Monday, November 10, 2008

Bird Photography Weekly #11

Before I went to the Monterey Bay Birding Festival and on the field trip to the Pinnacles, I had no idea there was a bird such as the Yellow-billed Magpie (Pica nuttalli). I think it's nice looking with all those contrasting and bright colors.

It has quite a small range compared to most birds. It is endemic to California and located pretty much just in the central to northern part of the state in Oak Savannah which occurs in our foothills and some valleys. If you're having a hard time picturing an Oak Savannah, think Little House on the Prairie with the grassy hills and beautiful Oaks scattered about. That was Oak Savannah, obviously not Prairie, but that's ok.

It's a member of the crow/jay family (Corvidae) and it acts like it too. It hangs around people picnicking waiting to get their scraps... at least in the park areas. I was able to get within 10-15 feet of it. Still glad I had on my 100-400mm lens though!

It is unfortunately on the Audubon's Watch List due to poisons and now it looks like West Nile Virus too.

It seems a quite proud bird to me. Bolder than the Stellar's Jays too. Beautiful in flight. Sorry for this quality, but it was the only one I got. It was quite striking.

I also think that it must be the yellow bill that makes it look like a Kansas Jayhawk, lol!


Lynne said...

I'm so glad you've come out of the birding closet Red!

That magpie is a very handsome bird.

adampaul said...

Great photos! Magpies are one of my favorites birds (I say that about many birds, though). I've never been able to approach nearly so closely as you apparently were able to - good stuff!

Red said...

LOL Lynne!

Adam, thank you :) I'd say it was pure luck for me in that this bird - and its friend - were probably used to people around. This was at the visitor's center near the entrance.

mick said...

Very nice photos. Very interesting to see what your magpies look like. Magpies in Australia look quite different.

Leedra said...

Great photo, love that long tail.

Mary C said...

I'm ready to go back and capture these guys again! Great shots, Red!

Red said...

Thank you Mick! Not only are our magpies different than in other parts of the world, but it's very unique to the rest of North America as well. The other ones aren't near as colorful.

Thanks Leedra :) What is 'funny' about that tail is that it was near impossible to get a focus point on the eyes of the bird, yet still get the whole bird in focus. 9-point focus on my camera is great, but I imagine a 45-point focus would be even better. Someday perhaps I can justify a true pro camera.

Thanks Mom. Yes, well at least the weather has cooled considerably. Maybe a non-rainy day in December or January? Perhaps we could start up at the Bear Gulch area and also hike up to see the condors.

nina said...

Those pictures are great.
The lens you're using certainly captures them well--very clear and popping right off the page!

Red said...

Thank you very much Nina :) Welcome to MMATM!

behindthebins said...

I got my Y-B Magpies on a birding field trip at the Monterey Festival too. Your photos are superb!

Red said...

This year? Were you there?
One thing for certain about the MBFest, they had people who knew the local spots and the inhabitants. And welcome and thank you :)


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