Category Archives: Birds

Fine Feathered Friends – May 27th

A picture I don’t often get a chance to take – one of our California Towhees someplace other than on the ground.

They tend to fly quickly from the bushes to the ground and back, short distances, and then hop from place to place on the ground. This one was up in the big backyard tree so I could get a good picture of his belly, chest, and tail. I was surprised to see so much color there. All of the ones I normally see are pretty uniformly a brownish-gray color.

Turns out that it probably means that this is a juvenile, only a couple of months old. Good to know!

I know that the Spotted Towhees are about as well. They’re seasonal, but I’ve seen a pair flitting about. I’ll see if I can spot them when I have a camera again.

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Yesterday’s Storm & Today’s Birds

First of all, I was astonished to see in this morning’s news that last night’s thunderstorms that moved from the Antelope Valley into Pasadena caused a major disruption to the Cruel World Festival going on at the Rose Bowl. Cruel World features artists from the punk and alternative days of the 70’s and 80’s, the sort of music you can hear on SiriusXM Channel 33. The sort of music you hear me listening to ALL DAY LONG.

The Pasadena Fire Department ordered the show cut off in the middle of Iggy Pop’s segment, and headliner Siouxsie Sioux’s segment got cancelled altogether. It was her first (and only!) North American appearance in something like 15 years.

Today was the second day of the Festival and they got some more rain, but no reports of lighting and apparently the show went on.

Weird weather!

Meanwhile, out in the back yard, I was trying to get a bit of down time to do some reading. A group of mockingbirds (at least three, maybe as many as four or five) had other ideas. They were flitting in and out of the big tree and it was unclear if they were fighting, mating, building nests, or all of the above, but they were definitely LOUD!



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Fine Feathered Friends – May 19th

Another new arrival has been heard around the neighborhood, but not yet seen.

I was going out to get the trash cans from the curb when this pair decided to land on the wires out front. Of course they did! They knew that if I was coming to retrieve the trash bins then I wasn’t going to have my camera with me! But after they had their laugh, and I abandoned the trash bins to go back in the house to get the camera, they were gracious enough to stay where they were until I got back.

Lesser goldfinches!

Gorgeous! That yellow color stands out, especially against a cloudless blue sky.

He may have been turning his back on the paparazzi (i.e., ME) in protest, but it let me have a good picture of his back markings.

This guy was all puffed up, showing a layer of black feathers under the yellow on the chest.

So far I haven’t seen any of them feeding at the seed that gets put out in the back yard. Maybe they’re picky? Maybe they look down on the vegan birds?


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Fine Feathered Friends – May 16th

We’ve had a new bird in the neighborhood. I’ve heard them, and I had seen glimpses of them across the street in the neighbors’ yard, but they hadn’t visited our yard yet.

Until this week.

Similar body shape & tail to a mockingbird, but probably a third or more bigger.

Plus that gorgeous coloration, as opposed to the mockingbird’s shades of grey and black.

The first time I saw him he was doing a carrier landing right into a flock of house finches, scattering them, and taking first pick of all of the seed.

They’re also quite loud.

He also was quite bold, coming right up to the porch to get the untouched seed there.

Welcome to the yard, scrub jay!

Remember, there’s plenty to go around, let the little guys have some too.



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Ten Years Of WLTSTF

It snuck up on me. It wasn’t until this afternoon that I realized that today is the 10th anniversary of my starting this website.

I guess this is sort of a big one.

10 years.

3,653 days.

3,745 posts.

8,921 images. (90%+ are taken by me. The rest are images from the news, from cell phone screen captures, and so on.) To be perfectly honest, some of my favorite images of those 8,921 were posted yesterday. Still just a bit gobsmacked by that.

72 videos.

10 audio clips.

2,978 total comments.

75,498 total views.

49,522 total visitors to the site.

11,438 total likes.

1,827 followers (730 from WordPress, 703 from Twitter, 280 from FaceBook, 10 from Tumblr, 58 from, and 46 from Spoutible)

God alone knows how many words.

The last time I either was too busy or, more likely, simply forgot to post anything was April 10, 2020. Since they I’ve posted 1,115 days in a row.

In total there have only been fourteen days of those 3,653 days when I didn’t post anything at all.

I’m not only here (which is probably the most reliable source since I have the most control over the site’s existance) but also on:

  • Twitter (@momdude56)
  • Facebook (/paul.willett.56)
  • Mastodon (@momdude)
  • Post (@momdude)
  • Spoutible (@momdude)
  • Instagram (@momdude56)
  • Tumblr (pauljwillett)
  • Snapchat (pauljwillett)
  • Hive (@momdude)
  • BlueSky (waiting for an invite, but I’ll give you three guesses what it will be…)
  • Email (

I hope that at least a few of the 1,827 folks who get notified every day that I’ve posted something take a minute to look and/or read and get a moment of zen or pleasure from it. I enjoy creating it.

As always, I hope that in the next year there are many more occasions to share a pretty picture, a goofy story, or something clever.

As always, I hope that in the next year there will be many fewer occasions to descend into a venting rant about something stupid, annoying, or depressing.

As do we all, I’m sure.

As a lovely parting gift, couple of favorite pictures from the last year:

Stick around for the next year. It’ll be a slice!


