Photos – bird & flowers

I saw these last week on my travels. The bird might be a peregrine falcon (I am never sure of my bird IDS) and the two flowers. The pink one looks like a wine cup, which is in the clarkia family, but the color is not as deep maroon, as is usual. The yellow one I have never seen before and neither my California nor my Monterey Wildflower books have this one,  but finally found it in my North American wildflowers book. No leaves at all, just the stalk, that I could see. It is a Golden Star or Bloomeria crocea in the Lily family.









Someone suggested an immature red-tailed hawk, but I am not sure, either, given the lack of white feathers on the legs. As I said,  I am rarely confident in my bird IDs, Here is one for comparison.




17 thoughts on “Photos – bird & flowers

  1. I have the yellow ones in my yard in Carmel. House used to belong to people who lived in Big Sur in the 70’s. Maybe they were transplanted in town. Beautiful no matter what.

  2. It could be a Continental but in the last picture it looks like the wing length reaches the end of the tail… a Tundra?
    I’ll send it to a local birder I know…

  3. Did you see it fly? Did it have “fingers” at the wing tip? Fingers=hawk…. I think. 🙂
    Now I’m all over the internet looking! STOP – got things to do. lol

  4. Tricky-tricky. Red-tails are so variable. The back and chin say Red-tail, but all that sunlight on the head and the lack of profile for the bill makes it hard to say for sure. Lovely bird.

  5. Peterson’s Field Guide has profile drawings of a Red-Tailed Hawk and of a Peregrine Falcon— like the top photo.
    Both are similar; however the red-tail and rearward feathers extension are not present on this bird.
    Pretty sure it’s a Peregrine Falcon.

    Amazing that it stood still for you. Thanks for posting these nature photos.

  6. I love your Sunday photos! Such a nice break from all the touronic stuff 🙂
    I believe the pinkish flowers with the teal anthers is Gilia splendens.
    I love the Bloomeria crocea and have never seen those before!
    I’ve been an avid birdwatcher for over 40 years and birds have been the bulk of my wildlife photography. Sometimes I get stuck on many different species in juvenile morph. What I’ve learned is to go beyond the usual tells; the plumage, the legs and feet, etc…. and look at the other subtleties. In this case, you can tell it’s a juvi red tailed because they have yellow eyes that take a few years to turn brown, whereas, peregrines have brown eyes their whole life.
    Now, for something really challenging; let’s identify the juvi forms of all the different gulls LOL!!

  7. Petersons field guides aren’t good for identifying birds because the he over exaggerates the colors. I’d use those guides as a pretty picture book instead.

  8. Btw, Kate, if you don’t do it already, please consider reporting your flower finds (at least the rare/uncommon ones) at I looked up your Bloomeria crocea and there’ve been only about 2 dozen reports over the past 5 or so decades for Monterey Co.!

  9. I agree with the pink gilia ID (the newest name is Saltugilia splendens grantii, just to make our lives harder). The yellow is probably a Bloomeria but Triteleia ixiodes is also common here in grasslands and very similar… generally shorter, lower elev. than Bloomeria and the filaments are only 1-2 mm. Hard to tell in this pic. I saw dozens of flowers like these this year (still not certain which) in Big Sur and Fort Ord.

  10. Hi Kate, I’m an ornithologist specializing in raptors so I’m confident in saying you photographed an immature red-tailed hawk. These birds are highly variable. I once lived with 6 immature peregrine falcons on a ridge top back East releasing them to the wild. The Big Sur Coast does support at least 10 pair of peregrine falcons so they are around too. Great photo and thanks for sharing!

  11. All very educational – love it! For now I will discover them in my “own backyard” but this gives me things to look for when Big Sur has healed. bsk – hope you can post many more of these… because that would mean there is less of the “other stuff”

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