Sunday, May 31, 2009

Rufous Hummingbirds

Look at the picture below. Notice anything? Perhaps close to the center on the right?

Here's a closer look. I found a hummingbird nest!

We have a lot of hummingbirds in the Bay area. They're always whizzing by, making little scritch-screech noises like the clashing of electronics. This was the first time I have seen a nest. I've always known that the nests were small, but you don't get a sense of how incredibly small they are until one is in front of you.

You can tell that these are pictures of rufous hummingbirds because the female on the nest has a white patch beneath her beak. Allen hummingbirds, which are similar looking and local have bright ruby throats. The male rufous hummingbirds are a shiny brown as you can see below.

I'm really excited about these pictures because both the cactus and the bird are in focus. Below is a close-up of the bird.

These pictures were all taken in the cactus section of the Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. It was FULL of hummingbirds. Here is another one in profile. If you go anywhere in San Francisco, I recommend Golden Gate Park.

Monday, May 25, 2009


One of the best things about living on the coast is the water birds. Pelicans are my favorite. They travel in large flocks, especially when it's cold and windy outside.

Usually, I get nice pictures of their underbellies, but today, I got a really good shot of one.

I love their faces. My goal is to capture one with the pouch full of food. This group was captured during one of our infrequent sunny days.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Audrey has been extremely nesty lately. When Audrey wants to go somewhere, he leans into that directly. These days he leads us into closets and other small spaces, like the laundry room. Once you're in the closet, he wants the doors closed so he start making flirty noises. Conner always wants to go where Audrey is, so yesterday when Audrey led J into the laundry room, I followed with Conner and we all made kissy noises in the dark.

In this picture, he's discovered the benefits of a shelf in the closet that I cleared out for him.

Here he's found that there is a gap between the shelf and the wall. Cockatiels are extremely curious about every little crevice.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Pink mineral block

Note to self: do not buy pink mineral blocks. Every time Conner chews on them, you initially think that he must be bleeding. (Photo by Jon)

Sunday, May 17, 2009


I went to the marine preserve this weekend, and the place was filled with babies!!! I found a bush filled with baby flycatchers and sat taking pictures of them for 30 minutes. I finally captured some good pictures.

This is a dusky flycatcher.

Below is a gray flycatcher. This baby was very curious and too young to know that I'm dangerous. He came within three feet of me. After a few minutes, his mother came by and fed him!!! I wasn't sure if he was the same bird as the one above, because they came out of the same bush, and the lighting was different. But if you look at the beak, the bird in the picture on top has a beak that is curved at the tip.
This guy looks to be a baby flycatcher as well. I think he's younger than the others because he's incredibly puffy. But the barbs on the wings and the beak suggest that he's a gray flycatcher. He was in another bush, just preening.

In this picture, the baby chickadee is on the bottom and the parent is on top. It's not a great picture, but I like it because the baby looks so huge with all the puffy feathers and the big warm belly. Baby chickadees make a remarkable amount of noise. The entire tree was filled with baby chickadees. The whole town seems to be covered in baby chickadees. These were taken yesterday and today, I was standing outside in the middle of errands and noticed that all the trees had baby chickadees making racket and flying around.

Spring is the best time of year!

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Things have been very hectic, lately, so I haven't been able to take as many pictures. Last week it also rained the entire weekend, which caused the plants to turn a lovely shade of bright green, but prevented me from going birding.

The cockatiels are doing well. Yesterday I put the nest boxes on the bed and each bird explored them thoroughly. Conner is still confused about the function of the nest box. After Audrey was settled inside his nest box, Conner would peek in at him to see what he was doing. There were several times where Conner became frustrated and starting shrieking, as if to say, "I don't get it!!!" Conner has chewed his nest box to the point where there is only about an inch of material holding the top together. We'll have to watch it carefully to ensure the structural integrity of the box. I'd hate for it to collapse with Conner on top.

One of the things that I love about California, is the variety of birds. I've been visiting the same area every weekend for the past few months and each time I see a different type of bird! Last time I saw quails. I didn't get any pictures, but I know where the quails live, so eventually I'll photograph them.

We have several different kinds of chickadees in this part of California. This guy is a chestnut-backed chickadees; a name that is pretty self explanatory.

We also have black-capped chickadees and mountain chickadees. This guy was very
comfortable around me. At one point, he was only a few feet away from me. I got a picture, but it's pretty blurry because of some branches.

I like this picture because the chickadee has food in his mouth.

And I always like capturing bird butts. They're so fuzzy!!!