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Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Crane Chase Continued

Today was marathon birding day. We started off visiting the Cosumnes River Preserve where we saw the usual line-up of Cranes (i.e., the whole point of the exercise), Snipe, ducks and what-have-you. Then we headed south, making brief stops where I took some Not-Ready-for-National-Geographic photos.

Lewis Woodpeckers are a designer's palette of pink with irridecent green

Birdie chorus line: 2 Brown-headed Cowbirds and a Tricolor-winged Blackbird

That done, we headed way south to Mercy Hot Springs. There we ran into a a friendly group of birders. Like Don, they come from the Bay Area so maybe Don’ll have some new friends to bird with. While chatting we looked up and spotted a nice Golden Eagle.

Golden Eagle - note HUMONGUS wing span

Our last birding spot of the evening was a couple of hours north, at Del Puerto Canyon Road in Stanislaus County. I was looking (in vane it turns out) for Northern Pygmy Owl, but settled on playing the iPod and setting up a hootin’ match between two pairs of Western Screech Owls that flew in to challenge my iPod to a duel.

When we got back to my house Sunday night as I was parking, what was hooting across the street from my house? A Western Screech Owl! Dorothy was right. I’ll keep in mind, ‘If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire, I won’t go any further than my back yard.’

But the highlight was the Long-eared owls. I’ve made the pilgrimage to see the Long-eared owls annually for three years now. This year we found 11 birds in one Tamarack tree near inhabited cabins. This year's owls were quite sleepy and in their branches. Hum... might have to visit again next year for some better photos.

Sleepy and Grumpy

Mr. Judgemental

Pretending to be a pine cone

Later, nearby the springs we spotted a Roadrunner and a Prairie Falcon, neither of whom stuck around to have their photos taken. Bugger!

I did manage a photo of this seemingly innocent Loggerhead Shrike; a bird known for capturing smaller birds and impaling them on barbed wire. You know... with a nice Chianti.

The Hannibal Lecter of the Bird World - Bwah, ha, ha, ha, ha!

Our last birding spot of the evening was a couple of hours north, at Del Puerto Canyon Road in Stanislaus County. I was looking (in vane it turns out) for Northern Pygmy Owl, but settled listening to a hootin' match between two pairs of Western Screech Owls.

When we got back to my house Sunday night as I was parking, what was hooting across the street from my house? Of course, a Western Screech Owl. I suppose Dorothy had a point. If you ever go looking for your heart's desire, don't look any further than your own back yard.

4 comments:

  1. morbidly curious doris06 April, 2008 03:20

    so your telling me youve seen an impaled bird on barbed wire. i'd like to seen that.

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  2. I've only seen an impaled birdy one time. Toe-tally-gross!

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  3. cool! Le Lo Wash De!phonemicly spelled, navajo "cool" i think?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yep! Ly-k eye sayd, toe-tally-gross. : D

    ReplyDelete