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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Birding for the Bored

Bored with painting my kitchen, last weekend I escaped to the Bay Area for some feather chasing with my birding buddy Don.

Our first stop was to stare at a lovely, lone Long-tailed Duck at Redwood Shores in Redwood City.

Chocolate-Cheeked Long-tailed Duck

This photo is crumby, but that's because it was taken with my eensie Canon Powershot held up to Don's spotting scope. Hum... don't think it's so bad now, do you?

So, thrilled that we got that first birdie, we headed over to a water treatment plant where zillions of waterfowl - ducks, including Blue-winged Teal, geese, shore birds - lazed about.

The next stop was in downtown San Francisco where, a week ago Don saw, a now regionally famous Worm-eating Warbler. Here is a photo of what we DID NOT SEE because the bird was too stuck up and smug after having been admired by people from all over the the west coast. *sigh* For the record, I saw one one of these racing striped jobbers in Florida some years ago.

The Lovely Little 'no show'; a Worm-eating Warbler.Photo © 2008 Gil Ewing

Skunked by the ensie birdie, we headed north over the Golden Gate Bridge to San Rafael's Las Gallinas Water Treatment Plant (birders spend loads of time at such dubioius places, mostly because the birds do, in the doo-doo).

Not to complain, but Don held up the prospect of a young Northern Shrike over my head, which caused me to walk a mile to see the damned thing. Must admit the walk was worth it.

These photos were also taken through Don's spotting scope

Cute little Sweeny Todd, isn't he?

Bonus birds were there too, like these Widgeons.

Two Eurasian Widgeons (way cool vagrant birds) On the far right is an American Widgeon - he's not too shabby in the looks department either

Close up of butter-browed Eurasian Widgey

Ok, as if the above weren't enough, there were also a pair of River Otters gallavanting about. By the time we hiked back to the car my feet were rather raw - I really must invest in some good hiking shoes.

Our last stop of the day was Oakland's Lake Merritt

Feeding the duckies, swan, gulls at Lake Merritt

Time and time again over the years I've looked for Tufted Ducks at Lake Merritt. Tufted Ducks wander there every fall, even though they belong in Europe. Apparently, the 300th time is the charm.

This Tufted Duck's pony tail is bobbed - is he trying to match the local styles?

Ooooo and here's a beautiful (but a bit 'common', in a nice way) Ring_necked Duck.

Ring-necked Duck; that cinnamon smudge on his neck is the 'ring' of his name. The ring is not often visible.

Full the to topknot with birds, we had dinner at a nice restaurant, and then I headed home. The end. Go away now. Please. I've got a ton of stuff to do.

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