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Barn Swallows - Forget the Blue Angels...

Posted April 18th, 2008 at 02:49 AM by Hex_Enduction_Hour
Updated April 18th, 2008 at 09:18 AM by Hex_Enduction_Hour
Forget the Blue Angels - You Ain't Seen Flying Like This!

Picture from Whatbird.com

I walk home for lunch almost each day and keep an eye out for the neighborhood birds the usual scene can be seen: European Starlings, Mourning Doves, Mockingbirds, Crows, Scrub Jays, Robins, and Black Pheobes.

Lately, I've spotted a familiar forked tail, bright orange and blue coloring, and of course, the amazing swoops and dives of this vivacious flycatcher. Spring is back and so are the Barn Swallows.

Plentiful throughout America, anyone with a nearby open field should have a chance to see these amazing flyers.

To be more precise, it's the males who've returned first to select a nest site. The females arrive later and will begin selecting males for the breeding season. They watch the males dance in flight and sing their songs. The girls are looking for long forked...
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Comments 4 Hex_Enduction_Hour is offline

Utterly amazing this morning!

Posted April 17th, 2008 at 12:42 PM by Hex_Enduction_Hour
Updated April 17th, 2008 at 12:51 PM by Hex_Enduction_Hour
Today was to feature an entry about the return of Barn Swallows, but this morning I was witness to something extraordinary. What you are about to read, I did not make up for the sake of this blog!
Besides the graphic photo linked below, my only other caveat is that my identification may be incorrect.
I'll refer to the predator as a falcon, but it could've been a hawk, kite, kestrel. I'm just not experienced enough to identify these birds of prey as they're tough to observe up close!

I just dropped my daughter off at pre-school. As I left and approached the parking lot, I hear that familiar ruckus of rowdy crows.

Above the parking lot I see two crows flying about and in my field of vision, from left to right, a falcon, zooms by with a bird in its talons!!!

The predator lands right in the middle of the parking lot with its prey twitching and putting up a pathetic attempt of some struggle.

The crows are cackling...
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Comments 7 Hex_Enduction_Hour is offline
Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.

WANTED! - 37YO Male Desperately seeking Belted Kingfisher

Posted April 16th, 2008 at 09:04 AM by Hex_Enduction_Hour
Updated April 16th, 2008 at 11:10 AM by Hex_Enduction_Hour

(image from Whatbird.com)

Nearly anyone in the North America region should have ample opportunity to see a Belted Kingfisher.
Yet, why does this species elude me?

The large head with a spikey haircut and vicious-looking beak stacked on a short body gives the bird a personality not unlike the cartoon character, Woody Woodpecker. I can't help but have an affinity for a bird that strikes that pose.

I may have spotted a Belted variety on my way up to the mountains before Sacramento, at the Yolo Causeway .
But I couldn't confirm zooming past at 70 MPH.

As their name implies, these birds hunt fish and other small aquatic creatures as well as lizards. They hover over the water waiting to strike. When the prey is secured, the Kingfisher will kill it by striking the creature against a tree or dropping it on stone.

Other interesting...
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Comments 11 Hex_Enduction_Hour is offline
Rating: 2 votes, 4.00 average.

Yellow-Billed Magpie - unique to this region

Posted April 14th, 2008 at 05:22 PM by Hex_Enduction_Hour
Yellow-Billed Magpie
The isolated Magpie
All maps and illustrations from Whatbird.com

My most favorite local bird has to be the Yellow-Billed Magpie.

My interest in birdwatching and identification owes a lot to when I first observed this large, colorful bird some years back on a hike up Fremont's Mission Peak. I'd never seen such a bird before and was curious as to its species.

Not long after, I purchased my first bird identification book. It was the Yellow-Billed Magpie I hurriedly referenced and discovered a very interesting fact about the species and their location on the planet.

Their year-round range is limited to the valley and foothills of northern, central California.
They can be found only in this area!

I've learned the Yellow-Billed Magpie owes its range to forces...
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Comments 7 Hex_Enduction_Hour is offline
Rating: 2 votes, 3.50 average.

Birdwatching and an amazing incident

Posted April 13th, 2008 at 10:02 AM by Hex_Enduction_Hour
Updated April 14th, 2008 at 04:33 PM by Hex_Enduction_Hour
A nice little hobby I'd recommend to those interested is bird watching.

It's a low-investment interest that requires an identification book, perhaps a pair of binoculars, and an interest in the outdoors and wildlife.

As well, the opportunity to engage in the hobby is nearly always available. Birds can be found almost anywhere in the world. They're hardy and can thrive even where man's imprint is felt the hardest.

I had an amazing incident occur just yesterday, Saturday, April 12, 2008.
While in my backyard working and playing with my family, I noticed a large Western Scrub-Jay. Not an uncommon site in my backyard, but the bird's behavior was what caught my eye. The vibrantly-colored Jay was perching on our plum tree eyeing something in the grass. It flew off and my attention came back to my family and the backyard maintenance.

A bit later, while I was...
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Comments 1 Hex_Enduction_Hour is offline

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