Thursday, October 21, 2010

Nesting Season Shoshone Wetlands and Amargosa Canyon PRBO project

Bell's Vireo nest in Narrow Leaf Willow

     I would like to share some of my favorite photos from my Spring/Summer job. During the breeding season, I work for Chris Mccreedy of PRBO (Point Reyes Bird Observatory) Conservation Sciences.Chris hired me in 2009 to work as a nest searcher on his Amargosa Canyon Songbird Project. It is a life long dream come true for me to have a real bird research job.We find the territories of breeding birds, locate the nests, and monitor them by counting the eggs, babies, and recording our observations about their development. It is the worlds coolest ,hottest job. I have seen, heard , and learned so much I can hardly begin to describe it. so I will show you what I mean.

Common Yellowthroat (photo by my coworker Wade Maclroy)

A cool dragonfly in deep cover (Amargosa Canyon)

Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher

Black-Tailed Gnatcatcher

Crissal Thrasher chick and eggs

Yellow-Breasted Chat chicks
Black Tailed Gnatcatcher 7 days old ready for banding

Black Tailed Gnatcatcher chick 7 days old

Common Yellowthroat chicks

Bell's Vireo attempt  abandoned at 40 %

 Black Necked Stilt full clutch (4)

Blue Grosbeak chicks

Loggerhead Shrike chicks and an egg

Crissal Thrasher chick and eggs
Common Yellowthroat chicks

Bell's Vireo Incubating

Bell's Vireo incubating

Monday, October 11, 2010

Saturday was Let's Explore Wild Birds Day at Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, a short (50 min is short for around here) drive from Shoshone Village. This was one of the most fun days that I've ever had.Thanks to Alyson Mack of Ash Meadows for setting this cool day all up. The kids were so nice so polite,interested, curious, and fascinated that it made the day magical for everyone there.There were about 40 kids were between 3 and 16. The kids were from Death ValleySchools, Amargosa Schools, and Pahrump. Several families came with all their kids. There were eggs, nests, feathers, museum  bird skins,mist netting, (catching  and releasing wild birds for demonstration),and of course birding.Paul van Els from UNLV museum got a huge WOW from all the kids for catching showing Yellow Rumped Warblers , and a White Crowned Sparrow close up. Proper bird grip and release was taught to a few lucky participants who held then released a wild bird.

 The Red Rock Audubon Society had a really nice bird board and a table full of cool stuff to do and touch.
 The kids were very happy and excited to be able to carefully touch everything. They loved the Gambel's Quail eggs.Almost every kid picked up and examined everything on the tables including books!

 I know Paul had at least as much fun as I did.

Christina Manville and other volunteers  from Red Rock Audubon Society had a great day too.
 The guy in the back took a picture of every bird !
 Jesus loved the Barn Owl.

   Shoshone Village donated 6 field guides for prizes for the end of the day birding/scavenger hunt.Thanks to all the kids for giving the bird nerds such a fun day!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Prothonotary Warbler
I'm finding out that the best way to promote birding in this area is to find a rare bird, then report it!
So here are TWO! A Prothonotary Warbler arrived yesterday afternoon and allowed me one great photo.
Also a  Swainson's Thrush which is evidently very rare here in the fall, stopped and sampled the garden hose pond and a couple of other local yard sprinklers.

 Prothonotary Warbler is more of a Southeast USA bird. It's normal range has a westward limit in eastern Texas. The are considered a cypress swamp dweller . They usually  nest in old woodpecker cavities . Of all the North American Warblers, only Prothonotary and Lucy's Warbler( a Shoshone Wetlands breeder), nest in cavities.
Swainson's Thrush
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Phainopeplas are beginning to return in force.They are one of our earliest breeding birds. I would like to figure out if these are Shoshone birds that were born here and will stay and form territories, or are they migrants. There is much  still unknown about this species.
Phainopepla male

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Cooper's Hawks have been providing excellent photo ops and entertainment all around Shoshone Village. This one bathed and preened for half an hour , splashing then looking all around , then splashing some more.

The birds come over the mountains from all sides of Shoshone.

Greater White Fronted Goose (uncommon here)

Long Billed Dowitcher

Pectoral Sandpiper  (very uncommon here)clearly showing the BIB that ends abruptly at  mid chest

Pectoral Sandpipers