All Photos posted on this blog unless otherwise noted were taken by me with my Canon Rebel XTI using a 300 mm zoom lens

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What Has Happened?

As I approached my 50's I found myself having more time on my hands to pursue my hobbies. With all our kids moved out on their own I began spending more time doing things I had put off for several years. I had always wanted to have a parrot but knew the great commitment of time and effort they take so I had not gotten one. With more time on my hands I decided to finally go for it and adopted a Moluccan Cockatoo that had been in a neglected and somewhat abusive situation. For several years she had been feed nothing but a seed diet and after the novelty wore of she was pretty much ignored, which lead to her becoming a screaming nuisance in the home. When the father of the house could no longer stand the screaming she was placed in their garage and was near freezing when a concerned neighbor stepped up and took her. After a few day he realized he was in over his head and eventually was referred to me and I took her in. I had her for 9 months and sadly one afternoon while sitting in the cottonwood tree in our back yard she had a seizure and died instantly. Broken hearted I applied for and adopted an umbrella cockatoo and then a couple of months later an orange-winged amazon.

In addition to getting my parrots I started dedicating almost all of my discretionary time to volunteering as a naturalist for the Division of Wildlife at Farmington Bay. Life was good I was birding at least once a week in addition to guiding tours and teaching classes at Farmington Bay. I began building my life list, posting my sightings on Bird Talk and having a great time. This lasted for about 4 years and then all the sudden the last year I have gotten so busy I hardly get time to go birding any more and with my work schedule changing to 10 hour days I no longer had the time to spend with my parrots that they needed so I had to re-home them for their sake. Lat week I committed to getting out and birding over the Christmas long weekend. Watching the postings on bird Talk for Pygmy Nuthatch, Long-tailed Ducks, Ruffs Longspurs etc. I needed to get out. Well last weekend didn't work out as I planned, I did spend some time watching and photographing birds at a home in Pleasantview north of Ogden while my wife was there training for her home based business. While I saw nothing new I did get some long awaited pictures of several of my favorite backyard birds.

Well this weekend is New Years and another long weekend, again I am committing to myself to get out and check out some of the sights posted on Bird Talk.

I don't exactly know what has happened but I do know I need to set aside time to pursue my birding obsession. Here are some pictures of the birds from last Saturday

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bird of the Month The Bufflehead Duck

The smallest diving duck in North America, the Bufflehead breeds in ponds and small lakes in Canada, and winters in much of the United States. Buffleheads are common during the winter in the Great Salt Lake Wetlands like Farmington Bay.
Some cool facts
The Bufflehead nests almost exclusively in holes excavated by Northern Flickers.
Unlike most ducks, the Buffleheads are usually monogamous.

Size: 32-40 cm (13-16 in)
Wingspan: 55 cm (22 in)
Weight: 272-635 g (9.6-22.42 ounces)

Sex Differences:
Male with white sides, black back and head, and large white patch on head. Female duller and darker, with gray sides and small white patch on head.
Similar to adult female, with less distinct ear patch.
Similar Species:
Male Hooded Merganser has a large white patch on head, but has brown sides.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Birds seen Dec 12 2008

After guiding some teachers on a bus tour at Farmington Bay this morning I got over to Kaysville Pond to see if I could get some pictures of Hooded Merganzers. In addition to the Merganzers I got some shots of Ring-necked Ducks, Common Goldeneye, Mallards, American Wigeon, Gadwall, Juncos and Great-tailed Grackles.
In all today I saw
At Farmington Bay:
A dozen Bald Eagles
Northern Rough-legged Hawk
Northern Harrier
American Kestrel
Song Sparrows
White-crowned Sparrows
Greater Yellow-legs
Brewers and Red-winged Blackbirds
Norther Shoveler
Anmerican Wigeon
Common Goldeneye
American Coot

Kaysville Ponds:
Hooded Merganzer
Common Goldeneye
Ring-necked Ducks
Canada Goose
Dark-eyed Junco
White-crowned Sparrow
Northern Flicker
Ring-billed Gull
Black-billed Magpie