Although we divide time into nice equal parts like the seasons where June 21 is the first day of summer.  We also know that birds breed in spring.  Well its not that simple.  We still have juvenile birds mostly Finches, Black-headed Grosbeaks, and Pygmy Nuthatches at my home in the Santa Cruz Mountains in mid July.  The migrants that breed in Santa Cruz start to arrive in early Feb with the Allen's Hummingbird.  Next are the Black-headed Grosbeaks in mid Mar or our spring.  By Apr the territories are set and nests are being built.

My work territory is in Fremont (CA) in a mixed use area of light Industrial, outdoor Mall, Wetland Preserve along the Auto Mall Parkway.  When I started working in the area I thought it would not be conducive to birding, but behind the built up part there are a pair of man made filtering ponds.  I have seen 159 species since I started working in this area 5 years ago.  I have seen Bald and Golden Eagle, Ferruginous Hawk, Tropical Kingbird but one of my favorites is the Loggerhead Shrike.  I've been watching a pair successfully bring up young over the last 3 years.  This year, when I was out on one of my lunch runs, I came upon 2 recently fledged young shrike.  Later that day, I returned to the area I saw them earlier and was rewarded with a close encounter.  The nice thing about young birds is that they have not yet learned the flight response.  This shrike let me approach, although slowly, to within 15 feet.  Notice the brown wing-bar also the bill is not fully developed with yellow still at the base and the light black across the eye where in the adults both would be dark black.

Featured Photo 25: Loggerhead Shrike, juvenile (Lanius ludovicianus) EQ: D7100 70-200mm f/4    Taken: 6-15-15 15:09 Clear Setting: 155mm (232mm @35mm), 1/800s, f/5.6, ISO160    

Featured Photo 25: Loggerhead Shrike, juvenile (Lanius ludovicianus)

EQ: D7100 70-200mm f/4    Taken: 6-15-15 15:09 Clear

Setting: 155mm (232mm @35mm), 1/800s, f/5.6, ISO160    

I have been having good luck with finding Western Bluebirds this year and on a Santa Cruz Bird Club trip to Moore Creek Preserve in Santa Cruz County (CA) we observed a family of 2 adults and 3 juveniles flycatching in the fields. They moved ahead of us as we got close leading the way up the hill.

Loggerhead Shrike, juvenile (Lanius ludovicianus) EQ: D7100 70-200mm f/4    Taken: 6-15-15 15:09 Clear Setting: 160mm (240mm @35mm), 1/800s, f/5.6, ISO160

Loggerhead Shrike, juvenile (Lanius ludovicianus)

EQ: D7100 70-200mm f/4    Taken: 6-15-15 15:09 Clear

Setting: 160mm (240mm @35mm), 1/800s, f/5.6, ISO160

Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana) EQ: D7200 300mm f/2.8    Taken: 7-3-15 9:35 Foggy Setting: 450mm (@35mm), 1/1600s, f/4.5, ISO500

Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana)

EQ: D7200 300mm f/2.8    Taken: 7-3-15 9:35 Foggy

Setting: 450mm (@35mm), 1/1600s, f/4.5, ISO500

Around my home, June and July is the peak young season.  This year I was able to photograph a juvenile Purple Finch, which was a little unusual.  Our full time resident Pygmy Nuthatches, Chestnut-back Chickadees, and California Quail were all very successful, especially the Quail that seem to be in recovery after their decline over the last few year from the domestic cats in the area. 

Purple Finch, juvenile (Carpodacus purpureus) EQ: D800 300mm f/2.8    Taken: 6-23-15 17:40 Sunny in Shade Setting: 450mm (@35mm), 1/640s, f/2.8, ISO400

Purple Finch, juvenile (Carpodacus purpureus)

EQ: D800 300mm f/2.8    Taken: 6-23-15 17:40 Sunny in Shade

Setting: 450mm (@35mm), 1/640s, f/2.8, ISO400

Pygmy Nuthatch (Sitta pygmaea) EQ: D7200 300mm f/2.8    Taken: 7-2-15 13:07 Sunny in Shade Setting: 450mm (@35mm), 1/1000s, f/3.5, ISO640

Pygmy Nuthatch (Sitta pygmaea)

EQ: D7200 300mm f/2.8    Taken: 7-2-15 13:07 Sunny in Shade

Setting: 450mm (@35mm), 1/1000s, f/3.5, ISO640

Chestnut-backed Chickadee (Poecile rufescens) EQ: D800 300mm f/2.8    Taken: 6-23-15 17:17 Sunny in Shade Setting: 450mm (@35mm), 1/500s, f/2.8, ISO400

Chestnut-backed Chickadee (Poecile rufescens)

EQ: D800 300mm f/2.8    Taken: 6-23-15 17:17 Sunny in Shade

Setting: 450mm (@35mm), 1/500s, f/2.8, ISO400

California Quail (Callipepla californica) EQ: D7200 300mm f/2.8    Taken: 7-5-15 7:44 Sunny Shade Setting: 450mm (@35mm), 1/500s, f/2.8, ISO1000

California Quail (Callipepla californica)

EQ: D7200 300mm f/2.8    Taken: 7-5-15 7:44 Sunny Shade

Setting: 450mm (@35mm), 1/500s, f/2.8, ISO1000

Spring is here with the arrival of the Black-headed Grosbeak and Fall is approaching as they start their migration to Mexico.  First the adults leave in late July and the immatures stay until late Aug early Sep when they leave too. We did have one winter over for 2 years in a row a few years ago, but that is considered rare for the county. But for now: This is the season of the newbies.

Black-headed Grosbeak, immature (Pheucticus melanocephalus) EQ: D800 300mm f/2.8    Taken: 5-17-15 15:38 Sunny in Shade Setting: 300mm, 1/1000s, f/5.6, ISO640

Black-headed Grosbeak, immature (Pheucticus melanocephalus)

EQ: D800 300mm f/2.8    Taken: 5-17-15 15:38 Sunny in Shade

Setting: 300mm, 1/1000s, f/5.6, ISO640

Your comments are welcomed and if you have any questions about the photo or any other questions leave me a message.

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