Jonesing for a Bird Walk

While Katherine is recuperating from her ankle injury, I am trying stay close in case she needs anything: ice, more pillows to elevate her ankle, her iPad.

I’m also trying to keep the house running (laundry and other chores) as well as get in my daily workout (a real workout since we’ve seen that Bird Walks do not count!)

However, I was jonesing for a bird walk.

So, I did the next best thing. I took my camera out to the backyard and sat. I didn’t even have to sit very long before I saw activity. I’d seen a Bewick’s Wren perched on the roof of our house about a week ago.

The only other time I’d seen one had been in Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. I had heard a bird vocalizing. I thought at first it was a California Scrub Jay, but when finally located it, I found a much smaller bird.

Bewick’s Wren. Canon EOS 80D with TAMRON 100-400mm F/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD A035, handheld, 1/640 sec., f/6.3, ISO 160. Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, Felton, California

This was an exciting new bird identification for me. I would later learn that Bewick’s Wrens can imitate the sound of other birds. They are the Mockingbird of Wrens.

Now, I was seeing the Wrens visiting the honeysuckle in our yard. (The very same honeysuckle where a pair of Northern Mockingbirds had hatched two babies a couple of months ago. More on that in a future post.) They were flying too quickly in and out for me to get a picture.

I continued to sit and wait. I was rewarded for my patience when I saw two Wrens in the small Persimmon Tree near the back fence.

Bewick’s Wren feeding another. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with TAMRON SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 A022, handheld, 1/2000 sec., f/6.3, ISO 4000. Santa Cruz, California

Wow! This brought back memories of the Northern Mockingbirds!

I wanted to try to find the nest. As I walked below the honeysuckle arch, I looked carefully but only saw the old Mockingbird nest.

The backyard weight room is an ideal blind. I can stand in there and see the entire yard. I soon saw Wren activity in the Bottlebrush. I left the blind to see if I could get closer. I spotted a Wren sitting on a branch in the middle of the tree.

Bewick’s Wren in Bottlebrush. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with TAMRON SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 A022, handheld, 1/2000 sec., f/6.3, ISO 12800. Santa Cruz, California

According to Wikipedia, a juvenile Bewick’s Wren is similar looking to an adult. However, the beak is shorter and stockier and there may be faint speckling on its belly. Even not knowing that information, this looked like a juvenile to me. The juvenile Northern Mockingbirds, when they’d just fledged, exhibited this same behavior. Or, actually, lack of behavior. Sitting still on a branch, looking up, waiting for their next meal.

I tried to get a different, closer angle. Unfortunately, I did not watch where I put my feet. I crunch some dry leaves and this bird, or one of its siblings in the tree, sounded an alarm call. I quickly backed off to the weight room.

Luckily, the Persimmon Tree, apparently a popular feeding spot, was very close to the weight room. I was able to get several shots of the Wrens.

During all of this photographic activity, I kept telling myself that I was supposed to be doing my daily yoga workout. But the birds were so compelling. I finally took the card out of my camera and started the download to my computer so I could start my yoga.

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