Monday, March 26, 2007

Huntley Meadows

Today I went on my first walk at Huntley Meadows in quite awhile. It is so beautiful! Although it was fruppin' cold today. We got some good birds, although I didn't get any good pictures, or pictures at all of most of them. We saw:
yellow-rumped warbler
killdeer (pictured)
yellow-bellied sapsucker (pictured)
rusty blackbirds (pictured)
hairy woodpecker
downy woodpecker
red-winged blackbird
American Bittern (two!)
Canada goose
tree swallows
brown creeper
white-breasted nuthatch
northern shovelers
blue-winged teal
green-winged teal
wood duck
belted kingfisher (picture)
hooded merganser, female


Belted Kingfisher

American Bittern, one of two

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. The first time I've seen the red throat.

Brown creeper. Terrible picture, so you'll have to take my word for it. I saw it clearly through the binocs.

Rusty winged blackbird

Common Snipe

Huntley Meadows on a cool spring morning

Canada Goose

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Willet or not?

I took the first two pictures below at the Great Marsh observation platform in the Mason Neck NWR. (The third pic is one I took of a willet in San Diego, CA in February for comparison.) They were out in the water a bit, at the extreme range of my 300mm lens. My first thought was "willet." They were larger than yellowlegs, which were running about near by but never cooperated by being in frame with the "willets." They were a uniform sort of buffy gray above, lighter underparts. Definitely larger and bulkier than the yellowlegs. I got good looks through my binocs and the deck mounted scope there. However, willets are rare at the NWR, although they have been seen there in the spring, so I'm willing to hear that they might be something else.

Willet in San Diego, CA for comparison.

So, willet? Or not?
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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Roadrunner, beep-beep, at Sonny Bono NWR

It was near dusk when this roadrunner appeared. He was huge! And beautiful. Thanks to the other birder from Venice, CA who pointed him out.

At times, he seemed to pose for us.

Checking out the competition.
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Sonny Bono NWR, miscellaneous critters

Abert's Towhee. Buffy bird with dark eye and light beak. A suburb bird of Phoenix and Yuma, but also in the desert. Very limited range. I had never heard of it.

I think this is a sharp-shinned hawk. It was lurking under a tree for quite a long time.

Several white faced ibis were in the area, though this was the only one I saw in the field with the geese.

Bunnies were everywhere. The local hawks must be losing.
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Gambel's Quail, Sonny Bono NWR

We were still in the car when one of these beautiful quail walked by. Here a male and female Gambel's Quail scratch for whatever it is they eat. You can see the puff of dirt by the female's left leg.

Male Gambel's Quail scratching for dirt. See the big puff of dust.
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Snow Geese at Sonny Bono NWR

We stopped at the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge in the southernmost part of the Imperial Valley of California. Yes, that Sonny Bono. It's quite wonderful. The first thing we noticed was the tremendous number of Snow Geese flying in. There are some Ross's Geese, too, but they're hard to pick out.

Here they are landing.

Overexposed but cool pic of a Snow Goose coming in for a landing.

Snow geese and what the ranger said was an Aleutian Goose among them. Some coots there, too.
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