Tag: white

Sticky Situation

Black-billed Magpie

I’m always amazed about how birds like certain environments. It seems like this super dead tree wouldn’t be where I would pick to hang out but this bird seemed to love it! Looks like you would poke an eye out! 🙂

Have you seen birds in weird locations?



So, I’ve been really busy over the last month! I traveled and stayed a week in Yellowstone National Park and also was gone for two weeks for a Mediterranean cruise.

I managed to get a lot of awesome bird photographs in Yellowstone (less so in Europe, where were the birds?!?) so I’m going to be posting the best ones over the next few weeks. Lots of the birds in Yellowstone are also seen in San Diego so I’ll try to note when they are different than what you would normally see here.

This shot above is a Black-billed Magpie eating bugs off of the back of a young male elk. This time of year is the elk rut season. The rut is the mating season of the elk and is quite entertaining. The males wander around attracting as many ladies as they can. The males make this awesome bugle sound to warn off other males.

This male above had just attempted to steal a lady elk away from another male and got totally shut down. Now he’s walking off in disgrace. He kept stopping to chew off some bugs of his backside. A helpful magpie landed on his back and snacked on the bugs while getting a free ride.

If you want to attract the ladies, it probably helps to not be covered in bugs. 🙂

Want to know what creepy elk screams you hear at 2am while staying in Yellowstone during the rut? Check out this video:

Pines and Needles

Mountain Chickadee

After weeks of sweating this summer, we went on a weekend getaway to Big Bear with a group my husband belongs to. Big Bear is a mountain town about 2.5 hours away from the San Diego area and is a great weekend trip. It’s mostly known for it’s skiing (yes, there is snow in Southern California I was surprised when I first moved here) and the huge lake there.

One of the members owns this amazing cabin (it’s for rent if you’re interested) up there and they let us all crash there. The birding I did while on our hikes was a bust, but the birding from the front porch was AWESOME! The owners has multiple feeders around the property and the place was intensely saturated with feather-friends. And, really, isn’t the best birding done while sitting and drinking wine?

The thing I found great was the overwhelming amount of Mountain Chickadees. As San Diego is to House Finches, Big Bear is to Chickadees.

I’ve never seen so many new bird species (especially while just sitting) in one day than I saw there. I can’t wait to go back!

Eat and Run

Male Common Yellowthroat

I’ve been trying for multiple seasons to get a good shot of a male Common Yellowthroat and I finally managed to get multiple shots in one sitting at the San Diego Botanic Garden! This is my favorite because you can really see the colors on the face.

These little guys never stop moving! It’s like trying to get a shot of a Bushtit, they move around SO much! This one has part of a moth wing and some bark in its mouth heading back to its nest.

Long Legs

Black-necked Stilt

A Black-necked Stilt showing off it’s long legs like a model during fashion week. It’s walking the mud runway modeling this season’s latest feathers.

On another note, you don’t always get to see their feet, so it’s cool to get a shot like this.

Red in the Face

American Avocet

I love American Avocets; they are such beautiful birds. Their heads are bright spots of color amongst the dull greenish-gray of the swampy areas where they hang out.

The day I took this it was really cloudy so the color is pretty muted compared to what they normally look like.

It’s Snowing in Summer

Snowy Egret

A huge flock of Snowy Egrets hanging out out at Lake Hodges. You hardly see them in groups, let alone in a flock this large.

On a random side note, I looked up what a group of egrets is called and here are the options you have: “congregation”, “heronry”, “skewer”, and “wedge.” My favorite? An “RSVP”! What? Is that possibly true? I found this list on multiple sites but I can’t help but wonder if they just are copy and pasted from one source that just made it up.