Where’s Hatchmo?

Well, we can all agree 2021 has been a strange and unordinary year in many respects and one event that has us scratching our heads and has just turned the strange-o-meter up to 11 is the absence of Hatchmo this winter.

As long as we can remember Red-Breasted Nuthatches have been a neighborhood fixture. Not just in winter but all year long. Their honking a constant reminder that someone is out there in the trees and their visits to the feeders in winter are sure to bring a smile to our faces when the sun is low and temperatures are cold. Perhaps they have all gotten together and moved south this year or perhaps they have just moved to the next valley over.

Whatever the reason it has left of scratching your heads, searching the web for explanations and feeling just a little lonely this winter.

So if you see Hatchmo tell them the feeders are full and it’s OK to come home.

Pelagic Cormorant

Watching, listening and right at home this Pelagic Cormorant enjoys a sunny winters afternoon.

Among the cormorants of North America’s Pacific Coast, the Pelagic is a small and slender species that flies with a thin, straight neck often compared to a broomstick. Breeding adults are black with glossy purple-green highlights. They have a coral-red throat patch and neat white patches on the flanks. They nest on coastal cliffs and forage in rocky water, rarely traveling far from shore despite their name. 

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Pelagic_Cormorant/overview

Robert

Robert or Bob to his friends.

Just a few days ago we were intently watching a Rabbit forage on some exposed grass when they suddenly became alert and sat up tall with ears wide open. We thought we had startled her when suddenly and silently off in the distance we spotted this North American Bobcat on the prowl thus explaining the rabbits alertness, and for good reason, as Rabbits are a Bobcats main food.

The Bobcat wandered around for just a moment without detecting the rabbit and quickly disappeared into the forest below. A truly beautiful cat and one we seldom see more than once a year.

Scruffy

Coopers_hawk_bw_1

On Saturday at mid-morning we spotted this Coopers hawk tidying up a bit on a broken old Cottonwood branch. He looked like he has had a bit of a rough time lately with his feathers looking downright scruffy. After a half hour or so of preening his feathers were back in fine order and he was off again hunting in nearby woods.

Reliable places

It nice to have reliable places to go when you just need a wildlife fix. This day we visited one of our favorite places to view Bighorn Sheep. While reliable some days you only get a glimpse through the binoculars while some days you get a much closer view.

This day the view was almost too close to photograph with the long lens we had attached to the camera as this big Ram moved down a hill and into view.

Anyway we did get a nice view and it looks like this big guy has gotten good use of this horns.

Woodhouse Scrub Jay

The Woodhouse Scrub Jay is found throughout the drier regions of the southwestern United States in a variety of habitats ranging from scrub oak forests to stands of pinion pines. This day we noticed a persistent rustling in a stand of scrub oak tree and we pleased to find this Woodhouse Scrub jay.

Scrub-jays of the West evolved in two very different habitats: oak woodlands and montane pinyon pine stands. Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jays live mainly among pinyon pine trees. They developed relatively thin, pointed bills that are adept at getting at the pine nuts hidden between pine cone scales. California Scrub-Jays live around oak trees and have developed stouter, more hooked bills that help them hammer open acorns.

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Woodhouses_Scrub-Jay/overview#

Scrub Oak and Scrub Jay a nice way to start the day.