Filed under Airshows, Astronomy, Birds, Christmas Lights, Critters, Entertainment, KC Chiefs, LA Angels, LA Kings, Los Angeles, Paul, Photography, Sports, Sunsets, Writing


(This was an amazing, astonishing, fantastic, {insert thesaurus here} event. I’m giving you the full-resolution photos – click on any of them to blow them up to download or look at the complete image.)

You can usually find hawks floating around the neighborhood. Red-tail hawks are the common ones, but you also find red-shouldered hawks, Cooper’s hawks, and some kind of “night hawk” that I hear often but haven’t yet been able to ID. We’re adjacent to some large natural, open areas, but even over the more densely populated areas of the city, there are often hawks.

Glorious, spectacular creatures. Usually observed from a considerable distance.

This morning I went out to pick up the first of the trash cans after I got payroll done. (Working from home for more than three years is still a mixed bag.) I saw a big red-tailed hawk just landing on top of this big Italian Cypress tree across the street. (It might also be an Emerald Green Arborvitae, but I digress.) I grabbed the camera and took a few pictures.

Unlike most of the times I see these hawks, this guy wasn’t going anywhere, so I had time to cross the street, walk down the cul-de-sac, and get a bit closer.

Of course, what I really, really wanted to get some photos of him flying, but Murphy’s Law ruled and said that he would take off and fly away when I was walking and had the camera down. *sigh*

A couple hours later, when I went out to get the other trash cans, I saw him circling fairly low overhead and I ran in to get the camera again. That opportunity had passed, but he was just landing in that same tree again.

Again he sat for a minute, then to my amazement he leapt into the air. I started shooting one picture after another.

I think it was about this point that I realized that he wasn’t going to soar around and circle overhead, but was diving. FAST!

Straight. At. Me.

Ten feet away from me? Maybe? Less? I could hear the air whistling through his feathers. I had no idea what was going on, but he went by me, then landed in the bush that surrounds the pole on our front porch, right next to the front door.

I wonder if there wasn’t something in that bush that he was after. One of the bigger lizards? A rat or mouse? A bird’s nest of some sort? I know there are some house finch nests up under the eaves, just like in the back yard (search this site for “finch,” plenty of photos) but I don’t know of anything in that bush.

He gave me the hairy eyeball. I wasn’t doing anything other than shooting photos. Okay, there was that whole drooling thing since my jaw was on the ground…

Look at those claws!

Look at that glorious plumage and the patterns in all of those feathers!

Look at that glorious red tail! And he’s gone, soaring in ground effect about knee height, passing right past me on the other side, again no more than ten feet away.


But wait. After a couple minutes to regain my wits, I remembered that there’s a security camera that looks at the front porch.

Good. It really happened.

My thought at the time was that the hawk might be building a nest in the area, possibly at the top of that tree, and that it had seen me looking at it repeatedly and saw me as a threat. Maybe. But having now seen the pictures and how it was looking into that bush, I’m leaning more toward the idea that it was looking for something in that bush for lunch and I happened to be in the way.

I’ll never know, but either way … WOW!!!



Filed under Birds, Critters, Photography, Video


They’re back. Some of my favorites.

They have a bit of an attitude. I like it.

Finding a high perch, they make sure everyone knows who’s in charge.

Right up until the hawks show up. Let’s not be stupid!

Down on the ground, hustling for food, that flapping, flipping, waving tail is the easist way to identify them.

They scamper, slightly smaller and slower than roadrunners.

Then it’s a face plant for bugs, seeds, or whatever they found.

Throwing out that chest and ruling the yard.

Wait, what’s that dude with a camera doing?

Outta here! Showing off one of the other classic identifying marks, the white patches under the wings.


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I’ve put up a second feeder, away from Little Bastard’s domain, and it’s getting a different crowd.

Cleared for landing!

Gotta adjust for it being in the shade, overexpose the background next time.

Yet another automatic camera setting to learn how to override.

If I walk by to get to the trash cans on the side of the garage, they’ll buzz me, sometimes getting way to close.

That’s because they have nests in these ivy plants along the fence and in the flowering plants next to the laundry room.

But if I just go out and sit about ten feet away, and be quiet, and patient, sometimes they’ll ignore me.

Sitting in the sun, the sunlight off of their iridescent feathers is just spectacular.

Then, “No More Paparazzi! I’m outta here!”


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April Juncos

It’s Friday. We’ve made it to another weekend. You need some cute little black-eyed juncos hopping around to relax. Enjoy!

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Not Little Bastard

You’ll remember that yesterday a hummingbird, presumably Little Bastard, was found semi-dead on the porch. After making him comfortable, he later revived.

Later, while I was refilling the hummingbird feeders, a hummingbird was perched right outside the kitchen window, near where the now-missing feeder was.

This is not Little Bastard. He’s an Allen’s Hummingbird. This one is (probably) a Rufous Hummingbird.

The whole time I was cleaning and refilling the feeders it sat there, looking at me.

I was thinking maybe it was thanking me for saving Little Bastard, or glaring at me for saving Little Bastard (he is pretty territorial, this one could have moved in on LB’s territory if I hadn’t revived him), but in the end I figure he had just enough brain cells to realize that I was going to bring food back out any moment and he wanted first dibs.

Still a stunningly gorgeous little critter. The way the colors change as his head moves around and the light hits it at different angles is just amazing.

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