Monday, August 22, 2016


These may be some of the last photos I take at my neighborhood park for a few months, since I'm moving to another county for graduate school.
Teeny lizard


Adolescent bluebird in the process of molting


The drying creek

Silkfloss tree containing the birdbox from
 which several young bluebirds fledged, including this one.

Western Tanager

Feral parrots; the one on the left was feeding its companion

Friday, July 22, 2016

The ages of bluebird

Almost-fledgelings in a tree cavity

Juvenile female molting into adult plumage

That patchy adolescent was hanging around with several younger juveniles, presumably from the parents' second brood. All of them were flitting around, calling to each other, and occasionally bickering with robins and with each other. I even saw the older sibling feeding one of them!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Bluebird nests

Today I went birdbox monitoring with Bob of the Southern California Bluebird Club, and many of the boxes were populated. The captions are my best estimate of the age of these young.

14 days

3 days

5 days-- look at this one gaping at the camera!

3 days

14 days

An unusually large clutch

One box, holding three nestlings probably a bit over a week old, was overrun with ants. This has happened before at the same location, but fortunately Bob has a method for dealing with infestations, which was successful in that case-- he keeps replacement birdboxes and old bluebird nests (generally ones abandoned before eggs were laid) on hand. There was also some monofilament fishing line in their nest. I moved the warm, fuzzy, rubbery, squirming babies one by one, making sure their bodies were free of ants, as they flapped their quilled wings and grasped my hand with their tiny talons.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Elder sibling

A bluebird perched near its nestbox with a beakful of bug, ready to feed hungry babies, is a common enough sight-- but this one is a youngster itself!

The juvenile-- presumably an older sibling of the nestlings-- made several attempts at getting into the box (it seemed to have difficulty keeping its grip on the wood below the hole), while the babies squeaked plaintively within. At last it got in, and emerged a moment later empty-beaked: