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Melierax

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Based on a recent post by @corgi, I'm starting this thread for people who simply want to share a photo and a story, and not be ignored, as what happens often to new posts. I tend to find myself not knowing where to post something simply because there isn't a thread for it, so here we are! Share a story, with a photo or video if you have one!

I'll start:

So here's something pretty cool... my family owns a cabin up in central Idaho, and there lives a ton of foxes! Last winter we had at least 8 on the lot at one time, including silver red foxes and normal red foxes. Photos of them:

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They can be super goofy at times too!

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Well, it was only a matter of time... and a strong mom decided to make a den on the line between us and our neighbor's. She successfully raised 4 pups one year, and 2 the next! She even had an issue with her eye at one time, we still don't know if she's blind in that eye or not...

Looking bad:

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Recovered:

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The pups are the perfect puppy-kitten cross for those who can't decide which they like better!

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2 hours ago, Melierax said:

Anybody else???

Two pairs of Eastern Phoebes have nested on our house for three and four years now. Two years ago one lost a mate and successfully raised four chicks! (They had just hatched.)  One of them is very friendly and will come up on our patio with us up there and watch us.

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Edited by Kevin
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Neat idea Mel! Here's one... was out for a couple of hours today and it was getting late/losing light. I took a shortcut through the woods going back to my truck (had given up on any more birds photos) and ran into this group:

Young buck
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The Doe
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and the big guy stepped into light
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It was (any day is) a good day to be out! :classic_smile:

Edited by G_kayaker
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Well I don't have photos but I DO have a good story!  So where I grew up we had an old pole dairy barn (I mean cedar poles cut when the place was logged cirra 1900) Anyhow we kept a few cows and hence a few dozen tons of hay in that old barn ... a big hay pile seemed an inviting place for young boys to throw down a sleeping bag ... the barn also was a favorite place for a barn owl to sleep. All slept in happy harmony for many a night and we enjoyed the glimpses we got of the shadowy visitor ... until one night while I was fast asleep he came in to roost and LITERALLY gave me an earful !!! ...  of fresh white sticky stuff plastered all over the whole side of my face! 😝  

Needless to say I was suddenly very much awake and destined for a midnight shower  😂

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My family (me included) got to go to Virginia a couple months ago to visit our grandparents. They had seen an otter a few months before in the river that ran by their cabin.

I got up and went down to the river every morning (I was nuts about seeing those otters) and finally, my patience paid off. One morning, TWO otters swam into sight!!!

Unfortunately, the lighting was VERY bad, so this was the best shot I got.:classic_sad:DSCN0196.thumb.JPG.d30a6e40c5e1ef8927c3a4b0b83ef196.JPG

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Pulled quote from my blog

Quote

As I moved down O DR N checking for Snow Buntings I had a thought "If I ever find a Northern Shrike, it will probably be up here".  Here being at the East end of O DR N where it runs into 23 Mile Road.  This is one of my favorite spots, that isn't a hot spot.  It is my go to spot for Bobolinks, and was a huge spot for the Dickcissel irruption last year, Grasshopper Sparrows, and Eastern Meadowlarks.  I also expect to get Upland Sandpiper in this area, when I finally get one.  It is a hayfield on the North, scrubby brush-land dotted with small trees and bushes to the South, and on the East of 23 Mile road a large cow pasture with multiple smaller trees and a small cattle pond.  As I get within 100 yards of 23 Mile Road I see a bird take off from one of the small trees along the south side.  It looked like a Blue Jay, but didn't fly the same.  I turned South onto 23 Mile Road where it looked like the bird flew.  I located the bird at the top of one of the large trees in the cow pasture.  Put my binoculars on it, and was not expecting to see a bird with the black mask.  Finally my lifer Northern Shrike!!!  
This is a bird I expected to pick up a while ago, but just was never lucky enough to run across one.  It is a code 2, and ranked 195 through 2017 data.  This bird was without a doubt my most "Birding Mojo" bird ever.  I literally "willed" the bird into existence, at this spot <muwahahahahaaaaa>.  Really wish I could have gotten better pictures of it at the time.  

 

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Posted (edited)

Those of you from California, or who have birded extensively in California, will likely have heard of or birded at Mines Road. Anyway, I work in the Livermore area, and spend a lot of time birding various portions of Mines Road. Among the best spots at Mines Road is "the Corral", an area where Lawrence's Goldfinches tinkle overhead while Yellow-breasted Chats and Wilson's Warblers skulk in the willows, set to the constant soundtrack of hysterical Killdeers. 

