Birds of the Oaks

July 8, 2018 at 6:00 am (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, California Central Coast, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildlife)

Acorn woodpecker female

Since I live in the Central Coast area of California, there are lots of oak trees, mostly blue oak, and there are some very nice stands of large valley oaks as well. The acorn woodpecker is extremely populous here, since there’s a plethora of acorns. You can see how striking they are with their black-and-white plumage topped with a red cap, and white eyes.

Acorn woodpecker granary tree

I’ve always admired their granary trees, where they drill holes in the bark and fit the acorns into them as a way of storing them through the winter. They jealously guard these granary trees, and only allow members of their family group to partake.

Western bluebirds are also abundant, and undoubtedly many woodpecker cavities serve as their own homes.

Fledgling Western Bluebird

They hang out in the oaks and other trees bordering grassy areas, where they catch bugs.

Fledgling western bluebird and parent

There are several bluebird families at the Mission San Antonio de Padua.

Ash-throated flycatcher

The ash-throated flycatchers like those millstones, too.

Red-breasted sapsucker

The red-breasted sapsucker isn’t nearly as common as are the acorn woodpeckers.

Phainopepla male

Frankly, I don’t know if this is the phainopepla’s usual range, but I have seen them several times here. They are more common in the desert areas and feast on mistletoe berries. In that we have tons of oak mistletoe I’m surprised I don’t see more of these birds.

Ruby-crowned kinglet

The ruby-crowned kinglet seems to be all over the country!

Turkey vulture

The turkey vulture is also a ubiquitous bird.

Turkey vulture

This turkey vulture looks positively vulturish.

California scrub jay

The California scrub jay is also quite common in oak country.

Mockingbird

Here’s a real surprise for me. The song of the mockingbird is, for me, the Song of the South. I grew up in Louisiana and Texas hearing its melodious song, so seeing how common they are here messes with my mind. I’m so glad!

California quail male

You’ll notice there are a LOT of birds with “California” in their name. Not sure why, but it shows how special we are to lay claim to so many feathered dinosaurs.

California quail female

These birds, however, aren’t too loyal to their namesake state, because they spend the day calling out “Chi-ca-go” to each other.

Song Sparrow

Several sparrows are found here, but they aren’t among the most common birds.

Golden-crowned sparrow

The golden crown isn’t as gold in winter.

Savannah Sparrow

Yellow-billed magpie

Black-billed magpies are common in the West, but the yellow-billed is endemic to central California.

California towhee

The California towhee is in the sparrow family.

Spotted towhee

Its spotted cousin, however, is more handsome. This one is gathering pine needles for its nest.

Spotted towhee

Notice the red eyes.

Anna’s hummingbird male

Anna’s hummingbirds are found here year-round.

Bushtit

You never see just one bushtit.  They travel in small noisy flocks and rarely keep still long enough to take a photograph.

Hooded oriole juvenile male

The orioles leave for the tropics in winter.

Western kingbird

So do the western kingbirds.

Western kingbird

This one shows a little of the orange-red cap that normally stays hidden.

Jolon, California

I’ll end this with a winter landscape typical of the Central Coast.

Photos and text copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre

Feel free to reblog or share

Website:  CindyMcIntyre.com

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Contact:  cindy at cindymcintyre.com

 

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Camp Parks – Wildlife Oasis, part 4

June 19, 2018 at 6:00 am (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, California Central Coast, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildlife) ()

Great egret with mouse

This great egret finds the grasslands of the Parks Reserve Forces Training Center, aka Camp Parks, to be an excellent hunting ground. Its bill was already quite bloodied before it caught the mouse. Read the rest of this entry »

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Oak Landscapes of Jolon and Lockwood

June 16, 2018 at 5:13 pm (California, California Central Coast, Nature, Nature photography, Photography)

Jolon-Lockwood, Central Coast, California landscapes

I live and work in some of the most beautiful landscapes in California. Sometimes I take a drive through the country roads of Jolon and Lockwood to admire the scenery. Read the rest of this entry »

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Camp Parks – A Wildlife Oasis in Bay Area – part 1

June 16, 2018 at 9:52 am (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, California Central Coast, Nature, Nature photography, Photography) ()

Female northern harrier

An Army Reserve training installation in the San Francisco Bay area is small, but when it comes to wildlife, it is a powerhouse. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tule Elk Herd

April 16, 2018 at 5:00 am (California, California Central Coast, Nature, Nature photography, Wildlife) (, )

A herd of tule elk grazed peacefully in a field along Mission Road, Fort Hunter Liggett, California on Saturday, back-dropped by blue and valley oak. Tule elk are the smallest of the three elk sub-species found in California. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Other Side of Big Sur

April 14, 2018 at 6:00 am (California, California Central Coast, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildflowers)

Along the San Antonio River

The landscape just the other side of the Santa Lucia Range from Big Sur is a lovely mix of blue and valley oaks, cottonwood and willows, and grassy fields.

The foothills pines provide a gray-green backdrop to the new leaves of the oaks, and the foreground is often colored with the previous year’s dried-up yellow-star thistle, a noxious invasive that resists control. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pinnacles National Park – West Side

April 8, 2018 at 10:32 am (California, National Parks, Nature, Nature photography, Photography)

Pinnacles NP west side, CA (27) copy

My first visit to Pinnacles National Park was about three years ago when I lived in Apple Valley, Calif. I stopped there again on my way to San Francisco a few weeks ago.

Road to Pinnacles NP West side, CA (1) copy

One of my favorite views is on the narrow, winding road from the Salinas Valley to the park’s west entrance, with this particular oak tree leafing out in spring. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Pretty Cool Day

March 17, 2018 at 4:51 pm (California, California Central Coast, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildlife) (, , )

Rainbow and blue oak, Fort Hunter Liggett, California

I missed the bus yesterday morning. Actually there was a new driver and he wasn’t at my stop at the right time. So I drove 50 miles to work.

I’m glad I did because as soon as I got to Fort Hunter Liggett, California, the rainbows happened. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Most Stunning View Ever!

February 6, 2018 at 8:00 am (California, California Central Coast, Nature, Nature photography) (, , , , )

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Hollister Peak at sunset is viewed from a remarkable pullout on California’s State Route 46 between Paso Robles and U. S. Highway 1 (the Pacific Coast Highway).

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From the same vantage point is Morro Rock. Both are part of the Seven Sisters (some say it’s Nine Sisters) – remnants of ancient volcanoes in San Luis Obispo County. Read the rest of this entry »

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Monarch Grove, Pismo Beach

February 5, 2018 at 8:00 am (Butterflies, California, California Central Coast, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Video) (, , , , )

 

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Most of us will never make it to the wintering site of millions of monarch butterflies in Mexico, but smaller groves of migrating monarchs make their winter stopover in several places on the California Coast. Read the rest of this entry »

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