Pelican Tries to Eat an Octopus

March 24th, 2008

Spring just began last Thursday, but on Easter Sunday, it felt like Summer! It was over eighty degrees at the beach with almost no wind. Everyone was out and having a good time. So, this meant a parking headache. As much I hate the crowds, living by the beach can be a lot of fun. I saw a lot of great birds, but one incident with a pelican really stood out.

I stopped to admire a pelican that was standing on some rocks right below me. A few other families were also watching this bird. At first, I thought they were simply interested in the pelican. It was a beautiful bird. But, as I watched, I realized that the pelican had a large bulge in its neck.

Suddenly, the pelican rose up and regurgitated something! It almost escaped from its bill…

…but then the pelican snapped its bill shut, preventing the prey from escaping. I was finally able to get a good look at a tentacle. This looked like an octopus!

The pelican struggled to swallow the food, but each time it got stuck in its throat. It was simply too big to go down. As soon as the pelican lost its grip on the octopus, another pelican swooped in and scooped it up. I captured the action above just as the second pelican grabbed the octopus. The first pelican almost looks sad sitting on the rock above.

The second pelican flew to a nearby rock and tried to swallow the food it had stolen. Unfortunately, it had the same problem. I watched for another twenty minutes as the pelican tried to swallow the stolen goods unsuccessfully. It would force the octopus down its throat and then push its beak against its neck in an attempt to keep the food down. As time went on, other pelicans began to gather around, waiting until this bird gave up and they could have a chance at the octopus. If you look behind the bird flapping its wings in the picture above, you will see a daring seagull. It grew impatient and started to nip at the pelican. The pelican was not happy and gave it one bad look before the seagull went back to waiting patiently.

Videos, Jays, and Finches

March 12th, 2008

I decided to try capturing some videos with my BirdCam for the first time. I was very surprised by the results! I expected to see a ton of House Finches, and I did.

But, I was surprised to find a new visitor on film! I see them all the time in my backyard, but I have only seen one land on my bird feeder once. He quickly left. It seems they have rediscovered my feeder and are becoming more interested in what’s inside. Be patient — The bird arrives at the end of the video.

Western Scrub-Jay! Here, the Jay takes a little tour of my feeder.

Very fun! I will have to do some more videos in the future.

Broken Camera Card

March 8th, 2008

If you’ve ever wondered what a camera card looked like on the inside, take a look. Early this week, I was taking some shots of Finches in my yard. I went inside and excitedly pulled the card out to see what I had captured. But, as I slid my card out of my camera, it split in two. Sigh. :(

Now to see what I could recover! I smooshed the card back together and held it firmly as I stuck it into my computer. To my delight, it was reading the card! I was able to recover some of my pictures, but others would not copy.

The next task was to buy a new camera card. I procrastinated as I knew that camera cards were very expensive. But, when I found myself at an office supplies store on a completely unrelated errand, I knew I had to plunk down the change and buy a new card……I was shocked! The prices on camera cards have really come down since I last bought one. My new camera card has twice the capacity and cost 1/4 of what my last card did.

So, I haven’t had much of a chance to photograph anything in my yard this week. But, I did have all the left over pictures on my camera card that I was able to salvage. Here is a collection of pictures that have never made it past my camera card.

My cat likes to watch the birds as much as I do! :)
Finch action shot!
The Finches in my yard are getting pretty used to me. I was only about 1 1/2 yards away from these birds when I shot this.
Extra credit for anyone who can identify this bird. I saw it at the aquarium near us, but I couldn’t identify it. (Shouldn’t they have a sign?)

What’s at my hummingbird feeder?

March 1st, 2008

I’ve continued my search for some great hummingbird photos. This time I avoided flowers, and pointed by BirdCam directly at my hummingbird feeder. I got one great shot!

I was pretty happy with this picture! They are beautiful little birds to watch. But, this wasn’t the most extraordinary picture I took over the last couple of days. While my hummingbirds have been content to fly around my yard looking for flowers, a whole crew of other birds have been taking their place at my nectar feeder. The most common visitors over the last few days have been my House Finches. Yes, House Finches. At first, I thought they were just perching there. But then, I saw one drinking. The photos from my BirdCam confirmed this.

They already dominate all my seed feeders. I guess it was time for them to try something new! :) This next picture is really amazing. When I first saw it, I thought it was a male House Finch because its neck was bright red. But, after studying it and other pictures of the same bird, I realized that this was a female House Finch. The red glow is from this bird’s inside! The light from the sun illuminated this bird all the way through. If you look closely you can see blood vessels in the birds neck.

In addition to a ton of House Finches, my hummingbird feeder also had another visitor.

This warbler has become a frequent visitor at my hummingbird feeder.