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Baltimore by the Sea

Monday, March 07, 2016

Surprises at Sailor Bar

I often do a drive through - yeah, still lazier than a snail on downers - at Sailor Bar Park on the American River. Normally not much going on there, but once in a bit the sun shines, and I see something off the norm. Today there were two such delights. First up, a pair of Red-shouldered Hawks, one carrying nesting twigs and such to their nest.

Trying out the nest for fit and taste.
Enjoyed watching the bird busily adding bits and bobs to its nest, taking great care in its 'nesting treatment'. Meanwhile the bird's mate kept up a frequent 'kee kee keeing' to let the world know, it and its mate had this patch of oaks and all other hawks better stay-the-hell-out of their territory. Or maybe it was berating genetic lineage of other hawks - who knows? 

The noisier & grumpier looking of the pair
I watched the birds for quite a while, then went on down to the boat launch to see what watery fowl were bouncing around down there. At first I saw the usual birds, the Canada Geese, domestic ducks, Mallards galore and more coots than one would think are necessary. Then I noticed something truly interesting, Hooded Mergansers.

The lovely pair of birds swam far off shore, but still in the little bay of the boat launch. I didn't think I'd get photos of the pair together as they kept busy, alternately diving as though insisting one of them keep watch at all times. 
I don't see Hoodies every year, and never saw any so close to home before, 
They were fairly far off shore but still worth a look
What a treat; I don't see Hooded Mergansers every year, and I've never seen them so close to home before. And also at the pond was the little Kingfisher girlie bird that is usually up a tree. I hope she has a mate and they will nest in the nearby bluffs again this year.  It was quite nice out, and it began to rain - I decided not being a duck, it was time to go. Mind, not that I begrudge California all the rain it can absorb. 
Kingfisher on the far shore - can you even see it?

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