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Friday, February 03, 2012

Half Day of Birding

After far too many days indoors I ventured out in search of Short-eared Owls in Elk Grove today. Boo hoo! I struck out, not scoring any owls but will try again sometime next week. Can't complain though, I did get nice shots of a v. cooperative Say's Phoebe, a species that has previously thwarted my efforts to photograph it.

Say's Phoebe

Being only a few miles north of the Consumnes Wildlife Area I had to drive over for a visit. I decided to traverse the board walk through the marsh. There were plenty of noisy Marsh Wrens and Song Sparrows in the reeds. I tailed the little Song Sparrow below then, just as I snapped the shot, it turned its head.

Squandered shot: DAMN IT ALL TO HELL!

This handsome Cinnamon Teal drake admired its own reflection in the marsh ala Ugly Duckling. If he's waiting to turn into a swan he's got a long wait ahead of him.

Who is the fairest of us all? QUACK!

Flocks of Greater White-fronted Geese, and ducks of the Pintail, shoveler and Green-winged Teal persuasion slept or dabbled in the marsh. Overhead, were scads of noisy croaking Sandhill Cranes I thought would have headed north to the tundra by now. I shot little groups of them but if only the sun wasn't back lighting them! *whine, whine, whine*
Sandhill Cranes soaring above

I took the short leisurely hike along the wooden boardwalk at Consumnes and was rewarded with several shots of this American Bittern. It played "I can see you but you can't see me", and I must say I beg to differ with it.

This bittern slunked along in the reeds by the viewing platform


I looked for it on my way out and it
struck this "You can't See Me!" pose

Eventually it decided I could see it, and it scuttled into the reeds

Leaving Consumnes I drove the scenic route along the Sacramento River. I was actually there looking for an old birding spot where I once found Long-billed Curlews, Lazuli Buntings and Blue Grosbeaks. No luck there either, but I'll find the spot eventually and will have the photos to prove it!

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