Category Archives for // birds
March 3, 2017

King of the Ducks

Named by Alexander Wilson, Aythya valisineria, the species name is also the species name for the plant wild celery, a favored food item of Canvasbacks.  Canvasback, the name given to this duck because of its pale gray back and white sides with a wavelike pattern resembling canvas fabric.  A close look will show one of the males with mud on its face obtained from its foraging habit of diving in shallow waters for roots, tubers, and the basal parts of

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September 16, 2012

Zapata Bird Diary Day 4 and 5

Overnight rain clearing by dawn to leave a clear bright day with a moderate northerly wind.

The cooler weather seemed to produce some new arrivals despite the early part of the previous night being quite wet. I try to only list species that are probably migrants rather than every Scrub Jay I encounter. It’s also been pointed out to me that the birds I’ve been recording as Indigo Buntings (I’ve been picking these birds up on call) are almost certainly Lazuli,

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March 22, 2012

Mountain Bluebird

We’ve spent quite a bit of time over the past 2 weeks talking Sandhill Cranes. It starts each March with our Sandhill Crane Photo Trip, where we follow the cranes around the valley watching them interact, court, feed and roost. About 30,000 cranes come through the valley each year on their Spring migration, some headed as far as Antarctica!

Around the same time the cranes start arriving, the temperature gently slides up a degree or two, a few bulbs begin breaking

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March 7, 2011

Snow, Cranes and Bald Eagles

Every March the Sandhill Cranes migrate through the valley and have slowly been making their way in each day since the end of last week. I saw my first group relaxing in a field on the way into town and could see their tall, skinny, grey frames poking about and forgot how tall they were. At first you think you are looking at the front side of a huge coyote, but then you quickly see several hundred of these grey

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August 20, 2010


When most people think of a dove they think of the white dove, the dove of peace.

One of the most common dove species however is the mourning dove, also known as the turtle dove, which is all over the ranch right now. Every year around this time the dove begin to grow in numbers and feast on the sunflowers that dot the highways and prairies.

This year there are a lot of sunflowers and a lot of really fat dove as

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August 16, 2010

We’ve Been Birding!

This past week, I had the pleasure of going out birding for a day with local birder/naturalist extraordinaire John Rawinski and two of our guests, Frank and Sharon Sturgess. We spent all day traversing back roads, looking into trees and over bluffs for birds, and came away with quite a few spottings.

Frank and Sharon also spent a lot of time birding around the lodge and found the following just outside their room:

Yellow Warbler
Orange Crowned Warbler
Yellow Rump Warbler
Pine Siskin
White Breasted Nuthatch

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