This week’s photo, taken June 3, 2013 along Umtanum Road in central Washington, features an adult male MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD.
I take Umtanum Road south of Ellensburg, WA, and when the pavement ends, the birding begins. Birds are singing, and people are absent, so I drive as slowly as I want, stop as often as I want, and bird-watch from my car. A local Audubon chapter has erected bluebird boxes along the fence-line, so WESTERN BLUEBIRDS are abundant here. In fact, as I slowly roll past one of the boxes, I hear baby bluebirds begging to be fed. MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRDS are not as common, but they also use the manmade nest cavities, and one gorgeous all-blue male poses close by on a fence stake. I don’t need to get out of the car. I simply stop the vehicle, aim my long lens through the open passenger window and fire away.
Other vocalizing species in this shrub-steppe habitat include SAGE THRASHER, WESTERN MEADOWLARK and BREWER’S SPARROW. The Brewer’s Sparrow is a rather plain looking bird, but its long and varied song is one of my favorite avian tunes. Just when you think it’s concluding its lengthy melody, it stretches it out a bit longer.