Canada Geese – Drinking In Unison

 

Photographing this pair of Canada Geese drinking water, I got lucky when they drank in unison.  The reflections were a bonus.

 

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Canada Geese

 

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Canada Geese

 

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Canada Geese

 

It is refreshing to see birds and other wildlife quench their thirst.  😊

An interesting fact, Canada Geese mate for life!

 

 

Sights Along The Biking Trails

 

Since the birds aren’t cooperating with any photo shoots on the biking trails (who can blame them when two bikes are headed right at them!), I’ll share a few photos I’ve stopped to capture in the last two months.

 

 

We all know those birds are hiding from me in those photos.  😉

 

Lees Ferry, Marble Canyon

 

Lees Ferry is a historical site on the Colorado River in Arizona, about 7-8 miles from Page, Arizona.  It lies at the start of Marble Canyon and is considered the official beginning of Grand Canyon National Park.

For hundreds of miles, the site of Lees Ferry was one of only two places where one could easily access the Colorado River from both sides.  This site served as an important river crossing for the Anasazi, Paiute and Navajo peoples, followed by Spanish expeditions, and eventually as a gateway for the expansion of American settlement from Utah south into Arizona.

In 1873, John Doyle Lee (who the site is named after) launched his first boat to ferry people across at this site to improve crossing.

Ferry service continued until 1928 when the nearby Navajo Bridge was completed that allowed for the far more efficient automobile travel between Utah and Arizona.

 

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Lees Ferry, Marble Canyon, Arizona

 

Today, Lees Ferry provides a campground and is one of the best launching points for whitewater rafting trips down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.

(Photo taken July 2016)

 

 

 

Flower Power – Another Hibiscus

 

Sharing a little ‘sunshine’ to brighten your day!

 

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Hibiscus

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Red-Bellied Woodpecker – Berry Good!

 

I am still in Indiana, although this was not as planned.  Right now we should be in South Dakota, exploring the Badlands National Park and Custer State Park.

Our motorhome was scheduled June 8th for three weeks to complete warranty work.  We are now in Week 7, and the manufacturer says two more weeks.  We are frustrated to say the least.  Two trip destinations canceled so far.

It’s been hot in Indiana along with the rest of the country, so birding has been limited.  We’ve been bike riding, so stopping along a trail when you see a bird to photograph isn’t an easy task….they usually take flight with us coming at them!

I lucked out with this one at a break stop.

 

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Red-bellied Woodpecker

 

We all have stresses these days, so my husband and I are putting what we’re going through into perspective.  We’re making do and staying safe.  Hopefully, we are back on the road in a couple weeks to make our next reservation in Montana for a month’s stay.  Montana’s been a retirement dream trip for us for a long time.

In the meantime, if I cannot find the birds here in Indiana, you’re likely to see more of my Florida birds from the past winter (I still have so many not shared!) or from home in the mid-Atlantic, or even possibly photos from our 2016 summer trip cross country.  I’ve been reminiscing through them lately.  😊

 

 

Green Heron – Preening

 

I get a lot of enjoyment watching a bird preen its feathers.  They do it so carefully, so precise.  With their beak, no less!

Of course, preening is vital to a bird’s survival.  It is a maintenance behavior where a bird uses its beak to position feathers, interlock feather barbules that have become separated, clean plumage, and keep parasites in check.

This beautiful Green Heron was really giving its feathers a workout.  Out of the series I shot, I liked these five photos, three of which show the Green Heron cleaning a specific feather.

 

Green Heron preening

 

I think that last photo told me to move on…..which I did!  🙂

 

 

Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk

 

I slowly approached a juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk from behind while it intently scanned around the grounds below its perch.

 

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Red-shouldered Hawk (juvenile)

 

I circled to its left and was noticed.

 

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Red-shouldered Hawk (juvenile)

 

A closer look at the hawk as it focused on me.

 

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Red-shouldered Hawk close-up (juvenile)

 

Apparently I wasn’t a concern, as the Red-shouldered Hawk returned to watching the grounds below.

Getting comfortable enough to lift and rest a leg!  🙂

 

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Red-shouldered Hawk (juvenile)

 

What the Red-shouldered Hawk was hunting I didn’t stay to find out, but it was most likely a lizard.

I will say, the young hawk looked quite comfortable sitting there, making me think this was a successful hunting perch; and s/he was just waiting for the day’s next meal to come by.

 

 

Double-crested Cormorant Goes Fishing

 

I watched this Double-crested Cormorant surface with fish, one after another, for 30 minutes.

 

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Double-crested Cormorant

 

It became a fun challenge, anticipating where s/he’d pop up with a possible fish.

And there were a lot of fish, I’d never seen a cormorant catch so many so quickly.

I missed many of them either completely or out-of-focus, but here’s four of the cormorant’s nice catches and my lucky shots.

 

Double-crested Cormorant

 

Cormorants can be flashy with their toss & flip to swallow the fish, but this one would just do a quick gulp.

No time for dramatics, there were more fish to be had!

As much as I tried, here’s the only sequence I lucked out on with that quick gulp.

 

Double-crested Cormorant

 

That belly had to be quite full!  😉

 

 

Fox Squirrel

 

For sure they get a bad rap for raiding bird feeders, but I can’t help but think how cute squirrels are when you photograph them, especially this Momma Fox Squirrel who I watched off and on for a few days when she’d appear for a meal break from her nest (which its location I never did figure out).

 

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Fox Squirrel (female)

 

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Fox Squirrel (female)

 

Interesting fact:   Fox squirrels possess flexible joints in their ankles, allowing them to turn their feet 180 degrees so they can scale up and down trees with ease.

 

 

Common Gallinule

 

The Common Gallinule is a unique looking bird with it’s long toes (allowing it to walk on vegetation), red facial shield, and their “candy corn” looking beak.

 

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Common Gallinule

 

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Common Gallinule

 

As with other birds, the functionality of the facial shield appears to relate to protection of the Gallinule’s face while feeding in or moving through dense vegetation, as well as courtship display and territorial defense.

According to Hawaiian mythology, the Gallinule brought fire from the volcano gods to the Hawaiian people and its white forehead was scorched in the process.  The Common Gallinule’s Hawaiian name is “Alae Ula” which means “burnt forehead.”

 

 

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