Live action at the Vulturama drama

Back Yard Biology

A short (1 min) video captured the interaction of Griffon and Cinereous Vultures coming to bait left for them at a private hide near Monfragüe National Park in the Extremadura region of Spain. White Storks also tried to capitalize on the feast, with little success. Previous visitors to the hide a couple of weeks ago had to wait three hours for the vultures to arrive, but they were already camped in the trees overlooking the “feasting” area, and came to the bait within a minute.

This is a large file, so it might take a while to load, especially if your internet is running slowly. Hover your mouse (PC) or touch the screen (i device) to access the menu in the bottom right corner where you can zoom to full screen (right-most icon), view in 1080p resolution, or slow down the action (left-most item indicated by 1X). The noises you…

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Up close!

Today I saw..

Back Yard Biology

While strolling around Batiquitos lagoon today, we found a very brave little hummingbird that perched for several minutes and allowed us to walk within about 10 feet to take a few photos.

Allen’s Hummingbirds are one of the smallest hummers, weighing in at just 3 grams —thats 1/4 of a McDonalds’ ketchup package.

There are two look-alike hummingbird species who might be found together during spring migration in Southern California, — Allen’s and Rufous. In fact, they look so much alike, you need to compare their tail feathers to positively identify them. The ID is slightly easier at this time of year because the Rufous hummers are down in Central America enjoying a tropical winter vacation, while resident Allen’s hummers frequent the coastal chaparral of the California southland.

Allen’s Hummingbird showing his narrow, pointed outer tail feathers, one of the key characteristics that distinguishes it from the look-alike Rufous hummer.

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Down by the bay

Today I’m living vicariously through Sue and her blog.

Back Yard Biology

A quick trip to the marshy shoreline of Alameda Island in San Francisco Bay yesterday evening gave us an impressive view of hundreds of busy shorebirds feasting on mud-dwelling critters.

And the skyline of San Francisco across the bay from the island…

And a lovely sunset with little shorebirds still foraging for last crumbs from the mud.

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