Saturday, January 28, 2017

Gophers to Rave About

I've talked about it over on the Facebook side of, "The Wild Airport" but I don't think I've touched on it over here -- it being the simple fact that whenever the airfield sees heavy rains many gophers are flooded from their burrows.
We in Operations end up removing a good number of these drowned lil' critters and with good reason. Flooded out, dead gophers attract predators, and the longer they sit out the more predators they bring in. I remember one year after a really heavy rain we started seeing a whole lot of hawks, crows, ravens, and vultures near the approach end of main runway. This influx of bird activity presented a huge threat to the safety of aircraft using our airport and as such I finally just walked the infields with a bucket to collect them up. I ended removing nearly six five-gallon buckets full of dead gophers, which did greatly reduce the interest of the birds.

Here a Common Raven (Corvus corax) circles me as if to show off it's catch.

Monday, May 30, 2016

No Lesser To Me...

They may indeed be Lesser Goldfinch (Spinus psaltria) but they are still plenty fascinating to me. This certainly isn't the first time I've seen them working the downy seeds of flowering plants on the airfield, but this was the closest!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Cassin Quite a Ruckus

So the first thing I notice other than the vocalizations of kingbirds in the area, is this Red-tailed Hawk being harassed by some smaller bird. I thought maybe it was a Northern Mockingbird, however after review of the photos I see that it is indeed not a mockingbird. It is instead being tormented by kingbird -- quite a bit of pluck for bird that's considerably smaller than the hawk! What would motivate such a persistent attack? A near-by nest? Probably.
I went on about my business until the chatter from these kingbirds piqued my curiosity. It was then that I noticed the parental activity -- back and forth, to and from and light pole on the ramp next to me. I cruised over to investigate further and guess what I discover? Sure enough two adult Cassin's Kingbirds (Tyrannus vociferans) are feeding one, possibly two chicks.

Monday, February 1, 2016

A Red-tailed close up

I tried something a little different today. Something which I've only done once so far; I got out of my work vehicle and attempted to get as close as I could to my subject. I managed to get pretty close -- granted this is a juvenile.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Bluebird Bar

 Western Bluebird Sialia mexicana

This little fella surprised me the other day. I thought I had simply gotten lucky and discovered him atop a bollard next to where I park my work truck, but there was more to it than merely a simply encounter. I crept up to him as close as I could while he was perched atop the bollard and then he flew off. I had some things to unload from the back of the truck, so I started in on that. As I unloaded I noticed that he had returned, however this time he was atop one our building services' Rubbermaid wheeled trash carts that was upside down. So I grabbed my camera, stood still, waited, and observed. Well, guess what he was up to? 
He flew down from the wheel to the ground, then flew over to edge of the cart's upside down lip and began to drink. See we had had a decent rain a few days back and because the overturned trash cart had stayed in shade all that time the rain water it had collected had not evaporated and our bluebird had discovered this along with a few of his friends!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Heron lies the truth!

About what, I'm not sure but I am certain that today was the closest I've ever got to a Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) while on foot!
Most of the time I photograph from my work truck but this time I figured why not go on foot and see just how close I can get; besides if I spook him then it's a win as well because I still need to scoot him off the airfield. I probably got within about ten feet before he bugged out. Pretty cool!

Monday, December 14, 2015

A Savannah Bath Party!

 We had rain the night before, which is rare in Southern California -- although they say we're going to see much more as an El Nino cycle hits us this winter. The birds don't know about forecast models, but they do know a good place to take a dip when they see one! These Savannah Sparrows (Passerculus sandwichensis) wasted no time, despite my presence.