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
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.
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?!