Monday, December 2, 2013

Blue-footed Booby

I had to be in San Diego today, so I got up early and drove an hour north to Lake Skinner Recreational Area with hopes of finding a Blue-footed Booby.  Several had been seen in this area recently.  I had no problem finding the lake, with a little help from "Susie," my Apple Maps assistant!   I paid my $6 fee, and the attendant showed me a beautiful picture someone had recently taken of the booby, with the added caution, "Some people see them and some don't.  I haven't.   Good luck."   With that stirring endorsement, I headed down to the lake.  Today luck was with me.  Within 15 minutes, I found four of them, sitting on the edge of the far dock at the small marina.  I stood on the shore of the lake and watch them for 30 minutes.  They rested, preened and moved around a little but never left the dock.  The scope views I had were magnificent, with the sun directly behind my back. What a fun experience to see this bird in the United States.   

Saturday, November 2, 2013

A little cold....but the Nutcracker's were fine

This morning we went for a hike in Big Cottonwood Canyon.  There was a light covering of snow and ice on the trail up to Donut Falls.  It was a chilly 27 degrees!    We enjoyed our hike, and especially seeing a huge bull moose just 20 feet off the trail.   He snorted, looked very carefully at us, his big eyes focused intently and then with a huff and swish of the big clump of hair hanging below his throat, he settled down in the snow to rest.

The birding was light, but I enjoyed watching a group of Mountain Chickadees grabbing a breakfast snack and then watching several Clark's Nutcrackers flying around.  Their gray and white plumage stood out against the green branches of the pine trees, and their big bills searched for something to eat.  One flew across the canyon, fluttering as it went with the contrast of the dark wings and lighter body standing out.

Nice morning!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Birding in Jamaica

As always, I tried to squeeze in some birding during a recent family vacation in Jamaica.   One place that I wouldn't miss is Rocklands Bird Sanctuary just a few minutes out of Montego Bay.  A fun place to visit....although the last mile or two of the trip is up a pretty winding narrow road.    Go slow.   

I went there twice.  The first visit was in the late afternoon and we took the family.  We spent a couple of hours in the gardens, with one highlight clearly being having the hummingbirds (Streamertails) come and actually sit on your hand while drinking out of small tubes of sugar water.  It is a great place to take those non-birders who are trying to indulge you in your birding passion.  Everyone loved it.  Carribbean Doves, Jamaican Mangos and Orangequits, among others were easy to see.  

My second visit was an early morning guided birding trip with Flex, who manages the place now.  He did a  nice job, has great ears and knows the local  birds.   We spent several hours walking the trails around the place.  We started at sunrise.  It was amazing what diversity there was within a mile of the house.  We saw about 30 species, with a number of them being endemics to Jamaica.   Well worth the trip.  

Papa Birder