Monday, June 20, 2011

Birding at Eagle Lake

I am a relative newcomer to birding and birding wasn't on my mind when I decided we should camp at Eagle Lake in north eastern California.  While the grebes I shared last week were certainly the highlight, they were far from the only birds we saw.
There were water birds
I watched this pair of mergansers cruise by an American White Pelican.




This tern flew by me so close I've done almost no cropping on this.  At 300mm I couldn't focus on the whole bird and had no time to zoom out.  That is an unusual problem for me when photographing birds!

   

  



Western Tanagers were common in the campground.  These colorful birds are hard to miss but given the cloudy sky and dense forest I needed a high ISO and large aperture resulting in a lack of sharpness.  


















What every birder enjoys, whether a newbie like me or an old hand, a new bird to add to the life list.  I got two this trip.
This little guy I believe is a brown creeper.  I felt lucky to spot him as he is well camouflaged.


























The White-Headed Woodpecker is another new bird for my list.  This is a female as it lacks the red patch on the back of the head.
















Yes, there are eagles at Eagle Lake.  I caught sight of this guy towards the end of the day.  In addition to the eagle there were osprey.  We have camped a lot of places but never seen such a variety of bird life.  I saw other birds as well, a Yellow Rump Warbler and another bird I couldn't identify.







We had a bit of excitement, too.  Some children playing with matches set fire to a tree.  There was a lot of discussion among the campers as to what to do about it.  I had a hose but it wasn't long enough, eventually someone did come up with a suitable hose and by the time CalFire arrived the fire was out.  The professionals leave nothing to chance they sprayed it with water, trenched around the tree and soaked the ground.  They stayed for several hours and then repeated the soaking.












See more views of the world at That's My World, Tuesday, hosted for us by Klaus, Sandy, Wren and Sylvia.
You can find more birds of the world ant World Bird Wednesday, hosted by Springman.

38 comments:

Gaelyn said...

Wonderful bird sightings. I've never seen a white-headed woodpecker. Sure hope those fire-bug kids got a talking to.

Sylvia K said...

Love your photos and I've never seen a white-headed woodpecker either! I agree with Gaelyn, hope those kids got a serious talking to!! Hope you have a lovely day, Martha!

Sylvia

Linda (PA_shutterbug) said...

I enjoy my attempts at photographing birds. The hobby can become addictive ... just sayin'. I enjoyed looking at the pictures of the birds that you saw at Eagle Lake. I, too, hope that the children who set the fire got a talking to!

aka Penelope said...

Incredible as the birds are, it is the fire and kids playing with matches that caught my attention. What a foolish thing to do in these times when the weather in some areas is hotter than ever and the smallest spark can lead to total destruction of homes, forests and the wildlife we love so much. The firefighters are worth their weight in gold!

clairz said...

Wow, you got some wonderful bird photos. That burning tree made my hair stand on end! Horrid forest fires can start so easily and quickly.

Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

Our daughter is an avid birder and we've been with her several times on a quest. While the hunt and the capture (by camera) can be challenging and rewarding (in those rare instances of getting a good photo) we've found the birders themselves provide for some great photo opportunties.

Spiderdama said...

So wonderful birds! I only have nr 2 and 4 here at my place. I like that yellow bird and these Grebe? you have posted before.
Hope you have a happy week:-)

ladyfi said...

Wonderful shots - love the close up of that gull.

So glad that the fire didn't spread.

Rajesh said...

You have really got wonderful shots of birds. All of them are great.

EG Wow said...

I'm glad they were so careful about making sure the fire was out. There have already been some terrible forest fires this year!

Gary said...

Great birds!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Kel said...

children playing with matches!!!
perhaps if they learned to admire the birds instead, they wouldn't be trying to burn down their homes!

Fjällripan said...

So many beautiful photos of the birds. Wonderful to see the eagle!

Photo Cache said...

Oh you are way ahead of everyone I think at the starting point of birding. You know your birds very well. Nice job.

http://ewok1993.wordpress.com

eileeninmd said...

Great birds and I love your photos. I would love to see the whiteheaded woodpecker and the male Western Tanager is a beauty. Awesome sightings.

Kay L. Davies said...

Your other blog has spoiled me with its map feature, Martha, so I just had to go to Google Maps to find Eagle Lake. I'm saving up ideas for driving trips we can take with our Golden Retriever. Northeastern Callifornia could well be done, and maybe I'll take up birding! What wonderful sightings you had!
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Cheri said...

Lovely birds and they all look so different that ours on the East Coast!

Carolina Mts

Ann said...

bet the children will never ever play with fire again.

Janie said...

Your bird photos are great! I'm glad the kids' fire didn't get out of hand.

Stewart M said...

Hi there - the idea that a bird that looks like that tanager can be "common" is a bit of a shock!

I think we can come down too hard on kids being kids - I wonder how many of us had a "match free" childhood - I know I didn't - but then again I never caught a tree on fire either!

Cheers Stewart M - Australia

Ishtar said...

What beautiful birds!!

Mike B. @ slugyard.com said...

Great photos- Brown Creepers are hard to get good shots of. They won't sit still!

anemonen said...

Stunning photos!
Thank you for sharing these exotic birds for those we have not in Sweden.

holdingmoments said...

Great selection of birds, and congratulations on the two lifers.

It seems some kids the world over are pretty stupid. Glad the fire didn't spread.

Carletta said...

Looks like you picked a wonderful place to camp. :)
The eagle would have made the day for me. Sigh, maybe someday.
A lovely variety of shots!
Children playing with matches - too bad some people still haven't learned.

Andrew said...

A lovely post to read...so much going on ... thanks for sharing.

Tes said...

Oh wow, Martha, such lovely shots! Love those bright colored birds! :) Thank you for sharing!

BirdingMaine said...

Congrats on the lifers! Fantastic captures!

mick said...

A great series of photos. How lucky the fire in the tree did not spread!

Springman said...

It doubles the fun to get a lifer and excellent photographs to commemorate it with. Congrats! Your experience reminds us of the seriousness of minding our flames in our natural places. Wildland firefighters everywhere have my respect and admiration for the work they do and the brutal conditions they often endure. Bravo!

joo said...

Lovely set of images,Martha!

Jean said...

Congrats on the additions to your Life List! I would love to see a White-headed Woodpecker.

Sondra said...

OH so good to new life bird!! Love that whiteheaded WP never seen one--great shot of the tree creeper too..ALL great shots glad the fire was only ONE tree!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

A wonderful post Martha! I love the little creeper! And have never heard of the white-headed woodpecker. (My life list would be longer if I could count the new ones I see pictures of ;>)!) I'd love to camp at that Lake -- it sounds like heaven.

BTW, we saw white pelicans in Colorado, which really surprised me.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Also -- I hope the little campers learned their lesson.

bailey-road.com said...

Great series of photos! I love the Brown Creeper! Congratulations for spotting him and getting such a nice shot!

Diane AZ said...

Your brown creeper and white-headed woodpecker shots are really cute. I don't think I've ever seen either of those species.

Pat Ulrich said...

Lovely captures -- so many cool birds! I really like the creeper, that's a species that I would love to add to my collection!