hike in the North Etiwanda Preserve).  A California Thrasher.  He was new to my lifelist, too.  Look at his awesome beak!

IMG_2807a_California_ThrasherNext up:  Acorn Woodpecker.  They are such cute birds!

IMG_1650a_Acorn_WoodpeckerLast but not least, here is a pair of American Kestrels, sitting on a power line.  I’ve never seen Kestrels hang out with other Kestrels.  This was a new one for me.

IMG_2830a_American_KestrelsThe remaining two new birds to my lifelist are the Cassin’s Kingbird, and the White-Tailed Kite, both of whom declined to be photographed.

While at the Arboretum, I took a video that I thought was funny.  There were all kinds of ‘Art Installations’ in the Arboretum, and one happened to be an installation called ‘Tribute to the Guinea Fowl’, by Kim Lingo.  There are wild Guinea Fowl all over the park there, and while I was taking pictures of nearby plants, this poor REAL Guinea Fowl walked over, and started pecking the face of one of the statue Guinea Fowl.  I felt bad for him, because he obviously thought these other birds were trying to take over his turf.

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Thanks, all, for stopping by, reading, and commenting!

P.S.  Happy 8th Blogiversary, Cactus Kate ‘blog!  That happened on January 20th.

Fay Elberta Peach Tree

On May second of this year, I went to the annual plant sale at The Youth Garden Project here in Moab.  I went there specifically to buy a peach tree for our yard.  I had done my research, and decided I wanted one of the Fay Elberta trees.  I wandered around the plant sale, picked out the exact tree I wanted, and hauled it up to the table to pay for it.  Some Youth Garden employee told me I’d have to go put it back where it was, but I still had to pay for it that day.  She told me it needed to ‘root out’, and that would happen within about 3 weeks.  So, I paid for it ($50), and left.  Keep in mind that was May 2nd.

On June 10th (more than 5 weeks later), I called the YGP, and asked if the trees were ready to be planted yet.  I wanted to get it into the ground and rooting before the REAL heat of the summer hit.  I was told they weren’t ready yet, and they would call me when I could pick it up.  So, I waited.  And waited.  And waited.

Finally, on July 20th (2 and a half months later), I got a call from the YGP saying I could pick up my tree.  I immediately went there, and got my tree.  Rich dug a hole for it the next day, and into the ground it went.  Such a cute little tree!  The next four pictures are from the day we planted it.  The fence is to keep the deer from munching on it too much.

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Fay_Elberta_Peach_tree_1_7-21-15_4.1With Rich, for scale:

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Here is my adorable tree 3 weeks later, looking happy (August 12th):

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End of the season peach tree, leaves getting colorful (November 24th):

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The little peach tree is done for the year now, and is fast asleep.  This picture is from December 1st.  I’m hoping for great things from this little tree next year!

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Thanks for checking out my new tree!

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