But among the most interesting avian residents at "the Corral" are those best sought under the cover of darkness - the Owls. The variety is impressive - Great Horned and Western Screech Owls are reliable, Northern Saw-Whet and Northern Pygmy-Owls can be found with a little more effort, and a very few Long-eared Owls also inhabit the area.

And so I have spent several nights deep up Mines Road, looking (or, more realistically, listening) for owls. Even though Mines Road is in Alameda and Santa Clara counties, technically the Bay Area, it can feel very remote, especially late on a cool winter night. 20 miles up a windy canyon road (with no center line much of the way) from the outskirts of Livermore, alone beneath an endless canvas of stars which frames the slender spires of gray pine and the broad, gnarled canopies of blue oaks, it is not hard to imagine you are deep in some uncharted wilderness, some virgin mountain range beyond the edge of the known earth.

 One such night, a chilly, clear January night, I stood listening to a Western Screech-Owl at "the Corral". The canyon was quiet that night, peaceful. I felt myself gradually lulled into a tranquil, peaceful state by the pastoral land around me. But then - something felt wrong. The hair on the back of my neck stood up. Was someone - something - watching me? I looked around, and in a field to my left, perhaps 30 yards away, I saw a shadow. That's all it was at first - a dark shadow, moving slowly, smoothly towards me. Something felt really WRONG, disturbingly so. I started walking toward my car, not turning my body away from the shadow. The shadow continued to move closer. It was large, but low to the ground, moving very smoothly, almost gliding towards me, making no sound whatsoever. I kept walking to my car, too afraid to turn and run. As I drew closer to the car, the shadow came closer to me, until it was perhaps only 20 or 30 feet away. Just as the terror reached its peak, my hand wrapped around the handle on my car's door, and I slid inside, safe. Immediately, I jammed the key into the ignition, stepped on the brake, and turned the car on - and there, illuminated in my brake lights, crossing the road a mere 20 feet or so behind my car, was a Mountain Lion. I jammed the car into gear and drove about 10 miles before stopping, never looking back. 

 

Edited by AlexHenry
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5 hours ago, AlexHenry said:

@Connor Cochrane you ever bird Mines Road? Since you're from the Bay Area, thought you might find this story interesting ^

I have birded Mines road a few times, but never went owling there. I’ve seen a Mountain Lion before, but I’ve heard them. I live near the top of one of the larger hills in my county, and at night, you can sometimes hear their screams from the house. Our neighbors have seen them around.

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Posted (edited)

One night in February last year I had just finished feeding our farm animals and I was walking back to the house when I noticed a short, round figure standing on the ground.  It was dark and rainy, but with the help of the porch lights and my flashlight I figured out it was our neighborhood Barred Owl.  I was afraid I had frightened it by shining my flashlight in its face, but what happened next blew my mind.  It took off in my direction, flew almost silently right by my head, and landed on a low tree branch just out of arm's reach.  It wasn't scared of me at all!  I quietly said hello, and the wet owl turned its head 120 degrees and looked straight at me.  I could barely see its large, round eyes, but I imagined it could see me as clearly as in the daytime.  It then calmly looked down toward the ground for rodents in the snow, so I did the same.  The Barred Owl and I spent just a few minutes together under the tree before I said good-bye and slowly walked to the back door to leave it to hunt on its own.

That owl landed next to us several times that winter, but that was the closest it had come.  I miss having it around!  A couple photos of the friendly owl are on our Flickr page. https://www.flickr.com/photos/birdnuts/

Edited by The Bird Nuts
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7 hours ago, AlexHenry said:

and there, illuminated in my brake lights, crossing the road a mere 20 feet or so behind my car, was a Mountain Lion. I jammed the car into gear and drove about 10 miles before stopping, never looking back. 

 

My dad solo hikes a ton in Colorado. He has seen a Mountain Lion once. He said while it was really cool, it is not an experience he wants to repeat!

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This is about my ongoing relationship with a Red-winged Blackbird.

Every time he sees me he flies over to land on the rail and then marches towards me until he is as close as possible, touching distance.

He then switches to an extended staring contest (he is that close you can see me and the setting in his eye in the last photo).

I have not see him do this with anyone else (it may be the camera he doesn't like), in fact people will stop to watch him in action.

PS. I know his nest is nearby (quite often the nests are within a few feet of the boardwalk) but this is a relatively narrow boardwalk with a lot of traffic so he is very used to people.

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