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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Little South County Birding

After lunch with a buddy today, I was near Consumnes Reserve, so decided I might as well put in a visit there. I walked the boardwalk and although I enjoyed some v. close looks at Wilson's Snipes...

Wilson's Snipe
I was taken by the number of Common Yellowthroat, a type of warbler, that were bouncing around the reeds like they were on uppers. There were at least a dozen, the males with their black masks, and the less flashy females, but they never held still for second so it was a challenge getting any shots of them at all.

How's that for a striking bird?
BOING! I'm outta here!
By the time I meandered around the boardwalk, it was getting late and it dawned on me, I wasn't too far from a spot where Short-eared Owls hunt the ag fields. Not having any shots of any kind of Short-eared Owls, I  headed on over. First thing I spotted was a big ole' owl on a post.

Around 4:30 this big Short-eared Owl was perusing the fields
I've seen loads of this species before, but today was the best looks I've had of them EVER. What a thrill! There were a pair of them, and I watched one of them with a vole, get bullied and harassed in the air by the second bird.

Fluffin' it Up
The Short-ears flew back & forth over the fields, hunting. I saw the land, though they didn't seem to catch anything with most of their efforts. Good or bad year for rodents? Don't know. When I saw one flying with a big juicy vole, the other owl chased after it for a bit, then gave up. Competition is on. Oh! And I watched one bird chasing a small song bird - that was interesting.

Swooping up
Almost got it there...
Teetering to smooth out that landing
Saw lots of new-for-the-year birds, miraculously bringing my annual total for species seen in 2013 to 100 even-steven. Go ahead. Applaud. I don't blame you.

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