Friday, January 29, 2016

Jackrabbit on the Run!

This large Jackrabbit, Lepus californicus, was entertaining a wonderful couple who were nice enough to point him out to me, prior to him bounding off into the bushes.  As opposed to those cute little cottontails, jackrabbits are quite large, super fast when on the run, and are actually in a different genus.  Here, at the Tijuana Estuarine Reserve, they have desert cottontails, Sylvilagus audobonii, also known as Audubon's cottontail.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Female American Kestrel Falco sparverius

Female American Kestrel, Falco sparverius, at the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve, resting on barbed wire while scanning the grass below for grasshoppers, lizards and other small prey.  It always amazes me how birds leisurely lounge on  barbed wire without ever apparently getting poked.  I've even seen birds on Chollas cactus (for example, the cactus wren), which is no small feat.

Broad-Winged Hawk

A Broad-Winged Hawk, Buteo platypterus, hunting for rabbits, mice, lizards and other small prey at the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve.  This particular, rather large hawk appears to be staring directly at me, or perhaps my small dog which was walking with us, deciding if we were an appropriate meal.  With some relief, I note that it decided that we were not.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Huge Flock of Wintering Willets

A huge flock of Willets (Catoptrophorus semipalmatus), in their Winter colors, adopts a Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) or two and a Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa), all rising up in unison forming a zig zagging cloud of  wings, confounding hungry hawks.  Tijuana Estuarine Preserve, San Diego, California

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Nightmare Goatfish!

Bandtail Goatfish, Weke Pueo in Hawaiian, with a small Papio (Jack in English).  Small papio will hang out with goatfish, often eating small shrimp and other critters scared up off the bottom the by the goatfish, which grubs in the sand.  This particular somewhat uncommon goatfish is rumored to be hallucinogenic, if eaten (particularly the eyes and guts...bleah), causing nasty nightmares.  I'd bet it's caused by something that this particular goatfish eats.  Weke, pronounced veh-keh, is the generic name for goatfish in Hawaiian.  Pueo, if I recall, was owl in Hawaiian, perhaps alluding to the weird nightmares it causes when eaten.  As for me, I think it's one of the more beautiful goatfish and would just as soon leave it to live a long and happy life in the ocean.