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Saturday, February 18, 2006

Birding This Weekend

Birding buddy Don came out from the Bay area for our not-quite-every-year-any-more 'Great Crane Chase' during which we attempt to see some of everything that flies and has feathers here in my neck of the woods. The Great Crane chase started maybe ten years (that long?) ago when Don wanted to see 'lifer' Sandhill Cranes. Astoundingly it took me like two years to break down and ask someone before we found any. Duh.

Anyway, Don came via Amtrack. Picked him up in Davis and we headed back west to Fairfield. We looked for a Blue Jay there but the bird was a no show. Boo hoo! Not like I have never seen them or anything, but I miss them. Blue Jays are THE first bird on my life list - my mother pointed them out to me when I was a little nipper - one of my earliest memories. We were probably there for an hour and a half, and though the bird was there before we arrived, it took a powder and was a no show. Rats. Oh well.

After the Fairfield BJ, we headed over to Flannery Road which is open cattle country. We hoped for a chance to see Mountain Plovers. The only Mountain Plovers I have ever seen were back in 1981 - so I was due for a booster shot of Mountain Plovers.

We got them! Don spotted a flock of a couple hundred of them, wheeling and spinning around in the air like shorebirds do. We were quite a distance away from them but by driving to the other side of the fields we got a better look at the birds. There were some other birds there that we had run across at the Iwama Market in Fairfield.

I got some pics of CA Quail there, not the best pics because the birds and their background are the same colour. But what the hell, there they are. Click on it to see the pic to its best advantage.

Most of my photos today were so-so at best, but at the Blue Jay site there are nesting Red-shouldered Hawks and I got some nice accidental shots of one bird soaring right overhead. By accidental I mean it was overhead, I pointed the camera and by chance the focal distance was spot on so I got several nice pics of the hawk soaring. The focus could be loads better but aw hell, at least I got something to show for the day's birding!

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