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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Another Time Out from Vacation Posts


Since Monday morning I have haunted the Vic Fazio Wildlife Refuge with hopes of viewing a Eurasian vagrant bird, the Curlew Sandpiper. So far I've had crap luck at finding the bird, but that is all a matter of poor timing. The bird disappears for hours, then shows up again, right up front where the viewing is good - as soon as it knows I've left the grounds. Ok, that's a bit pessimistic, but that is how it feels from my end. Will give it another go before & after work, every day this week if necessary until I see the bird. This morning I 'opened' the refuge, arriving there at dawn, only 3 minutes before the gate was opened. Saw loads of Dowitchers, Black-necked Stilts, Yellowlegs, Dunlin and one lone Phalarope.

The big event this morning was a parliament of Barn Owls - a half dozen or more. Tried for a few photos but the slightly-past-dawn lighting was too weak, and my owls-on-the-wing skills were not quite up to the task.

Late Breaking News of the Birdie Sort: Returned to Fazio in early evening and at last saw my quarry - the cute, fluffy, hyperactive quarry. I needed loads of assistance from other birders because I had a difficult time 'finding Waldo' as it were. But eventually I had the joy of my own scope set up to watch the patch bellied little exotic, feeding, poofing up his feathers, and for a while; standing on one leg, his head tucked under his wing napping. When his five minute nap was over he leapt up to join in on a flight of Dowitchers, and the lot of them headed into the southern skies. There seemed to be an air of 'I'm outta here' to that last flight so who knows if he'll be back again. Oh well. Thank heavens I got to see the little guy.

Here a couple of photos of Curlew Sandpiper (my lifer!), as photographed by Todd Easterla who not only took these beautiful photos of this amazing bird, but who is also the sharp-eyed birder extraordinaire that spotted the winged gem in the first place. Hail to thee Mr Easterla, you RAWK!

I got these photos are courtesy of the Central Valley Birds Forum. hope posting them here doesn't break any flippin' rules

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