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Posts Tagged ‘House Finch’

Aside from the terrible hot, flushed, allergy face – this weekend was very nice. I’m allergic to cottonwood, but it wasn’t terribly overbearing and the grass pollens are only just beginning, so I was able to stay outside for some length of time, pulling up weeds, rearranging fences, and moving things around.

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I love this trio of scrub jay photos. He just hopped from one side to the other and I caught him mid-air. I set my camera on the “sports” setting which shoots at f 5.6 1/1600 ISO 2500. I use this for shooting birds or insect because it invariably captures movement I would not have noticed when aiming the camera.

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Bees, for instance, are constantly on the move. You’re lucky to capture them holding still. The “sports” setting on my D-SLR allows for that.

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Check out this series of goldfinch vs. dandelion fuzz photos.

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The House finches wanted to know what was so interesting about the dandelion.

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At one point, the male and female house finch converged on the goldfinch (below and out of sight in the photo).

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There was this capture, of the male house finch coming in for a landing.

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And this – my favorite – the goldfinch took off, the house finch in mid-air with wings folded back – wow.

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Another house finch vs. goldfinch capture. The house finch is so much larger than the goldfinches.

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This was another drama. The black-headed grosbeak had just settled into the feeder. See the wings on the left?

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A starling comes to rest and chases the grosbeak off.

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“Hey? Where did everyone go?” Starlings always assume they are popular, but everyone hates them.

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Too bad I cut the top starling off. They are striking birds, just they are not native American birds. Highly invasive and a birder’s bane in North America.

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Not sure if this is a starling or Brewer’s Blackbird (they flock together). Probably a starling. But a great capture.

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Bumblebee on the ceanothus.

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Honeybee on the Spanish Lavender.

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Unknown bee on the ceanothus.

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This trio of photos are of the black-headed grosbeaks. The female is less colorful, but not less pretty. The males can be mistaken for orioles. And in the last photo – a female grosbeak in the feeder with a band-tailed pigeon.

I never left home and still had an adventure. I love Oregon.

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Although I once had a mitred conure I called “Samson” that could talk. He knew about 20 words when I had to give him up. My family made me give him up.

No, not really: the orange Manx-cross barn cat we adopted made me give the bird up. That kitten was not afraid of that bird’s beak. I gave Sam away to save his life.

The kitten belonged to my son. I kept the kitten because my son desperately wanted that cat.

Rabbit trail: my son wanted to name the cat “Orangey”. My husband and I, wise parents that we are, said, “Why don’t we all put in two names into a bowl and the name we draw will be the cat’s name?” Everyone was enthusiastic and the names were written. I don’t remember all the names now, but Orangey and Benjamin Franklin were two of them. Ziggy was on four slips of paper: my husband’s two and my two. We named the cat “Ziggy”.

Not sure if my kids ever forgave us for that.

Birds.

I spied a house finch in the bird feeder the other day and decided to try for some good photos. I put the 300mm zoom on my camera and snapped a number of photos, about half of which I trashed. The ones I kept were startling.

I loved how bright red he was.

This photo made me pause. There’s really something odd about the bird’s head.

Um… That right eye does not look good.

Here you can see the left eye, which is normal, and the bulge where the right eye should be. The finch has Mycoplasmal Conjunctivitis. I am so sad!

When I snapped those photos, I thought I was looking at a healthy bird. It was only when I uploaded them to my computer that I realized what the camera saw that I did not see.

Saturday, after we came home from hunting mushrooms, I decided to sit in the garden a while with Harvey.

That was when *she* came into my life.

She buzzed around the garden before settling on the little white wire fence just three feet from my nose. She stuck her tongue out at me. Literally, not figuratively. Well, maybe she was smacking her lips.

Do birds have lips?

No, she was definitely sticking her tongue out at me: “You don’t have a camera and by the time you get one, I will be gone. Neener neener neener!”

Ah, but Sunday came.

And I was armed with a hoe, an edger, knee pads, gloves, and a funky straw hat to ward off the sun. I brought along a bottle of water. And I kept my camera on a chair cushion within easy grasp.

I was ready for her.

Oh, I was ready for her.

Do you see both of them? One is up in the upper right of the photo and the other is hovering in the lower left. Two female Black-chinned Hummingbirds. I think my little Tease finally chased the Intruder off. They certainly went at it for a few minutes, hummingbird-style.

One male came into the garden, too, but he was camera shy. I could not move quickly enough to snap a photo of him.

Isn’t she beautiful?

She spent a lot of time resting like that. I suspect she not only has a nest nearby but she is exhausted from taking care of it.

She certainly is the friendliest hummingbird.

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Well, my female Ruby-crowned Kinglet did not make an appearance this weekend, the little hussy. She could have had the courtesy to make a second appearance at the bird feeder, especially after I dutifully put out thistle seed.

harumph.

However, the American Robins (Turdus migratorius – sounds like something that got it’s Latin name on an episode of The Road Runner) made a huge showing on Saturday morning. In fact, you could say they decided the spa was open.

It started with one bird.

Then a second one flew in.

“Whew! What a flight! You could move over and let me land, Buddy!”

Then there were five.

Three in committee and two out there doing the scouting work.

A pair of naturalized citizens dropped in to share some gossip.

Mrs. English House Sparrow (Weaver Finch) and Ms. European Starling whispered over the bugs in the grass.

The Dark-eyed Junco enjoyed a spot of peanut butter suet.

Mrs. and Mr. House Finch were just shopping at the big warehouse store, stocking up on sunflower seeds.

Ms. Pileated Woodpecker was soon beak-deep in the dried insects stuck inside the suet.

She’s more than twice the size of the robins and considerably shier.

The opposite spectrum of the woodpecker world popped in to check out the amenities at the Spa.

Hello, Master Downy Woodpecker. Fine day to look for a mate?

OK, that was rather dorky commentary, but it has been a long day.

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