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Singing . . .

22 Aug

White-crowned Sparrow

There were about a million wonderful moments on our 5-week camping trip.  Cataloging each one would be nearly impossible, but I will try to share as many as I can.  This White-crowned Sparrow sang beautifully to us at the beach in Oregon.


Walk This Way, pt. 2

29 Sep

Sometimes a good thing never gets old . . .

and watching long-leggedy birds walk is one of those things.  (See the original post here.)




Taken in Davenport on Cement Plant Road.

For more beautiful birds strutting their stuff, visit Bird Photography Weekly.

I and the Bird #107 – We and the Bird

19 Aug

We and the Bird

by the contributers to I and the Bird #107

A data point in the study of the fate of birds
There were blue-wings aplenty in their usual haunt and a pair of kamikaze wood ducks that had me stamping on the anchors
These hornbills are capable of storing a large amount of fruits in their gular pouch.
Her frame is gangly, adorned with a mixture of adult plumages in different states of development
like two rival gangs feel each other out, replete with posturing and machismo
thirsty raven gathering rocks and dropping them into an urn
Add to this, pink legs and feet, and you have the details that make up the unique and subtle beauty of Ovenbirds
and before you is the incessant cacophony of hundreds of terns, cormorants and gulls crowding little islands of concrete and gravel
Other than the gulls, everything was a little twitchy
by plunging it’s bill deep in the sand, and spitting out the water when he withdrew it
splashing about as their friends look on, or even join in the fun
with a torch with yellow light, the male appears tawnier and therefore very much like a typical female
Swans are mean mothers aren’t they?
one of those head scratching, mind boggling reports that makes you glad to be a birder,

for abandoning that warm sleeping bag to brave the frost as the predawn glow begins
as it ripped at the flesh, a variety of birds came by and perched on the same dead treetop
Spoonbill foraging is dependent on fluctuating water depths
here a Wilson’s Storm Petrel does their characteristic foot pattering across the surface
I also saw a green heron fly by a few times but never got a shot of it.


I am deep in the midst of preparing for the start of a new school year.  One of my favorite things to teach my 4th graders is poetry.  We do a group poetry exercise after a field trip.  So, I thought I’d get warmed up with all of you.  I scoured the posts submitted for poetic lines.  I included them in the order they were submitted and I kind of like the results.  Dang!  We’re good!

Contributors to the “We and the Bird”:

Start getting ready for I and the Bird, #108.  It’s being hosted by The Zen Birdfeeder.

Sky Watch: Elkhorn Slough

18 Mar

When the sun comes out after a foggy day . . . it is more brilliant, more dazzling.

Sky Watch

For more clearing skies, Visit SkyWatch®!

And don’t miss the latest I and the Bird!

A Gull doing Gully things

17 Mar

Something about this gull made me think of Ravens.  When Ravens approach a piece of food on the ground, they will touch it and jump before grabbing it up and eating it.  Often they’ll do it a couple of times before they accept that it’s okay and fly off with it.

This gull was swimming at Whistlestop Lagoon hunting.  I think he was hunting for crabs but I’m not sure.  I didn’t get the whole sequence on camera but did get some of it.  He would see something he liked and launch himself up into the air.  Well, the rest you can see.  I want to emphasize that this gull was swimming mere moments before I took this shot.  He achieved that position from the water.  It was wacky, I tell you!  Wacky!






I love this last shot as he looks for all the world as if he’s saying, “What?  What are you looking at?  I’m just swimming here.”

When I took this series, I didn’t see him get anything.  However, the first time I saw him do it, he came up with something yummy . . . very red in color.  He ate it right down though so I’m not sure it was a crab.   He did this behavior 3 or 4 times before flying off.  It was very cool.

California Gull
And, no, this isn’t the same gull, although I suppose it might be, who could tell. But, it seemed a nice way to end the story.  Good-bye Gull.  Thanks for sharing your odd behavior with me.

Still missing my birds

9 Dec

I am still missing my birds.  They are still shunning me.  They seemed to like the peanuts.  Maybe it’s time to bring it back.


Chestnut-back Chickadees are are our local chickadees.  They are very sweet, brazen birds.  They love to hang out while I’m gardening and chirp in irritation when we go in and out of the door.  And, yet, they are staying away in droves.


Chestnut-backed Chickadees are the smallest Chickadee.  They don’t have a whistled song but they do have a lovely scratchy “chick-a-dee-dee-dee” song.  Their most notable feature is their pretty brown backs, which is, of course, where they got their name.

For more amazing bird photos, check out Bird Photography Weekly #15 hosted by our friends at

What do I have to do?

23 Nov

I have a confession to make.  During the late summer and early fall, I was a baaaaaaaad bird feeder.  I let my feeders go emtpy for a few months.  My feeders were barren and my birds abandoned me.  I won’t make excuses but once my life was a bit less hectic, my feeders were thoroughly cleaned and refilled.  My hummingbird feeders are filled with delicious hummer juice.  Most of my feeders were filled with black sunflower seeds.  I filled a big thistle seed feeder as well.  All was ready.  I hoped to be forgiven forthwith.

Many might think that hummingbirds are somewhat arrogant and stand-offish.  Mine certainly seem to have attitude.  However, they are most forgiving birds.  Given that they stay here year round in my neighborhood, I’m sure they are glad to have a ready source of food.

Anna's Hummingbird

I would have thought my Chestnut-backed Chickadees were a most forgiving bird. But, they are not. Perhaps this season of harvest is too good to the Chickadees. There are too many seeds and berries for them to be tempted by my feeders. Still, they have been my most consistent visitors in all the years that I have been feeding birds. They are often joined by Pygmy Nuthatches, Dark-eyed Juncos, California Towhees, and the like.

Active Feeder

But, I am currently shunned by my birds.  Only my Anna’s Hummingbirds come to visit.  I am bereft and left wondering what do I have to do.

Will it take Suet Dough?  Sunflower chips?  A fancy new bird bath? Peanuts?  I’ll do whatever it takes. I just can’t take these empty feeders.


Enjoy I and the Bird #89, hosted by the Bird Ecology Study Group!

Sky Watch Friday – a break in the clouds

13 Nov

Sky Watch

Sun sheened clouds at Dawn
Clouds part briefly, offer hope
The storm is passing

© 2008, Liza Lee Miller.  All Rights Reserved.

For a break in your Friday, visit Sky Watch Friday!
And, if you need something to fill the sky you are watching, check out I and the Bird!

Skywatch at the pumpkin farm

30 Oct

Pumpkins 2008

Along the coast
Fog hugs the shore in a wet blanket
Everything grows in the rich soil
Moistened by the air, cool but not too cool
And pelicans fly over the artichoke fields

©2008, Liza Lee Miller

Extreme Close-Up
(Extreme close-up)

For more skies, foggy or otherwise, visit Sky Watch.

After visiting some skies, make sure you stop by I and the Bird #87.
Birds and skies go hand-in-hand, don’t you think?

Don’t miss iatb!

4 Sep

The amazing Wren at Wrenaissance Reflections is hosting. [click]  I wish I had time to look at it today . . . gonna have to wait for the weekend.  Tonight is Back-to-School night.  Oh joy!  It’s supposed to be well over 90F which means we’ll all be sweating.  Oh well, that’s a good thing . . . they won’t linger then and I can get to at least one of *my* kids’ classrooms!  🙂

Black-Crowned Night-Heron