Returning to the house, I find the violet-green swallow flock that had been present in the lower orchard earlier in the summer, had returned - they had completely disappeared for probably the last four weeks or so.
Must be the same flock, because there was also one barn swallow pair with them before -
Elsewhere on the property - rare daytime sighting, the sonoma county gray fox - cutting through the back orchard behind the house - mostly have seen these at night or early evening, when the light hasn't been good for a photograph.
BACK AT THE LAGUNA - Great egret on oak tree top next to the waterway.
Wasn't having much luck, until a flock of chestnut-backed chickadees came through, and with them were many other small birds - comfort in numbers.
The park follows a natural waterway through a collection of oak woodlands, riparian forests, and open grasslands. The presence of the water way adds to the great diversity of birds...
While crossing the seasonal bridge in the park, I noticed a large bird hunkered down in the heavy canopy of a big tree overlooking the water. I took a few chance photos, and when I got back home I saw that it was a Black-crowned Night Heron!
One wonders how nature is going to proceed...and yet it does just proceed...
Another walk through the Laguna, distant photo of snowy egret, but look at this bird's feet - wow!
In a tall tree not directly accessible by the trails, so my access was limited, sat a white-tailed kite. Wished I could have gotten closer -
Later, it or another one was hovering in flight as they do while hunting, and you can see the pure natural gracefulness of these birds...
Hopefully as I continue to explore the Laguna with my camera, I can get some closer photos...
Back on the Cherryridge property, Acorn woodpeckers still sorting and re-arranging their acorns...
This acorn woodpecker dug up one acorn, and jumped with it to another tree, where he began to rebury it in the bark.
I recently read that the drought is affecting the oak trees, and they are dropping their acorns early, and has forced the poison oak into its deep fall colors while still only August, and the blackberries are dried up on the bushes, all of which I have observed on the property.
Anna's hummer at the farm has lots of flowers to choose from in their garden.
With two or three almost rainy days here, and now the workers are in the orchards collecting apples, birding on the property has been rather limited. Have been meaning to take my camera down to the Laguna de Santa Rosa, accessible in Sebastopol, which is known for it diversity of birds, and recently got a short bird walk in -
There were lots of Wilson's warblers, however, just managed this one halfway decent photo (above); while I was standing under a large oak tree, a Cooper's hawk circled overhead (below):
The park provided great cover and food for numerous goldfinches - often I would almost walk right past them, since they blended in so well among the grasses and shrubs.
There seemed to be quite a few Anna's hummingbirds in the park (above); as well as towhees, this could be a juvenile spotted towhee (below).
Backyard report - just a few photos of some of the usual suspects in the cherryridge back yard -
This chickadee photo really illustrates why this bird is called the "chestnut-backed" chickadee (above).
Just saw this young pygmy nuthatch, which is mostly feeding itself by now, revert to its juvenile stance with one of the adults in the flock.
Below, one of the young nuthatches just went all around the hanging water bowl getting its tail feathers wet - might be its idea of a bath - or the water even in these small bowls is too deep for them.
These goldfinch in a neighbor's sunflower plants, in the early evening light, make them seem placed in an extraterrestrial landscape...
There was an adult with two juveniles, who would feed themselves for awhile, and then run over and pester the adult for food
Walking into the orchard, flushed a small flock of quail...
Black Phoebe with juvenile markings on wings - probably from the nest seen in previous blog, at the beginning of the summer months...
Mid-August weather has a feel of early fall, perhaps stirring these small birds to begin seed gathering and filling up on high energy suet...
Where there are pygmy nuthatches, there are chickadees, as these small birds often group together
Oak titmouse was shooting in among the nuthatches to grab sunflower seeds.
These small birds unlike finches, cannot crack these seeds with their beaks, and must hold the seed on a strong branch between their feet and chip it open (chickadees, too)
Their tree-climbing claws curl up and overlap when they sit on thin branches...almost like small woodpecker feet...
The acorn woodpeckers are supposed to be digging holes to save acorns in for the winter, but this one dug around and pulled out a large acorn, and flew off with it!
This acorn woodpecker stayed on the pole and seemed to find something and then dropped it, maybe an acorn.
Anna's hummer at the front porch fluffs up and flashes red when another hummer approaches the feeder
In the old orchard, found the group of juvenile turkeys looking larger and more adult like, still accompanied by a few mature turkey hens.
For the goldfinches, thistle seed is still what's on the menu!
Apples are large and dropping everywhere, in the areas left with trees in the orchard
Hooded oriole making a racket in one of the large oak trees between the farm and the old orchard.
Jumping around, too, so my apologies photos are not better.
When I went to step under the tree to see if I could get a better angle, a hawk shot out of the tree - so that's why the oriole was making all the fuss! Looked like the cooper's hawk, but it was moving too fast for me!
Thought I had discovered a new bird, but realized it must be a juvenile, it was making noises I hadn't heard before from these birds, and seemed to be chasing another downy, possibly the adult, indicating juvenile behavior, as in still needing the adult to feed it.
As I came around the corner into the old orchard, I flushed the red-tailed hawk from its high perch in the eucalyptus grove.
The red-tail zoomed around to make one screeching pass over me, after leaping from its perch.
Quail action shot (above). This female quail jumped up in a big stretch; it was out on a evening stroll with its mate and some of the remaining juvenile chicks, who are getting to be almost full size.
Little male downy inspects all the boards again that have been placed under the trees to hold up the heavy apple tree branches full of apples, in the back orchard.
All the nuthatches are gathering seeds to hide in the tree branches for the winter.
BOBCAT! We almost bumped into each other - he was so well camouflaged, and I was walking in a part of the orchard where no one ever walks, so he could never expect to meet up with a human or other such critter most likely.
I had been working my way towards this little back area, where farmland ends and a small isolated woodland exists...here there were some lesser goldfinches eating wild thistle seeds as well as other grass seeds...
After that, this small bushtit flock flew with me as I walked back to the house, just coincidentally.
Below, this bushtit looks like it is using one of its feet like a hand, to hold a seed pod. Not sure how this bird is actually supporting itself in this photo except for hanging from the seed pod or poison oak berry by one leg.
Noticing a bird commotion, I found six fledgling bluebirds "parked" 3 on each side of a large farm truck. The parents seemed flustered, and the youngsters seemed pretty hungry. These could be our young birds from the nest box, since definitely the box is empty and there has been no activity there.
Walking through the orchard where it borders some private gardens, this Anna's hummer posed for me on a wire fence (below); also came upon some goldfinch feeding on some small black round berries.
While photographing the swallows, my friend the red-tailed hawk took a left turn from first starting to land in one of its favorite perches overlooking the old orchard, to
come shooting over to my location and give me the old once-over.