Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Oh, How Lovely was the Morning!

Great Horned Owl - I believe this is the father of the owlets near Avimor's entry towers.  I just love his white and black zebra stripes.

This morning was just one of those glorious mornings for birding.  At one point, I sat down on a grassy spot, partially hidden in the sage brush overlooking a riparian area full of brush and trees.  I had Nashville, Yellow, and Yellow-rumped Warblers along with Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Black-capped Chickadees, Western Wood-Pewee, a pair of Lazuli Buntings, and White-crowned Sparrows all feeding just feet away.  It was in a way a spiritual experience as I was overcome with the beauty and brilliance of the colors I was enjoying.  I admit that a wave of emotion came over me and tears welled up in my eyes.  Embarrassing, but true.

I wish my photography skills were sufficient to even capture a tenth of what I felt this morning.  When I got home I discovered that I had used one setting on my camera that made most of my photos worthless.  That's okay though.  The experience was almost too sacred to photograph anyway.  But here is a 1/1000th taste of my lovely morning:

I was really excited when I saw this:
First-of-year Lewis's Woodpecker

Notice the gray necklace, the dark-greenish back and wing feathers, the reddish-pink wash on the belly, and the red face.

As it turns out, we have three Great Horned Owlets at the nest near the entry into Avimor.  I had only seen and photo'd two previously, but my kids insisted there were three.  I believe them now.  Can you find all three babies in the photo below?

One below mom, one to the side of mom, and one behind mom.

Nashville Warbler
Sweet eye-ring!  Note the gray hood, yellow throat and olive-green upper parts that are important traits in distinguishing a Nashville Warbler from others.  Similar looking MacGillivray's Warblers in this area have gray throats and white eye-arcs rather than a complete eye-ring, like the shown Nashville.

This last photo is blurry, but it captured something that I have seen the in the field guides, but never had seen in the field.  See that redness on the crown?  Pretty cool, huh?!


  1. Those are amazing pictures. This spring we'll get some migratory birds as we live a block from the Little Colorado River marshlands. The amazing thing about baby owls, is how quickly they grow. Even my 2 year old says "see the owl" everytime we pass the church.

  2. Wow!! It sounds like an incredible day of birding. Also...congrats on your year! I've never seen a Lewis's Woodpecker. He's a beauty. The owls/owlets are gorgeous. Three in a nest is fabulous!! I was at the Little Miami River yesterday hoping to find a few Nashville Warblers. They are usually there, but none yesterday. I love their coloring and white eye rings! (I've done the wrong setting on the camera before...it's no fun!)