Face to face with the Ravens Beard and a tidy well kept beard to boot.
October light brightens the morning as a Red Winged Blackbird perches in a bush of golden leaves. The leaves were falling just as fast as the colors were fading from the wings of this beautiful bird.
A Dusky Grouse keeping quiet while waiting for us to move along as we walked through the cottonwood trees in the creek bed. Seeing these birds move through the dry leaves and into the cottonwood trees with colors so similar to their own just makes a fall day feel…just like fall.
We had not seen a Green Tailed Towhee all summer so it was quite a pleasure to see one of these secretive birds in the distance a week or two ago.
It seems like we have always photographed Western Meadowlarks in spring and early summer but never in autumn so seeing a few hanging out on fence posts one afternoon singing away was a treat especially in their fall plumage.
A regular and constant companion on forest hikes is the Clarks’s Nutcracker. This day instead of foraging for pine nuts this nutcracker was busy feasting on crickets on a late fall afternoon. We watched as she swooped down from a tree landed in a field and quickly picked up a cricket. We were quite surprised as it had been quite cold and well below freezing yet there were insects to be found.
Clark’s are fascinating birds that each year bury tens of thousands of pine nuts. They remember the location of a large majority of the seeds which they consume during the winter. The seeds they forget then may become new trees and thus the Clarks it integral to the growth of new forests.
A female Downey Head Woodpecker found the Mullen plant to her liking this morning as she spent quite a bit of time hunting and then pecking away for a meal.
She inspected the plant then with target in sight and eyes closed tight she pecked away like only a woodpecker can peck.
Then back again for another round on the beautiful Mullen plant.
This little guy surprised us by flying down and landing right in front of us while we were walking in a dimly lit forest. We are not sure if it is a Western or Eastern Screech Owl as both are commonly seen in our area and we only got a couple of photos before he flew off further into the woods. A nice little surprise on a summer afternoon.
Upon first glance there was something a bit odd, a bit unusual about this female Ruffed Grouse. She just seemed a bit bigger, a bit puffed out compared to other females we have seen. It didn’t take long to figure out what was going on as you can only keep a clutch of fidgety Ruffed Grouse chicks still and under wraps for so long.
At first these little guys were just peeking out from under Mom’s wing a little cautious but ever so curious.
Yet within a minute or two they began to emerge from under cover.
Then in the blink of an eye they were darting out and into the tall grasses in search of a meal and quickly disappearing from sight.
We counted six little grouse emerge from under mom’s wings that morning. Each darting off into the cover of the grasses and the whole gang disappearing just as quick as they appeared.