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Monday, January 09, 2006

Birding Brewer

Yesterday I had my chores all lined up for me. There were boards missing from a segment of the backyard fence. I galumphed out there to measure the board and when I got to it and looked up, the boards were there! In place! Obviously repaired by the neighbors on the other side - and maybe they know why the boards got knocked down in the first place? Huzzah! Suddenly the afternoon was free from the necessity of a trip to Home Depot or nailing boards. What to do now? Start in on the gardening chores? Clear out the ghastly mess that is the back bedroom? Apply myself to improvements in general?

Hell no, time to bird! I decided to head out to Placer County, Brewer Road where the birding is always interesting. The last time I was there was a month ago and I found acres of Wilson’s Snipe, Long-billed Curlew and White-faced Ibis. All of Northern California was deluged recently so I was hoping for some nice shorebirds. I was not far off – I hit the mother lode for waterfowl; Tundra Swans, Snow Geese, White-fronted Geese, a few Cackling Geese, some Northern Shoveler and Pintail Ducks.

There were thousands of waterfowl in the flooded farming fields. The area is not a wildlife refuge but the birds really don’t give a rat’s patootie for official declarations of bird-worthiness. They just want someplace to rest and puddle about, which from what I saw, they are expert at. I never noticed before that White-fronted Geese are like Mallards, in that they love to go arse-up to forage/dabble under the water.

Incoming! Snow Geese. The picture only shows a tiny segment of the thousands of waterfowl lounging about.

The Brewer Road area is fun. I got my lifer Northern Shrike there a few years ago. If I had my spotting scope bet I'd have found a few Ross's Geese. Must get out there again on the weekend.

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